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The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  447 ratings  ·  158 reviews
When the Nazis occupied Paris, no Jew was safe from arrest and deportation.

Few Parisians were willing to risk their own lives to help. Yet during that perilous time, many Jews found refuge in an unlikely place--the sprawling complex of the Grand Mosque of Paris. Not just a place of worship but a community center, this hive of activity was an ideal temporary hiding place f
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by Holiday House
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Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii, holocaust
An incredible untold story of the Holocaust. To everyone that doesn't think interfaith peace is possible, read this book. ...more
Stephanie Anze
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
When the Nazis took over Paris, no Jew was safe. Those fortunate enough to be able to escape did so. For those left behind, however, finding a refuge was imperative. Under an ever watchful eye of the Nazis, the Grand Mosque of Paris opened its doors and hid Jews and others under persecution, until they could be smuggled out of the city. This is the incredible untold story of how Muslims saved Jews.

Every so often I like to read a children's book and this one caught my eye immediately. I have read
Jun 08, 2011 rated it liked it
This recounts the little-known story of how North African Muslims in Paris risked their lives to save Jewish people during the Nazi occupation of France. It is truly an amazing story, one that I had no knowledge of and great interest in, since more of my students are Muslim than Jewish. It reads like a non-fiction book, rather than a narrative, although the authors try to make some personal connections (some survivors' names, for example). I understand why this is a children's book: because offi ...more
Dec 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: K-8
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 ...more
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Jul 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all Jews, all Muslims, all who have an interest in history & inspiring true stories
Recommended to Lisa (not getting friends updates) by: Abigail A.
Extraordinary. I was deeply touched.

This is an excellent history book, with many useful resources at the end, of a chapter of history about which I knew nothing, the Muslims/Mosque that saved Jews and others from the Nazis, during the Nazi occupation of Paris and all of France. Much good background history is given as well, and described also is what lack of detailed information survives.

I knew some details from other books about the huge round up of Jews in Paris, the tunnels under Paris, etc.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This is the first I've read of this little-known fact of the history of France in World War II. Ruelle has done a tremendous amount of research, as shown by the 2 pages at the end of the book, on something about which it is difficult to find any information. Muslims in Nazi-occupied Paris risked their lives to aid Jews and Christians, including downed allied pilots. What an incredible story! I couldn't help but wonder why they could be so kind to each other then, and yet forget all that and figh ...more
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Readers Interested in WWII, the Holocaust, and the Heroes Who Rescued Jews in That Time
"Yesterday at dawn, the Jews of Paris were arrested. The elderly, the women, and the children. In exile like ourselves, workers like ourselves. They are our brothers. Their children are like our own children. Anyone 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..."

So reads a World War II era letter, recently discovered amongst the papers of a Tunisian-owned cafe in Paris, a
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ww2
This book is fascinating! It tells of a little-known story of Jews rescued by Muslims during WW2. The Mosque of Paris was apparently a haven for Jews during the war and responsible for many people surviving and making it to safety. The pictures are beautiful and the story is intriguing!
Dec 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: have
Informative, but definitely not for children. This is like a research article spaced between illustrations.
Alex  Baugh
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jews, holocaust, paris, muslims
The Grand Mosque of Paris is a little known but important story, just like the The Cigarette Sellers of Three Crosses Square was; a book about people helping others in a time of great peril. The central theme of The Grand Mosque can be summed up in the Islamic hadith* and a Jewish proverb quoted by Ruelle and DeDaix:

“Save one life, and it is as if you’ve saved all of humanity.”
The Grand Mosque of Paris was opened in 1926 on land donated by the French government in tribute to the many Muslims of
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
An under-told story of kindness and selflessness during the Holocaust, beautifully and masterfully told.
Oct 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust by Karen Gray Ruelle is the story of how the mosque and its rector, Si Kaddout Benghabrit helped Jews, Allied soldiers, POWs and others escape the Nazis into North Africa. The mosque was given to the Muslim people by the French government as a gift for Muslim help during WWI. Within its walls, was an entire city of religious offices, medical facilities, shops and restaurants, and schools. When France fell to the ...more
Hannah Fry
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
"The Grand Mosque of Paris" tells the story of how the Islamic Mosque in France opened its doors to help Jewish people hide during the Holocaust. This book tells the story of multiple people who benefitted from the safe haven that the mosque provided them, different strategies used by the Muslims to hide the Jews, and how Kabyle Muslims built a resistance to help them. For example, the book discusses the experiences of Salim Halali, A Jew who came to Paris from Algeria to become a singer. The bo ...more
Connor Bates
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Grand Mosque of Paris is an amazing story about how Muslim people helped Jewish people during world war two. Karen Gray Ruelle, and Deborah Durland DeSaix do an amazing job connecting this historical story to the illustrations on the page.

