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

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


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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 for escaped prisoners of war and Jews of all ages, especially children. 

Beautifully illustrated and thoroughly researched (both authors speak French and conducted first-person interviews and research at archives and libraries), this hopeful, non-fiction book introduces children to a little-known part of history. Perfect for children studying World War II or those seeking a heart-warming, inspiring read that highlights extraordinary heroism across faiths.

Includes a bibliography, a recommended list of books and films, and afterword from the authors that gives more details behind the story.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780823423040
Publisher: Holiday House
Publication date: 06/01/2010
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 226,957
Product dimensions: 10.60(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.20(d)
Lexile: NC1090L (what's this?)
Age Range: 7 - 11 Years

About the Author

Karen Gray Ruelle is a decorated author who has written over 20 children’s books.

Deborah Durland DeSaix, a former college professor, has written and illustrated many picture books for children. Reviews for her artwork are outstanding. Booklist praised her art in Know What I Saw by Aileen Fisher saying, "De Saix steals the show, though, with lush, photorealistic scenes that are both large enough to sweeten the subtraction lesson built into the 10-to-1 countdown premise." She now lives in Asheville, North Carolina

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The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
JeneenNammar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
2nd to 8th grade. Inspiring and deeply moving, the picture book The Grand Mosque of Paris makes an important contribution to the children's literature dedicated to promoting understanding and empathy between Moslems and Jews. In it Karen Gray Ruelle presents all the still surviving evidence and stories of how Jews found refuge in the Grand Mosque of Paris during the Holocaust. It being 63 years after the events, very little detail remains of those desperate and secret acts to help. But she describes how the Mosque hid children and escaped war prisoners, and Kabyle Moslems from Algeria helped operate an "underground railroad" of smuggling Jews out of the city. Ruelle's prose is straightforward and she gives a historical account of what transpired. Sometimes the stories are less detailed than one would like, but Ruelle explains at the end that this is all the detail that is left. Deborah Durland DeSaix's oil paintings collaborate excellently with the story. Her illustrations move from scenes depicting how large the Mosque is and how forbidding the city looks, to sensitive close ups of faces involved. She incorporates a texture to the paintings that makes it look as if the story were painted on walls, a curious technique to use given how important buildings are to both religions. This book is highly recommended for public, elementary, and middle school libraries. It would also make an excellent classroom read aloud. Given the time we live in and how precious each story of bravery is from during the Holocaust, public librarians and media teachers should not pass up on the opportunity to buy this book. These stories should not pass unknown into history.
Cra71 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book gives great insight about a story that has not been told often. It brings a much more positive light to the Muslim community and tells a very heroic story of how they played a huge part in helping the Jews stay safe from the Nazis.
TeriHogg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
During the Nazi occupation of France during World War II, a beautiful mosque in Paris was the safety net for many Jews hoping to escape the death camps. While the mosque was a short, temporary stay for many people who were smuggled out of the city to other places, for many children, it became their home. This beautifully illustrated picture book shares the stories of the few documented histories of survivors and those who helped hide them. The mosque's rector, Si Kaddour Benghabrit, was instrumental in placing children who looked Algerian with families associated with the mosque as well as forging birth certificates, grave markers, and certificates of conversion. There are not many picture books regarding Muslims and this is a step toward illuminating their place in history. The Afterward at the end of the book shares the difficulty of unearthing this little-known story of Muslims helping Jews during a turbulent time in history. A helpful glossary of Islamic terms is also included as well as a Bibliography, which highlights the books and other materials that are appropriate for children. This is a good read for children interested in history, helping them in understanding another perspective of the Occupation. Highly recommended. Grades 4-6
rapago on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting story, pieced together with difficulty, as the author tells us in the afterword, that documentation of these clandestine events is not to be found. Most of the people who might have experienced the help given by the Mosque have also died. Still, it is an important story to share given the sometimes rocky relationship between Muslims and Jews.
LemaMichelle More than 1 year ago
This book tells the horrific story of the Holocaust and how the Jews in Paris were taken to death camps after being crowded in vermin-filled internment camps. Throughout the first few pages I was afraid that I'd hear more horrid tales of one of the horrible events that took place during WWII. But from these first few pages and sad tellings of how tiny babies were taken from their mothers to the death camps, comes a heroic story of how the Muslims aided the Jews by providing them with a safe haven to stay in while the Nazis were walking the streets of Paris hunting for Jews. I've always loved to hear these heroic tales of different cultures and backgrounds helping one another despite their politics and beliefs. It's refreshing to hear about people helping people just out of the goodness of their hearts. I would highly recommend this book for teachers to use in the classroom to show children that although we're all different and come from different backgrounds, it's still our duty to help one another. It's also a great informational story to teach about the Holocaust without graphic pictures and details when teaching younger grade levels. I loved this story and hope to read more stories from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this account of Muslims helping Jews during the Holocaust is an unforgettable story of daring, ingenuity and humanity of the highest order, which, as a picture book, is not just for the young to enjoy.