France Intolerance in Algeria

History of intolerance of France in Algeria
Illustrated in particular by that of Oran
By Didier Bertin - February 5, 2010

 Armes d'Oran.jpg

 

 

I-BIRTH OF OUAHRAN

After the reign of Carthage and from third century BC to fifth century the current region of Oran, was under influence of Roman Empire with a brief presence of Vandals and Byzantines. In 937, a very small agglomeration of few house built by sailors from Andalusia sailors living from trade with west Algerian area was built in the current location of Oran. The place was named Ouahran meaning in Arabic  " two Lions " dual grammatical form of Ouahr ( lion). It must be noted that one of the heights near Oran was called "Mountain of the Lions ", which lets assume  a presence of these animals in a far past. Two Lions appeared on the French blazon of the city and in the form of Auguste Caïn's statues at feet of the main external staircase of the City hall of Oran. Oran is thus a relatively recent city.

Ouahran was then governed by successive Arab dynasties: Fatimides, Almoravides Al Murabiyuns, those of the Ribats (the fortresses), Almohads - Al Muwahhidduns, the Unitarian groups and Ziyanids, governors of Tlemcen.

With Ziyanids, the maritime business with big cities on the Mediterranean Sea developed, but the real birth of Oran dated from Spanish intervention in 1509 in response to the plundering action of Pirates of  Ouahran against Spanish ships and coast cities.

 

II-ORAN: SPANISH PRESIDIO FOR THREE CENTURIES

In 1509, the army of Cardinal Ximenez, commanded by Pedro Navarro conquered Ouahran, which became a Spanish Presidio and started then a real development. Pirates continued their attacks from other places involving continuing Spanish retaliations.

Turkey was in conflict with the Christian countries regarding the control of the Mediterranean Sea Ports. Barbaros Hızır Hayreddin -, a Christian pirate converted to Islam obtained the support of the Turkish Sultan, Soliman the Magnificent to conquest in 1520 and in the name of Turkey, the main cities of Algeria except Oran. This was also a reply to “Reconquista” ended in 1492 with the fall of Grenada. Thereafter, Algiers was governed by a Dey in the city of Algiers supported by three Beys in cities from Constantine to Medea. 

From 1509 till 1792 – except a brief Turkish occupation from 1708 to 1732, I.E. during almost 3 centuries, Oran was a Spanish Presidio similar to Melilla and Ceuta, on Morocco’s territory, which are still Spanish cities today. As a matter of facts, the city was taken by the Turks in 1708 but the Spaniards commanded by Count de Montemar repossessed it from 1732.

Spanish made few attempts to extend beyond Oran and preferred to develop a fortified town there in particular to receive prisoners and exiles of Spain as the other Spanish fortified cities of North Africa. Marques of Santa Cruz, Alvarez de Bazan y Silva built a fort on the heights of the city in 1690, which was named Fort of Santa Cruz and in a way became a symbol of the city.

In 1790, the city counted approximately 600 houses and 5000 inhabitants among who 2800 were exiled from Spain. During the same year, the city was shaken by a violent earthquake which made 3000 victims. This disaster discouraged King of Spain, Charles IV who abandoned the city to the Turks on March 6th, 1792. Beys of west Algeria transferred then their capital from Mascara to Oran.

Spanish Presidios of Africa are small enclaves, closed on themselves, without ambition of territorial, economic or cultural expansion and on top closed to the populations from the outside; their populations are mainly Spanish or from Spain. Presidios do not correspond to the traditional model of the colonialism and were able to escape the process of decolonization.

The History of Oran until 1790 is rather similar to that of Melilla. Melilla was dominated by Carthaginians, then by Romans, and became an Arabic city in the 8th century transformed into bastion of piracy. Melilla was conquered by Don Pedro de Estopinan in 1487 for Dukes de Medina Sidonia, and passed under the Spanish crown in 1556 until now.

