No 135 - Fall 2018


Brigitte Benkemoun
Albert Achache; a family legend. From Tlemcen to Auschwitz

The author’s grandmother used to tell her when she was a child that her uncle “Albert” left Algeria before WWII. She told he made a fortune in Nice but, denounced by his partner a “M. Roux” he was deported and killed in Auschwitz. When she came in front of the wall of names at the Shoah Memorial in Paris the author understood that the story was more intricate than the legend.

Gilles Boulu
New sources for the genealogy of the Jews of Tunisia: the ‘Mendes Ossuna’ or ‘Ossona’ family

The author describes the new available sources which allow especially in the case of Livornese Jews of Tunis to cross the obstacle of the 18th century and go back up to the period of their installation in Leghorn and then Tunis in the 17th and 18th centuries. These include the archives of the French Consulate in Tunis and those of the Jewish community of Leghorn. Gilles Boulu illustrates his point by taking the example of the Mendes Ossuna or Ossona family to go back from the 20th century up to the Marranic period.

David Encaoua
Hispano-Maghreb transmitters of Jewish culture; the Encaouas

The article traces the historical and intellectual itinerary of four illustrious members of the Encaoua lineage, extending from the 14th to the 20th century. The city of origin of the lineage is Toledo in Spain where the first, Israel Al-Naqua, perished burned alive. His son Ephraim Al-Naqua exiled in Algeria. The life and writings of the third of these descendants in the 19th century, Abraham Ankawa, testify to the requirement of transmitting Castilian Jewish traditions. The fourth, Raphael Encaoua, became the first President of the Rabbinical High Court of Morocco during the French protectorate.

Jean-Paul Durand
Abraham Amar, the soldier on the photo

Mathilde’s family was always met with her silent. Devastated by the brutal death of her husband, who had arrived far from her native Algiers in the first months of the Great War, she had become unable to talk about him. But she had preciously kept a photo whose recent discovery allows the author to evoke a part of the life of Abraham Amar until then unknown to his descendants.

Alexander Beider
The (pseudo-)Berber origins of the Maghreb Jews

The paper deals with the theory of the existence of Judeo-Berbers mainly using onomastic arguments to state that Jews who lived in Maghreb during the last centuries partly descend from Berber proselytes. Actually, a Berber origin is only valid for one given name and several dozens of Jewish surnames from Morocco, as well as a few surnames in eastern Algeria. These names appeared in the Jewish communities that used a Berber idiom as their vernacular language. Nothing indicates that they already existed in the Middle Ages. All onomastic arguments suggested by proponents of the theory of Judeo-Berbers attempting to link these names to Berber proselytes to Judaism are untenable. From a historic viewpoint, the theory is purely speculative.

Pierre-André Meyer
The two Rogers : in memoriam WWI

The author evokes the parallel lives and genealogies of two of the last ’Poilus’ of WWI; Roger Cahen et Roger Weill. Both were born in 1896. They lived throughout three centuries till 2003 for one of them and 2006 for the other. A tribute on the occasion of the centenary of the Armistice of November 11 1918.


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