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1,500 Jews Reported Killed in Agadir Earthquake: J.D.C. Rushes Aid

March 4, 1960
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

An estimated 1,500 Jews of the 2,300 who lived in Agadir lost their lives in the earthquake and tidal wave that destroyed great sections of the Moroccan castal town, it was learned here today. The Jewish quarter of the city and the Moslem quarter on the seaside which it adjoined, bore the brunt of the disaster and were completely destroyed. Estimates of the total casualties were revised upwards again today and losses among the general population were put today at 5,000 or more.

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee estimated the Jewish dead and missing at 1,500 today following reports from its representatives in Casablanca. The JDC was the first volunteer agency to rush supplies to the survivors of the stricken city. It shipped in food, clothing, shoes and blankets to the value of four million Moroccan francs ($8,000.) Henry Kirsch, JDC representative in Casablanca, arranged the shipment of supplies after conferring with the Moroccan authorities.

The entire city was to have been evacuated by tonight. The surviving Jews were attempting to make their way to Mogador where many of them had lived originally. Others went to the town of Araudamt. Efforts to identify the Jewish survivors, have begun.


Jewish institutions in Agadir were almost all destroyed. One of the most tragic incidents was the destruction of the Lubavitcher Yeshiva where 80 children lived. Sixteen were taken from the debris. Four of them subsequently died of their injuries. It was feared that the remaining 64 boys and their teachers might still be buried in the ruins.

(In Paris, the Alliance Israelite received word that the Alliance school in Agadir had been completely destroyed. One teacher and his family were reported missing. It was believed that the rest of the school staff and the pupils were safe.)

A kindergarten in Agadir maintained by the JDC was razed by the quake. Two of the 100 children who attended it were known to be dead. No information has been obtained about the remainder. The kindergarten was not in session when the quake hit the city. Two of the town’s rabbis were known to be among the dead.

(The French Embassy in Jerusalem promised today to make every effort to secure identification of the Jewish victims of the Agadir, Morocco, earthquake. Many of the Jews of that coastal city have family in Israel but as a result of the severance of communications between Morocco and Israel through Morocco’s compliance with the Arab League’s anti-Israel boycott, the Moroccan Jews here have no direct means of communicating with their kin still in the kingdom.)


The Joint Distribution Committee headquarters in Geneva also cabled King Muliammed of Morocco, offering its services in dealing with the disaster. The JDC official personally rode into Agadir on the first truck bearing supplies provided by the JDC. Prince Moulay Hassan, the Crown Prince, and his party, who were in Agadir, cooperated with Kirach in getting his supplies distributed.

The Casablanca Jewish community evacuated the Talmud Torah, and prepared the building to house refugees. By today, about 100 Jewish refugees had arrived in Casablanca and another boatload was expected later today. The JDC contributed $5,000 for emergency aid work.

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