 

III –ORAN, FRENCH OVERSEAS CITY: MORE THAN A CENTURY OF INTEGRATION AND OF CRYPTO DESINTEGATION

1-Processus of integration and dynamics of the principle of nationality

The conquest of Algeria in 1830 was an unexpected result of a punitive expedition. This expedition originated from a diplomatic and commercial conflict with the Dey of Algiers and from the will of King Charles X to divert the attention of the French people of internal problems by offering them a military victory.

In 1827, the Dey of Algiers requested the payment of a corn delivery made to French army in 1795 by two Jewish traders of Algiers: Messrs Bacri (who became the representative of the Jewish Community of Algiers to the French authorities after 1830) and Busnach who was murdered by a Janissary 22 years earlier.

Since France was reluctant to pay this debt, the Dey slapped the French Ambassador with his range. Furthermore, Algiers put the sea traffic in total insecurity because of the activities of Pirates from Algeria called also "Barbary Corsairs”. Denmark, England, Netherlands and USA chose to bomb Algiers in reprisals, whereas other countries preferred to pay them a ransom. (Portugal, Naples).

The French conquest of Algeria was eased by the absence of support from the local population to the Turkish authorities because of their dissatisfaction.

Interest of colonization of Algeria appeared quickly because of the small local population of approximately 2 500 000 inhabitants in the 1830s as compared to the country huge size of the country of about 2 280 000 km2 with Sahara I.E. four times the size of France, of the long Mediterranean Coast of 1000 km in the north and doors of Black Africa in the south.

In 1840 France decided to control the totality of the Algerian territory. From 1844, the Moslem population was managed by Arabic Military Desks. The target of these Desks was to establish close relations with local populations. In these Military Desks Officers had to learn Arabic, as well as the various Algerian dialects and even Tamasheq (language of Touaregs, people from Sahara). Reports from these Desks were as well anthropological, historic, linguistic and literary. An officer became a specialist of the rich Tamasheq literature: Major Bissuel made a huge work on Tamasheq writing and poetry. The role of these Officers in Algeria until 1870 was thus original and open minded; they were paternalistic but liberal administrators for the local populations on the contrary of what happened with Army after 1870 up to its very hostile position in the fifties until 1962.

The Arabic Military Desks were eliminated after the fall of the Second Empire in 1870, and the Moslem populations were after narrowly controlled by the Civil Authorities, which appeared to be narrow minded regarding local populations.

The civil authorities were dominated by the French colonists and the Muslims were locked into the narrow status of the “Native population”, which established the inferiority of Muslims people as compared to European people. This new situation led to uprisings in Kabylia in 1871, followed by deportations in New Caledonia.

The new status of Muslims gave them much more dissatisfaction than the access of Jewish people to French Nationality. The access of Jewish people to French Nationality generated a strong dissatisfaction from conservative Muslims as well as from the local European people.

As a matter of facts and from 1881, the code of the “Native” population established 27 constraints among which the limitation of movements and meetings, the compulsory chores and the special tax called “the Arabic tax,” which was only cancelled after World War 2 in 1919.

The local European population increased substantially as a result of immigration mainly from France and Spain, but also from other European countries. An intense European populating of Algeria was made possible by an opened concept of naturalization, as well as by a wide free distribution of lands. The term "European" is often utilized in description of the population of Algeria before 1962. In fact these European people were French by origin and naturalization; this notion of European is resilient probably because of the diverse and recent origins of the French people of Algeria up to the independence in 1962.

The integration of Algeria to France was slow down during the second Empire, because Napoleon III thought that Algeria had to be an Arabic Kingdom under French protectorate and not a French territory – Reference: “Moniteur” Newspaper dated February 6, 1863. He also wanted to offer French citizenship to those who would desire. As a matter of facts, in 1865 he promulgated a “Senatus Consultum” (meaning law) on the naturalization opened to Jews and Muslims. But becoming French citizen involved the acceptation of the ascendancy of the French laws on the Rabbinical or Koran’s laws and only 370 Jews and Muslims took this opportunity of becoming French citizens from 1865 till 1870.

