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Complex Compatriots: Jews in Post-Vichy Algeria

A lecture by Sung Choi, UCLA

Weathering the sustained anti-Semitism in French Algeria and later the persecution of the Vichy government (1940-1942), the Jews of Algeria remained committed to their French belonging throughout the Algerian War. During the war, secular Jewish organizations worked hard on the ground to rejuvenate interest in Judaism in Algeria, with the financial help from the World Jewish Congress. The French consciousness among Jews at this time was therefore superposed with a newfound awareness about a globally shared Jewish fate and history. My talk explores the evolution in Jewish identities after Vichy and their relations with the FLN, OAS, the WJC, and the Israeli government all of whom approached the community with ideas that each believed would be the most effective in acquiring Jewish endorsement. Jews during the Algerian War as they integrated a Jewish heritage, a global and historical consciousness, and memories of Vichy into an imbricated French identity towards the end of the Algerian War. 


Sung Choi holds a Ph.D. in History from UCLA. Was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Nantes and is currently a visiting lecturer in History and a visiting scholar at the G.E. von Grunebaum Center for Near Eastern Studies, 2011-2012.  Her current book project is titled Bringing the Settler Colony Home: The French from Algeria and Decolonization.

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