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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Libya 03: 1911-1948

Italian rule since 1911 - fascist rule since 1936 - British rule 1941 - Nazi rule with persecutions, pogroms, deportations, mass murder - British rule 1945-1948 and again pogroms and mass murder of Muslims because of racist Zionism - emigration wave


Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Libya, vol. 11,
                  col. 199-200, map with Jewish settlements from the
                  beginning to modern times
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Libya, vol. 11, col. 199-200, map with Jewish settlements from the beginning to modern times

from: Libya; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 11

presented by Michael Palomino (2010)


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<Italian rule.

On oct. 11, 1911, Tripoli fell to the Italians, and two months later the rest of Libya. The first 25 years of Italian rule passed peacefully for the Jews. They retained equal rights, and the number of those in government employment grew, as did the numbers of those who became prosperous and attended school.

During this period [[racist]] Zionist activity went unhindered.

The Jewish population of Libya in 1931 was 21,000 (4% of the total population). They were dispersed in 15 localities, with about 15,000 of them in Tripoli.

In 1936 the Italians began to enforce fascist anti-Jewish legislation, and started to hinder the freedom of the Jews. Jews were removed from municipal councils, some were sent away from government schools, and their papers were stamped with the words "Jewish race". They were forced to open their shops on the Sabbath, and those who refused to do so were punished.

[English rule]

When the Benghazi area fell to the British in February 1941, the Jews were overjoyed. [H.J.C.].

Holocaust Period. [back and forth with Nazi and British rule - Arab pogrom - NS pogrom and deportation to the desert for road constructioning - forced labor in Homs and for railway lines]

In March 1941 the Italian governor of Tripoli took discriminatory measures against all Jews and ordered Jewish organizations to cease activities. On April 3, 1941, young Arabs ran wild and assaulted the Jews of Benghazi

[[probably because of the racist Zionist activities against Arabs]].

The British reoccupied Benghazi briefly at the end of 1941. In February 1942, the reoccupation of *Benghazi by Axis forces was followed by the systematic plunder of all Jewish shops and the promulgation of a deportation order: 2,600 persons were deported into the desert to Giado, 149 mi. (240 km.) south of Tripoli, where they were forced to do hard labor in road construction while living under extremely bad conditions. During their 14-month exile 562 people died of starvation or typhus.

In April 1942 the Jews of Tripoli were compelled to declare all their property, and those between 18 and 45 years of age were sent on forced labor: some 1,400 persons to Homs, and 350 to lay the railway line linking Libya and Egypt. They were subject to severe bombing by the Royal Air Force. [R.AT.]

During this period, [[racist]] Zionist activity  was paralyzed. In general the relations with the Muslim population did not worsen, and village Muslims sometimes gave sanctuary and shelter during the three years to Jews who fled to them, although in the towns fascist propaganda reached and influenced the young Muslims. During World War II the men of the Jewish Brigade conducted various political and cultural activities among the Jewish population.

The British Occupation. - [Muslim persecutions and pogroms 1945-1948 - because of racist Zionist activities]

Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Libya,
              vol. 11, col. 203, thanks for British occupation
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Libya, vol. 11, col. 203, thanks for British occupation: Jews of Tripoli offering thanks in public prayer,
following the entry of the British Eighth Army in 1943. Courtesy Joint Distribution Committee, New York.

The Jews were able to reopen their schools, although in this period they suffered from persecution by Muslims which was unparalleled in the past.

On July 4, 1945, there were Muslim riots against the Jews of Tripoli and other towns. In Tripoli the masses ran wild, killing and wounding many Jews, looting their property, and setting fire to five synagogues. On January 6 troublemakers from Tripoli arrived in Zanzur (c. 30 mi. (48 km.) from Tripoli) and incited the Muslim population against the 150 local Jews, of whom half were murdered. Jews were also killed at Meslātah, Zaniah, Tajura (10 mi.l (16 km.) from Tripoli), and at Amruz (2 1/2 mi. (4 km.) from Tripoli). According to various estimates, from 121 to 187 Jews were killed and many were wounded during these incidents. Nine synagogues were burned down and damage to property was half a million pounds sterling, a very large sum for a poor community.

The British authorities did not succeed in immediately stopping the excesses because they had Arab soldiers and policemen in their service who gen- [col. 202]

erally joined in the riots with the masses when sent to protect Jews; only when forces came from outside, especially Sudanese soldiers, were the rioters dispersed. After the riots about 300 rioters were brought to trial, of whom two were sentenced to death. The leniency of the sentences and the incitement by the Arab countries, regarding Palestine, encouraged the Libyan Muslims again to persecute the Jews in June 1948 in Benghazi and Tripoli. However, this time some of the Jews were ready to defend themselves, since after the 1945 attacks a Jewish defense organization was set up by emissaries from Palestine 81946). Tripoli Jews used hand grenades and repelled marauders trying to enter the Jewish quarter; before the rioters could be stopped the police arrived, but 14 Jews had already been killed. Most of the persecutors were Tunisian volunteers on the way to the Palestinian front [[defending Palestine against racist Zionism]].

[Emigration wave to Palestine 1919-1949]

After the first pogroms, Jews began leaving Libya, most of them emigrating to Palestine.

[[So, the fleeing Jews went from one war trap to the other]].

Between 1919 and 1948 about 450 Jews emigrated to Palestine from Libya, most of them during the years 1946 and 1947 when about 150 emigrated there. When the [[racist Zionist Herzl]] State of Israel was established, Jewish flight from Libya increased; they left by way of Tripoli and Tunisia; between May 1948 and January 1949 about 2,500 left the country.>





Sources
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Libya, vol. 11, col.
                        198
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Libya, vol. 11, col. 198
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Libya, vol. 11, col.
                        199-200
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Libya, vol. 11, col. 199-200
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Libya, vol. 11, col.
                        201-202
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Libya, vol. 11, col. 201-202
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Libya, vol. 11, col.
                        203-204
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Libya, vol. 11, col. 203-204
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Libya, vol. 11, col.
                        205-206
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Libya, vol. 11, col. 205-206



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