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Among The Righteous: Lost Stories From The Holocaust In Arab Lands

Airs Monday, April 12, 2010 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Khaled Abdul-Wahab, a Tunisian, rescued two dozen Jews during the Holocaust.

Credit: Courtesy of the family

Above: Khaled Abdul-Wahab, a Tunisian, rescued two dozen Jews during the Holocaust.

Did any Arabs save Jews during the Holocaust? That's the question author Robert Satloff had in mind when he set out to discover the lost, true stories of survival, courage and betrayal in Arab lands during World War II.

The history of the Holocaust in Europe is well-documented, but the history of what happened to the Jewish people of North Africa has been mostly forgotten, even in the very towns and cities where it occurred.

The truth is remarkable: not only did Jews in Arab lands suffer many of same elements of persecution as Jews in Europe -- arrests, deportations, confiscations and forced labor -- but there were also hopeful stories of "righteous" Arabs reaching out to protect them. Robert MacNeil narrates "Among The Righteous: Lost Stories From The Holocaust In Arab Lands."

Stories from the Documentary:

Khaled Abdul Wahab - A charismatic, cosmopolitan Tunisian not only hid a local Jewish family at his farm, but also protected the women from harm.

Si Ali Sakkat - After a long career in public service, an Arab nobleman retired to a farm, where, one day, he welcomed and harbored some unexpected guests -- Jewish men who had escaped from a labor camp during a battle.

Nissim Zvili - When the father of this Tunisian Jewish family was conscripted for forced labor by the Nazis, the others were taken to a farm for protection by an Arab friend.

Morice Tondowski - A young Polish man fled his country to escape the war, but after joining the French military, wound up in a desert labor camp.

Silvan Shalom - After the male members of this influential Jewish family escaped to avoid arrest by the Nazis, the women were aided by a compassionate and quick-thinking Arab neighbor.

Hamza Abdul Jalil - The owner of a neighborhood bathhouse in Tunisia hid a young Jewish man who was trying to evade a Nazi dragnet for forced laborers.

Joseph Scemla - Betrayed by their Arab 'friend,' this Tunisian Jewish man and his two sons suffered the ultimate fate -- deportation to Germany and execution at a Nazi prison.

Robert Satloff On Muslim Heroes Of The Holocaust

Author and Middle East policy expert Robert Satloff discusses several stories of assistance North African Arabs offered to Jews during the Holocaust.


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