Tombstone of Jewish Interpreter for the
Consulate of France in Mazagan (El Jadida)
assembled in the yard of the Alliance School for Boys in Tangier,
Alliance Israelite Universelle
The Treaty of Fez was signed on March 30, 1912.
On April 17, the Sultan's troops in Fez revolted,
but they were unable to enter the European
quarter, which was protected by French troops.
Instead, the soldiers and a crowd following them
pillaged the mellah, from which the French had
previously confiscated all weapons. In order to
force the rioters away from the mellah, French
soldiers fired missiles and bombs, destroying
houses and causing fires. As a result, Jews
abandoned the mellah, which was pillaged the next
day by villagers. During the three days of
violence, 51 Jews were killed and 72 were
wounded. French troops had a similar number of
casualties, while almost 1,000 Muslims were
killed or wounded. A third of the mellah was
destroyed, and 12,000 Jews found themselves
In their efforts to rule Morocco, the French used
Jews as intermediaries with the Muslims and
created divisions between the Muslim and Jewish
communities. A Frenchified elite arose among the
Jews, although they were never fully accepted as
equals with the French. While many of the legal
restrictions against the Jews were eased, French
colonists received preferential legal treatment.
As a result, Jews in certain occupations were
displaced by the French. In response to
decreasing economic opportunities, emigration
from the rural areas to the urban mellahs
In August 1941, the Vichy Government of France
enacted laws that discriminated against Moroccan
Jews. It set quotas on the number of Jewish
doctors and lawyers, ejected students from French
schools and forced many Jews living in the
European quarters to move to the mellahs.
The Moroccan Sultan, Mohammed V, told Jewish
leaders that in his opinion Vichy laws singling
out the Jews were inconsistent with Moroccan law.
He believed that Jews should be treated equally
with Muslims. He emphasized that the property and
lives of the Jews remained under his protection.
Due to his strong stance, Vichy administrators
did not implement the discriminatory laws and
Following the arrival of American troops in
November 1942, the French closed off several
mellahs. Despite pressure from the World Jewish
community, it was several months before the Vichy
laws were repealed.