The integration of Algeria to France was also achieved by the imposition of the French language as the official language and of the French School System.

In 1848, Algeria was divided into three departments: Oran, Algiers and Constantine districts each being represented by one member of the parliament, but the effective administrative integration of Algeria to France took place in 1881. Sahara was excluded from this administrative organization because of its negligible population in number. In 1896, a Constitution established a local representation including 48 European and 21 Muslims.

In 1947, the status of Algeria was so redefined: "Group of civil Districts with a financial autonomy and with a particular organization ". The executive power was devolved to a General Governor appointed by France and the legislative power to a kind of local Parliament including 120 representatives out of which 60 French people and 60 Natives, meaning Muslims.

This equality of numbers of representatives for French and Natives had no sense because French were approximately one million and the Muslims 7 millions. This suggested that one French person had same right as seven Muslims and this was not bearable for an equalitarian Republic. This new status constituted however an important evolution for the Muslims, because it illustrated the end to the execrable status of “Native” abolished only in 1944.

The process of integration of Algeria to France was promised to failure because it neglected the hyper-increase of Moslem population.

From 1840 till 1961, the Moslem population increased by 260 % and by about 700 % from 1901 till 2005. From 1961 till 2005 the Algerian population increased by about 3 % per annum, which is one of the strongest population growth of the world. The Algerian population is increased from 9 000 000 in 1961 to 32 500 000 in 2005. This hyper-growth is certainly one of the heaviest problems of the Algerian Government.

If Algeria would have been integrated to France, France would have counted approximately 40 % of Muslims, what would have questioned its nature. Algeria and France have a different own identities, which would have been difficult to merge. When we see the long way to do and hurdle to overcome about European Union, It is wiser that each nation may have first its own country.

POPULATION IN ALGERIA

Population

Europeans

      Muslims

1840

  25 000

2 500 000

1851

130 000

 

1865

190 000

2 600 000

1886

430 000

 

1890-1901

553 000

3 600 000

1921

 

5 000 000

1947

1 000 000

7 000 000

1961

1 500 000

9 000 000

2005

0

32 500 000

 

             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first attempt of FLN (National Liberation Front of Algeria) took place in 1954.In 1958, Pierre Pflimlin, Member of Parliament elected in Strasbourg and belonging to MRP (Christian Democrat), was assumed to replace Felix Gaillard as head of Executive (Council President); he was suspected to have the wish of negotiating with FLN. France had just begun to undertaken an active decolonization policy. Indian French territories came back under Indian authority from 1952 to 1954, Indochina and linked territories became independent in 1954 and Tunisia and Morocco (protectorates) became independent in 1956.

Certain supporters of General De Gaulle, who wanted him back to power encouraged in 1958 French people of Algeria and French Army based in Algeria to revolt in order to impose the return to power of General De Gaulle. He was presented to them as the sole recourse to avoid Independence of Algeria. Army supported General De Gaulle because they wanted to maintain the colonial Empire for nationalistic and strategic reasons. On May 13th, 1958, General Massu, who had just led a very tough repression against the FLN, "demanded" to French Republic, the creation of a Government under exceptional rules to preserve  Algeria as integral part of France. Two days later, General Salan who commanded the French army in Algeria supported officially this request. On May 29th, the president of the Republic, Rene Coty asked the Parliament to invest General de Gaulle as head of Executive power in order to please the Army.  General De Gaulle went thus back in power as a result of a Military Coup.  By this act the fourth Republic fell to leave place to the authoritarian fifth Republic of General de Gaulle. France still functions today under the Constitution of fifth Republic. General De Gaulle was finally agreed by vote because of his prestige due to his action during World War 2 enabling France’s people to be consider as ally despite official French Government collaboration with Germany.

Very quickly, General de Gaulle disappointed the partisans of French Algeria by announcing his intention to grant Algeria its independence. The dark side of De Gaulle‘s policy regarding Algeria was a useless violent and bloody war against FLN and Algerian people since he never had intention to keep Algeria under French Authority. We may only assume that this war made to please the Army and for other internal political reasons but human price was high.

