Friday, December 11, 2009

N. African Jewish suffering under Nazis 'neglected'

As the 67th anniversary of the Nazi round-up of Tunisian Jews is commemorated in France and Israel, the prominent historian Sir Martin Gilbert* says he is struck by how far the suffering of Jews in North Africa during World War ll, an extension of their treatment in Vichy France, has been neglected (with thanks: Sacha G):

(JTA) -- Holocaust memorial institutions in France and Israel commemorated the roundup 67 years ago of Tunisian Jews.

Ceremonies Wednesday at Yad Vashem and Sunday at the Memorial de la Shoah in Paris marked the Dec. 9, 1942 roundup of Tunisian Jews as part of an effort to raise awareness of Jewish suffering in Nazi-occupied North Africa during the Holocaust.

Jews in Tunisia were forced to wear yellow stars and work in labor camps; some were deported to Auschwitz. Jews in other Vichy France colonies in Algeria and Morocco, as well as in Italian-occupied Libya, suffered similar fates.

Martin Gilbert, the pre-eminent Holocaust historian, also marked the anniversary with a statement.

"In my historical work over the past 50 years, I have been struck by the neglect of the story of the Jews of North Africa and the dangers facing them under Vichy French and Italian Fascist rule," Gilbert said in his statement, released Wednesday.

"The story of the persecution of the Jews in North Africa during the Second World War is an integral part of the history of the Holocaust in France; the fate of the Jews living in French North Africa was directly connected to the fate of the Jews living in Metropolitan France. The collaborationist Vichy France extended its anti-Jewish laws -- passed in France -- to its three North African colonies. Thousands of Jews were sent to camps for slave labor between 1940 and 1943."

Sixty-seven years since the Tunis round-up (French)

Read article in full

Nazis planned to exterminate Jews of North Africa


*Here is the text of Sir Martin's statement: (With thanks: Edith)

THE JEWS OF NORTH AFRICA IN THE HOLOCAUST


In my historical work over the past fifty years, I have been struck by the neglect of the story of the Jews of North Africa and the dangers facing them under Vichy French and Italian Fascist rule. The story of the persecution of the Jews in North Africa during the Second World War is an integral part of the history of the Holocaust in France; the fate of the Jews living in French North Africa was directly connected to the fate of the Jews living in Metropolitan France. The collaborationist Vichy France extended its anti-Jewish laws - passed in France - to its three North African colonies. Thousands of Jews
were sent to camps for slave labour between 1940 and 1943.

Although the stories of the Holocaust in France, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco varied, depending on the specific conditions and circumstances in each country, and the military developments of the course of the Second World War, it is a story that needs to be told, and to be reflected in the museums, exhibitions, websites, lectures and books.

In two of my own books, THE ATLAS OF THE HOLOCAUST and THE HOLOCAUST: A JEWISH TRAGEDY, I tell the story of the Jews of North Africa in the Holocaust. In my ATLAS OF THE HOLOCAUST I make it clear that “It was not only in Europe, but also in North Africa that Jews were at risk” (page 137). On page 85, in map 99 “Jews Marked Out for Death, 20 January 1942,” I specify “France Unoccupied Zone: 700,000 including French North Africa.” In my book THE HOLOCAUST; A JEWISH TRAGEDY, I explain that “…700,000, a figure which included the Sephardi Jews in France’s North African possessions, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia… (page 282). …with the Allied landings…the 117,000 Jews of Algeria (and the 200,000 Jews of Morocco) were freed from the danger of deportation to Mmetropolitan France…and beyond. (page 482). I also tell the story how "the Jews of Tunisia suffered five months of confiscation of property, plunder, forced labor, ill-treatment and execution under German rule…many had died from ill-treatment, disease, and even during Allied aerial bombing." Germany’s defeat by the Allies in May 1943 averted the potential extension of mass murder to the Jews of Tunisia.

In my forthcoming book JEWS UNDER MUSLIM RULE*, I tell the story of the fate of Jews in North Africa between 1940 and 1943, including those of Libya. I strongly recommend that story of the Jews of North Africa in the Holocaust becomes an integral part of Jewish and Holocaust history.


