Libya The Jews Museum Newsletter Testimonies
Home
Information
Help
  Back to Testimonies
 
Testimony

Full Text:

LYDIA:

You want me to talk now? There was one day, [H] OK [A] I want to talk only about the pogrom. They came to say that for four hours they told the Arabs they could kill the Jews.

Interviewer: This is in Amros.

This is in Amros. We started laughing. And my mother, our home was always full of Arabs, she sewed for them. I was small and said they will come and hurt us? I will pour on them gasoline. You know, the other house they came in, our house was the first, so my brother said I will not remain in the house. My mother told him no, the Arabs like us. He told her you want to stay, stay, [H] but [A] I am not staying. And you know, my mother, they used to love their boys/sons a lot, she followed him, she was worried about him. So we went, I went to the house of my aunt, and I see all men, where are the women? I asked my aunt, where are the women, the girls, auntie; she said here they are. I started laughing. They made "zhafer" (moustache?) and they were dressed like men. I asked them why did you do this? They said so the Arabs don't come to sleep with us, and make us suffer, the men they don't do anything to them. [H] They had a purpose [A] I see my brothers holding one [H] iron [A] one [H] preparing [A] one [H] boiling oil [A] on top, [H] how do you say roof [H] each one [A] at his post. We were waiting, came evening, then came [H] how do you call him [A] Braham, Braham, he was in the [H] police [A] the son of the aunt of my mother; he came to him Kartsini, he said Braham, put all the Jews in the Synagogue. Braham was very wise. He did not want to do that. What did they do? They went to Synagogue first. Came that Kartsini with his hands full of blood, he came to Braham. Braham Bahelet, they called him. He said why didn't you put them? He said because your hands are full of blood, why should I put them? He wasn't afraid. Then at night we hear screaming, from every house, screaming, screaming, screaming, everyone screaming. They arrived at our house, the house of my aunt. They started knocking down the house; my brother was pouring the boiling oil on the Arabs so they started screaming. So they took a bomb and threw it at him. His skin became all...from the bomb, they took him to the hospital, it became morning, we went out. You saw, there was a little boy, [she is crying], they gouged his eyes. A little boy, they gouged his eyes then they killed his mother. In front of his mother. And one, her father and her brother they saw this and threw themselves in the well. What a night they did. They slept with her, they rolled her in a straw carpet, she and her mother, they poured gas on her and burned her. They went to another house, the house of the mother-n-law of my sister, they put in a stick from the mouth till the bottom, and they tied her dog to her hand so that he could eat her. What they did, what they did. They killed the man and the woman and threw them in the well.

Interviewer: You saw this?

I saw all of them. I cannot forget. It is difficult. What can I tell you, you saw the whole thing, the vandalism, they took money, the homes, they took everything of the Jews. You saw the little children dead, a woman dead with her baby at her breast, dead.

Interviewer: How many Jews were there in Amros.

[H] Truly [A] I do not know. [H] But [A] A few, not many; [H] But, [A] they came in...Then we heard [F] the airplane [A] when they heard [F] the plane [A] the Arabs fled. In the morning, the Arabs said that they all had a rash on their skin, they were itchy, they said this is their sin for what they did against the Jews, their sin.

Interviewer: Whose was the plane?

The plane from [H] the British, [A] the British are the ones who gave them permission. In the morning they told the Jews you were [H] the guilty ones, I do not know how to say it in Arabic [A] you are the ones who gave them four hours. There was there a soldier from Israel, a Jews.

Interviewer: there were soldiers from Israel before the pogroms?

I really don't know if it was the first or second pogrom, there were three pogroms. First time in Amros, the second time in Tripoli. I was alone in the house, my brothers were out fighting the Arabs. I was alone in the house. There was an Arab woman upstairs, now I am mixing one conversation with another. I did not finish the other. So they buried the people, and they were yelling, and crying, they brought us the Kushim (Ethiopians?) to protect us. And I was afraid of the Kushim. I was one year with a stomach ache, sick. [Cries]. Then that ended and the British came to help us a lot, even the Jews they helped a lot.

