Jewish Population in Algeria Dwindles to 10,000; J.D.C. Aids Needy

The Jewish population in Algeria is continuing to dwindle, according to a report received here today by the Joint Distribution Committee’s European headquarters. The report estimated that there are only 10,000 Jews left now in Algeria, out of an estimated 135,000 who lived there prior to the Evian Agreement by which France recognized Algeria’s independence.

Of the 10,000 Jews, more than 1,600 are being aided by the JDC welfare program, the report said. Virtually all the Algerian Jews on the relief rolls are aged or infirm, the majority of them aged 65 or over. “Providing relief for this group,” the report stated, “really makes the difference between living and dying, between eating and not eating.”

The report declared that a start has been made on reorganizing Algerian Jewish community life. A fresh Jewish community structure has been set up in Algiers, which now contains about 4,000 Jews. At Oran, where there are now about 1,500 Jews, and at Bone, where 600 are still in residence, the beginning of reorganized communities have also been established thus far, the report showed. The same is true, the report stated, of the small Jewish communities still existing in Constantine, Tlemcen, Setif and other places in the country.

In each town, the freshly reorganized Jewish community life centers now around the synagogues, the report said. The problem involves not only the revival in each town of the remains of the Jewish communities but also the care of some aged people who had been abandoned and needed immediate shelter, the report stressed.

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