Tony Dadush

Tony Dadush

My life in Tripoli was a happy family life, but I must add that I grew up very nervous. I remember walking with my mom in the streets of Tripoli as a child. I used to ask my mother: why are those houses burnt? Only later did I realize those burnt buildings were the result of the pogroms that the Jews had to suffer.

In 1956, during the Suez Canal war, we barricaded ourselves inside our home for a week with no school.

I was always scared of Arabs because any one of them could attack or touch us and we had to accept it. I would often ask myself how my life would have been if my parents had immigrated to Israel earlier when it was allowed.

After matriculation, I expressed my desire to go to Paris, France and attend the University. I wanted to be near my uncle and his family in Paris.

For me to be able to leave Libya, the authorities held my parents passport hostage. They told me that if I don’t come back, my parents would be held. How could I remain in France? I was forced to return each summer.

I came home June 2nd, 1967 and made my appearance to the authorities. Monday, June 5th, I was at my cousin’s home not too far from my home. At seven in the morning, Tripoli was burning down. All of the Jewish businesses and homes were on fire. It was the most horrifying time in my life. I was not able to reach my home or my family.

Scared for my life, I carefully went from place to place in hiding. Thanks to the Danish Consul, a very close friend of my father and a good Italian friend, I managed to leave Tripoli on July 20th.

I left with nothing and at the airport I was belittle and spat on. When some people ask me if I would like to visit Tripoli again, I always say no thank you.

Forty days in hiding left a scar. To add to this, my mother, father and my married sister with her husband and three children went to a concentration camp. Fortunately, they managed to make it to Italy, but not until November. However, I did not get a chance to see my father again. He passed away at 56 years old.