During the first seven pages of the book, the author is giving background information about World War Two and the Holocaust, the illustrations match this tone with many dark blues, brows, and grays. When the Mosque is introduced on page 8, the tone of the
S10_Jessica Oster
format: picture book
age: grades 5-8
protagonist: Muslims in Paris

This is the untold story of how Muslims in Paris helped to hide Jews during the Holocaust. I mark this as a definite must read simply because it is a side of history that Americans are not exposed to learning. While this is a picture book, the text is dense and rich in language which makes it more suitable for middle school age and up. And even though the illustrations and story are not graphic in detail, the context of the story al
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Holocaust, Jewish/Muslim history and WWII requests
Recommended to June by: Lin
Wow! Ruelle really lays it out there. Death camps, mass murder, the deportation from France alone of "11,402 Jewish children, toddlers and even tiny babies" to the death camps with only about 300 surviving the camps.

Did not know that the French gave the land for the Mosque to thank the half million Muslim soldiers who fought for them in WWI. Also that with the loss of so many young men in WWI, that Berbers from Kabylia came to Paris to fill out the workforce in factories and construction and bui
Kate Hastings
Grades 3-8. I knew nothing about this part of history and the role of Muslims in rescuing Jews in the Vichy-occupied France. Apparently after WWI, France gave propery to Muslims from French-occupied Northern Africa as a way to thank them for the half-million Muslim soldiers that fought on behalf of France. A beautiful mosque was erected there-- and served as an oasis for many Jews that could blend in and look Muslim. I guess I assumed that Muslims were on the long list of people the Nazi's wante ...more
Jan 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: older children and parents reading with them
This is an amazing story of compassion, bravery and humanity during some of the darkest days of WWII. I had no idea that muslims in Paris were responsible for saving so many people - Jews, escaped Prisoners of War, Allied spies and paratroopers...and the illustrations are just wonderful (our favorite is of a little girl in front of a mosaic mural on the wall on pp. 20-21. The story is a bit long, so we took our time reading it. And I would recommend this book for older children (probably 3rd gra ...more
Kadijah Michelle
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: islam, children
Last year I noticed that my local library had no children's books about Islam or Ramadan, so I donated a two relating to Ramadan. This year I decided to donated two almost secular books relating to Muslims. This book was an interesting find that shows a history of Muslims and Jews working together against persecution. While it's not quite a story book, it does tell a great deal about how the Muslims helped several people in Paris during the Nazi occupation. I would highly recommend this as a boo ...more
May 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
Beautiful illustrations but it is written like a poorly summarized textbook yet looks like a children's story book. ...more
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: youth-nonfiction
The true story of how the Muslim community living in Paris during WWII helped Jews, POWs, allied soldiers, and others escape the Nazis. Beautiful, moving, and inspiring.
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, ya
Wow I never knew this!
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Definitely not a storytime book, although it looks like one, but packed with lots of great information. Resource section at the end.
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fascinating inquiry into a beautiful historical mystery during one of the most depraved times in human history.
Panda Incognito
I discovered this book while experimenting with filters on the website Diverse Book Finder, and was then able to read it on Open Library. I really enjoyed it, because even though the text is dense and not intended for a picture book audience, it tells a little-known story about how North African Muslims in France helped forge new identity cards to protect North African Jews, so that they could pass as Muslims. The Muslims also helped hide and protect European Jews, and their mosque was a transit ...more
2019 - bk 177. The story behind the Islamic community of Paris and how it helped save Jews and escaped P.O.W. and downed pilots during World War II. It is an interesting story that should have been shared many years ago. What disturbs me is how very few documents / personal interviews / written accounts were available. According the the authors, the achives of the Mosque were off limits to them so they depended on secondhand accounts of what others said they saw in the archives. That sends up my ...more
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fascinating true story that I had never heard of before. Beautiful illustrations. The text is very heavily researched, it might be a bit much for children. My eight year old enjoyed the story, but did find it a bit long. Still, a great conversation starter and touching story.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: text-set-muslim
This book is a historical fiction and is based in France during the World War II when the Nazis were attacking Jews. The book starts off by explaining the situation in Europe when Germany started conquering many countries and focuses on France, how death camps were set and the thousands of innocent Jews were killed regardless of their age. The author gives a brief history of the Grand Mosque that was the center of the Muslim community for the city and explains the great role the leader of the mo ...more
Katie Farver
The Grand Mosque of Paris explores the true story of how French Muslims were able to help save Jews by hiding them in the Grand Mosque of Paris during Nazi occupation in WWII. This book does a nice job of providing a brief, yet informative insight of the Nazis occupation, the horrendous, unfair treatment of Jews during the Holocaust, and how the Muslims of Paris were able to save over 1,000 lives by offering shelter at the Grand Mosque until they could be smuggled out of the country. The text is ...more
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
First sentence: In 1940 war came to Paris, and life was turned upside down.

Premise/plot: Quite simply this is a picture book for older readers. Dare I say it's even a picture book primarily for adults?! This picture book is definitely text-heavy, and the subject is a heavy one. The book brings to light something you may not know: the North African Muslims of Paris rescued a lot of Jews during World War II. (Others were part of the French Resistance.)

This is not a well-documented, well-known pa
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I'm a professional writer and illustrator, with 20 children’s books published so far and several others in the works. I write for all ages, from toddlers to adults, and enjoy working on my own, as well as in collaboration with other authors and illustrators.

In terms of style, my illustrations tend to be more whimsical than realistic, and I've worked in watercolor, oils, pastels, pen and ink, and c

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