Jewish Cemetery at Tangiers, Morocco

The Jewish cemetery in Tangier, Morocco, contains more than 1,000 graves, some of them dating back to the 16th century.1 Three caretakers work in the cemetery by day; a caretaker's house exists, but is unoccupied. The municipality owns the cemetery, and it is unclear whether the cemetery is closed to the public or not.2 Despite the three caretakers, it is in poor condition: many tombstones are cracked or toppled, the grass is overgrown, and there are problems with weather erosion and water drainage.3 The tombstones have been digitized, and a searchable archive exists online.4


Tangier: The Jewish presence in Tangier was limited until the late 17th century, when the Muslims regained control of the city from the English. The local economy did not recover from the destruction caused by the English until the eighteenth century, by which time the Jewish population had grown more numerous. The English doctor William Lempriere noted in 1789 that "the Moors and the Jews live intermixed in Tangier, and maintain a more friendly intercourse than elsewhere in this quarter of the globe".5 By 1856, Tangier had become the largest port in Morocco. In that time, the Jewish community had established schools, hospitals, and other charitable works, as well as participating in civic groups such as the Comission of Hygiene.6 In 1925, Jews were assigned three of the twenty-six seats on the International Legislative Assembly, Tangier's governing body, giving them a certain amount of formal political power.7 The aftermath of World War II proved to be a golden age for Tangier's Jews, many of whom lived prosperous and cosmopolitan lives, but Moroccan independence in 1956 led to slow but steady emigration. As of 2007, less than one hundred Jews remain in Tangier.8

Tangiers, Morocco

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