MK tells untold story of the North African Holocaust

MK Rachel Azaria

An MK for the Kulanu party held an event last night designed to draw attention to the persecution of Jews in North Africa by the Axis powers and French Vichy government, as Israel began observing Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Jerusalem Post reports (with thanks: Lily):

“The story that has not been told,” is an initiative of Kulanu MK Rachel Azaria and the Shaharit Institute in Tel Aviv where it is being held.

Although the persecution of Jews in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya occurred during World War II on a smaller scale, and mass murder and genocide was not perpetrated in these countries, Jews were nevertheless subjected to discriminatory racial laws and several thousand were sent to forced labor and concentration camps.

Azaria, whose father is from Tunisia, said the accounts of the persecution of North Africa Jewry must be included in the national narrative about the Holocaust.

“Over many years, the story of North African Jews, as well as the story of Jews in the former Soviet Union, has not gained a central place in the dialogue of remembrance, even though it pertains to a large communities in Israel,” she said.

Read article in ful


  • Dear Sammish and Malameh
    Many thanks for your thorough reach and valuable links to the lists of names. Very useful

    Mussolini determined to disperse or remove the Libyan Jews; this campaign was called “sfollamento”. The sfollamento of the Libyan Jews was different depending on the area in which they lived. In the Cyrenaica area, the Jews were divided into three groups according to their citizenship:
    Jews with French citizenship or under Tunisian protection were to be sent to concentration camps in Algeria and Tunisia;
    Jews with British citizenship were to be sent to camps in Europe. Though initially they were thrown into detention camps in Italy, once the Germans occupied Italy in 1943 they were taken to Bergen Belsen, in Germany, and Innsbruck-Reichenau, an affiliate of Dachau, in Austria;
    Jews holding Libyan citizenship, especially those from the Cyrenaica region, were to be deported to concentration camps in Tripolitania, the most infamous of which was Giado (Jado).

    US HMM index to Libya histories


  • See also MAY 4, 2016 BY DANIEL SCHERE
    More than 415,000 North African Jews were persecuted during the Holocaust, due to French rule of the region, according to Yad Vashem. … Among the attendees was Silver Spring resident Miriam Zuares, a Holocaust survivor who was born in Derna, Libya, during World War II.

    “All I remember is hunger, a terrible way of living, crying for food, [being] scared that somebody would take my food away and sleeping on floors,” she said.

    She said her family fled to Israel in 1949. She immigrated to the United States in 1968 and remained silent about her experiences until about 10 years ago when she began telling her children.

    [She said] it is important to tell the stories of the more than 500 Jews who perished in Libya during the Holocaust, which she has impressed upon the congregation’s rabbi, Haim Ovadia.

    “I told him that the one thing that upsets me at many events is that they always talk about what happened in Europe,” she said. I went to Magen David and other [Holocaust] events. They never brought up anything about Libya. I would like someone to get on that and make it happen, because the Middle East people are left out, especially Libya.”

  • as a matter of fact, in Israel the other night a Shoah survivor from Libya was among six survivors chosen to light a candle at the official ceremony. He was sent to a camp in Europe, I forget which one. However, since he had British citizenship he was lucky enough to be exchanged for German prisoners in the hands of the British. That is, he was part of a prisoner exchange although he was already in a camp.

  • The North African Jewish holocaust (albeit significant yet small in scale) is not widely recognized as real by the majority of American Jewish communities (regardless of the denominations or lack thereof). It is not talked about as much as the European one. I do understand that.Who can miss the devastating losses of the European Jewish communities? Although,I do not like to brag about the negligeance of the plight of Jews in North Africa during the WWII, I sometimes feel that even in memorial remembrance the North African side is brushed off. So I keep my mouth shut.

    A year ago, I wrote about this issue to the director of the Metro Detroit Holocaust Memorial Center.This year, there were no change in the agenda, and the commemoration was in May 1st.I figure, not mentioning the North African side of Shoah, is not that important as long as people are brought to bear the significance of the genocidal policies leveled against Jews. And life goes on. Now there are even discussions that there is too much emphasis on the holocaust (on latest by the cutie Natalie Portman).

    Many Jews from North African perished in the European death camps. They happened to be in Europe at the time and many were. Some people with the same last name as mine are listed as victims, but I cannot attest that I know them. Jews were numerous in Algeria and Morocco and genealogies hard to come by. The link below shows the Jews born in Algeria (DZ) murdered in the notorious death camps of Eastern Europe.

    Off tangent, the article deals with Tunisia which I believe endured much calamities than any other North Africa country because it was occupied by Germany; many years ago I learned that the SS officer Walter Rauff (mentioned in the article) sent there to start the genocide was (to my surprise) the inventor of the first gas vans used in Chelmno Poland. These vans were the first step in the final solution technological engineering process which we all know culminated in the design of death camps of Treblinka, Sobibor, Betzec and Auschwitz. Why would a guy like Rauff be assigned to Tunisia? I let you guess.


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