India's Oskar Schindler
International Holocaust Remembrance Day is January 27. 2019.
Throughout history, India has welcomed people from all faiths seeking refuge. India even helped rescue Jews fleeing the Holocaust. German and Indian scholars and filmmakers are now studying this little-known rescue, which may have saved up to 5,000 lives. Those granted refuge usually had exceptional skills--they were musicians, pianists, artists, architects, doctors and dancers. They often became consultants to the maharajas.
One rescuer has even been dubbed India's Oskar Schindler! In 1942, Maharaja "Jam Sahib" of Nawanagar, in the state of Gujarat, became benefactor and father to a group of 1,000 Polish children. including Jews, who had been transported to Siberia. When the Soviet Union joined the Allies, Britian decided to release the children. They traveled by kindertransport via Persia but were refused entry at other ports until they arrived in Bombay (India was under British rule). Jam Sahib found out about their plight and welcomed them to the village of Balachadi. According to Polish sources the maharaja told the children: "You may not have your parents but I am your father now." The children called him Bapu, father. Warsaw even has a Good Maharaja Square!
A documentary, A Little India in Poland, tells this story. http://aakaarfilms.com/little-poland-in-india/
You can read more here: https://www.timesofisrael.com/how-the-indian-oskar-schindler-took-in-1000-polish-children-during-wwii/
Gateway India: by Dr. Margit Franz, has been published in German and is currently being translated into English.
A conference entitled In Global Transit: Jewish Migrants from Hitler's Europe in Asia, Africa and Beyond, was held in Calcutta in 2018.
Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagar
And This is What Happened!
I got to know Mayim's mom Beverly very well on our November 2018 tour. Mayim has just published a story about her mom's trip on her blog, GrokNation.com. It's captivating, warm, funny, and personal. I am thrilled and grateful for her fabulous endorsement. Read it here:
A little about the trip in Beverly's own words:
“I found this tour very spiritual, enlightening and consciousness-expanding. The people were like-minded and kind; a zen atmosphere was present (whenever I needed it to be!). We had soooo many Jewish life-altering experiences, and equally as many fun, Indian experiences. Can anyone forget the services in a local synagogue and Shabbat dinner with members of the community under the stars? To balance that out, an elephant ride around—and up—a fortress (oy!). The tour guides led with their hearts, and guided us wisely and well. India, where “Guest IS G-D!”
Rahel Musleah was born in Calcutta, India, the seventh generation of a Calcutta Jewish family that traces its roots to 17th-century Baghdad.