Have you noticed that the voices of Holocaust denial are getting louder
more frequent? In Iran, in Arab countries, in other Islamic countries, in
the West -- they seem to proliferate everywhere. Why do you think that is so?
Simple: Holocaust survivors are dying out. Witnesses to man's inhumanity
to man will soon completely disappear and will no longer be able to confront
the liars face to face. Then -- who knows -- the lies may well become
The same will happen to Jews from Arab countries. We, too, are dying out.
For almost forty years, since the Six-Day War of 1967, Arab countries have
been essentially "judenrein" -- devoid of Jews. The youngest among us who
still remembers anything is in his early fifties.
That's why it is essential for us to record our history for posterity.
Before we die. Before it's too late. We have to tell the world what
happened to us. The expulsions, the expropriations, the jailings, the
beatings, the exclusions, the discrimination, the tauntings, even the
occasional killings. It must all come out. It must all be told.
You can, of course, write down your story. That is an essential first step.
We at HSJE will post all individual stories we get, with your permission.
But that is not enough. It can always be alleged that the stories are
forged, that the authors never existed. How hard is it to type a fake story
in a word processor and sign it "Joe Douek"?
Remember, there is practically no professional recorded history of our
experience. When these terrible things were happening to us, *CNN* and *The
Washington Post* were not there to splash our misery at the top of their
news programs. The United Nations was not passing resolutions highlighting
our plight. Hardly any sympathizers wrote books about us. We simply
started over and rebuilt our lives, in silence, with help from fellow Jews
in the free world. For the world at large, we are the forgotten refugees --
all 850,000 of us, from Morocco to Yemen, not counting descendants.
We need ORAL histories.
We need you to tell your story on video. We need
you to have a friend or a member of your family videotape you telling your
story and send it to us. You may simply read something you have already
written, if that's easier. Better yet, you may ask your interviewer to
prompt you with specific questions. Use any language you feel comfortable
with. Below are some sample questions.
It is much harder to claim that videos are forgeries when you are right
there on the screen talking. To the extent that our finances allow us, we
will buy Web space to post these oral histories and make them available for
anybody to download and watch. Or, if you prefer, they can be stored and
released only when you die, if your will so indicates.
Do it now! Tomorrow may be too late.
Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Possible interview questions for Jews from Egypt
What was your name at birth, in Egypt? What is your current name? What is
your Hebrew name?
Where in Egypt were you born? What city, what street address? List all
addresses you had in Egypt, with dates.
Which schools did you go to? What years?
List parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, as far back as you have
When did your family come to Egypt? What were their reasons for coming?
What was your nationality in Egypt? Your parents' nationality? How did you
or your family acquire this nationality?
How did you or your parents make a living in Egypt?
Were there any restrictions on your activities while in Egypt? Were there
things that were allowed to Muslims but not to Jews, such as membership in
certain clubs or organizations, travel within and out of the country, import
or export licenses, eligibility for public-sector jobs, education
Describe, in your own words, any hard times you may have had in Egypt on
account of the fact that you were Jewish.
What were your or your family's assets in Egypt? What is the current status
of these assets? Do any of them still belong to your family? If sold, were
they sold freely at market prices, or under duress at prices below their
When did you leave Egypt? Under what circumstances? How old were you?
What did you take with you? How did you dispose of what you were not
allowed to take with you? Please tell in detail the story of your departure
Where did you go from Egypt? How hard was it to adjust -- learn a new
language, learn a new trade, find housing, find a job, etc.? Did you
receive help from anybody? From whom?
Where is your entire family today? List names and countries.
Other than wanting people to know your history, what would you like done in
the name of justice to partially redress the wrongs that were done to you
and your family?
Send it to email@example.com