Si Kaddour ben Ghabrit

Si Kaddour ben Ghabrit (also spelled Si Kaddour ben Ngabarit; Arabic: سي قدور بن غبريط, alternate name: Abd al-Qadir ben Ghabrit; born in Sidi Bel Abbès, Algeria 1868 – Paris, 1954) was the founder of the Grand Mosque of Paris.

During World War II, when France was occupied by Nazi Germany, he collaborated with the French Resistance and provided shelter for approximately 100 Jews from Algeria and Europe in the mosque. He supplied them with counterfeit Muslim birth certificates, thereby shielding them from Nazi persecution. His actions earned him the Cross of the Legion of Honor.


Si Kaddour ben Ghabrit's life unfolded in a tumultuous era. Born in Algeria in 1868, he would go on to play a vital role during World War II, protecting those persecuted by the Nazis.

Rescue Efforts During WWII

During the Second World War, when France was under Vichy rule and collaborating with Nazi Germany, Si Kaddour ben Ghabrit showed immense courage and compassion. He opened the doors of the Grand Mosque of Paris to approximately 100 Jews who sought refuge from Nazi persecution. With great ingenuity, he provided them with forged Muslim birth certificates, effectively disguising their Jewish identities.

Collaboration with the French Resistance

Si Kaddour ben Ghabrit's actions were part of a larger effort within the French Resistance to save Jewish lives during the Holocaust. His collaboration with the Resistance network helped ensure the safety of these individuals who faced imminent danger under Nazi occupation.

Recognition and Legacy

In recognition of his remarkable efforts, Si Kaddour ben Ghabrit was awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor, one of France's highest honors. This distinction acknowledged his bravery and dedication to the cause of saving lives during one of history's darkest chapters.

Nomination as a Righteous Among the Nations

In April 2005, a request for Si Kaddour ben Ghabrit's recognition as a Righteous Among the Nations was submitted to Yad Vashem, Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. However, his nomination was not approved, primarily due to the lack of identified survivors who could attest to his rescue efforts or archival documentation corroborating his actions.

The Film "Les Hommes Libres" (The Free Men)

In 2011, a French film titled "Les Hommes Libres" (The Free Men) was released, telling the story of Si Kaddour ben Ghabrit. The film shed light on his heroic actions during World War II and his role in safeguarding the lives of Jews in Nazi-occupied France.

Despite the complexities of his legacy and the challenges in verifying his rescue efforts, Si Kaddour ben Ghabrit's story serves as a reminder of the extraordinary individuals who risked everything to protect innocent lives during the Holocaust.

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