As the Nazis spread across Europe in 1940, many Jewish families fled to France seeking safety. Then the Nazis took control of France as well collaborating with the Vichy government and though Jews could find some sanctuary in southern France, the northern part of the country was under Nazi domination. "In France, 11, 402 Jewish children, todlers and babies were deported to death camps" with only three hundred surviving the war."
But in the center of Paris stood the Grand Mosque. In ones and twos, Jews found their way to the Mosque and asked for sanctuary. The courageous rector, Si Kaddour Benghabrit, allowed them to stay and even designed a secret alarm system to warn Jews to run to the women's section when the Nazi officials came to search the premises. The Muslim community saved many Jewish lives during this time. Little is known of this secret work because nothing was written down. It is only by oral tradition that we learn of the courage and faith of these daring men and women.