Saturday, December 23, 2017

North African Jewry and the Holocaust

Haaretz has an interesting piece up on the general failure to include North African Jews in our narratives about the Holocaust (despite the fact that Jews in lands occupied by Germany were interned in forced labor camps and later deported to death camps). The article runs through a variety of reasons why these stories aren't told (ranging from straight-forward Ashkenormativity, to cultural misunderstandings by largely European Jewish chroniclers of the Holocaust, to attempts by leftist Mizrahi activists to minimize the salience of the Holocaust to their own cultural narratives out of fears that it might shine light on pre-Independence Zionist ideologies within their community).

One thing I can recommend, at least on the cultural side, is the movie The Wedding Song, which is set in Tunis during World War II and traces the relationship of a Jewish girl and her Muslim friend as the Nazis began more aggressively targeting the local Jewish population. I saw the film at a screening sponsored by JIMENA -- Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa -- and it was quite illuminating.

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