Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Lest we forget: Constantine 1934

 Destruction in the Jewish quarter following the Constantine pogrom

While the world remembers the start of World War 1, 100 years ago, Jews from Algeria will be reminded of the Constantine pogrom which took place 80 years ago almost to the day.

Jealousy and resentment of the Jews had been building among the Muslim masses of Algeria since the passing of the 1870 Decret Cremieux, which gave Jews French citizenship.

It all started on 3 August with a brawl involving a Jewish drunk and a small group of Muslims. The Jew was accused of urinating inside the famous Constantine mosque of Sidi Lakhdar. The Muslims headed for the Jewish quarter of the town, attacking Jewish passers-by and wrecking shopfronts. Fired up by the death of one Muslim, a furious mob invaded the marketplace. Rioters broke into Jewish homes and strangled their occupants. The French police and army were under instructions not to intervene.

By the time  the deputy Mayor, M Morinaud, appeared on the scene, 28 people had died - mostly women, old people and children. Damage to property was put at 150 million Francs-Pointcare, affecting 1,777 people.

1 comment:

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Les Temps Modernes, formerly Jean Paul Sartre's publication, now edited by Claude Lanzmann, ran an article on the Constantine pogrom about 10 or 15 years ago.

As I recall, that article claimed that the pogrom started because a Jewish soldier killed a Muslim.

I know an elderly Jewish lady in Paris who lived through the pogrom. She says her family stayed inside and locked the doors at the time.