Shelter and Shield

Shelter and Shield: The Persian Schindler, The Polish Refugees, and The Story of Jewish and Christian Refuge in Iran in WWII

The Georgetown University Persian language and Culture Program and the Jalinous Endowment for Persian Language and Culture invite you to an exclusive screening of the documentary film, Sardari’s Enigma, about Abolhosssein Sardari, the Iranian diplomat who saved hundreds of Iranian Jews in Paris in 1942. Following the screening there will be a panel discussion on Sardari and on Christian and Jewish polish refugees in Iran during World War II. Participants in the panel will include scholars, historians, authors and the filmmaker herself with NPR’s Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep.

Please see the event article published in the Times of Israel!

Date of Event: Friday, April 26, 2019

Time of Event: 10:30am-6:00pm

Location: Bunn Intercultural Center (ICC) Auditorium 10

**If you do not RSVP, you are still invited to join, but will not be guaranteed a boxed lunch.**


10:30am-12:00pm Film Screening – ICC Auditorium

12:00pm-1:45pm Boxed Lunch

2:00pm-4:00pm Panel Discussion – ICC Auditorium

4:30pm-6:00pm Reception – Copley Formal Lounge


Tom Gjelten reports on religion, faith, and belief for NPR News. Since joining NPR in 1982 as labor and education reporter, Gjelten has won numerous awards for his work, including two Overseas Press Club Awards, a George Polk Award, and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, he began his professional career as a public school teacher and freelance writer.

Atina Grossmann is Professor of History at the Cooper Union in New York City. Publications include Jews, Germans, and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany (2007, German 2012), Wege in der Fremde: Deutsch-jüdische Begegnungsgeschichte zwischen New York, Berlin und Teheran(2012), as well as Shelter from the Holocaust: Rethinking Jewish Survival in the Soviet Union (with M.Edele and S. Fitzpatrick). Her book Jews, Germans, and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany (2007, German, Wallstein 2012)) was awarded the George L. Mosse Prize of the American Historical Association and the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History from the Wiener Library, London. Her current research focuses on “Remapping Survival: Jewish Refugees and Lost Memories of Displacement, Trauma, and Rescue in the Soviet Union, Iran, and India,” as well as the entanglements of family memoir and historical scholarship.

Abbas Milani is the Hamid & Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University and a Professor (by courtesy) in the Stanford Global Studies Division. He is also one of the founding co-directors of the Iran Democracy Project and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. Until 1986, he taught at Tehran University’s Faculty of Law and Political Science, where he was also a member of the Board of Directors of the university’s Center for International Relations. After moving to the United States, he was the Chair of the Political Science Department at the Notre Dame de Namur University for fourteen years and for eight years, a visiting Research Fellow in U. C. Berkeley’s Middle East Center. Professor Milani came to Stanford ten years ago, and became the founding director of the Iranian Studies Program. He also worked with two colleagues to launch the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution. He has published more than twenty books and two hundred articles and book reviews in scholarly magazines, journals, and newspapers. His latest book is a collection he co-edited with Larry Diamond, Politics & Culture in Contemporary Iran: Challenging the Status Quo  (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2015).

Professor Mokhtari has taught Political Science at the University of Vermont, Saint Michael’s College, National Defense University (NDU), and Norwich University since 1983. His approach to teaching has been student centered, interdisciplinary, and cross-cultural. He has followed the same general approach at conferences, seminars, and international negotiations. Mokhtari received a Dana Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1995 and was promoted from Associate Professor to Professor in 1997. He joined the faculty of National Defense University in 2002.

At Norwich University; created a successful international Distance Learning Program “online” in 1996 & directed it through 2002, chaired the Department of Political Science, recruited international students and served as Special Assistant to the President. Planned conferences co-sponsored by National Defense University & the U.S. Army War College and edited their proceedings (Peacemaking, Peacekeeping & Coalition Warfare, 1994; Persian Gulf Beyond Desert Storm, 1993). At National Defense University; designed and conducted Executive Seminars for senior international and US military and civilian officials in Washington DC and participated at Track-II, bilateral & multilateral conferences overseas. He negotiated collaboration agreements between the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (NESA-NDU) and institutions of similar interests abroad. Mokhtari has given presentations on Regional Security, International Relations, Diplomacy and Political Cooperation in Turkey, Jordan, Israel, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Greece, Germany, France, Sweden, Chile, and Indonesia. He has also traveled to Canada, Korea, Mongolia, Russia, Singapore and Thailand. He was invited in 2015 to speak at the UN in New York.

His latest project is a book on an inclusive regional security arrangement for the Middle East. The objective is an alternative to the traditional defense policy and alliances that seek security for some, which invariably have precipitated insecurity for others, and ultimately failed to assure invulnerability even at ever-increasing levels of expenditure.

Dr. Nahid Pirnazar is an Iranian Studies lecturer at UCLA, teaching Judeo-Persian history and literature since 1997. She has received an M.A. and Ph.D. from UCLA and an M.A. from Tehran University. Dr. Pirnazar is the founder and president of The House of Judeo-Persian Manuscripts, an academic organization which collects, preserves, transliterates and publishes Judeo-Persian manuscripts. She is also a contributor to the Brill Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World as well as Encyclopedia Iranica. Dr. Nahid Pirnazar has served on the Executive Board of Habib Levy Cultural & Educational Foundation, since 1997, as its Director of Academics, Research & Publications. She has published research articles on aspects of Judeo-Persian literature and the culture and national Identity of Iranian Jews in academic publications such as Irano-Judaica, Iranshenasi and Rhavard.

Mahdieh Zare Zardiny considers her duty as a filmmaker and researcher to shed light on stories untold or ignored. Most recently her first feature documentary film “Sidari’s Enigma”    tells us the story of Abdol Hossein Sardari, an Iranian consul in France during the 1940s occupation by the Nazis. This film has already achieved international attention and was featured in December 2018 during the ALADIN UNESCO conference in Marrakech.

With over 12 years experience writing and directing documentaries along with narratives including “An Iranian in Paris”, which was screened at the Prades Film Festival in France, and broadcasted on the Voice of America TV. She graduated with her Master degree in Filmmaking at the Royal Holloway University of London in 2013. There she also made a variety of short fiction films including: “Big Red J”, which was screened at the Cannes Corner Film Festival in 2013. Madhieh also founded Zardin Film, now Silver Pixels Film, as a platform for her projects.