Between 1911 and 1943, Libya was an Italian colony. The Jewish population of
Libya counted some 30,000 souls on the eve of WW II and while most lived in the two main cities, the
capital Tripoli and in Benghazi, the rest were dispersed in many villages.
With the rapprochement of Italy to Nazi Germany, the first racial laws were
applied against Libyan Jews as early as 1938. Just as in occupied European countries, Jews' lives became
progressively much harder. After Italy entered the war on the side of her ally Germany, all the Jewish
French and British citizens were interned in Giado concentration camp situated at 240 km south of Tripoli.
Cyrenaica was conquered by the British army in June 1940 and re-conquered back by the German Afrika Korps
in May 1941, thus restoring Italian rule. Afterwards, the Jewish French citizens were sent to Tunisia,
while the 300 Jewish British citizens were deported to several temporary internment camps in Italy. From
there they were sent to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp located in Lower Saxony, Germany.
The Libyan Jews were sent to several concentration camps located on Libyan soil
itself. Conditions were harsh causing many to perish from hunger, epidemics and the like.
The British army which includes the Jewish brigade, liberated Libya at the end of
January 1943. Afterwards the surviving Jews were liberated from the concentration camps.
The present index which includes 276 names of Libyan Jewish deportees, is based
on the book: Bergen Belsen; 1940-1945 Niedersachsische Landerzentrale fuer Politische Bildung.
Gedenkbuch ; haeflinge des Konzentrazionlager Bergen Belsen. Bergen Belsen, Gedenstatte, 1995,
lists Jews from all the nations who were interned in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp.
It is to be noted that for many of these people there are no Pages of
Testimony in the Yad Vashem Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names.