Bearing Witness: Stories Behind the Artifacts in the Yad Vashem Museum Collection

"Megillat Hitler", Casablanca, 1944

"Megillat Hitler" rolled together with a Megillat Esther (Esther Scroll), Casablanca, Morocco, 1944"Megillat Hitler" rolled together with a Megillat Esther (Esther Scroll), Casablanca, Morocco, 1944 Three chapters of the Megillat Hitler relating the deliverance of the Jews of North AfricaThree chapters of the Megillat Hitler relating the deliverance of the Jews of North Africa Renzo and Sarah Corcos in Casablanca, having fled from Fascist ItalyRenzo and Sarah Corcos in Casablanca, having fled from Fascist Italy

Spread over seven chapters, written in the style of Megillat Esther ("Esther Scroll"), Prosper Hassine, a scribe and teacher in Casablanca, related the events of the Holocaust, from the rise of Hitler to power, through the occupation of Europe and culminating with the murder of the Jews and the plunder of their property. The final three chapters, written after the liberation of Morocco, are dedicated to the history of North African Jewry and their liberation by the Allies.

The events related in Megillat Hitler parallel the events of the traditional Megillat Esther and reflect the sense that the Jewish people had once again experienced what the Jews of Shushan experienced when Haman set out to destroy the Jews of the Persian Empire.  In spite of the similarities, Hassine stresses in his preface to Megillat Hitler that it is not a story of joy since it does not have a happy end. He writes that the Megillah should be read with a serious demeanor while remembering the victims.  Hassine also proposes that, in the tradition of other Jewish communities throughout the ages, the local Jews should celebrate a "Purim Katan" to mark their personal deliverance from catastrophe every November 11th, international Remembrance Day that marks the end of WWI.

This copy of "Megillat Hitler" that was preserved rolled together with a Megillat Esther, belonged to the Corcos family who fled from Florence to Casablanca in 1939 because of the racial restrictions that were imposed on the Jews in Italy. In 1940, first the Corcos men were interned in POW camps due to their status as citizens of Italy. Then, after the establishment of Vichy France the Italian nationals were released from the camps, among them the men of the Corcos family. When the regime of Vichy France imposed restrictions on the Jews, they began to fear that they would suffer the fate of Jews in other European countries, but ultimately, they were saved by the swift liberation of North Africa by the Allies. However, the Corcos family's troubles were not over. They were arrested once again until they convinced the authorities that though they were Italian, they themselves had been victims of Fascist Italy and were therefore, innocent.

After the war the Corcos family immigrated to Eretz Israel.

Yad Vashem Artifact Collection,
donated by Alberto Corcos, Herziliyah, Israel