The Moroccan King who defied the Nazis
During the holocaust the pro-Nazi Vichy Government of France controlled Morocco. In 1941 they attempted to enact laws that would discriminate against Moroccan Jews, setting quotas on the number of Jewish doctors and lawyers, ejecting students from French schools and forcing many Jews living in the European quarters to move to “Jewish areas”. All of this would have almost certainly ended in the transportation of Moroccan Jewry to Europe’s gas chambers.
Shocked at these laws the King of Morocco, Mohammed V, told Jewish leaders that in his opinion Vichy laws singling out the Jews were inconsistent with Moroccan law. He believed that Jews should be treated equally with Muslims. He emphasized that the property and lives of the Moroccan Jews remained under his protection. “There are no Jews in Morocco. There are only subjects,” the King was reported to have said. In a blatant show of defiance the King insisted on inviting all the rabbis of Morocco to the 1941 throne celebrations. Due to his strong stance, Vichy administrators were unable to implement their discriminatory laws and the Jewish community was saved.
But the story did not end there, in response to anti-Jewish rhetoric in the wake of the creation of the State of Israel the King warned Muslims not to hurt Moroccan Jews, reminding them that Jews had always been protected in Morocco.