Khaled Abdul Wahab
A Tunisian Arab who saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust
Khaled Abdul Wahab
Testimony taken from Robert Satloff’s book Among the Righteous. Lost Stories of the Holocaust’s reach into Arab Lands, Marsilio, Venice, 2008
Khaled Abdul Wahab is the first Arab to have a file at Yad Vashem as a candidate for "Righteous among the Nations". His story was researched by Robert Satloff, director of the "Washington Institute for Near East Policy", published in the book Among the Righteous. Lost stories from the Holocaust's long reach into Arab Lands (Kindle, 2006). Other Muslims have been nominated "Righteous", especially Albanians, but no Arab.
Khaled Abdul Wahab was a Tunisian Muslim from a wealthy family with strong cultural traditions. Between 1942 and 1943 he made concerted efforts to hide Jews and save them from persecution by the occupying Nazi troops, establishing risky relations with the officers to gain their confidence and obtain useful information for avoiding round-ups and taking the persecuted into safety.
After examining his file in 2009, the Yad Vashem Commission decided against giving Khaled Abdul Wahab the title of "Righteous" because he did not run any significant risks.
For other cases, however, the Commission of the Righteous has conferred the honour even in the absence of these same risks. A broad debate on this issue is under way in the Commission, especially as regards the prerequisites for qualifying for the title. One of the prominent figures in this debate is the President of the Commission, Moshe Bejski, described in Gabriele Nissim's book Il Tribunale del Bene.
Another controversial issue is the possibility, up until now rejected, of considering rescue efforts made by Jews in aid of other Jews; this was excluded from the 1953 law of the Israeli Parliament that gave rise to the Yad Vashem memorial. Numerous people are asking for this law to be revised in order to remove the ban.
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