Interviewer: Was there anyone that came to the defense of the Jews?

There were, they helped, but I forgot how you call them?

Interviewer: The British?

No, [H] the English [A] they are the ones who gave them, they gave them for hours in which to kill the Jews. Four hours, they gave them to kill.

Interviewer: How do you know that they were given four hours.

The Arabs, they came to tell us. Yes, there were good Arabs, why should one lie. They said take care of yourselves, there are some [A] infiltrators [H] terrorists [A] who are coming to kill the Jews. We started laughing, we said [H] what is this [A] we did not believe it. We said they were faking.

Interviewer: So the Arabs knew, the British gave them

Four hours, four hours

Interviewer: And they did all these things to the Jews in four hours. Then the British came.

[H] Yes, the English, came the [F] plane, [H] they had a signal , if comes the [F] plane [A] they escape. [H] But [A] even the Jews they threw on them gasoline, threw on them a lot [H] of problems we had, but we did not have arms. [A] We did not have weapons, we did not know that these things would happen. [H] OK, this was before. [A] Then we went to Tripoli. All of us escaped. We left our homes and we fled to Tripoli. We stayed in Tripoli. During the week of the Holy days, they told us the Arabs were coming to kill the Jews.

Interviewer: Which Holy day.

[A] The holy day of Shavuot, [H] I think. [A] They said they were going to kill the Jews. The Arabs came in, but the Jews defended themselves. There was the Haganah of Israel, it was helping also. [H] But [A] when the British saw that the Jews were going to help, they put them in prison and they locked them up. [H] But [A] one came dressed in the uniform of the Haganah, they just had to say the Haganah of Israel, and all the Arabs escaped; they were afraid. [H] But [A] first they were killing the Jews, even the Jews, the Jews attacked and the Arabs attacked, they taught them, they taught them to use the arms, the Jews, those Jewish [H] soldiers, [A] so they started attacking also.

Interviewer: I believe the women/girls also.

Yes, the women/girls the men/boys, all, all, all. We all went out attacking, killing, we held them, we [inaudible] and we put one in the trash, they killed him. [Crying] [H] Very difficult. [A] Difficult, difficult, difficult. [H] What can one do? [A] They made them suffer a lot.

Interviewer: Before what happened in Amros, they were nice to Jews, right?

[H] Yes, [A] there was nothing, they just heard that there was war here [Israel] [H] that there was killing [A] that they killed [H] they said that the Jews killed, but [A] the Jews did not kill [H] Lebanon [A] killed the Arabs. They killed us, they made us suffer, they sabotaged a lot. They killed 45 people in the Weekly market, 45 Jews right by [H] the police [A] right by the English police, they killed them; and they did not do anything to them. As they saw this, they started attacking themselves. But in Tripoli they killed only four, and they killed 3 or 4 Arabs. Twenty five were in [H] the Hospital. I [A] was there. My mother was in Tarhona, she was not in our house, and I was alone. My brothers were fighting the Arabs, they were with the Haganah. I saw one that they had put in a cart, not a cart a "caraton", do you know what a caraton is? [H] This is like a carriage [A] and his stomach was all open, his intestines were all out in the open. [H] I [A] I saw, I could not see, I was just crying, trembling. The Arab woman from upstairs came and said to me 'my child, don't be afraid, I will watch over you, don't be frightened, don't be frightened." But I was afraid, there was no one. Everyone escaped. I was the only one left in the house. They were living upstairs, they were living downstairs, and Arabs here and Arabs there, [H] but [A] the Arab woman from upstairs she came down and she said to me don't be afraid [H] really [A] the truth. She took very good care of me.

Interviewer: And no one hurt you, they left you alone.

No, they could not come, the Jews were fighting against them. They could not come. If the British did not lock them up in prison, they would have finished them all off.

Interviewer: This is [H] the second.

[A] This is the [H] second. [A] I did not know the [H] third. The third [A] was light, they killed, they kept two Jews, there were Jews I do not know their names, they got very angry that they killed 45 Jews. They took two Arabs and killed them. They put them in the [H] machine [A] they killed them. [H] What is one to do.

