Rescue of Jews of Bukharan, Iranian and Afghan Origin in Occupied France 1940-1944: Testimony of Herman Graebe, given in Israel, Extract from the Diary of Abraham Levin
I was born in Samarkand at the end of the nineteenth century into a primitive, narrow-minded, fanatically religious, uneducated world. My father and grandfather were determined that their children should rise above this dark environment. Eventually, I graduated from medical school in Russia. However, after the Bolshevik Revolution, I was forced to leave for Paris where I repeated all my studies. In 1940 after the German occupation, Jews were ordered to register. My wife courageously convinced me to defy this order and we lived out the rest of the war as non-Jewish French citizens. I became president of the Jugutis (a sect of forcibly converted Jews to Islam) in France. The Jugutis, similar to the Gruzinians (Georgians), did not register and I approached the Gruzinian Mr. Kedia to help us, too, as he had helped the Gruzinians and the Karaites. He conferred with the Germans and within a few months we received a positive answer that Juguti names would be erased from the lists of Jews. However, the French authorities objected and the matter dragged on for many months. In the meantime, I managed to have Jugutis of Iranian extraction added to the lists of people exempted from the measures against Jews. There were many individual cases of arrests of Jugutis, but through my contacts with the Prefecture, I was able to free them. With the Allied landings in Normandy, the attitude of the Germans and their French collaborators became more vicious and most nights the Jugutis feared for their lives and did not sleep in their homes until the Germans were driven out of Paris.