The Generals who organized the Coup in 1958, except General Massu, wanted then to repeat in April 1961, their coup against General De Gaulle, but on the contrary of Rene Coty he did resist to them and they failed. On July 3rd, 1962, Algeria was declared independent and the whole European population of 1 500 000 persons fled away in a few days to France because of their disagreement with independence and fears of retaliation already started. 

 

2-PARTICULAR CASE OF ORAN

The French army occupied “Mers El Kebir” (near Oran) and Oran in 1831. Upon the arrival of the French army, we could say that Oran was essentially a Jewish city, because the Jewish people constituted about 75 % of its 3 800 inhabitants, which also included 750 Christians and only 250 Muslims.

From 1841, General Louis Juchault de Lamoricière who organized the first battalion of Zouaves and the first Arabic Desk built away from Oran a zone to group together the Muslim population. The name of this Zone was at first the Village Djallis which meant village of the Foreigners and was afterward named “New Town” but in fact was called "Village Negre" (Negro Village) by the civilian French people until Independence. The latter name reflected the ostracism, and the contempt in which the Muslims were held.

In 1848, Oran became officially a Municipality. In this time Oran was limited to the Jewish district and to the low districts near the docks (called thereafter Marine district) and extended over the heights only from 1890.

The population increased gradually mainly with the arrival of Spanish and French immigrants, to reach in 1960, a population of 220 000 French people and of 180 000 Muslims, I.E. 400 000 inhabitants.

Oran thus had a large majority of European inhabitants who achieved main part of the economic activity based on trade. As a result the city remained quite inactive many years after independence. By its population and activity, Oran was quite similar to a Spanish Presidio and was a quite new city. Oran was thus different of other Algerian Cities.

If Oran was a Jewish city in 1830, it quickly became after 1870, an anti-Jewish city.

From 1870, Oran became a favorable ground for the development of Ultra right-wing plebs, violently anti-Semite and racist much before Germany. Before World War 2, Oran gathered numerous admirers of the Franco, Mussolini. "The plague of Oran was brown." This aspect of the City and more generally of French Algeria is perfectly illustrated by the History of Jewish community of Oran.

In 1958, Oran, the most European city of Algeria, was called on May 13th to imitate Algiers by supporting the Army against the Republic. On 5th July, 1962, I.E. 2 days after the independence, Oran undergoes its 10th major disaster as this is shown hereunder when the new Algerian Army slaughtered European people: 3000 were reported definitively missing and only few hundreds of bodies were found.

The present French army which was still present did not intervene to prevent this massacre despite it was informed of it. The city emptied quickly of its European population who left essentially for France.

Oran 10 major disasters

1.         The earthquake in 1790,

2.         The plague in 1794,

3.         The Cholera en1849,

4.         The reign of the far right and the anti-Jews from 1871

5.         Oran elected in 1897 the first official anti-Jews Mayor of French History, Gobert

6.         Oran elected in 1925, the second Anti-Jews Mayor of the French History, Molle, who also became Member of Parliament

7.         Oran elected in 1932, an anti-Jews Member of Parliament, named Pares

8.         Oran elected in 1935, the third Anti-Jews Mayor of the French History, Former Abbot Lambert

9.         Success of pro-German Vichy’s Regime in 1940 and abrogation of Cremieux’ s decree.

10.      Massacre of July 5th, 1962 – 3000 European people were slaughtered   by the new Algerian army at a short distance from the French Army ignoring voluntarily the situation.

Albert Camus wrote his novel “the plague” from 1940 to 1942 in Oran, the major disasters out of the plague are numerous to inspire him and in particular the brown plague until the liberation of the city by the US army from 8the November 1942. The Novel was published in 1947. Albert Camus went to Oran as teacher in a school welcoming the Jewish students who were all fired from Public school as a result of anti-Semitic laws.

