The Holocaust and North Africa
Edited by Aomar Boum and Sarah Abrevaya Stein

BUY THIS BOOK


Contents and Abstracts
Introduction  Aomar Boum and Sarah Abrevaya Stein
chapter abstract

This introduction offers a short historical survey of the Holocaust's manifestations in German-, French-, and Italian-occupied North Africa. In addition, it asks, Why has North Africa been written out of Holocaust history and memory, and, conversely, why has the Holocaust been excised from so many narratives about North Africa? All told, this introduction argues that alongside a penetrating silence about the Holocaust and North Africa is a rich body of texts, voices, and archives that await our attention.

1 Between Metropole and French North Africa: Vichy's Anti-Semitic Legislation and Colonialism's Racial Hierarchies  Daniel J. Schroeter
chapter abstract

This chapter maps out the legal history of the anti-Semitic legislation adopted by France's Vichy regime during World War II. It argues that Vichy laws replicated in many details Nazi anti-Semitic legislation, connecting in documentable ways France's colonies to the Holocaust. As implemented in North Africa, Vichy's Jewish policy is, however, only legible in the colonial context. Seen on a longer continuum, Vichy's anti-Semitic legislation was integral to French colonialism, embedded in the racial policy toward both Muslims and Jews across North Africa that both predated and followed the war. Alongside these historical arguments, this chapter charts a long historiographic tradition by which a connection between the Holocaust and North Africa was denied by scholars.

2 The Persecution of Jews in Libya Between 1938 and 1945: An Italian Affair?  Jens Hoppe
chapter abstract

This chapter explores the measures adopted by Italy against Jews in Italian-occupied Libya, particularly those laws passed between 1938 (when the so-called racial laws were also introduced in Libya) and 1943 (when the British Eighth Army occupied the country and ended Italian rule). Paying close heed to the internment of Libyan Jews in special camps and the deportation of foreign Jews to Tunisia or Italy in 1942, the essay includes background history since the 1920s and extends to the period after 1943, especially the pogroms in November 1945, before finally assessing the Libyan situation.

3 The Implementation of Anti-Jewish Laws in French West Africa: A Reflection of Vichy Anti-Semitic Obsession  Ruth Ginio
chapter abstract

This chapter examines the Vichy period in French West Africa (FWA) and reconstructs the implementation of the ideology of the National Revolution—and, more specifically, anti-Jewish legislation—across the empire. It situates Vichy colonial policy toward the Jews in the context of colonial history, placing it in the more general Vichy colonial ideology and tracing the importance of FWA to the Vichy regime in France. Throughout this essay, it is maintained that even though FWA was never a center of Jewish life and the number of Jews was insignificant there, the area can serve as an excellent case study to demonstrate the effects of the persecution of Jews by Vichy France far beyond the Metropole. The measures taken by the colonial administration in FWA, in keeping with Vichy laws regarding Jews, thus shed light on the obsessive nature of Vichy policy and its blind and often irrational implementation.

4 "Other Places of Confinement": Bedeau Internment Camp for Algerian Jewish Soldiers  Susan Slyomovics
chapter abstract

After France's 1830 conquest of Algeria, an archipelago of carceral sites were created and built throughout the colony. They were continually operational and maintained and multiplied after World War II into the Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962). A chronicle of France's Algerian Bedeau camp uncovers one among many sites of repression that represent the intersectionality of nineteenth- and twentieth-century histories when colonialism met fascism. Perhaps peripheral to the main theater of war where the Holocaust in Europe took place, this case study of a Vichy-era Algerian work and prison camp, designated uniquely for Algerian Jewish soldiers, foregrounds an important trend in Holocaust historiography: the understudied and underappreciated role of post–World War II reparations organizations in excavating, aggregating, and indemnifying individual victims and survivors of Nazi-era camps of every variety, even outside Europe.

5 Blessing of the Bled: Rural Moroccan Jewry During World War II  Aomar Boum and Mohammed Hatimi
chapter abstract

This chapter highlights aspects of Jewish-Muslim relations during World War II in the pre-Saharan region of rural Morocco, also known as the bled. Before it assumed a strategic military significance for the French colonial administration, this region had long been a liminal space of interaction and communal encounters between Jewish and Muslim communities, between Arabs and Berbers, and also between sedentary populations and Bedouin. The case discussed in this chapter demonstrates how, against this background, the unremitting onslaught of droughts, famine, and disease negatively affected these relations, especially during the early 1940s. Despite such setbacks, relations between Jews and Muslims remained positive. The real economic impact of the war on Jewish-Muslim relations was felt most dramatically in the postwar years, as Jewish families began to leave the rural bled for coastal cities.

