February 18, 2020

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5,000 Tunisian Jews sent to labour camps , 77 years ago

http://jewishrefugees.blogspot.com/2019/12/5000-tunisian-jews-sent-to-labour-camps.html

It is 77 years since the Nazis imposed direct control over Tunisia. The occupation lasted for six months.  On 9 December 1942 began the round-up of Jewish males. Some 5,000 ended up sent to forced labour camps all over the country. (With thanks: Imre)

In 1941, a census of Jews and their property was carried out. On November 9, 1942, the Nazis invaded the country.

The Jewish population was singled out for forced labor. The Nazis organized round- ups, the largest of which took place in Tunis on December 9, 1942.

On the morning of December 9, 1942, 3,000 men over the age of 18 had to report for service to the Nazis, but only 125 men came forward. Colonel S.S. Walter Rauff then went to the Great Synagogue of Tunis, where he broke in and arrested all those who are there, as well as all the Jews nearby.

The arrests of Jews continued throughout the day, including around the Alliance Israelite Universelle school. The Administrative Committee (representative body of the Jewish community of Tunis) therefore decided to call to work Jews aged 18 to 27 years.

In the meantime, Colonel Walter Rauff decided to arrest 100 notable Jews to serve as hostages and be shot in case of disobedience. In the afternoon, a thousand Jews showed up before being sent away to various labor camps.

In total, nearly 5,000 Jews were sent for forced labor in 32 camps scattered throughout the country. The Tunisian Jewish community financed these camps and provided for the needs of more than 5,000 men (between the ages of 15 and 45) who were fit to work. From April 1943 began the first deportations to camps in Europe. For lack of means, only one convoy,  by air, reached the concentration camps and extermination in Europe.

Seventeen Tunisian Jewish deportees did not return. The boxer Young Perez was arrested in France  and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. He died during the Death March  in January 1945.

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