September 20, 2002: Ninety-one year old Necdet Kent, the Turkish diplomat, who while serving as vice-counsel in Marseilles from 1941 to 1944 risked his life to save Jews, passed away.
“When Kent heard that Turkish Jews who were living in France were rounded up by the Nazis, he personally went to the train station and demanded the release of all Jews who were Turkish citizens. According to Arnold Reisman, “When the guards refused to comply, he got into the wagon with them. A German officer ordered him to get off but Kent refused to leave unless they let his Turkish citizens off as well. Angrily, the officer said no, you can go with them and closed the door. After three hours of extreme cold and filth, the train arrived at the next station. Obviously realizing a possibly explosive international incident had to be quickly diffused, the German officer who opened the door to the wagon apologized profusely and allowed Kent to leave and take all the people in the wagon with him, never looking at papers, never checking to see if they were Turkish citizens or not.” He saved 80 Jewish lives.”
This stamp was issued in 2008 by Ptt, the postal authority of Turkey, as part of its “Precedent for Humanity” series.