Becky's Reviews > The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Saved Jews During the Holocaust

The Grand Mosque of Paris by Karen Gray Ruelle
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Dec 29, 10

bookshelves: nonfiction, picture-books, cool-covers
Recommended for: K-8
Read in December, 2010

Another superbly-done nonfiction book about a little-known topic. To be honest, I saw it on Goodreads and wanted to look more closely at the blue cover with the yellow light, but after reading, I'm glad that my knowledge of history was widened. During the Nazi occupation of France, the Kabyles (a Berber group from Algeria) and the people of the Grand Mosque of Paris helped Jews escape persecution, by forging certificates of Muslim identity (the Nazis feared a Muslim uprising in North Africa and so did not target Muslims the same way they did Jews) and hiding people, especially children, in the mosque (which was a full community center, with gardens, apartments, and a library).

Includes an Afterword, Glossary, References, Bibliography, and Index.

Favorite quotes:

"The rector [of the mosque] delayed the search by demanding that the soldiers and police remove their boots. Before going into the prayer room of any mosque, it is customary to remove all footwear. Taking off heavy military boots took time, giving everyone the opportunity to get out of sight."

"Hundreds of miles of utterly dark, chilly passageways twisted and turned beneath the streets. If you knew the route, you could travel underground from the mosque to the bank of the river Seine. If you didn't know the way, you could become hopelessly lost in the souterrain."
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message 2: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Souterrain! New word!

The description of this mosque reminds me a lot of the end of The Sound of Music, btw.


Becky I can totally see the Sound of Music thing! Souterrain is also where the catacombs are, btw. Grrr catacombs.


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