Interviewer: [A] And this is the life that you remember.

Too much, too much. I said G-d, one should come so I can tell them. The times of Germany. Ah, we had steps, the daughters, my mother, wanted to build steps and they said they would put all the males so that the Germans would not kill us. They would make a hole. And we were small kids, we were happy, they would make a little room for us and all the kids would be together. They said the Germans were coming. The Germans can marry off a brother with a sister, the older ones became afraid, they started praying, praying to G-d so that none of this would happen. At night the Germans came, and even with this we heard screaming. What happened? The Germans went to the girls, they wanted the girls, they did not stay there long. They made [H] camp [A] so that they would (clean?) to kill us. Then, Thursday night I remember, [H] the Americans [A] came, they took them out. There was a war, the bomb would fall in front of us and we were outside playing and laughing. We weren't afraid. We had, I was living next to the market, the Weekly market, and the soldiers were all there, you would see them, they were fatigued, miserable, tired, dirty; one's heart broke seeing them like that.

Interviewer: And how were the [H] Italians? [A] Because before the [H] British [A] there were the [H] Italians.

[H] The Italians [A] fought against the Arabs, and they escaped.

Interviewer: And were they good with the Jews, the [H] Italians?

No, they were [H] there was not, you know, we did not have [inaudible, maybe dealings?] with them. [A] They did not do anything to us. But they fought against the Arabs and they left, they escaped. We got happy, everyone left. We were left with the Arabs, [H] after [A] one year after [H] the war [A] they did to us [H] I think it was the year 1925, they did this war, no, not the war, the pogroms. [A] I do not know how long between the pogroms to the WWII. Poor things, many Jews died during the war. People hid in the synagogue, they threw a bomb there, they all died. All the ones in the synagogue, in Tripoli, there was a very big synagogue.

Interviewer: Who threw the bomb?

The British, it was war, they did not know. They threw a bomb and all died, poor things. You know, during the war, this one his brother died, this one his father died, this one his uncle died. [H] I remember all, all. [A] Then after the [H] WWII [A] the Tripolitanians escaped from Tripoli, and they came to Amros. You know, a house like this would live in it, [H] eight, nine families [A] together. And we loved each other, they loved us, we loved them. They would stay up with us in the evening, telling us stories, jokes, we were all like one family.

Interviewer: Do you remember one of the stories? Tell me one.

What is that tale. I told it [H] to my husband also. [A] A big [H] book [A] look, from the time they came till they left they would read us from that [H] book. [A] My sister, said to him, give me that [H] book. [A] He gave it to her. I forgot its name, oh [H] a thousand and one night. Yes, yes a thousand and one night. [A] He told us, joked with us. [H] But [A] my father did not take from them money, not even a cent did he take. He said you came as refugees, you are our guests. [H] In truth [A] they stayed with us for two years, he did not take even a cent from them. My father came from a far away city, he was in Tarhona, in Benghazi, he went around from town to town, they came to bring dates, flour, wheat, and the Arabs came and they brought everything. And we were waiting for my father. We were waiting, why did he not come? A man came and he talked with a neighbor of ours and said [H] they hit him (by car) and he is in the hospital. [A] I went to see him. We found him [H] like that, like [inaudible]. [A] After 8 days, poor man, died.

Interviewer: How is it that they hit him by car, [H] the Germans? [A] What did he do?

