Monday , April 22 2024
Robert Satloff searches to learn if any Arabs helped their Jewish neighbors during WWII.

DVD Review: Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust in Arab Lands

Written by Fumo Verde

Once again PBS features a story with true soul and a deeper view into life. Robert Satloff is an American Jew who watched from his office building, not to far away, the attack on September 11th. In his mind it brought back a vivid memory of family members who suffered in the death camps throughout Europe during the reign of terror brought by the Nazis. This brought up the question which he thinks may be a key in Arab-Israeli conflict going on now and it goes back to the Holocaust.

Satloff sees three types of attitudes when it comes to the Arab people and the Holocaust: either they completely deny it, they say that Hitler didn’t go far enough, or they feel that it is history and one can’t change it so let’s move on. But what if, during those dark years, some Arabs helped some Jews. This is Satloff’s quest, to find at least one Arab who helped a Jew, for he feels if it were known, maybe it might start to change the minds of others who are less informed and only know what propaganda is pushed down their throats.

This one-hour DVD follows Satloff as he searches three continents to try to find those among the righteous–fellow humans who helped hide and keep safe other humans, of Jewish faith, from the brutal death camps.

Did any Arabs help their Jewish neighbors? Researching leads and following second-hand stories, Satloff comes to find out that though some Arabs assisted the Axis armies, others did not. Some Imams preached to their followers not to assist the Germans when they came to collect their Jewish countrymen.

One story told by Holocaust survivor Joesph Naccache, a Jew living in Tunis, is about how his neighbor, an Arab named Abdul Jalil, told Joe that if the Nazis came for them, that he should come to his house and hide. Satloff followed Joe’s story and he came to the bathhouse owned by Si Abdul Jalil. Entering into the bathhouse, Satloff came into contact with the son of Mr. Jalil, who proudly boasted, “My father did not see Jews or Muslims or Christians, he only saw humans. Before the war, Jews and Muslims lived in peace and my father could not stand by as his neighbors taken away.”

For over a thousands years Jews had lived and practiced their faith better in Muslim countries than in Christian, and Satloff is trying to find out why. He feels if he can show that Muslims helped Jews, than the denial of what happened during those dark days may lead to more open talks which may lead to some type of peace. What I’ve found out here is that people are people, and if one cares about their neighbors, then no matter what race or religion, humans will help other humans.

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