A First for 'Righteous Among Nations' Honor

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Khaled Abdelwahhab is the first Arab nominated for the "Righteous Among the Nations" honor, awarded to non-Jews who helped save Jews from the Nazis. Scott Simon takes note.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

This week, Khaleb Abdelwahhab became the first Arab nominated for the Righteous Among the Nations honor. Swedish diplomat Raul Wallenberg(ph) and Meep Geese(ph), who helped hide Anne Frank's family, are among the best known of about 21,000 non-Jews who received the recognition for risking their lives to save Jews from Nazi persecution.

Khaleb Abdelwahhab was a young local official in Tunisia when German troops occupied the country. They forced Jews to wear Star of David badges and dragooned thousands to death camps. When Abdelwahhab heard that German officers planned to rape a local Jewish woman, he hide her and several other families at his farm.

Khaleb Abdelwahhab died in 1997. Robert Satloff of the Institute for Near East Policy, who nominated him for the award, says it will help Jews recognize that there are Arabs who saved Jews and also show those who deny the Holocaust occurred that there was something to save them from.

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