I don't know. I don't know. They said they hit him. I did not see it. And my poor mother, was working, she had seven sons, she was working with the sewing machine, to raise her children, until she, we came to Tripoli. My brother started a shoe store, and the other started a store selling foods, and we lived, [H] thank G-d [A] then came one and said if you want to go to Israel, [H] but [A] you have to give 30,000 each. We gave my youngest brother, Brami, 30,000. And he went. They held him. The Arabs, held him, they imprisoned him, they hit him, and he returned, they returned him to the house. So he said do you want to go? I said I want to go also. My brother got angry. You go, I will go with you. I said I don't know, whatever they say, do. How do I know. {H] Truthfully [A] they took care of both of us. They took us to Zletin, I don't know, one of those cities. We remained there two days. I really don't know, maybe [H] one and half days [A] I don't know. We waited and waited and waited. Came evening and they put us in a taxi. The Arabs stopped us on the road. So they gave them the money. They let us go. They got us into a big garage, and we were waiting by the sea. I was crazy, I wanted my brother to go ahead of me, because they stopped him once, I was heartbroken, I thought he goes, then I go. So people were going and going. And I was calling, Brami, Brami, I did not find him. And I do not know how to swim. But I said I will swim. I went, and went and went, as if G-d was holding my hand, to the sea, until I reached the [H] ship. [A] I went on, I searched for my brother, he was not there. I started crying. My bother, my brother [H] I [inaudible, perhaps I fainted] [A] in the morning I found my brother next to me. [Laughs]. We suffered in the [H] ship, [A] the water was coming from here and from there, the water was coming from here and from there; we ere dying. We arrived at [H] this village [A] we were hungry, [H] we did not have food [A] one had one bread, he shared it, some got some others did not. [H] Good, [A] now what do we do? We went out and started shouting [I] help, help, help [H] where is [I] the help? [A] There was no one. [Laughs]. Two men took a bicycle and went to a place Serdina [H] it is called. As they went in the police stopped them, [A] the police. They said what do you want? They said we came from Tripoli and we do not know where to go. The police came, they brought us a car, they took us to a city, I do not know it. They gave us bread, they gave us sardines. We ate them.

Interviewer: These were [H] Italians? [H] Italians. [A] Then where did they take us, we were many, they spread hay on the ground and we slept on the hay. [H] How many days, truthfully [A] I do not know how many. One week, two weeks, I do not know. They were, [H] truthfully [A] they were good to us, and they started crying, crying, crying, [H] you have luck, [A] how did you get here, it was cold, that you did not drown in the sea. They were all crying [H] really. [A] I do not forget. They took us to the city, [H] truthfully [A] I do not know its name. We stayed there almost a year, in Italy. [H] after Roma [A] I do not know where. Big buildings. I do not know where. I started cooking. What do I have to do, I started cooking for the men. My brother took the money and bought vegetables, meat.

Interviewer: Where did you have money?

From them. They gave us 300 Francs every day. I cook. They fought over the "drush" (steps?) they did not want to do them. I told them don't worry, I will do them. When they saw I was doing them, they said they would give me the money. I said I do not want the money. What do I have to do? We are just eating and drinking, sitting. So they gave us. They gave us money. I made the steps? I made mafrum, and couscous and macaroni, and I made...and we lived like brothers. My sister left, Nomi. She sent me a letter saying it was not good.

Interviewer: In Israel?

[Laughs] in Israel. I said what do I do, good not good, this is our land. After what I saw in Tripoli I do not want any country, I just want the land of the Jews. We went [H] really, after Pesah a week, I remember, after exactly one year a Pesah and one week I got married, also [A] there was a [H] young man, they say? [A] who knew my sister. My sister came a long time before, by bus here.

Interviewer: How, from Tripoli?

From Tripoli she went to Egypt, from Egypt she came to Israel by autobus. Before us, with a child and she was pregnant. And she lived in Zihron Yakov. This young man she knew from Zihron Yakov. I did not like him. The day of the wedding I escaped. Where did I escape? I escaped to "Bet Lid." They were looking for me with [H] the police, loudspeaker [laughs]. So we got married, thank G-d [A] we have 6 children. [H] But [A] it was good, in Italy it was good. Here, [points to a picture] here they are, all of these here were in Italy. These were the Haganah. You know, we used to go out, girls and boys, and in Tripoli there used to be a faucet Asmalli, faucet, [H] called [A] the faucet of Asmalli. The boys used to go there and they used to slip envelopes, and we were not aware of this. And when the Arabs found out, they chased them away. But, a friend of mine liked one of them. When he ran away, she cried, she became sick, "he is no good, he is untrustworthy" but the poor guy, he got scared, he ran away. When I went to Italy I saw him there. He told me the story. There they were afraid to say anything, but when I went to Italy, he told all. Wen I went to Italy. He told the story that he was part of the Haganah, that he communicated with Israel [H] like a detective, yes [A] there were [H] many [A] there were many.

