Clear evidence that the Allies delayed restoring full rights to the Jews of Algeria is to be found in this JTA report dated 7 June 1944. The liberation of North Africa by American troops began in November 1942 with Operation Torch, but over 18 months later, Jews still did not have their citizenship (under the Cremieux Decree) or property restituted to them. One reason given is that the (antisemtic) Vichy officials were still in post and dragged their heels on this issue (With thanks: Malca)
Jews in a synagogue in Algeria
Property confiscated from Jews in North Africa during the Vichy
regime has not yet been restored to them, although it has been more than
a year since Gen. Henri Giraud announced that all Vichy legislation was
invalid, and despite the pledges by Gen. De Gaulle and the French
Committee of National Liberation that such property will be returned to
Authoritative circles here admitted today to the Jewish Telegraphic
Agency that opposition to restoration of Jewish property has been
expressed by persons who benefited from the seizures, but they added
that the Committee of Liberation is expected to take action shortly to
return Jewish property.
Another sore point troubling Algerian Jews is the lack of clarity
concerning the status of the Cremieux Decree. Although to all practical
purposes, the decree has been restored, the Jewish community here
objects to the fact that the De Gaulle regime has never specifically
annulled Giraud’s order of March 14, 1943, abrogating the decree.
The legal situation concerning the Cremieux Decree, as explained to
the JTA today by Elie Gozlan, Secretary General of the Committee of
Jewish Social Studies, is as follows:
When Giraud abrogated the Cremieux decree he stated that the specific
terms government the annullment would be issued within three months. No
such provisions were ever promulgated. Therefore, on October 21, when
the Committee of National Liberation voted to restore the law, it did
not issue a decree cancelling Giraud’s order, but announced that since
the terms of the Giraud order had never been promulgated, the Cremieux
Decree remained valid.
What the Algerian Jews want now, Mr. Gozlan said, is a forthright
statement by the Committee announcing unequivocally that the Giraud
abrogation of the decree has been cancelled. This, they say, will
prevent the possibility of any “misunderstandings” in the future
concerning the status of Algerian Jews.
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