Gariwo: the gardens of the Righteous

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The words of Faiza Abdul Wahab

to remember her father Khaled

Khaled Abdul Wahab

Khaled Abdul Wahab

Message from Faiza, daughter to Khaled Abdul Wahab

When our common Jewish and Muslim ancestors were expelled from Spain in the 15th century, the majority of them found refuge in Tunisia and the whole North Africa, where they have shared the same language and culture. My Grandfather was a famous historian and this is why my father grew up in atmosphere of openness and tolerance. At a certain social level, the Jews and Arabs of Tunisia studied and worked together, shared the same food, the same music, the same sense of humour and much more.

Thus, it was very naturally that my Dad did everything he could to help his fellow Tunisian citizens while they were threatened by an external danger because of their religion.

My father is no isolated case. In the Arab lands, many people, of some of whom we will never know the names, have responded to the call of their Jewish fellow citizens in danger. What I hope the people mostly remembers of my father is not the number of the people he rescued, but his profound respect for those he helped.

As Mrs. Boukhri said in her testimony, when she and her family were sheltered in my father’s farm, he arrived to the point to take there a rabbi so that they could celebrate the Shabbat. This is the measure of the respect my father had for the people he helped.

In a world beleaguered by war, the message of hope and peace at the core of today’s ceremony should strengthen the confidence of all those who still want to dream of peace. I realize someone could find my words as utopian, but we cannot build the future unless we can dream now.

19 July 2016

Rescuers

whoever saves a life saves the entire world

In Yad Vashem's Memorial, in Jerusalem, the Garden of the Righteous remembers those who tried to rescue the Jews in the Holocaust: those who hidd them, helped them expatriate with forged documents, nourished them or gave them a job; those who, seeing them suffer, helped them somehow instead of remaining indifferent.In Yerevan's Wall of Remembrance the memorial stones remember the rescuers of Armenians during the genocide of 1915, those who tried to stop the massacre, refused to obey orders, sheltered children, reported the extermination that was occurring beneath their hopeless eyes to the world's public opinion.
In 1994 in Rwanda, some Tutsies who were hunted by the interahamwe militias were protected by neighbours, friends - some times strangers, too - belonginf to the Hutu ethnic group, who refused participating in the "man hunt" with machetes that had been planned by other Hutus to exterminate the country's Tutsi minority.
While ethnic cleansing was ravaging Bosnia leading to the murder of thousands innocent victims some people trying to escape the massacre were helped in the same way by neighbours, school mates, friends, or strangers, who were members of other ethnic groups.
Still todate, in many places in the world, there are such rescuers who risk and sometimes lose their lives in the attempt of helping the victims, and become victims themselves. Other times they lose their jobs, wellbeing, social status or they are imprisoned, tortured, cast out. At any rate, even before starting their endeavours, they know they run a serious risk, but they prefer doing so rather than bearing the weigh of remorse for remaining indifferent for the rest of their lives. Everytime by their action they "save the entire world", as stands in the Talmud.

Multimedia

Ho Feng Shan, the Chinese Schindler

his daughter Ho Manli tells his story to Yad Vashem

Featured story

Khaled Abdul Wahab

a Tunisian Arab who saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust