World Jewish Congress praises Germany for agreeing to compensate Jewish Nazi victims from Algeria

NEW YORK – The president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Ronald S. Lauder, has welcomed an agreement between the German government and the Conference for Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) over a one-time compensation payment for Jewish Nazi victims who lived in Algeria between 1940 and 1942.
Lauder declared: “This is excellent news. It shows that the terrible treatment Algerian Jews had to endure under the Vichy regime has not been forgotten. I thank the German government for making this gesture. It comes late, but not too late.”

Algeria once had one of the largest Jewish communities in the region. Around 110,000 Jews lived in the country in 1940. At the time, Algeria was a French colony and controlled by the Vichy regime, which was allied to Nazi Germany. The Vichy government enforced strict anti-Semitic laws, stripped Jews of their French citizenship and prohibited them from working in government and in certain professions. Moreover, Jewish pupils were expelled from state schools. Approximately 25,000 to 30,000 of these Jews are estimated to be still alive.

Lauder added: “The World Jewish Congress has long campaigned for the plight of Jews hailing from North Africa to be recognized by the international community. Apart from the material dimension of this decision, it is also a highly symbolic step: finally, those who suffered tremendous injustice are now being formally recognized as Nazi victims.”

Photo: World Jewish Congress meeting in Algiers in June 1952

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