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Zagury, Yaḥyā

(474 words)

Author(s): David Cohen
Yaḥyā Zagury, born in Casablanca in 1878, entered the service of the French consulate in Casablanca as a dragoman (interpreter). In July and August 1907, French and Spanish workers employed in the construction of the port were massacred by tribes from the Casablanca vicinity which feared that the port would harm their interests. The decision to carry out the port project had been made at the Algeciras Conference of 1906. In addition, the insurgents plundered the city’s Jewish stores. European citizens, mostly from France, took refuge in the French consulate, which wa…

Comité d'Aide et d'Assistance

(184 words)

Author(s): David Cohen
The Comité d’Aide et d’Assistance (CAA), originally called Comité d’Études d’Aide et d’Assistance, was a charitable organization founded in Algiers in 1947 by Aïzer Cherki (1882–1993) to help Moroccan Jews transiting through  Algeria on their way to Israel. Jews in need would jam into the offices of the Jewish Consistory of Algiers at 11 rue Bab-el-Oued, in the lower casbah. Faced with this difficult situation, Aïzer Cherki showed both administrative skill and a legendary degree of humanity. He obtained funding, equipment, and supplies from Alge…

Benzaquen, Léon

(319 words)

Author(s): David Cohen
Léon Benzaquen (1901–1977), whose father moved from Tangier to Casablanca in 1897, attended the Alliance Israélite Universelle primary school and the French lycée (secondary school) in Casablanca, then studied medicine in Paris, specializing in pneumology. On his return to Morocco in 1938, he settled in Casablanca and immediately became involved in Samuel-Daniel Lévy’s project to found  a tuberculosis  sanatorium, realized in 1946 with the construction of the Benaḥmed Preventorium. Boycotted by his European colleagues during the Vichy period (1940–1943), Benzaque…

Comité Algérien d'Études Sociales

(318 words)

Author(s): David Cohen
The Comité Algérien d’Etudes Sociales (Algerian Committee for Social Studies) was founded during World War I to defend Jewish interests. Organized by a group of Jewish intellectuals led by Dr. Henri Aboulker, it came into being when the  Jewish Consistory proved unable to defend its coreligionists against the resurgence of antisemitism in Algeria, especially in the army, and the French authorities adopted a passive attitude. The committee was active between 1915 and 1921.             From 1922 to 1930, the situation was relatively calm, but when antisemitism resurfac…

Aboulker, Henri

(505 words)

Author(s): David Cohen
Henri Aboulker (1876–1957), a scion of the Aboulker (Abū  ʾl-Khayr) family, was a surgeon and professor in the faculty of medicine, a wounded veteran of World War I, and a political activist devoted to defending the rights of Algerian Jewry. In January 1915 he helped to found the Comité Algérien d'Études Sociales (CAES). The committee, which continued until 1921 , focused on the fight against antisemitism. Among other things, it persuaded the Association Générale des Etudiants d’Alger (l’AGÈA) to accept Jewish students, who until then had been barred from membership. Over the years, …