During the Holocaust it is estimated that over 4,000 North African Jews were murdered. One man however made a stance and in the process saved pretty much the entire Jewish population of Morocco. Sultan Mohammed V of Morocco, who came to the throne in 1912 made sure his country never deported any of their Jewish nationals.
In July 1940 when France surrendered to the Germans, Morocco actually came under the rule of the French Vichy regime. One thing they almost immediately sought to do was to impose anti-semitic laws in Morocco. Morocco had a vibrant jewish community and over a quarter million called it their home in 1940, the sultan knew this. Largely because many of the jewish community also were his ministers, diplomats and advisers. An integral part of Moroccan society and Mohammed V took his role as protector of the faithful very seriously. He saw every person of a religion as someone who was faithful: Muslims, Jews and Christians. Therefore in the sultan’s eyes he was the protector of them all. So he louded declared the following:
“There are no Jews in Morocco, there are only Moroccan subjects.”
Vichy attempted to force him to put in place two laws that were very anti semitic and targeted disrupting schools of Jews and professionals. Even an attempt to make them live in ghettos. However, the sultan declined to enforce any of the laws.
And in 1941, he further put forward his point by inviting senior representatives from his local Jewish community to his anniversary. He even made the decision to put them right next to the French officials in the seating plan. Even though his power was limited during the Vichy reign, he was able to make sure no Jews were ever deported from Morocco and neither were any forced to wear a yellow star.