Interviewer: Did your whole family come here?

No, I came on my own.

Interviewer: You came on your own, but your sister was here first. No, you came with your brother.

Ys, my sister went on her own , Nomi, then I went by myself, then my brother got upset and he came with me. Then, my older brother, Zaki, and my mother and my sister Giulia came with the ship, normal, [H] normal, but [A] we escaped. We suffered a lot. But we had no fear. We were happy. We wanted to come to Israel.

Interviewer: How was life in Amros.

Our life was all in Amros. We survived. We ate and drank. Money there wasn't [laughs]. My mother used to work from morning till night. My father used to work, and for six months he used to be away. And we lived. We had a big house, it had 7 rooms. We used to have "sania"?, they used to bring us the vegetables. B"H, we lived.

Interviewer: How did you do Shabbat and holy days.

[H] Nice [A] We were all in family, our grandparents, our 'n laws. We cooked, they cooked, and we did the holy days together, always.

Interviewer: And did you have synagogues?

[H] Yes, of course, of course [A] there were synagogues.

[Tape I, Side B]

The Arabs, if they saw a Jew on a bicycle would say, you "wald lAhram (literally: 'son of sins': one who commits sins), you are on a bicycle, you Jew, you desecrate the Shabbat? They used to hit him. [H] Truthfully [A] the Jews were very [H] observant. [A] Here it is not the same. [H] Even though [A] my children, I do like our country, we do Shabbat, blessings, the table. My son who is married to a Christian [H] Mom, we pray there [A] I have friends there who are Jews, [H] living in Norway. Friends, we pray together, we do the holy days. We do everything together. He has [H] the love of religion. Yes. [A] My daughter Shoshi [H] was 10 years in the US . They sent them from Israel, her husband. Her husband works at Bank Leumi, economy. [A] My son also was sent the Army so they learn arms. It is a secret. You know, once a [H] Jew there [A] died [H] from the arms, [A] and my son was there, but he did not tell us.

Interviewer: So, your children are all here except Yosi.

[H] Yosi is in Norway. He lives there. The rest in Israel.

[A] Interviewer: And you saw all this with your eyes.

With my eyes. With my eyes, I saw.

Interviewer: How did you see this. Were you hiding?

Hiding? How could I hide. I was wailing, screaming. Ay, ay, ay, this is Heria, this is Toma, this is my sister's mother-n-law, this one...

Interviewer: Weren't you afraid that they would do something to you?

No, they escaped, there were no longer Arabs. The next day. At night we did not go out.

Interviewer: You were young? How old were you?

I do not know, [H] but [A] I was so, little.

Interviewer: You were still a child?

Yes, I was prepubescent. Very difficult, very difficult. They made us suffer, and they make us suffer. They never want to make peace with us. They always want to make us suffer. I think that they never will get along with us.

Interviewer: why?

They don't like us. Why? I do not know why. They are envious [H] They have envy. [A] What did we do to them? Why don't they like us. We used to live with them [H] like sultans [A] we did not do anything to them. Everyone goes his way. I always ask, why, [H] all the world [A] does not like us. Why? Laughs] I do not know why. I have this [H] question. [A] Why? [Sigh]. Last night I was with my brothers, we had the memorial of my mother. My mother has been dead already 40 years. We were all together, the siblings. It was nice, not.

Interviewer: It was 40 years ago?

I was pregnant with the twins, in 1938.

Interviewer: She died here, in Israel.

[H] In 1938.

Interviewer: Many years without parents.

[A] Yes, but I was in a good place, I got married, already before my mother died. I had Ari, Shoshi, and Tamar, and I was pregnant with the twins.

Interviewer: Did your children ask you how life was?

Thank G-d, you know, the Tripolitanians, I used to sew on my own, from one to the other, I used to sew for, I was in a good place.

