Jag minns det än idag. Jag gick i klass 9C och vi skulle under historielektionen få lära oss mer om Nazityskland. Den dagen introducerades vi för Oskar Schindler, och en filmatiserad biografi av den tyska industrimagnaten som räddade tusentals judars liv. Schindlers List. Glömmer aldrig namnet på filmen eller den inverkan den hade på mig.
Nu berättas det om ännu en Schindler. En muslimsk sådan. Den iranska motsvarigheten till den tyske industrimannen heter Abdol-Hossein Sardari.
I en ny bok skriven av Fariborz Mokhtari, avslöjas genom arkivhandlingar en historia om hur den iranske Sardari, genom sitt diplomatiska inflytande i Paris under naziockupation, delade ut pass till iranska judar och hjälpte dem fly undan de tyska myndigheterna.
Han hade stationerats i Paris 1941 och tjänade under tiden som den högst rankade medlemmen på det iranska konsulatet under tiden för den tyska invasionen.
[Eng: BBC News]
Thousands of Iranian Jews and their descendants owe their lives to a Muslim diplomat in wartime Paris, according to a new book. In The Lion’s Shadow tells how Abdol-Hossein Sardari risked everything to help fellow Iranians escape the Nazis.
Eliane Senahi Cohanim was seven years old when she fled France with her family.
She remembers clutching her favourite doll and lying as still as she could, pretending to be asleep, whenever their train came to a halt at a Nazi checkpoint.
“I remember everywhere, when we were running away, they would ask for our passports, and I remember my father would hand them the passports and they would look at them. And then they would look at us. It was scary. It was very, very scary.”
Mrs Cohanim and her family were part of a small, close-knit community of Iranian Jews living in and around Paris.
Her father, George Senahi, was a prosperous textile merchant and the family lived in a large, comfortable house in Montmorency, about 25km (15.5 miles) north of the French capital.
When the Nazis invaded, the Senahis attempted to escape to Tehran, hiding for a while in the French countryside, before being forced to return to Paris, now in the full grip of the Gestapo.
“I remember their attitude. The way they would walk with their black boots. Just looking at them at that time was scary for a child, I think,” recalls Mrs Cohanim, speaking from her home in California.
Like others in the Iranian Jewish community, Mr Senahi turned for help to the young head of Iran’s diplomatic mission in Paris.
Abdol-Hossein Sardari was able to provide the Senahi family with the passports and travel documents they needed for safe-passage through Nazi-occupied Europe, a month-long journey that was still fraught with danger.
“At the borders, my father was always really trembling,” recalls Mrs Cohanim but, she adds, he was a “strong man” who had given the family “great confidence that everything would be OK.”