Friday, April 15, 2016

71 years since Libyan Jews freed from Bergen-Belsen

Today is the 71st anniversary of the liberation of  the Nazi concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen. It is not widely known that almost 900 Libyan Jews of British nationality were deported to Italy.  From there most were taken to Bergen Belsen in 1944.

Libyan- Jewish survivors of Bergen-Belsen returning to Tripoli after the war

 The reason why almost all these Jews were thought to have survived is that the deportation took place late in the course of WWII. Jews were also exchanged for Prisoners of War.

Professor Maurice M Roumani has written the most detailed description of what happened to the Jewish prisoners of Bergen-Belsen in his book : Jews of Libya: Coexistence, Persecution, Resettlement. Remarkably, despite the harsh conditions and lack of food, the Libyan Jews maintained kashrut. Zion Labi even ran a Hebrew school for the children. Here is an extract from Professor Roumani's book (click on the text to enlarge):

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