April 23, 2019

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Allies delayed restoring rights to Algerian Jews


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 its owners.

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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