I grew up in a warm and traditional Jewish home.
Before the French arrived in 1881, Jews in Tunisia were an underclass.
If my grandfather met an Arab on the street he had to step aside.
The Arab was free to kick or insult him.
A Jew who insulted an Arab would be killed.
After the arrival of the French many Jews embraced French culture.
I knew more about the geography of France than of Tunisia.
At first the only impact of the war was the scarcity of food.
Soon, though, Jews were banned from offical positions and from teaching or study.
The local governor was an Arab. He tried not to enforce the antisemitic laws.
But soon the German Col Rauff took over control of the Jews.
All Jewish men seventeen to forty-five were sent to labour camps.
We suffered when the Allies bombed Tunisia. Bombing was indiscriminate.
Each morning we would wake up and thank God that we were still alive.
We would then check what still remained.
The British entered Tunisia in 1943. On May 7 Tunis was liberated.
My brothers returned from labour camp but our hunger continued.
In 1945 young men arrived from Palestine to encourage us to emigrate.
One day I saw an exhibition on the Warsaw ghetto.
I viewed it in silence, in utter disbelief at the suffering of fellow Jews.
“There aren’t enough tears to cry for our brothers killed in Europe”, someone said.
I realised that day that I am part of this history.
It was then I decided I must emigrate to what would soon become Israel.