Interviewer: Your children, did they want to know your story?

I never told them. I never wanted to tell them anything that would hurt their heart. [H] But [A] it is not good. It is important to repeat everything. This, the daughter of my daughter, has a test, I repeated to her everything. And the daughter of my sister received 100 on this assignment. My sister, we left her in Tripoli. We came. She was little. There was an Arab who always came by. He liked Jews. He came over to visit us. This is what my sister said. I do not know. She said that as they were talking he pulled out a knife.

Interviewer: What did he want to do with the knife?

I do not know. This is what she said.

Interviewer: Then what happened?

She escaped. She told my mother. And my mother was angry with him. Why did you pull the knife on her?

Interviewer: What did he say?

I do not know, I do not know.

Interviewer: He wanted to harm her?

Could be. Or he wanted her to run away with him? They used to kidnap...You were born in Israel?

Interviewer: No, Benghazi.

Oh, not Tripoli.

Interviewer: They used to take the

The girls, they used to take the girls. [H] The Arabs [A] ad you know, the Jews used to tear their cloths (sign of mourning) if a girl ran away with an Arab. This is how strong... I had a neighbor who went with an Arab. It was like someone died. Her father and mother ripped their clothes. Than G-d she returned home. After another day, he came by and took her again.

Interviewer: Then what happened to her?

She married his. She stayed with him. And the husband of my sister, the older, Esther, his sister married an Arab. We went to them, they said come with us, the family is going to Israel. She said no, I love him. I am not going with you. She did not listen.

Interviewer: Did many marry Arabs?

No, it was not many. A few. We used to have like non-kosher meat, the Arabs, we did not, they used to get in our heads, be careful, watch out.

Interviewer: Only women married Arab men, not the men who married Arab women?

No, not the men. I don't know. What I heard, I tell you. [H] But [A] what I didn't [H] I don't know [A] I know just two. One went with a [H] Christian [A] she used to go by our home, in Tripoli, because we lived in Tripoli, she used to go out with him, you know, they talked about her a lot.

Interviewer: Did she marry him?

I do not know. [H] Really [A] I don't know. They did not want them to marry with Christians, here it is [H] free, they get married.

Interviewer: Are you happy that you left Libya?

Now, when I remember, my heart aches. I say, why didn't we fight. This was our country. We were there [H] 2,000 + years. We are like cats, [A] we are the jackasses. Look how much they fight, and we left everything and came here. Why? OK this is our country [H] OK, but [A] why didn't we fight against the Arabs, to stay in our country. Everyone escaped, from Morocco, from Tunis, from Algiers, everyone escaped, from Egypt. Why? We only knew Tripoli as our country. Sometimes I remember and my heart aches. If I could I would kill them all. [H] Really. [A] we have a heart [H] the blood of a turnip, [A] the blood of a turnip.

Interviewer: But you said the Tripolitanians...

OK [H] OK, but [A] we came here all of us. They did it the first time, the second time and the third time. If we were strong against them, they would not have done it once. From the first day that they came to kill in Amros [H] also [A] in Sharona, in [H] many [A] cities they did this, in your city also, no? Do you know? They made us suffer a lot. And we still go to them, and we like them, and we speak with them. We have no heart, we don't have a heart (here probably courage). I start remembering, at times I cannot sleep at night, I say why are we like that, why aren't we strong. We want to be [H] good, for what good? It doesn't come to them for us to be good.

Interviewer: [A] How do you feel when you hear now that an Arab is killing...

Oh, oh, oh [H] I don't want to remember this, I already saw with my eyes, even though I did not see that they killed him, I saw what they did to him. [A] What they did to him, how they tore him, how they killed him, how they made him suffer. They have no heart, heart they don't have. I call them Hitler. The Arabs [H] are like Hitler. I think that Hitler came from Arabs, not [A] from Christians. [H] What can one do?

Interviewer: [A] You did not go to Giado, you weren't there.

