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Jewish life in Algeria

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When in 1962 Algeria became independent from France, it also meant the end of almost two millennia of Jewish presence in this country. This forgotten history is now the topic of a new exhibition in Paris. Anne Hélène Hoog, Museum Curator: "First of all we started with our own collection and then it became more and more urgent to gather and collect archives from family, from owners and families who had a lot of documents, photographs especially, some objects as well. And private papers which we could use for the exhibition. But I started first of all to look for, I would say, public pieces." When Algeria became independent in 1962, over 800.000 people left the country and came to France. About twenty percent of them were Jewish. Anne Hélène Hoog, Museum Curator: "We do not know exactly how many of them were immigrated to France. They were called the rapatriés, that meant 'repatriated'. They never lived in France. The kids went to University when the families could afford it. They went to school in Paris, to Academic formation in Paris. But most of them arrived with little things. Lots of them were public officers. And we can say it was between 110.000 and 160.000. We really don't know how many of them came, because they were very discreet about their Judaism. It was in the Republican way of life a private aspect of their lives, so they were not counted as Jews, when they arrived. And they certainly do wonder about their own history. Especially since the generations which ...
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