Morocco yesterday retrieved from France more than 43,000 archival documents regarding Moroccan Jews.
The documents were received under an agreement signed by the Moroccan Archives Foundation in Rabat, with high-level French officials, the Anadolu Agency reported.
The head of the Moroccan Archives Foundation, Jamea Beida, said the handing over of an archive that embraces the memory of Moroccan Jews is of paramount importance and is the result of attempts since February 2013.
“The issue of Moroccan Jews has always been sensitive,” he told Anadolu, adding that the documents will help fill a big gap for Moroccan researchers.
“After the establishment of Israel in 1948, the Jewish archive was particularly sensitive and colonial states, like France or Spain, or some Moroccan Jews who decided to leave for America, Europe or Israel took the archival documents with them.”
“The foundation’s quest to retrieve the archive of Moroccan Jews is in line with the 2011 Constitution which makes the Hebrew Jewish heritage an integral part of Moroccan heritage and identity,” he added.
Meanwhile, an official in the French diplomatic archives, Jacques Frisch, said: “It is nice for Morocco to write its history and collect the archive of Moroccan Jews which is rich in culture.”
The majority of the documents obtained by Morocco date back to the late 19th century and mid-20th century.
There are no official figures on the number of Jews currently living in Morocco, but some Jewish activists estimate that there are at most 4,000 Jews.