The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Holocaust:
Reexamining The Wannsee Conference,
Himmler's Appointments Book, and Tunisian Jews


The Wannsee Conference

At the Wannsee Conference, German officials gathered on January 1942 to coordinate the final destruction of "the Jews of Europe." What the Nazis called "the Final Solution" was to be carried by means of slave labour for all Jews, and mass deportation. At the Wannsee Conference, the Nazis noted the number of the Jews to be killed.


* "France's unoccupied territory 700,000" means French North Africa

The fact is that in all German documents pertinent to "the Final Solution to the Jewish Question" in "the countries of Europe," there is only mention of "juden Europas", which translates into "the Jews of Europe." And Europe at that time included France's territory of North Africa.

Most American Holocaust scholars have narrated only what, in the words of Canadian Holocaust scholar, Michael Marrus, "BECAME the Final Solution: European-wide deportations and death camps." (Michael R. Marrus, The Holocaust in History, p. 31).

As a consequence the History of the Holocaust for many American Holocaust scholars, became the History of European Jews -an expression never mentioned in German documentation during Hitler's time. Even in Hebrew, one say Yehudey Europa - the Jews of Europe, the corrrect expression, as expressed in the historical evidence of that time.

This expression "European Jew" became so popular, but historically inaccurate, that it led an American scholar to incorrectly translate the German title of Christian Gerlanch's recently published article in the Journal of Modern History, dec. 1998. The German title was: "Die Wannsee-Konferenz, das Schicksal der deutschen Juden und Hitlers politische Grundsatzenscheidng, alle Juden Europas zu ermorder" Gerlach's accurate translation is: The Wannsee Conference, the Fate of German Jews, and Hitler's Decision in Principle to Exterminate All THE JEWS OF EUROPE. But "Juden Europas" was translated into "the European Jews, instead the Jews of Europe.

The historical fact recognized by some Holocaust scholars, such as Yehuda Bauer, Christopher Browning, Michael Marrus, Kaspi Andre, Abitbol Michel, ... is that North African Jews were counted, and included in the numbers written in the minutes of the Jan. 20, 1942 Wannsee Protocol, under: "France/unoccupied territory 700,000" This number for France's "unoccupied territory" indicate that the Jews of France's territory of North Africa were counted to be killed, since France had only around 300,000 Jews (See also Martin Gilbert's the Dent Atlas of the Holocaust, p. 99). According to Michel Abitbol, "On the eve of World War II there were 400,000 Jews in French North Africa" (Abitbol, Michel, The Jews of North Africa during the Second World War. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1989, p.7. Also, according to Joseph Toledano, there were 465,000 Jews in French North Africa in 1948: Toledano, Joseph. Les Juifs Maghrebins, Belgique: Editions Brepols, 1988)


- the recently published Himmler's apointment book confirms the above. Peter Witte wrote me in e-mail:

on December 10, 1942 Himmler reported to Hitler on "Juden in Frankreich 600-700.000 abschaffen" (Jews in France 600-700.000 to be deported or to finish: the German word is a bit ambiguous in fact. At any rate the word "abschaffen" is Hitler's reaction to Himmler's proposal, which is emphasized by the addition of a hook (about like \/). The meaning is always that Hitler has agreed to Himmler's proposals.

Immediately after Himmler's report to Hitler he made a note on it: "Der Führer hat die Anweisung gegeben, dass die Juden und sonstigen Feinde des Reiches in Frankreich verhaftet und abtransportiert werden. Dies soll jedoch erst geschehen, wenn er mit Laval darueber gesprochen hat." (The Führer has given order to arrest and deport the Jews and other enemies of the Reich in France. But this shall happen only after talks with Laval about it. 6 to 700.000 Jews are concerned.)

We have commented on this remarkable note that these exaggerated numbers have already appeared in the protocoll of the Wannsee conference on January 20, 1942, and that these numbers must include the Jews of the French northern African colonies Marocco, Algeria and Tunesia in all probability, as in France only 290.000 Jews were still alive at the end of 1942. Our reasoning is in accordance with other scholars, e.g. Goetz Aly: "Endloesung", p. 300. The printed sources and this information can be found in: Peter Witte u.a. (editors): Der Dienstkalender Heinrich Himmlers"

* - Tunisian Jews during the Holocaust, in occupied Tunisia

The Jews in Nazi-occupied Tunisia (Nov. 1942-May 1943) suffered during 6 months, under antisemitism Nazi terror by the infamous SS-Obersturmbannführer Walter Rauff.

Peter Witte wrote to me:

"Walther Rauff was "one of the biggest criminals of this century"):
Born June 19, 1906 in Coethen (Saxonia).
High navy officer (Korvettenkapitaen).
1937 fired by the German navy because of adultery (quite the same with Heydrich!) Rauff and Heydrich became friends.
1941-42 RSHA Berlin under Heydrich.
rank: SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer (lieutenant colonel).
here leader of Group II D (technical matters - including construction and distribution of gas vans).
*** 1942-43 Commander of the Security Police in Tunisia.
fall 1943 Commander of the Security Police in Milano (Italy).
June 21, 1944 SS-Standartenfuehrer (colonel) (Simon Wiesenthal)."