No, no, I don't know [H] even though, [A] I told you from Tripoli, two were friends of mine, we went around together, one was called Luli, and the other Ghita, we used to talk, I wanted her to leave, because we escaped on a Saturday. They did not want to leave. I said to her, Luli, I am sorry, I am a bit tired, go home and then come back. When she came back, my mother sent me a letter saying that she was very upset with me, why I did not confide in her. But that was a [H] secret, [A] I could not tell her that we were escaping. It hurt her a lot that I went away. Because we were like sisters, she and I.

Interviewer: Did many come with you from Tripoli?

[H] Of course [A] many came. They came with small children, poor things, they suffered. They were crying, one they closed his mouth so that he would not cry. We suffered, we suffered [inaudible] G-d. One I was on [H] a trip, in Turkey [A] and I started telling them what happened to us in Tripoli, one of them got very upset saying you are lying, you are lying, you saw nothing [H] in which year, tell me. [A] And he was yelling at me. I got scared of him.

Interviewer: Jewish?

I don't know, Jews, of course a Jew. He got upset why I said that? But one must say. Look at the Arabs, nothing happens to them, and everyday they talk about [H] what the Jews do. [A] Why we don't talk [H] even if [A] now they bring a knife to kill me, I will tell. I cannot. This has stayed in my heart [H] till today, this. [A] How they made them suffer, how they burned the people, how they gouged their eyes, how, and that who gouged his eyes was a friend, he was with them like a brother. Why? There is no [H] no trust with Arabs, there isn't.

Interviewer: [A] Where is this one, do you still know him?

They killed him, he and his mother, they were dead, they killed them.

Interviewer: Did they do anything to the women, did they sleep with them?

That's what they told me. I did not see. They said they slept with her and burned her. I found her burned with her mother, wrapped in a rattan rug. I was a little girl, I just heard what people said.

Interviewer: But you said you saw in the morning.

I saw them wrapped up and burned. [H] but [A] how can I see that he slept with her. [Sigh] People [H] got depression, [A] all of them, like crazy ones. All of them crying, all of them yelling, all [H] with ?. [A ] The money thrown on the ground, the gold, [H] property [A] they looted, they ran away, and it fell from them. But in the [H] second pogrom [A] they did not kill as much as they looted. They looted a lot. Did the Jews do this? [H] Pity [A] my brother-n-law (husband of my sister) wanted to come over, but he is not feeling well, he could not come. He left me some [H] writing [A] I don't know where [H] really [A] he tells the story of [H] they call him Rafi [A] him. From my family. He was also [H] with the Haganah, he was [A] he was. {H] He lives in Hadera. Too bad that you do not have time. You should go there. Yes. Too bad [A] we did not talk to see what you want. [Interruption, called him to talk to me, but there was no answer]. He was with them in the Haganah.

Interviewer: Jews of Libya went with the Haganah?

[H] Yes, yes, [A] they taught them how to use arms, and they taught them a lot of things, yes, when they became aware of them and wanted to get them, they go four Jews and locked them up. But these escaped. Yitzah knows a lot about the Tripolitanians. He was with them, in the middle of it. [Interruption, so we do not know who 'he" was] he was very good, he liked the Jews, we liked him a lot in Amros, it happened in the time of the German, he was an Arab, he went to Germany, when he came we were very happy. He, went, and returned, he [H] certainly [A] he saw how they killed the Jews, he could not look at us, he could not.

Interviewer: He did not help you?

Not that he did not help, he was not comfortable in his heart, they killed the Jews, and he came, and we were good with him, I don't forget the look in his eye, he did like this with his eyes [lower hear, look down].

Interviewer: Lowered

He lowered his head. He liked us a lot. People came, they wanted to teach us Hebrew. They gathered us all, and [H] truthfully [A] we started learning. Alef, Bet. I was so happy that I was learning.

Interviewer: From where did these people come?

They were Jews, our Jews, they wanted to teach us Hebrew. So the Arabs came, took them and imprisoned them. One, G-d bless him, as soon as they told him one word, he put it in his head. He was a [H] great learned man (haham).

Interviewer: [A] This is before the pogroms?