Sir Martin Gilbert

* due for publication in Spring 2010


LES JUIFS D’AFRIQUE DU NORD DANS LA SHOAH


En 50 ans de travail historique, j’ai été frappé par le manque d’attention à l’égard de l’histoire des Juifs d’Afrique du Nord et les dangers auxquels ils ont eu à faire face sous les régimes du gouvernement français de Vichy et fasciste italien. L’histoire de la persécution des Juifs en Afrique du Nord pendant la 2ème guerre mondiale fait partie intégrante de l’histoire de la Shoah en France ; le destin des Juifs vivant en Afrique du Nord française était directement lié au destin des Juifs vivant en France métropolitaine. Le régime collaborateur de la France de Vichy a étendu ses lois antijuives – promulguées en France (dans la Métropole) - à ses 3 colonies nord africaines. Des milliers de Juifs sont envoyés dans des camps de travail forcé entre 1940 et 1943. Bien que les récits sur la Shoah en en France, au Maroc, en Algérie et en Tunisie varient en fonction des conditions et circonstances différentes dans chaque pays et en fonction des développements militaires de la 2ème guerre mondiale, leur histoire doit être racontée et rapportée dans les musées, expositions, sites web, conférences et livres.

Mes deux livres, L’ATLAS DE L’HOLOCAUSTE et L’HOLOCAUSTE : UNE TRAGÉDIE JUIVE, relatent l’histoire des Juifs d’Afrique du Nord dans la Shoah. Dans mon ATLAS DE LA SHOAH, j’affirme sans équivoque que « ce n’était pas seulement en Europe, mais aussi en Afrique du Nord que les Juifs étaient en danger » (page 137). À la page 85, carte 99 « Juifs marqués du sceau de la mort, Janvier 20, 1942 », je précise: « France libre: 700 000 y compris les Juifs d’Afrique du Nord Française. ». Dans mon livre L’HOLOCAUSTE : UNE TRAGÉDIE JUIVE, j’explique que «…700 000 est un chiffre qui inclut les Juifs Sépharades dans les possessions d’Afrique du Nord françaises, Maroc, Algérie, Tunisie … (p. 282)… avec le débarquement des forces alliées les 117 000 Juifs d’Algérie (et les 200 000 Juifs du Maroc) n’étaient plus en danger d’être déportés en métropole… et au délà (p. 482). Je raconte aussi comment « sous la domination allemande, les Juifs de Tunisie ont souffert pendant 5 mois de confiscation de leurs biens, de pillage, du travail forcé, de mauvais traitements et d’execution sommaire…Beaucoup moururent suite aux mauvais traitements, maladie, et aussi à cause du bombardement aérien des forces alliées. Seule la défaite de l’Allemagne par les forces alliées en mai 1943 a empêché l’extermination massive des Juifs de Tunisie.

Dans mon prochain livre sous presse, LES JUIFS SOUS LE RÉGIME DE L’ISLAM*, je relate le destin des Juifs d’Afrique du Nord entre 1940 et 1943, y compris les Juifs de Libye. L’histoire des Juifs d’Afrique du Nord dans la Shoah doit faire partie intégrante de l’histoire Juive et de l’histoire de la Shoah.

Sir Martin Gilbert, Historien

Traduction de l’anglais par Dag Kakou (frere d’Elie Kakou, z”l).

*devrait paraitre au printemps 2010

4 comments:

Edith said...

Thank you for posting about December 9, round up of the Jews of Tunisia.

I emailed JTA the press release, and Sir Martin Gilbert was very kind to email me his statement.

How can I share his full important statement?
Edith Shaked, Holocaust educator

bataween said...

Dear Edith
You could email me his full statement at bataween@gmail.com and I would be happy to post it in full.
Thanks
Bataween

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

It seems to me that Martin Gilbert does not go far enough. It wasn't only the North African Jews. The Mufti Husseini proposed to the Germans that they recognize the "right" of the Arabs "to solve" the Jewish Question in all Arab lands. Hitler promised him that that was the German aim too, as can be seen in the transcript of their discussion in Berlin [1941] which was posted here about a month or two ago.

By the way, I saw today on Arte [through Israeli cable TV] a documentary about the Mufti and his Holocaust involvement, inter alia. It begins with a film of their meeting in late 1941.

Edith said...

Thank you for posting Sir Martin Gilbert's statement. We now have to demand museums to display our history in an accurate way, and not to deny the Shoah/Holocaust in North Africa, including Libya, and the Farhud in Iraq.

Sir Gilbert did mention to me (we also talked on the phone)that in his coming book, he "looked at German plans -strongly supported by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (Haj Amin el-Husseini) to send an SS killing squad to Egypt. It was being made ready in Greece when the German military defeats in North Africa starting in September 1942 averted the potential extension of mass murder to the Jews of the Nile Valley."

Edith Shaked, Holocaust educator