Sixty-years ago this month, Morocco was in turmoil as it struggled for independence from France. On the first anniversary of the deposing of the Moroccan sultan, who was sent into exile to Madagascar, Jews found themselves targeted by Moroccan nationalists. On 3 August 1954, a pogrom erupted in Sidi Kacem (Petit Jean), 20 km from Meknes: six Jews were killed. More about this pogrom soon.
Here is a JTA report from 12 August 1954 describing the aftermath of the pogrom:
"Twenty-five thousand Jews in Morocco have registered with the Jewish Agency for emigration to Israel, it was announced here today. In view of the tense situation in Morocco, the Agency started negotiations with an Israeli shipping company for their transportation. The first group of 600 will arrive tomorrow, followed by another group of 1, 000 by the end of this month, and 2,000 more in September.
A number of well-to-do Jews in Morocco have received threatening letters from Arab terrorists, ordering these Jews to leave the country within three months, it was reported here today by David Rubino, a merchant, upon his arrival from Casablanca.
Mr. Rubino, in giving the first eye-witness report on the Moslem terror against Jews in Morocco, said that seven Jews lost their lives in the pogroms in Fez and Petitjean last week. Many other Jews, he reported, were injured, shops were looted, businesses and artisans’ booths that had been maintained by Moroccan Jews for generations were smashed by the rioters.
The scene in Petit Jean following the pogrom of 3 August.
“The terror is not aimed specifically against the Jews,” he declared. “The terror has its own political motivation. But Jews are suffering, and losing their lives. Most Moroccan Jews want to leave the country, want to emigrate to Israel. This includes many who, up to very recently, had no particular desire to go to Israel. These have changed their minds overnight, because of the pogroms. “