 

III-The situation of Jewish population in Algeria and particularly in Oran

 

1-Situation Jews in Algeria, example of 1800 - 1830 period

In Algiers, the Jewish community was often a victim of Janissaries’ anger. In 1805, as we already said, the partner of Mr Bacri was murdered by Janissary (Turkish soldier) and this was the signal of a sacking of the Jewish district.

The Consul of France, Dubois-Thainville accommodated 200 Jews in Embassy‘s premises to save them from slaughter. In 1806 in Algiers, Janissaries organized another plunder and massacred 300 Jews. In Constantine seventeen Jewish young girls were kidnapped to be offered to the Dey. 

According to William Shaller, Consul of USA in Algiers in 1830, the Jews were particularly mistreated: They could go out of the city without authorization only on Wednesdays and Saturdays and had to make demeaning tasks that the Muslims did not want to do. The system of hierarchy did not authorize the Jews to resist to the violence of Muslims.

 

2 - SPECIAL SITUATION OF ORAN

A-Exclusion of Jews in Spanish presidios

The Jewish population of Ouahran increased with the arrival of Jews from Mallorca in 1287and then gradually with those of Spain fleeing “Reconquista and Inquisition.” The Spaniards tolerated the presence of Jews in the Spanish presidio of Oran long time after Reconquista, while they were forbidden to stay in Spain.

This tolerance lasted 160 years but in 1669, Marques Los Veles, Captain General of Oran brutally expelled all the Jews out of Oran as a spasm of Reconquista then glorified with the support of Madrid.

The Jews played an important role in the Muslim Spain and Andalusia, but knew in Catholic Spain mostly contempt and violence even before the Inquisition:  For example, Toledo Valencia and experienced pogroms in 1391. When the Spaniards left Oran from 1708 to 1732, Jews were authorized to return under the protection of Turkey.

But when the Spaniards came back in Oran in 1732, they again expelled the Jews together with the Turkish people out of the city. In 39 years the Spaniards expelled twice the Jews out of the city of Oran. Again, when the Spaniards abandoned Oran in 1792, the Turks requested the Jews to come back in the city and offered them advantages because they wanted to repopulate the city destroyed by the earthquake of 1790.

The Jews of Oran had a very different History from those of the rest of Algeria and passed from Spanish tolerance to hatred and after to Turkish protection. Thus the Jews of Oran seemed to have had with Turkish, a different relation from that of the Jews of Algiers and Constantine. However, the Jews of Oran "as such", that is to say, as an 'inhabitants of Oran” when they were allowed to be, met the Turks only briefly in parentheses of History.

 

B-Anti-Semitism in the French city

 

1-Local Anti-Semitism until 1939

The arrival of French troops in Algeria in 1830 was real opportunity of emancipation for the Jews. The surrendering Act signed by the Dey of Algiers on July 5, 1830, stated that the French Chief General guaranteed the respect of all people freedom classes, their religions, their properties, their businesses, their industries, and their women." This text abolished the hierarchy that placed the Jews under Muslims.

In 1859 the Jewish population of Oran was increased by the arrival of the Moroccan Jews from Tetouan. Tetouan’s Jews played an important role in Oran and kept some ties with their hometown. Tetouan is a Moroccan city, which had relations with Spain from 1915 when it became the capital of Spanish Morocco created in 1912.

In Oran, few Jewish families requested French nationality under the Senatus Consultum of 1865. Adolphe Cremieux (1796-1880), Chairman of the Jewish Consistory of Paris in 1843, then Minister of Justice in 1870, after the fall of the Empire, was very concerned by the miserable situation of Jews in Algeria and thought that their integration to the French community would improve their lot.

He obtained the approval on October 24, 1870, of a decree, which granted the French citizenship to all Jews living in Algeria and imposed therefore the predominance of the laws of the Republic on those of Rabbis. From the French point of view; this decree was also a way to increase the number of Europeans in Algeria with people who may easily integrate the French culture. 34 574 Jews of Algeria became French citizens by Cremieux’ s Decree.

