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Jewish Community President in Algeria Assassinated; Other Leader Killed

November 6, 1961
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Two prominent Algerian Jews were killed and a third was shot and seriously injured yesterday, culminating a week of high terror during which more than 20 plastic bombs were exploded in Jewish homes and shops in the capital of Algiers and in other sections of Algeria.

The deaths were attributed to the OAS, the French underground which opposes Algerian independence as proposed by President Charles de Gaulle.

The dead were David Zermati, 54, president of the Jewish Community of Setif, a provincial city of about 42,000 population; and Dr. Joseph Cohen, 32, a well-known Algiers physician. The injured man, who is in serious condition after having been shot through the neck, is Yossef Perez, warden of the synagogue in the Casbah at Algiers.

The shooting of Mr. Perez was attributed to the fact that, recently, he had refused to turn over his apartment to a Moslem who had insisted on taking over the Perez home. But the attacks against Mr. Zermati and Dr. Cohen were laid to OAS terrorists. Mr. Zermati was known as an ardent Gaullist. He had held high posts in the Algerian Ministry of the Interior and, for two terms, served as president of the Setif Bar Association. He was shot in the back while picking up his mail in the Setif post office.

Dr. Cohen was not known to be active in any political movement, but was considered a liberal. He was widely known in Algiers particularly for his work among the Moslem poor, whom he had been serving since his graduation from medical school.

During last week, at least 20 plastic bombs of 50 exploded in a single day were aimed at Jewish shops in the Bab El Oued district in Algiers. The bombs were of a type used both by the OAS and by Algerian rebels.

The Jewish community, its morale shaken by the recurrent attacks, is wondering whether Nazi elements had obtained control of the OAS, although efforts have been made of late by the OAS to enlist the sympathies of Jewish residents in Algeria.

Dr. A. Zaffran, a member of the administrative council of the Zionist Federation in Algeria, made hasty plans today to leave the country after receiving murder threats from the OAS. Dr. Zaffran was a close friend of Police Commissioner Goldenberg who was assassinated recently. The aggravation of the general conditions in Algeria has resulted in an increase of Jewish emigration to France.

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