Kabyles who saved Jews from the Nazis

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The forgotten story of this act of bravery. These Kabyles who saved Jews from the Nazis
Tract written in Tamazigh circulating among the Kabyle emigrants during the raid of the Jews on July 16, 1942 in Paris.

“Yesterday at dawn, the Jews of Paris were arrested, the old men, the women and the children, in exile like us, workers like us, they are our brothers, their children are like our own children “Ammarach Nagh”. When you encounters one of their children you must give them shelter and protection as long as the misfortune – or sorrow – lasts. Oh, men of my country, your heart is generous ”

Original kabyle flyer:

AM ARRAC ENAGH
Id’elli di lefjer hebsen udayen n ‘Paris.
Imgharen am tilawin am arrac.
Di lgherba am nukwni, d-ixeddamen am nukwni.
D-atmaten nagh. Arrac nsen am arrac nagh.
Ma yiwen yufa yiwen weqcic nni,
I’laq as yefk n nsib at isebar attaadi lmehna.
A yargaz n’tmurt nagh, ulik d-amuqran.

LIKE OUR OWN CHILDREN
Yesterday at dawn, the Jews of Paris were arrested.
The old, the women, and the children.
In exile like ourselves, workers like ourselves.
They are our brothers. Their children are like our own children.
The one who encounters one of his children must give that child shelter and protection for as long as misfortune – or sorrow – lasts.
Oh, man of my country, your heart is generous.

Here is the testimony OF Annette Herskovits, herself “hidden child”, during the Second World War. :

“The mosque-based resistance network consisted of people from Algeria’s mountainous Kabylia regions. Kabyles are one of several North-African groups who have preserved their Berber language and culture; the Berbers inhabited North Africa before the Arabs invaded and introduced Islam in the 7th century. At least 95 percent of Algerian immigrants to France came from Kabylia.

The Kabyle network communicated in their Berber dialect, Tamazight, making infiltration almost impossible. Access to Paris’s sewers directly beneath the mosque’s grounds provided an escape path, as did the mosque’s proximity to the city’s central wine market on the Seine, where barges laden with wine barrels came and went. One woman recalled being taken out of Paris on a barge; a Kabyle at the helm took fugitives concealed in his cargo to the south of France, where they could be smuggled to Algeria or Spain.

“On July 16, 1942, Paris police set out to arrest 28,000 Jews on orders of the French Vichy collaborationist government. They had in hand names and addresses, obtained from a census of Jews the Germans had ordered soon after they occupied France. That day and the next, the police fanned out through the city, packing the arrested Jews into requisitioned city buses. They found only 13,000 – largely because some police officers had spread the word ahead of time and many Jews had fled. More than 4,000 children aged 2 to 16 were among those arrested.

“On the second day, a tract was circulated through the miserable hotels that were home to immigrant Algerian workers. The tract, in Tamazight, was read out loud to the mostly illiterate men: “Yesterday at dawn, the Jews of Paris were arrested. The old, the women, and the children. In exile like ourselves, workers like ourselves. They are our brothers. Their children are like our own children. The one who encounters one of his children must give that child shelter and protection for as long as misfortune – or sorrow – lasts. Oh, man of my country, your heart is generous.”

“We can’t know how much help these men were able to give.

“The soul of the network was the mosque’s rector, Si Kaddour Benghabrit, a man with three nationalities – Algerian, Moroccan, and French – who moved with ease in all three worlds, and whose Islam was tolerant and inclusive.

More than 1,700 people are thought to have found short-term shelter in apartments on or near the grounds of the mosque. Benghabrit set up an alert system that allowed fugitives to disappear swiftly in case of a raid – if necessary to the prayer room’s women’s section, where men were normally not admitted. He wrote numerous false birth certificates making Jewish children into Muslims.”

On the second day, a leaflet was distributed through the miserable hotels where immigrant Kabyle workers lived. The leaflet, in Kabyle, was read aloud for the mostly illiterate men “Amm arrac nnagh” “Like our children”


The Mosque That Sheltered Jews

“Their children are like our own children”
“Yesterday at dawn, the Jews of Paris were arrested. The old, the women, and the children. In exile like ourselves, workers like ourselves. They are our brothers. Their children are like our own children. The one who encounters one of his children must give that child shelter and protection for as long as misfortune – or sorrow – lasts. Oh, man of my country, your heart is generous.”

A tract read to immigrant Algerian workers in Paris, asking them to help shelter Jewish children.

by Annette Herskovits

http://www.thestreetspirit.org/Feb2005/pr-mosque.htm

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