#47 / Editorial


In the mid-1990s, the number of Jews in Algeria did not exceed fifty, whereas 150,000 lived there before independence. And yet… a rumor persists. “Jews in Algeria? There are still some. They are numerous, just about everywhere. They hide. They practice their religion in silence. Without showing themselves. Jews in Algeria? Of course, my grandmother knows some… ” This kind of statement circulates in the Algerian streets, like an urban legend. The Jews are an integral part of Algerian history: Algeria certainly does little to preserve traces of their presence, but in this omission of which the cemeteries are the main clues, the secret is passed on. Joseph Benamour evokes this strange distortion that makes the Jews a fantasized Algerian presence, while they remain untraceable in reality.

Disappearing in reality but populating the imagination, this is a Jewish specialty – and one that is so true in Germany that an Israeli artist, fifteen years ago, conceived a project for a Jewish state in Thuringia: Medinat Weimar. This brings to mind Philip Roth’s brilliant and famous novel, Operation Shylock, in which an impostor borrows the novelist’s name to promote his crazy idea: to make European Jews living in Israel return “home” to Poland, Ukraine, Germany… “The time has come to return to what is our real life, the real home of our culture, the Jewish Europe of our ancestors,” said Roth’s character in his 1993 book, adding: “Israel is a land of exile and nothing else, a place of passage, an interlude in European history whose course it is now time to resume.” Ronen Eidelman’s project dates from 2008. It is not about marginalizing Israel or reactivating a diasporic movement, but about thinking about the creation of a second Jewish state, conceived as a plan B: the project oscillates between an eccentric artistic happening and a provocation intended to stimulate our political imagination.

On February 12, the annual march in honor of Lukov, the pro-Nazi Bulgarian Defense Minister of the 1930s, assassinated by Communist resistance fighters in 1943, will take place in Sofia. Emmy and Phebia Barouh told us in words and pictures about “Lukov’s March” which took place last year. This week we re-publish their report, with an update from Emmy Barouh on the atmosphere in Bulgaria at the moment.

Sixty years after Algeria’s independence and the departure of the 150,000 Jews who lived there, the question of a Jewish presence in Algeria continues to stir emotions. In the media, among politicians, on social networks, in cafés, the myth is circulating: there are still Jews in Algeria. But what is the reality? The author asks this question, but does the answer really exist?

In 2008, Ronen Eidelman, an Israeli artist living in Germany, founded the movement for the creation of a Jewish state in Thuringia: Medinat Weimar. The artistic project questions, seduces some and horrifies others, makes people react. More than 15 years later, he tells us, from Jerusalem, where he lives today, what led him to imagine such a project, oscillating between eccentric provocation and incitement to debate. An interview in which he talks about German guilt, Herzl as a plastic artist, and a second Jewish state conceived as a plan B…

In Sofia, the “Lukov March” took place in February, an annual event organized for almost twenty years by the Bulgarian National Union – Edelweiss (BNUE). The march commemorates the memory of a pro-Nazi Defense Minister of the thirties, assassinated by Communist resistance fighters in 1943. Every year, the great and good of the European neo-Nazi movement like to gather there. The journalist Emmy Barouh, author of several books on the history of Bulgarian Jews and the memory of the Shoah in her country, was in 2021 in the streets of Sofia: She examined for K. the history and continued relevance of this event. In 2022, she increases her report with an update on the Bulgarian atmosphere of the moment… which has not gotten any better.

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Thanks to the Paris office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation for their cooperation in the design of the magazine’s website.