Turkish Passport

Synopsis: The Turkish Passport tells the story of diplomats posted to Turkish Embassies and Consulates in several European countries, who saved numerous Jews during the Second World War. Based on the testimonies of witnesses, who traveled to Istanbul to find safety, the Turkish Passport also uses written historical documents and archive footage to tell this story of rescue and bring to light the events of the time. The diplomats did not only save the lives of Turkish Jews. They also rescued foreign Jews condemned to a certain death by giving them Turkish Passports. In this dark period of history, their actions lit the candle of hope and allowed these people to travel to Turkey, where they found light.
Director(s): Burak Arliel
  1 nomination.
91 min

I lived through this war and I came out alive.

Today these memories feel like a novel to me.

to you, these things are not real

because you only read about them in books.

They are different to you

but they are real to me.

I was twenty years old, I wasn't a baby.

I experienced these events

at the cinema, in restaurants.

I saw the curfews,

the bombings, and the soldiers in the streets.

I saw the raids where

people were arrested and taken away

I saw the posters on the wall of buildings and

in the metro announcing that people had been executed.

Father came home with newspapers under his arm

and told mother:
"War has been declared!"

It was September 1939.

I remember the war years.

Running in the streets

the bombings and hiding in shelters.

One of my sister's legs were paralyzed.

It was very sad and difficult time.

Between the years 1940-43

we suffered very much.

There were ration books for shoes

and vouchers for bread.

Everything was tightly controlled

and conditions were hard.

When the Nazis entered Paris and

the Government complied with their terms we Jews

were forced to have the word "Jew"

stamped on our Turkish identity cards.

Since we were recognized as Turkish Jews

we did not have to wear the Jewish Star

which was very humiliating.

It was terrifying.

We were constantly scared of

what they might do to us.

If we met Germans in the streets

my mother said:

"Even if they give you sweets, don't take them.

They might be poisoned."

We were always scared

even at school.

There were many restrictions.

We were not allowed into

the public parks, cinema and theaters

or to work in most professions

which didn't effect me at that age.

We could only travel in the last car of the metro

There was an evening curfew.

We were forced to turn in our radios.

It was forbidden for Jew to listen to the radio

During the occupation,

there were constant anti Semitic campaigns.

An infamous one at the Palais Berlitz Hall

had a huge billboard

with a horrible caricature of a Jew.

Anti-Jewish exhibits showed how

Certain "people" had infiltrated French life.

Those "people" meant Jews. The French said:

"We didn't know they were Jews."

A little boy pointed at me and told his mother:

"Look! A little Jew!"

What could we do? Grab our jackets and run?

I would hear Germans coming at night,

breaking down doors, then the sound of people crying.

They would kick in doors and

shout "RAUS, RAUS, RAUS"

as they dragged them away.

I was 12 years old and crying.

Hearing all of that was frightening.

We lived in fear for four years.

Every day we heard about people being deported.

We slept under the bed listening to

War news on radio London.

One of my strongest memories

is the sound of air raid sirens.

When they went off, we panicked.

I remember very well

how our parents would wake us in the middle

of the night to wrap us in blankets.

My handicapped sister and

another sister were with us.

They yelled "Hurry, Hurry!"

and we would all run to the basement.

I remember when Paris was bombed

we took our gas masks

and ran to the basement.

We took flashlights and candles.

We hid until the sirens stopped.

It was very, very cold.

Children were crying and

I was shivering from the cold.

I only remember fear. I was always worried.

Those sounds scared me.

I don't like sirens.

I shook from the bomb noise.

I was terrified.

When alarms went off

we ran to the metro station

and brought our gas masks, some sugar and water

and slept in the metro until the alert passed.

During the Vel d'Hiv raid in July 1942

people started asking what they were

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Deniz Yesilgun

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Turkish Passport" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 8 Feb. 2023. <https://www.scripts.com/script/turkish_passport_22361>.

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