The 'From Tunis to Djerba' conference was held this week at the Dahan Center at Bar-Ilan University. A new study was presented at the event which revealed that the number of Tunisian Jews who perished in the Holocaust is tens of percentage points higher than previously thought and stands at close to 700 people.
"When I realized that there was no scientific research on the Holocaust of Tunisia's Jews, I decided to raise the subject and I have been working on it for about 12 years. The numbers speak for themselves: As of June we are talking about close to 700 members of the community," said the author of the study, Dr. Victor Hayoun. "Until 2006, we only knew of about 400 victims of Tunisian origin. By 2012, we knew about 488. Today, we know that the number is closer to 700."
According to Hayoun, Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust museum, also has significant gaps in its casualty figures. For years, Yad Vashem also believed that the number of victims among Tunisian Jews stood at 50. Why 50? This was the number of people killed in the forced labor camps, but not all were in forced labor camps. Another 390 perished in various other ways in Tunisia itself, and another 365 perished in the death camps, chiefly in Auschwitz."
Dr. Shimon Ohayon, the director of the center, said: "This is an important discovery that needs to be taught in all schools in Israel. We are talking about 700 people who have not been recognized, and no research has been carried out except by Dr. Hayoun. His lecture illustrates the common destiny of the Jewish people. We at the Dahan Center will continue to hold seminars and expose discoveries related to all of Israel's communities."