December 18, 2018

The Holo­caust is usu­al­ly under­stood as a Euro­pean sto­ry. Yet, this piv­otal episode unfold­ed across North Africa and rever­ber­at­ed through pol­i­tics, lit­er­a­ture, mem­oir, and memory―Muslim as well as Jewish―in the post-war years. The Holo­caust and North Africa offers the first Eng­lish-lan­guage study of the unfold­ing events in North Africa, push­ing at the bound­aries of Holo­caust Stud­ies and North African Stud­ies, and sug­gest­ing, pow­er­ful­ly, that nei­ther is com­plete with­out the other.

The essays in this vol­ume recon­struct the imple­men­ta­tion of race laws and forced labor across the Maghreb dur­ing World War II and con­sid­er the Holo­caust as a North African local affair, which took diverse form from town to town and city to city. They explore how the Holo­caust rup­tured Mus­lim – Jew­ish rela­tions, set­ting the stage for an entire­ly new post-war real­i­ty. Com­men­taries by lead­ing schol­ars of Holo­caust his­to­ry com­plete the pic­ture, reflect­ing on why the his­to­ry of the Holo­caust and North Africa has been so wide­ly ignored―and what we have to gain by under­stand­ing it in all its nuances.

Pub­lished in asso­ci­a­tion with the Unit­ed States Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al Museum.

Discussion Questions

This fas­ci­nat­ing and orig­i­nal col­lec­tion of essays inter­weaves a num­ber of World War II – era events in col­o­nized North Africa with the his­to­ry of the vast array of atroc­i­ties that were lat­er named the Holo­caust.” By chal­leng­ing the read­er to reimag­ine one of modernity’s defin­ing hor­rors as some­thing oth­er than a pure­ly Euro­pean phe­nom­e­non, these authors raise a host of inter­est­ing ques­tions. Notably, the edi­tors explore the con­tem­po­rary polit­i­cal and social moti­va­tions and ram­i­fi­ca­tions of this his­to­ri­o­graph­ic project, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the Israeli con­text, where such a refram­ing rep­re­sents a North African claim to inclu­sion in a soci­ety where Jew­ish vic­tim­hood has been cen­tral to Zion­ist nation­al cul­ture. As for the volume’s his­tor­i­cal pieces, the con­tri­bu­tions sug­gest how North Africa’s Vichy– era race laws, its anti­se­mit­ic agi­ta­tion, and the region’s labor camps rep­re­sent­ed rup­tures — but also pro­found con­ti­nu­ities — with the pre­ex­ist­ing French colo­nial order.