The death has been announced of Sidney Chouraqui at 104, Algerian-born resistance fighter, Casablanca lawyer and lifelong campaigner for human rights. Here are extracts from an article in JForum:
Born on October 13, 1914 in Algeria, Sidney Chouraqui faced anti-semitism very early on and throughout his life. He became a lawyer in Casablanca and joined the army in 1939.
“Refusing to surrender, in 1940 (when France fell to the Germans) he created a group of Jewish resistance fighters in Morocco. Under the Vichy laws, he was struck off the bar. Volunteering on theTunisian front, he escaped from the Bedeau camp for Jews and joined General Leclerc in Libya and the Free French of General de Gaulle.
Sidney Chouraqui took part in the fighting in France, battles in Normandy, the liberation of Paris and Strasbourg, but also Landsberg and Dachau camps. He finally reached Hitler’s ‘Eagle’s Nest’ in Berchtesgaden on May 8, 1945.
For his wartime feats, Sidney Chouraqui earned many medals and the Legion d’Honneur. He risked his life “both through patriotism, for the liberation of France, and through humanism, for the defence of human rights odiously trampled, for the ideals of 1789 of Freedom-Equality- Fraternity withdrawn by Vichy, as well as for dignity and justice.”
After the war, he resumed his job as a lawyer in Casablanca. He trained Moroccan lawyers, many of whom became ministers. Resettling in France in 1966, he joined the Aix-en-Provence bar. He was one of the founders of LICRA (International League against Racism and Antisemitism) and the Jewish Cultural Center, a leader of the Judeo-Christian Friendship and Interfaith Coordination Committee for Israel, which was threatened with extinction in 1967.
From 1982, he was one of the main initiators of the Memorial project of the Camp des Milles.
Read article in full (French)