In the Lion's Shadow: The Iranian Schindler and His Homeland in the Second World War

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History Press, Oct 30, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 160 pages
After the invasion of France in 1940 a junior Iranian diplomat, the aristocratic AbdolHosein Sardari, more or less accidentally found himself in charge of Iran's legation in Paris. He set about cultivating German and Vichy officials in order to protect the Iranian Jewish community in the country. In a dangerous but brilliant manoeuvre he met the absurd radical purity laws headon to claim that despite the fact that some Iranians had followed the teachings of Moses for thousands of years, they had always been of Iranian stock and therefore were 'Mosaique' not 'Juden'. This book includes the Nazi official correspondence seeking 'expert opinion' on this troublesome argument! Alongside the dramatic, not to say romantic narrative of Sardani's life (he refused to abandon the Iranian Jews in France even when recalled by his government and continued without pay) is the larger picture of the betrayal of Iran's neutrality by the Allies, then the eventual handing over of Axis diplomats and citizens to the Soviets 'to be interrogated severely'. Author Dr Mokhtari argues that contrary to constant accusations Iran did not favour the Nazis and he employes previously unpublished archival documents to bolster that argument. This is the story of a man who to the uninformed may look to be one of the most unlikely of 'the Righteous' in his background and religion but as the author shows, he represents the true, tolerant Iranian culture that is still alive today, despite the expressions and actions of the current repressive regime.

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About the author (2011)

Fariborz Mokhtari was a political science professor at Norwich University in Vermont before joining the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, DC in 2002. He has written numerous articles and policy documents including "Dealing with Al-Qaeda" for American Foreign Policy Interests. He lives in Washington, DC.

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