One exception should be mentioned: The Jews of the Saharan Oasis (Mozabites) did not get the French Nationality and were assimilated to Natives as Muslims. They only became French Citizens after their emergency evacuation to France by the French army in 1962. It is highly regrettable that Jewish Community accepted easily during 92 years such an unfair segregation among themselves.

When Jews became French citizens in 1870 with the related electoral rights, many Christians and conservative Muslims had a virulent anti-Semitic reaction. The conservative Muslim did not accept that Jews were privileged, while virtually none of them had applied for the same privilege under the Senatus Consultum of 1865, which would have forced them to abandon the dominance of Islamic laws. This reaction might also originate from the disorder caused in the usual hierarchy in Muslim countries which placed Jews under Muslims with the rank of Dhimmi. The local Europeans rebelled against the fact that Jews may have an official influence by voting and thus emerged from the shadow.

Algeria and particularly Oran expressed an anti-Semitic hatred that had nothing to envy to that of Germany in 1930. This phenomenon was particularly strong in Oran, because of its large Jewish community especially in proportion of the whole population of the city. 

However the arguments of Anti-Semitics people were irrational since with 16% of the population, Jewish community was not able to have a decisive influence in elections. In fact for the populace of Oran the main reproaches to Jews were not to stay negligible and silent. Among 220 000 French citizens, Jews were only 35 000 in 1960. About 20% of the Jews of Oran lived below the poverty line in 1930; simple workers accounted for nearly half the Jewish population. The low economic level of Jews is the reasons of their concentration in cities and they were rarely colonists.

 

Jewish Population in Algeria

Year

Number

Year

Number

1851

21 000

1906

  64 645

1872

34 574

1911

  70 721

1881

35 663

1921

  73 967

1886

42 595

1931

110 127

1891

47 459

1941

130 000

1901

57 132

1951

140 000

   

1961

160 000

Jewish Population by department and city-1931

 

CITY

DISTRICT

ORAN

29 152

  50 782

ALGIERS

30 990

  33 916

CONSTANTINE

14 254

  25 292

TOTAL

74 396

109 990

 

Anti-Jewish leagues were created in 1892 in Oran. The Dreyfus affair, which started in 1894, amplified the anti-Jewish riots and in 1897 the European local populace demanded the revocation of Cremieux’ s decree, after having looted the Jewish shops. During that year a candidate officially "anti-Jews", Mr. Gobert, won the municipal elections of Oran.

Mr. Gobert became the first “anti-Jews mayor of this pestilential city. Algeria was also a favorite ground for the development of the ideologue of the French anti-Semitism: "Edouard Drumont. He was elected Member of Parliament in Algiers in May 1898.

Edouard Drumont had published in 1886, "The Jewish France" a manifesto of anti-Semitism, and the same year, "Jewish France facing public opinion" and in 1891"The Will of an anti-Semitic man".

He strongly opposed the retrial of Dreyfus (1897-1898), he requested legal action against Emile Zola; in 1899, he demanded the abrogation of Cremieux’s Decree.

After the World War 1, another anti-Jews leader of Oran, Dr. Molle created the Unions of Latin people against the Jews (one third of French people of Oran being of Spanish origin).

Like the plague, these Unions proliferated in Oran. In 1925, the anti-Jews "Dr Molle" won "overwhelmingly Municipal Elections" of Oran, became the second anti-Jews Mayor of the city and confirmed the «anti-Semitic and racist” status of this city." On top, Dr Molle was also elected Member of Parliament after having created an Ultra-rightist Party “the People's National Party.”

In 1932 Oran elected a fascist named Pares as new anti-Jews Member of Parliament. At this occasion, Slogans in Oran were similar to those of Nazi Germany in the same period: "Your enemy is the Jew, he steals and exploits you." • In 1935, the anti-Jews "Former Abbot Lambert" was elected the new Mayor of Oran in the tradition of this city. The mayor, the former abbot Lambert attacked both Jews and the Popular Front in France. He allied with the Movement of fire Crosses and supported Franco.