I really don't know [H] I think so, perhaps. Yes [A] it was in Amros, this. (You did not eat). They did not wasn't us to learn. They were always after us not to learn. They wanted us to stay stupid. They did not want us to learn. They imprisoned them, they made them suffer. And we used to learn behind their backs. They used to hide us in the "Mahsan" like an (attic), they put them there. I did not go. They did not teach us, OK. [H] But [A] there were boys who wanted to learn and they went. They put them in the [H] cellar [A] and they learned. [H] Of course [A] the Jews of Tripoli knew these things.

Interviewer: The men in Amros, could they read?

Yes, they knew. They studied Torah. From the Synagogue.

Interviewer: Who taught them? The Jews, the [H] learned men. [A] They went to learn. The men had to learn, [laughs], we didn't. [H] But [A] my sister was alert, Nomi. She went to school on her own. She was a little girl. She went to learn. I wanted [H] house neatness [A] I could not leave the house and go.

Interviewer: She went to school...

Italian. [H] yes, Italian.

Interviewer: With Italian and Arab kids?

[A] This I do not know. [H] really [A] I don't know; [H] for sure together. Hard. [A] Their heart was always evil, [A] they did not want to us to be organized, but we did not know that their heart was like that. [Interruption] They fought well, even without arms. [H] Of course.

Interviewer: [A] Even without [H] arms?

[A] Without [H] arms, [A] without anything. We did not know anything. They fought with hot oil. They threw on them 'hjar?'. They were not inactive. But what did they do? [H] They did nothing.

Interviewer: [A] Who, [H] the Jews of Germany?

Yes, what did they do? [A] Why the Jews, we. [H] We were OK. [A] Then [H] for the second, [A] all the men went.

Interviewer: And women. And girls, small girls, poor things, I remember they were running [H] in the streets, [A] and the Arabs got scared of them and ran away. I couldn't believe it. The girls and boys running, happy.

Interviewer: Did they kill some of them?

[H] Two [A] they killed, then they killed 45 more, the Weekly market near our house.

Interviewer: And why didn't they fight then?

They caught them by surprise. If you are standing, do you know what I am going to do to you? I don't know. And the soldier was there, of the English, in front of the English they killed them. Yes. My nephew, the son of my sister, sold our house, sold our [H] land. [A] My nephews was in Israel, he was [H] brave. He went to Tripoli, he sold the house and he sold [H] the land [A] and he went back to Tripoli.

Interviewer: Who bought them?

The one who worked for us, he bought them.

Interviewer: And he knew why you were selling them?

[H] Of course [A] he knew, and [H] surely [A] he too killed.

Interviewer: Did he know that you ere going to

We went, we were here. My sister is just 22 years in Israel, Sarona. Her son was [H] brave [A] he went to Tripoli, he sold and returned.

Interviewer: And the Arabs knew that you were going to Israel?

No, they did not know about us, we escaped, [H] but [A] then it was opened, the Aliyah, [H] of course [A] they knew.

Interviewer: When they bought the house from you.

Hiding from the police. They went the Jews, and some were killed. My nephew took everything. He asked ask for the title to deeds. We do not want their money. My mother said we want nothing from them.

Interviewer: How do you feel now giving them land.

I don't want to. My son says [H] never mind, Nissim. Give them. No, you did not feel what we had felt. Where is [A] our money, [H] where is our land, where [A] our goods [H] where all our lives we were there [A] everything they took, and we say nothing. We, it's OK. We are [H] garbage by them. It bothers me that they do everything, they always put the guilt on us. We are not right, not them. When I talk with Arabs, I worked with Arabs, in the old age home, they says I don't care, go to Libya to talk about your rights [laughs] [A] And when there is a war, they all come like that [H] together [A] the Arabs.
 
  Top
 
 
 
[ Libya] [The Jews] [ Museum] [ Newsletter] [ Testimonies]
[Home] [ Information] [Help]
Copyright VR Films LLC. All rights reserved. For additional information, please contact me.
Best viewed with a JavaScript compatible browser (Netscape 3 and over or Internet Explorer 4 and over).