In 1936, during the Third Reich's attempt to locate and find the Ark of the Covenant, a young soldier and his fellow Nazis served under Colonel Herman Dietrich, French archaeologist René Emile Belloq and Gestapo agent Major Arnold Ernst Toht at Tanis outside Cairo, Egypt.
One day during his work, the soldier was patrolling the digsite with another when they noticed one of the native Egyptian workers – Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir – near the entrance to the Map Room in which Belloq's rival, Indiana Jones, was secretly trying to learn the location of the Ark. Unaware that Sallah was assisting Jones, an American hired by United States Army Intelligence to prevent the Nazis from recovering the artifact, the two soldiers approached Sallah, yelling wildly at him to come with them.
They left the undiscovered Jones inside the Map Room and led away Sallah, who was carrying the rope that Jones needed to exit the structure. Once he was able to slip away, Sallah hastily completed a makeshift rope using, among other things, a Nazi flag to go back and rescue his friend.
Following the capture of the Ark, Dietrich assigned the task of executing Jones' accomplice, Egyptian excavator Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir, to the young soldier, who took Sallah away to a secluded spot, stood him against a tree and prepared to shoot him. However, he was unable to bring himself to kill Sallah, and let the digger go.
Behind the scenes
The scene involving the Young Soldier's inability to murder Sallah was cut from the film, despite David Wisniewitz and Karen Allen (Marion Ravenwood) calling it the greatest moment since the film began. However, Kreidt still can be seen amongst the soldiers standing around the entrance to the Well of the Souls.
Only one soldier impedes Sallah's assistance to Jones in the novelization of the film which may be attributable to Kreidt being a later addition to the cast. In the book, a jeep gets stuck near the Map Room entrance and upon noticing Sallah's presence, the soldier brings him and his rope to free the car with help from an arriving truck. This provides an explanation as to why Sallah needs to improvise a rope in the film as the movie itself does not elaborate on his simply not using the rope he already had.
In the Raiders comic book adaptation, Sallah instead explains to Indiana Jones and Marion that he was able to escape punishment by convincing Dietrich that he and the other diggers were tricked into believing Jones was a German.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (First appearance)
- Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark junior novel