Friday, March 08, 2013

North African Jewish refugees in transit to Israel

With thanks: Avram and Ashley


This fascinating Jewish Agency video (despite its sub-optimal sound quality) is a rare example showing the flight of Jews from North Africa in the early 1960s.

The video is narrated by Woolf Perry, chairman of Keren Hayesod, a charity then tasked with raising funds for Jewish refugees from Arab countries. 

The refugees arrive at Camp d'Arenas in Marseille, France where they are housed in aircraft-type hangars. A well-oil Jewish Agency machine kicks in to feed and house them and educate their children.

For most Jews, however, Camp d'Arenas is but a staging post on the journey to Israel. Compared to the overcrowded, rickety vessels that transported Holocaust survivors, these Jews from Morocco and Tunisia, simple tailors and silversmiths, travel in relative luxury as if on a pleasure cruise.

On arrival they join relatives already settled in Israel, or are sent to populate brand new housing in development towns.

Registration goes smoothly and the new arrivals are given some money to see them through their first few days in their new country. But the voiceover says ominously,"the problems start tomorrow."


אהובה ירבה said...

This movie makes me think of the famous Israeli movie about the Jews from the ME arriving to Eretz and their lives in the Ma'abarot , Salah shabati (Slichah sheboati- Sorry that I came)

bataween said...

Thanks - I didn't realise that Salah Shabati was a pun on words! A great film.

Anonymous said...

15333My mother's brothers and sister went to that camp mentioned.Before that they stayed in Marseille in one of the transit camps. Later they were transfered to Israel after an exhausting sea voyage and happy to see the land of their forefathers