A Judenrat was created. Tunisian Jews were subject to acts of violence and terror: arrest of hostages, confiscation of property, ill-treatment -indiscriminate snatching of Jews from street corners and private homes, storming into the synagogue, hitting worshipers-, execution, deportation, and forced labour. Around 5,000 of them had been sent to labor camps near the front lines. It has been estimated that about 100 Jews perished during the period of recruitment: some were murdered in cold bllod by their German guards; others died from ill-treatment, disease, and others were killed in aerial bombardments.

The Tunisian Jews were very much concerned with the threat for their existence. And indeed the Germans were planning to exterminate them. An SS unit was preparing gas chambers near Kairouan. Plans were not completed because of lack of time. Tunis was liberated May 7, 1943.

Tunisian Jewish victims

Mr. Tibiin the resistance of Sousse, deported to Europe, dead
Mr. Assousin resistance of hodjeb El Ayoun, deported to Europe, dead
Mr. Mounierin resistance, died during mission
Joseph Chemladeported to Buchenwald, died in Torgau
Gilbert Chemladeported to Buchenwald, died in Torgau
Jean Chemladeported to Buchenwald, died in Torgau
Rousseau Ruhlmanndeported, dead
Cohen-Hadriadied in Auschwitz
Raymond Samamadied in Oranienbourg
Victor Natafshot by the Nazi, as a spy for the Allies
Serge Moattideported to Auschwitz, came back
Victor Silveradeported to Auschwitz, came back
Andre Assuiedin Djebibina, died in forced labor camp
Emile Hababoushot by a German guard, 1/23/1943, Bizerte camp
Alfred Hababoushot by German guard, nicknamed "Grandma," Bizerte
Elie Saadounshot by German guard, nicknamed "Grandma," 2/9/43
Victor Lellouchekilled by soldier Walter, nicknamed "the killer"
Simon AllaliJacques AttalEd. BellaicheAlbert Boccara
Gilbert CohenJoseph CohenMoise CohenFelix Ghidalia
G. M. GuedjJoseph HaddadMaurice HaddadJoseph Hassan
Lucien Naccache Roger KtorzaSauveur SaadaJ. Saffar
Ab. SitbonAlfred SmadjaElie TaiebZerah
Andre HaddadMaurice KalfonAsher GinoUzan Albert Slama
Edmond Azria 2/16/43Chalom Guez 2/24/43Robert Amram 1.43Jacques Cohen 4.43
Joseph ChellyMazouz

(compiled from Sabille, Jacques. Les Juifs de Tunisie sous Vichy et l'Occupation. Paris: Edition du Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine, 1954)

This is only a partial list of victims of the Holocaust in Tunisia

Members of the Tunisian Jewish Resistance

Alfred RossiCroix de Guerre, Legion d'Honneur
Victor AttiasCroix de Guerre, Legion d'Honneur
Lucien LumbrosoCroix de Guerre
Francoise Grumbachdecoration of "Croix de Guerre"
Maurice Taibdeported to Sachsenhausen, and Buchenwald, came back
- decoration of "Croix de Guerre"
Henry SmadjaCroix de la Liberation, Legion d'Honneur
Louise Hannondeported to Germany, came back
- decoration of "Croix de Guerre"
Sylvain Karoubiprisoner, survived the tortures
Raoul BenattarSamuel BenattarMaurice NizardGeorges Attal
Andre BessisSylvain LumbrosoAndre NatafRaoul Sitruk
Emile BarronJules Cohen-SolalDr. Albert BenattarRaymond Uzan
(compiled from: Sabille, Jacques. Les Juifs de Tunisie sous Vichy et l'Occupation. Paris: Edition du Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine, 1954)

Bibliography & Works cited

Abitbol, Michel. The Jews of North Africa during the Second World War. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1989
Bauer, Yehuda.
Borgel, R. Etoile Jaune et Croix Gammee. Tunis, 1944
Browning, Christopher, R. "A Final Hitler Decision for the 'Final Solution.' The Reigner Telegram Reconsidered." Holocaust and Genocide Studies 10, no. 1 (Spring 1996): 3-11
Chouraqui, Andre. Between East and West: A History of the Jews of North Africa. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1968
Epstein, Eric Joseph, and Rosen Philip. Dictionary of the Holocaust. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1997
Ghez, Paul. Six mois sous la Botte. Tunis 1943
Gilbert, Martin. The Dent Atlas of the Holocust. London: JM Dent Ltd, 1993
Gilbert, Martin. The Holocaust: the Jewish Tragedy. London: Collins, 1986
Gutman, Yisrael, ed. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1990
Hilberg, Raul. The Destruction of the European Jews. New York: New Viewpoints, 1973
Hirschberg, H.Z. (J.W.) A History of the Jews in North Africa, vol. II
Kaspi, Andre. Les Juifs pendant L'occupation, Paris: Le Seuil, 1998
Laskier, Michael M. North African Jewry in the Twentieth century. New York and London: New York University Press, 1994 Marrus, Michael R. The Holocaust in History.
Pinkas Kehilot, The Jews of North Africa during the Holocaust, Yad-vashem, in Hebrew
Sabille, Jacques. Les Juifs de Tunisie sous Vichy et l'Occupation. Paris: Edition du Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine, 1954


Mott, Jim. Moderator. H-NET List for History of the Holocaust

Prepared by Edith Shaked

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