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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How Turkish diplomats saved Jews from the Holocaust

From Hurriyet Daily News:

“Turkish Passport” is an unusual story about the Holocaust; it is unusual simply by having the word “Turkish” in its title, since Turkey was a neutral country during WW II. The documentary, directed by former advertisement director Burak Cem Arlıel and written by Deniz Yeşilgün and Gökhan Zincir, is a surprising recount of Turkish diplomats in France and other European countries who had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Jews by issuing them Turkish passports.

Based on extensive research of four years, “Turkish Passport” tells the story of Turkish diplomats and those saved by them through interviews with the survivors, the relatives of the survivors and the relatives of the Turkish diplomats, as well as re-enactments. It was definitely a period when Turkish bureaucracy was not as stalled, and when a Turkish passport was literally a lifesaver.

The film recounts stories of Turkish diplomats like Behiç Erkin, Turkey’s ambassador to France, who issued passports to French Jews of Turkish ancestry and helped ship them off to Turkey in rescue trains. The diplomats issued passports to anyone who could utter a few sentences in Turkish...

The "tens of thousands" is an exaggeration but certainly many Jews - in the hundreds - were saved by a network of Turkish diplomats. Most of them, but not all, were Turkish Jews.

Here is a news story about the film:




And the trailer:


The website for the movie has some fascinating material.