Tombstone of a death foretold in Tunis’s largest cemetery

During a clean-up  operation  in the Jewish cemetery of Le Borgel in Tunis, the tombstone of a 37-year old batchelor, Leon Coscas, was revealed in all its splendour. (Via Jo Krief Facebook page)

The inscription was written in the first person, as if Coscas himself had written it and predicted his demise. It describes how he had died in an accident at sea.

There are magnificently- decorated tombs in the Borgel cemetery, which was established in 1894 and named after Chief Rabbi Elie Borgel. It has over 20,000 graves and is the largest Jewish cemetery in North Africa. The Twensa (original Jewish settlers) are buried separately from the Grana (Sephardim). Dignitaries, important rabbis and famous personalities, such as the singer Habiba Messica,  are buried there. Bodies exhumed after the redevelopment into a park of the Avenue de Londres cemetery, the Jewish community’s oldest, were transferred to the Borgel.  An association ((AICJT) was formed in France to carry out an inventory of the graves and restore the cemetery.

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