1934 Constantine Pogrom

The 1934 Constantine pogrom was an anti-Jewish riot that erupted in the Algerian city of Constantine.[1][2][3]

1934 Constantine pogrom
LocationConstantine, French Algeria
DateAugust 3–6, 1934
TargetAlgerian Jews
Deaths34 Jews


The cause of the Constantine pogrom has been debated for some time. What everyone seems to agree on is that the initial cause of the conflict was a confrontation between Eliahou Khalifa, a Jewish Zouave, and Muslim worshippers in a mosque next to his home. The Muslims said that Khalifa was drunk, and insulted Islam. A report by the Jewish authorities claimed he was not intoxicated, and that after getting into an argument with them, they had cursed his faith and he cursed them and their faith back.[3] The French colonial authorities only reported the Muslim version of events, which most scholars believe is responsible for inciting the pogrom.[4]

The background of the tension between Jews and Muslims in the city was rooted in the different manner in which Jews and Muslims has been treated in the Algerian state by the French colonial government.[5]

Contemporary reporting

JTA reported on August 8, 1934:

A scene of utter desolation and horror, of Jewish girls with their breasts cut off, of little children with numerous knife wounds and of whole families locked in their homes and burned to death, was described by a Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent, who succeeded in reaching this city today.

"It will take days before the world will obtain a true picture of all the atrocities committed by the Arabs during the pogrom on the Jewish quarter," the correspondent wired.

"The only comparison I can think of is the Palestine riots of 1929. I found Jewish girls with their breasts cut off, greybearded Jews stabbed to death, little Jewish children dead of numerous knife wounds and whole families locked in their homes and burned to death by the rioters."

"Just as in Palestine in 1929, the lists of the dead and injured run into the hundreds with no official estimates available. The hospitals are filled with Jewish victims and the doors of the hospitals are besieged with half-crazed wives and mothers seeking to ascertain whether their loved ones are among the dead or injured, or whether they succeeded in escaping the pogrom bands".[6]

See also


  1. ^ Sharon Vance (10 May 2011). The Martyrdom of a Moroccan Jewish Saint. BRILL. p. 182. ISBN 90-04-20700-7. Muslim anti Jewish riots in Constantine in 1934 when 34 Jews were killed
  2. ^ Stein, Rebecca (July 13, 2005). Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture. Duke University Press Books. p. 237.
  3. ^ a b Levy, Richard (May 24, 2005). Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 139. Between August 3 and 5, 1934, Muslim mobs went on a rampage in the Algerian city of Constantine, attacking Jews and Jewish property. In the attack, 25 Jewish men, women, and children were killed, most from having their throats cut or their skulls crushed, and 26 more were injured, according to official statistics. More than 200 Jewish-owned stores were ransacked. The total property damage to homes, businesses, and synagogues was estimated at over 150 million Poincare francs. Some 3,000 people, one-quarter of Constantine's Jewish population, were in need of welfare assistance in the aftermath of the pogrom. During the rampage, anti-Jewish incidents were recorded in the countryside of the Department of Constantine, extending over a 100-kilometer radius. Jews were murdered in Hamma and Mila, and in Ain Beida, Jewish homes and businesses were looted. During much of the rioting, the French police and security forces stood by and did little or nothing to stop the rioters.
  4. ^ Samuel Kalman,The Extreme Right in Interwar France: The Faisceau and the Croix de Feu, Ashgate Publishing 2008 pp.210ff.
  5. ^ Constantine before the riots of August 1934: Civil status, anti-Semitism, and the politics of assimilation in interwar French Algeria, Joshua Cole: "The anti-Semitic riots of 3–5 August 1934 in Constantine should be understood both as a long-term result of the colonial order's civic exclusions, and against the background of shifts in local politics following the 1919 reforms of the electoral process. After these reforms, Jewish citizens and Muslim colonial subjects found that the terms of their inclusion in the political process drove them into different alliances with the colonial state and its local representatives, exacerbating tensions between Muslims and Jews in the city. T"
  6. ^ "Algeria Riots Checked". Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
History of the Jews in Algeria

The History of the Jews in Algeria refers to the history of the Jewish community of Algeria, which dates to the 1st century CE. In the 15th century, many Spanish Jews emigrated to Algeria following expulsion from Spain and Portugal; among them were respected Jewish scholars, including Isaac ben Sheshet (Ribash) and Simeon ben Zemah Duran (Rashbatz).Algeria won its independence in 1962, and by the Nationality Code of 1963 denied citizenship to all non-Muslims. Algeria's Jews, most of whom had been entitled to French citizenship since 1870, left with the pied-noirs. The vast majority moved to France, and the rest moved to Israel. Those who remained resided mostly in Algiers, while some settled in Blida, Constantine, and Oran.

In the 1990s, the trials of the Algerian Civil War led most of the remaining Jews to emigrate. In 1994, the rebel Armed Islamic Group's 1994 declaration of war on all non-Muslims in the country was a decisive event for Jews remaining in Algeria. That year, Algerian Jews abandoned their last synagogue, the Great Synagogue of Algiers.

Today, most Jews in France are of North African origin, and consequently, most of the recent immigration from France to Israel are Jews of North African origin.

Timeline of antisemitism in the 20th century

This timeline of antisemitism chronicles the facts of antisemitism, hostile actions or discrimination against Jews as a religious or ethnic group, in the 20th century. It includes events in the history of antisemitic thought, actions taken to combat or relieve the effects of antisemitism, and events that affected the prevalence of antisemitism in later years. The history of antisemitism can be traced from ancient times to the present day.

For events specifically pertaining to the expulsion of Jews, see Jewish refugees.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Roman Catholic Church adhered to a distinction between "good antisemitism" and "bad antisemitism". The "bad" kind promoted hatred of Jews because of their descent. This was considered un-Christian because the Christian message was intended for all of humanity regardless of ethnicity; anyone could become a Christian. The "good" kind criticized alleged Jewish conspiracies to control newspapers, banks, and other institutions, to care only about accumulation of wealth, etc. Many Catholic bishops wrote articles criticizing Jews on such grounds, and, when accused of promoting hatred of Jews, would remind people that they condemned the "bad" kind of antisemitism.

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