Algeria’s Jewish Question

The Jews of Algeria had lived side by side with Muslims for centuries, but the struggle for Algerian independence presented them with stark choices, as Martin Evans explains.

A Jewish family in Biskra, Algeria, early 20th centuryOn Wednesday June 22nd, 1961 the 48-year-old Jewish musician Raymond Leiris was shopping with his daughter in the crowded market of his home town, Constantine, in eastern Algeria. Suddenly, without warning, a young Muslim gunman surged forward to shoot him in the back of the neck. The defenceless Leiris was killed instantly, another victim of a round of shootings in Constantine that day, which left one Algerian woman dead and two other people seriously wounded.

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