1934 Constantine Pogrom

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1934 Constantine pogrom
LocationConstantine, French Algeria
DateAugust 3–6, 1934
TargetAlgerian Jews
Deaths34 Jews

The 1934 Constantine pogrom was an anti-Jewish riot that erupted in the Algerian city of Constantine.[1][2][3]


The cause of the Constantine pogrom has been debated for some time. What everyone seems to agree on is that the initial cause of the conflict was a confrontation between Eliahou Khalifa, a Jewish Zouave, and Muslim worshippers in a mosque next to his home. The Muslims said that Khalifa was drunk, and insulted Islam. A report by the Jewish authorities claimed he was not intoxicated, and that after getting into an argument with them, they had cursed his faith and he cursed them and their faith back.[3] The French colonial authorities only reported the Muslim version of events, which most scholars believe is responsible for inciting the pogrom.[4]

The background of the tension between Jews and Muslims in the city was rooted in the different manner in which Jews and Muslims has been treated in the Algerian state by the French colonial government.[5]

Contemporary reporting[edit]

JTA reported on August 8, 1934:

A scene of utter desolation and horror, of Jewish girls with their breasts cut off, of little children with numerous knife wounds and of whole families locked in their homes and burned to death, was described by a Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent, who succeeded in reaching this city today.

"It will take days before the world will obtain a true picture of all the atrocities committed by the Arabs during the pogrom on the Jewish quarter," the correspondent wired.

"The only comparison I can think of is the Palestine riots of 1929. I found Jewish girls with their breasts cut off, greybearded Jews stabbed to death, little Jewish children dead of numerous knife wounds and whole families locked in their homes and burned to death by the rioters."

"Just as in Palestine in 1929, the lists of the dead and injured run into the hundreds with no official estimates available. The hospitals are filled with Jewish victims and the doors of the hospitals are besieged with half-crazed wives and mothers seeking to ascertain whether their loved ones are among the dead or injured, or whether they succeeded in escaping the pogrom bands".[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sharon Vance (10 May 2011). The Martyrdom of a Moroccan Jewish Saint. BRILL. p. 182. ISBN 90-04-20700-7. Muslim anti Jewish riots in Constantine in 1934 when 34 Jews were killed
  2. ^ Stein, Rebecca (July 13, 2005). Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture. Duke University Press Books. p. 237.
  3. ^ a b Levy, Richard (May 24, 2005). Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 139. Between August 3 and 5, 1934, Muslim mobs went on a rampage in the Algerian city of Constantine, attacking Jews and Jewish property. In the attack, 25 Jewish men, women, and children were killed, most from having their throats cut or their skulls crushed, and 26 more were injured, according to official statistics. More than 200 Jewish-owned stores were ransacked. The total property damage to homes, businesses, and synagogues was estimated at over 150 million Poincare francs. Some 3,000 people, one-quarter of Constantine's Jewish population, were in need of welfare assistance in the aftermath of the pogrom. During the rampage, anti-Jewish incidents were recorded in the countryside of the Department of Constantine, extending over a 100-kilometer radius. Jews were murdered in Hamma and Mila, and in Ain Beida, Jewish homes and businesses were looted. During much of the rioting, the French police and security forces stood by and did little or nothing to stop the rioters.
  4. ^ Samuel Kalman,The Extreme Right in Interwar France: The Faisceau and the Croix de Feu, Ashgate Publishing 2008 pp.210ff.
  5. ^ Constantine before the riots of August 1934: Civil status, anti-Semitism, and the politics of assimilation in interwar French Algeria[permanent dead link], Joshua Cole: "The anti-Semitic riots of 3–5 August 1934 in Constantine should be understood both as a long-term result of the colonial order's civic exclusions, and against the background of shifts in local politics following the 1919 reforms of the electoral process. After these reforms, Jewish citizens and Muslim colonial subjects found that the terms of their inclusion in the political process drove them into different alliances with the colonial state and its local representatives, exacerbating tensions between Muslims and Jews in the city. T"
  6. ^ "Algeria Riots Checked". Jewish Telegraphic Agency.