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Oral history interview with Georges Cohen

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.234.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0766

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Georges Joseph Cohen, born on November 21, 1932 in Tunis, Tunisia, describes his two siblings; his fathe, who imported cheese and dairy products from France; living on the rue d'Isly, near the Grande Synagogue of Tunis; his family not being strictly observant; attending the Tunisian equivalent of a heder and learned the rudiments of Hebrew; belonging to a group of scouts for members of the Jewish bourgeoisie, the UUJJ (Union Universelle de la Jeunesse Juive); not attending school during one year of the German occupation; his memories of the air raids and having to seek shelter in outdoor trenches dug in a Jewish cemetery and indoor shelters at the local police station; the Vichy laws which obliged all Jews to hand over their radios to the police; how his family’s house was not requisitioned or pillaged; how the French militia, such as the Service d'ordre legionnaire (SOL), took over people's apartments and stole their belongings; the conditions for Jews in North Africa during the war, including families moving in together, crowding apartments to the bursting point; his family moving into their grandmother's apartment on the rue de Constantine with 17 other people; a cousin who had been requisitioned to work clearing debris in the port and airfield in Bizerte later told him about his experiences; how a young uncle, René Pariente, was not allowed to practice law; his father being unable to obtain products from France to sell; passing his baccalaureate exam in 1951; continuing his university studies in France to become a teacher; being a civil servant and being sent to the city of Sousse, Tunisia; the politics of being a teacher when France controlled Tunisia; the “crise de Bizerte” in 1961 and how it incited Tunisian Jews to emigrate en masse; marrying his wife (née Boccara) in 1962 at the Grande Synagogue of Tunis; moving to France; his thoughts on the history of Jews in Tunisia; remaining close to his Tunisian Jewish friends; and his two children.

Interviewee
Georges Cohen
Interviewer
Peggy Frankston
Date
2014 July 11  (interview)
Language
French
Extent
2 digital files : WAV.
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 11:24:01
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn86144