From Missing Pages: Stories from World War II:
In tracing the story down it seems that the main witness was Assouline. As described by the American Council for Judaism in a book review of Robert Satloff's Among the Righteous:
In Paris, a grand mosque built in honour of the 100,000 Muslim soldiers who died fighting for France in the First World War, became a sanctuary for Jews escaping persecution less than three decades later. Si Kaddour Benghabrit was a French Algerian who was deeply loyal to France. During World War I, he was appointed honourary consul-general and served the religious needs of Muslims in the French army. After the war came to an end, he worked in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs until 1920, when the parliament decided to acknowledge his loyalty by asking him to establish a mosque in Paris. Six years later, the Great Mosque of Paris became a reality and Benghabrit was appointed its rector.
Si Kaddour Benghabrit
When war broke out in Europe again, and Jewish lives were in danger, Benghabrit used the mosque as a hiding place, issuing each person with a fake certificate of Muslim identity. One North African Jew named Albert Assouline who had escaped from a German prison camp, wrote of his experience hiding in the mosque, “No fewer than 1,732 resistance fighters found refuge in its underground caverns. These included Muslim escapees but also Christians and Jews. The latter were by far the most numerous.” Accounts differ on the number of those saved, yet it remains a shining story of human solidarity.
According to Assouline, he and an Algerian named Yassa Rabah escaped together from the camp and stealthily traversed the countryside across the French-German border, heading for Paris. Once in Paris they made their way to the mosque, where, evidently thanks to Rabah’s connections to the Algerian community, the two found refuge. Eventually Assouline continued his journey and joined up with Free French forces to continue the fight against the German occupation ... the most fantastic part of the story was his claim that the mosque provided sanctuary and sustenance to Jews hiding from the Vichy and German troops as well as to other fighters in the anti-Fascist resistance.
In a 1983 article for Almanach due Combattant, a French veterans’ magazine, Assouline wrote [that] the senior imam of the mosque, Si Mohammed Benzouaou took “considerable risk” by hiding Jews and providing many (including many children) with certificates of Muslim identity, with which they could avoid deportation and certain death. Assouline recalled one “hot alert” when German soldiers smelled the odor of cigarettes and, convinced that Muslims were forbidden to smoke, searched the mosque looking for hidden Jews. According to Assouline, the Jews were able to escape via sewer tunnels that connected the mosque to nearby buildings.
Read post in full