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Oral history interview with Robert Berrebi

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.235.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0768

Benjamin Robert Berrebi, born September 3, 1934 in Sfax, Tunisia, describes being the youngest of a family of six children; his father, Victor, who was a wholesale merchant; the city of Sfax and how its socio-economic divisions; how his family was well-to-do and lived in the European sections on the rue des Belges; how his family was pious and celebrated Shabbat; attending synagogue; receiving religious instruction and learning Hebrew from the Rabbi David Guez; attending school at the Alliance Israélite Universelle and not having much contact with non-Jewish children his age; his family getting along with their non-Jewish neighbors until the war when some neighbors displayed far-right inclinations; his father’s experiences with antisemitism; how his family considered themselves Tunisian and not French or Italian, although they had neither passports nor identity cards; his views on the war in Tunisia; his memories of rationing; taking shelter from the nightly air raids in a warehouse in his neighborhood and his mother praying in Hebrew most of the night; his mother’s refusal to leave Sfax; how when every other building on their street had been destroyed, the family left for the country to a place called Bourj El Khemakhem; Montgomery’s troops liberating Tunisia; an American Jewish soldier came to his family’s house and wanted to propose to one of his sisters; how the Jews of Tunisia made sure that Jewish soldiers in the Allied forces were welcome; returning to school; seeing the destruction of his fahter’s warehouse; his father’s death in 1948; how his family gradually left Sfax in 1956 when Tunisia declared its independence from France; and how Tunisia never recognized the family’s ownership of their property.

Robert Berrebi
Peggy Frankston
interview:  2014 April 08
2 digital files : WAV.
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:27:52
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