Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

Watch the Full Documentary


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.

Editor's Note: At 38:50 in the film, a photo is incorrectly identified as the wedding picture of Odette and Jacob Boukris, parents of Anny Boukris. You can see their real wedding photo here. We regret the error.

Ask Your Questions

Join a conversation with Robert Satloff about the making of the documentary, the stories he uncovered and the prospects for better understanding between Jews and Arabs.

Timeline

Compare events of World War II in North Africa with what was going on in Europe and the United States at the same time.

Read more about the true stories in Among the Righteous. Plus, watch video clips and extended interviews about some of the people profiled.

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.

  

Educational Resources

LESSON PLAN: AMONG THE RIGHTEOUS

World War II was a global conflict yet most students are only familiar with the events in Europe or Asia. Understanding the dimensions of the Holocaust in French North Africa and the decisions made by inhabitants there is crucial to understanding the moral and ethical issues presented in this program.

U.S. HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM TEACHER GUIDES

Resources for teachers striving to help students learn the history of the Holocaust and reflect upon the moral and ethical questions raised by that history.

FACING HISTORY AND OURSELVES

Lesson plans to help students understand that history is not inevitable, and that the choices of ordinary citizens shape our lives and the lives of those around us.

DIGITAL ASSETS - IMAGES FROM NORTHERN AFRICA Use these primary sources to further students investigation into the Holocaust in Arab lands.

BACKGROUND: VICHY DISCRIMINATION IN NORTH AFRICA

The history of the Holocaust in France's three North African colonies (Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia) is intrinsically tied to France's fate during this period.

BACKGROUND: JEWS IN FRENCH NORTH AFRICA

In 1939, French North Africa was composed of three colonies: Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. Arab and Berber Muslims made up by far the largest part of the population and Jews made up the smallest percentage.

Support Provided By

  • Support for the Web site and educational materials was made possible, in part, by the Charles H. Revson Foundation.
  • Joan and Charles Adler
  • Steven and Leora Levy
  • Judith and Howard P. Berkowitz
  • Robert and Ann Fromer
  • Roger and Susan Hertog
  • Nina and Gary Wexler
  • Moroccan American Cultural Center
  • Sohail and Mona Masood
  • Judy and Josh Weston
  • Lorraine and Richard Abramson
  • James A. Keston and The Keston Family Trust
  • Harold Grinspoon
  • Ziegler Family Trust
  • Shelly and Michael Kassen
  • Martin and Ahuva Gross
  • Ellen and Murray Koppelman
  • Samuel and Helene Soref Foundation
  • The Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University
  • Wendy and James Schreiber
  • Fred and Allyne Schwartz
  • American Islamic Congress