Auction 17 /
Lot226

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226

Two rare photographs of the genius rabbis - Rabbi Yosef Mashash and Rabbi Baruch Toledano in their meeting with the King of Morocco. Morocco, 1941

Opening price: $150

Commission: 22%

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09.14.2022 07:00pm

Two rare photographs of rabbis of Meknès in their meeting with King Mohammed V of Morocco. Photographed at an event where the king invited Moroccan dignitaries to the Throne feast in 1941. The king is standing in the middle on top of a stage. On the right: the Gaon Rabbi Yosef Mashash the rabbi of Meknes in Morocco (wearing a black hat), on the left: the Gaon Rabbi Baruch Toledano - Dayan Meknes, and next to them the head of the community in Meknes - Yosef Marjan, and Rabbi Baruch Toledano - Dayan Meknes. (These photographs also appear in the book "Kenaf Rananim" on the Torah by Rabbi Moshe Birdugo).

In one photo, the rabbis and the king face the camera, in the second, the rabbis with their backs to the camera greet the king.
There is a dispute as to whether Muhammad V actually protected the Jews against the Vichy regime during World War II, or, alternatively, whether he was a rubber stamp of the French government. After the defeat of France to Nazi Germany and the establishment of the Vichy regime in July 1940, the fears of the Jews in Morocco about the future increased. Although he was the head of a protectorate controlled by the French government, in a meeting held between the king and the Jewish leaders at the time, he stated that he was obliged to take care of the peace of his Jewish subjects. Despite his statements, in 1940-1941 the anti-Jewish legislation implemented in France was also enforced in Morocco, by royal decrees with the king's seal on them. The Vichy regime planned to take even more severe measures against the Jews of North Africa, but Operation Torch and the liberation of western North Africa by the British Empire at a relatively early stage of the war prevented the situation from further deteriorating.
Later, the leaders of the small Jewish community living in Morocco today, Serge Berdougou and Andrey Azoulai, appealed to the Yad Vashem Museum with a request that Muhammad V be registered as a "Righteous Gentile" for what they defined as "appreciation for his work in saving Moroccan Jews during the Holocaust." Yad Vashem's position was that King Muhammad V does not meet the criteria because in his statements and actions the king did not put himself in danger during the war years.

Same size: 22x16 cm. Old wooden frame for both photos. Overall good condition.

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226. Two rare photographs of the genius rabbis - Rabbi Yosef Mashash and Rabbi Baruch Toledano in their meeting with the King of Morocco. Morocco, 1941