The awful atmosphere in the city became paroxysmal in 1940 with the official pro-German French Government during World War II.

As we can see the city was not deficient in pestilence to inspire Albert Camus in his writing of “the Plague.”

2 -Anti-Semitism of French State from 1940

After the defeat of French Army against Germany, the head of executive, Paul Raynaud suggested to President Lebrun to designate Marshal Petain as head of Executive. This was approved by the Presidents of Republic, Senate and House of Representatives.

Under the leadership of Marshal Petain, France became an objective ally of Germany enabling the latter to concentrate its forces on other targets than France.

On top, Marshal Petain enacted on October 3, 1940, racial laws against Jews in France and Algeria. Cremieux s decree was cancelled and the Jews were deprived of the French nationality.

The number of students and Jewish students was limited in high schools and universities to 3%. The Jews were also excluded from occupations such as Lawyers or Doctors in Medicine, and also from public education. Racist steps were taken in Algeria, more rigorously than they were in France.

On 2 700 Jews excluded from the French civil service, 2 000 were in Algeria. Admiral Brial, responsible for enforcing the racial laws in Algeria, said that regarding Algeria that he should be particularly severe in the application of anti-Semitic rules.

The Jewish Officers were expelled from the Army. The Minister of War issued the following note: "In the presence of non-religious Jews useful information can be found in the appearance of certain surnames in the choice of first names listed on acts of civil status and the fact that they might have family buried in Jewish cemeteries. All this information should permit to expel also Jews far from religion.

In Oran, a professor of Philosophy, Andre Benichou, opened a private School for Jews expelled from public Schools and invited Albert Camus to help him as teacher of Philosophy. Albert Camus taught from 1940-1942 and wrote at the same time "The Plague" taking place in Oran. This was an ideal period to observe Human kind mechanisms.

On November 8, 1942, the U.S. Army landed near Mers El Kebir and Arzew to surround Oran from West to East and faced with stiff resistance from French Army supporting of Marshal Petain. Resistance was weaker in Algiers and the Petain’s City of Oran surrendered only on November 10th.

The Jews of Algeria owed their lives to the early coming of American army 1.5 years before Normandy and 2 years after the French racist laws application and less than one year after the adoption of the “Final Solution” by Nazis.

French and German Authorities did not have the time to start deportation of Jews from Algeria to Death Camps. Unfortunately, Jews had to wait almost an additional year to recover the French citizenship. As a matter of fact the restoration of Cremieux’s decree was not a first priority of Gaullists.

Cremieux Decree was restored by General De Gaulle on October 20, 1943 after Rene Cassin, his adviser made a special request. Non retro-activity legal principle would have involved anyway the decree restatement but when?

Rene Cassin was a Law professor, President of “Alliance Israelite Universelle” (a Jewish association for general education of children); writer of the Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UNO in 1948 and received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1968.

 

3. End of French presence and independence in 1962

Military men , who attempted to make a second coup in April 1961 and failed, decided to form a secret army to resist to the decision of Government to give independence to Algeria. They formed a violent group named OAS among others. This was an far-Rightist and racist anti-Arab Organization. The French People living in Algeria tended to approve the actions of such groups and this is not surprising in the light of Algeria’s History since 1870.

 

IV-CONCLUSION

We deeply regret that former victims may have joined their torturers. Only 15 years after World War 2, some Jews from ORAN sympathized with these basically anti-Semitic extremists and formed groups as “Commandos des Collines” and “France Insurrection.” They dreamed to remain in Algeria with privileges and were afraid of the Arab retaliations.

Such fears may remain in Israel among spme people coming from North Africa and who joined Rightist parties. This view was later shared by some people coming from Russia as the resuly of their attraction for conservative parties.

We saw that in Algeria discrimination, racism, multi-level citizenship, refusal of a country to a nation and Fascism have created an irremediable hostility between two peoples.