6 la recherche de Vichy: The Commissariat Général aux Questions Juives and the Implementation of the Statut des Juifs in Tunisia  Daniel Lee
chapter abstract

This chapter reinserts Vichy into the story of Tunisian Jewry during World War II. It analyzes the position in the Tunisian protectorate of the Commissariat Général aux Questions Juives (CGQJ), created in March 1941 and led by the notorious anti-Semite Xavier Vallat. By late 1942, the CGQJ's attempts to implement Vichy's racial laws were not as successful as Vallat had initially hoped. Yet the CGQJ's mediocre results had profound implications for understanding some of the larger issues. A closer examination of the intricacies of the failed CGQJ project on the ground reveals the ambiguities of the French colonial order as it coexisted with and was bolstered by the new Vichy regime.It allows for an understanding of why at some moments between 1940 and 1942 anti-Semitic legislation was implemented and experienced so intensely in Tunisia, whereas at other times it was able to pass almost unnoticed.

7 Eyewitness Djelfa: Daily Life in a Saharan Vichy Labor Camp  Aomar Boum
chapter abstract

Using the memoir and literary works of Max Aub, a Mexican-Spanish Jew and a survivor of the camp of Djelfa, this chapter sheds light on Vichy camps in North Africa through the example of Djelfa. It addresses the functions and bureaucratic management of camps and the prisoners' relations and daily lives in them. It analyzes the movement of internees between French labor and internment camps in French North African colonies and their connections to camps on the French mainland. The chapter contends that the collective experience of the camp by Jews and non-Jews is essential to our understanding and reevaluation of the war period in the daily lives of the internees. North African camps exemplify a different model of internment; captives had a margin of hope of survival, despite the harsh topography of the desert and environmental conditions that restricted their movements in and out of the camp.

8 The Ethics and Aesthetics of Restraint: Judeo-Tunisian Narratives of Occupation  Lia Brozgal
chapter abstract

This essay is concerned with recuperating a little-known corpus of primary materials: a handful of chronicles by Tunisian Jews documenting the Nazi occupation of November 1942–May 1943, nearly all of which were written in French and published in Tunisia between 1943 and 1946. Like the events they describe, the chronicles have registered only faintly in specialized scholarship on World War II and the Holocaust and hardly at all in the realm of general knowledge. The significance of the chronicles resides not only in the stories they tell but in their strategies of representation, which have influenced the broader construction of this historical episode. Through historicized close reading of the accounts, this essay explores how the works' poetics—their tropes, narrative techniques, and discursive strategies—shape their production of historical evidence and our interpretation of the events they represent.

9 Fissures and Fusions: Moroccan Jewish Communists and World War II  Alma Heckman
chapter abstract

The World War II years were pivotal for Moroccan Jews and for global communism. The war years represented a watershed moment in several preexisting political trends for Moroccan Jews: communism, Zionism, and Gallicism. Although these political ideologies were fluid during the interwar period, the fissures between these three trajectories hardened during the Vichy period (1940–1942 in Morocco). Moroccan Jewish communists ultimately became marginalized in World War II narratives, Morocco's national liberation movement, and global communist narratives. Through the life and works of Moroccan Jewish novelist and former Moroccan Communist Party leader Edmond Amran El Maleh, this chapter addresses Jewish engagement in the Moroccan Communist Party through the crucible of the Vichy years. El Maleh's work, contextualized within the broader political landscape of Jews and Moroccan politics, contributes to a richer regional understanding of the period, rehabilitating the margins of the margins into a new "standard" narrative.

10 Recentering the Holocaust (Again)  Omer Bartov
chapter abstract

This commentary meditates on the place of North Africa in Holocaust history and historiography and on the extent to which the study of the Holocaust and North Africa has been ignored.

11 Paradigms and Differences  Susan Rubin Suleiman
chapter abstract

This commentary meditates on the place of North Africa in Holocaust history and historiography and on the extent to which the study of the Holocaust and North Africa has been ignored.

12 Sephardim and Holocaust Historiography  Susan Gilson Miller
chapter abstract

This commentary meditates on the place of North Africa in Holocaust history and historiography and on the extent to which the study of the Holocaust and North Africa has been ignored.

13 Stages in Jewish Historiography and Collective Memory  Haim Saadoun
chapter abstract

This commentary meditates on the place of North Africa in Holocaust history and historiography and on the extent to which the study of the Holocaust and North Africa has been ignored.

14 A Memory That Is Not One  Michael Rothberg
chapter abstract

This commentary meditates on the place of North Africa in Holocaust history and historiography and on the extent to which the study of the Holocaust and North Africa has been ignored.

15 Holocaust and North Africa  Todd Presner
chapter abstract

This commentary meditates on the place of North Africa in Holocaust history and historiography and on the extent to which the study of the Holocaust and North Africa has been ignored.