Year of the Typhus: The Shoah as Lived by Tunisian Muslims and Jews (November 1942-May 1943)

Dr. Lamia Ben Youssef Zayzafoon
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Over the last 60 years, scholarship on the holocaust focused almost exclusively on the extermination of the European Jews, with little attention to the ramifications of WWII on the Jewish and Muslim populations of North Africa.

While in the recent years, some Jewish scholars shifted their attention to the labor camps the Germans established for thousands of Tunisian Jews (Michel Abitbol), no similar studies have been done about the predicament of the Muslim population of Tunisia under the triple occupation of the Vichy regime, the Axis Powers and the Anglo-American invasion of North Africa known as Operation Torch. Relying on war memoirs, military correspondence, eyewitness accounts, female oral narratives, and medical reports of U.S. and British officials between 1942-1944, this paper seeks to reconstruct the holocaust in Tunisia from the point of view of both its Jewish and Muslim victims.

Keywords: Shoah, Labor camps, War crimes, Collaboration, Liberation, Mussulmänner, Gender
Stream: Ethnicity, Difference, Identity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Lamia Ben Youssef Zayzafoon

Assistant Professor, School of Arts & Humanities
and School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Birmingham at Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Dr. Zayzafoon (Ph.D. Michigan State University 2002) is Assistant Professor in the School of Arts and Humanities and the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Birmingham at Alabama. She holds a B.A. in English from L’Ecole Normale Supérieure of Sousse in Tunisia. Her areas of specialization are post-colonialism, feminist literature and theory, Francophone film and literature, and the literatures of Africa with a specific emphasis on Maghrebian and Islamic studies. She has previously taught English at the University of Carthage and the University of the Center in Tunisia. She has just published her first book The Production of the Muslim Woman: Negotiating Next, History, and Ideology (Lexington Books, 2005). She has also published articles, reviews and poetry in various scholarly journals and anthologies including The International Journal of Francophone Studies, Bittersweet: Contemporary Black Women’s Poetry, African Images: Recent Images in African Cinema and Literature, and Research in African Cinema. She is currently working on two projects: Tunisian women under WWII and incest, gender and inheritance in Islamic jurisprudence, and North African film and literature.

Ref: H06P0378