Jewish leaders during the Franco-Algerian War (1954–1962) drastically
changed their statements on Jewish-Algerian identity, history, and status. Below,
we examine this shift by analyzing their statements about Adolphe Crémieux, the
namesake of the decree that gave Algerian Jews French citizenship in 1870.
Between 1954 and 1962, Jewish leaders went from adulation to dismissal as they
discussed the man and his legacy. Analyzing statements about Crémieux brings
into sharp relief the Jews’ legal situation in Algeria, which arbitrarily changed at
certain moments. A look at these statements also reveals the instability of the
French colonial system in Algeria. The first part of this article argues that the
Crémieux Decree—already fundational to Jewish-Algerian identity—took on a new
importance after the Second World War into the 1950s. The second part looks at
reversals in attitudes toward Crémieux a few years later.