Roundup of Tunisian Jews remembered

(JTA) — Holocaust memorial institutions in France and Israel commemorated the roundup 67 years ago of Tunisian Jews.

Ceremonies Wednesday at Yad Vashem and Sunday at the Memorial de la Shoah in Paris marked the Dec. 9, 1942 roundup of Tunisian Jews as part of an effort to raise awareness of Jewish suffering in Nazi-occupied North Africa during the Holocaust.

Jews in Tunisia were forced to wear yellow stars and work in labor camps; some were deported to Auschwitz. Jews in other Vichy France colonies in Algeria and Morocco, as well as in Italian-occupied Libya, suffered similar fates.

Martin Gilbert, the pre-eminent Holocaust historian, also marked the anniversary with a statement.

"In my historical work over the past 50 years, I have been struck by the neglect of the story of the Jews of North Africa and the dangers facing them under Vichy French and Italian Fascist rule," Gilbert said in his statement, released Wednesday.

"The story of the persecution of the Jews in North Africa during the Second World War is an integral part of the history of the Holocaust in France; the fate of the Jews living in French North Africa was directly connected to the fate of the Jews living in Metropolitan France. The collaborationist Vichy France extended its anti-Jewish laws — passed in France — to its three North African colonies. Thousands of Jews  were sent to camps for slave labor between 1940 and 1943."

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