Unearthing the Secrets of Essaouira’s Jewish Cemeteries

the 'new' Jewish cemetery in Essaouira
the ‘new’ Jewish cemetery in Essaouira

Essaouira-Mogador occupies a unique place in the history of Morocco. This is largely based on the exceptional unity of social, philosophical and cultural relations between communities of diverse religious faiths. The High Atlas Foundation and its many local partners have initiated a preservation and maintenance program for the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish cemeteries in Essaouira, which stand as present-day reminders of the peaceful and prosperous coexistence of the past.

Essaouira has two Jewish cemeteries: the ‘old’ and the ‘new’. The photograph (left) shows Malika, the caretaker of both, in the new cemetery. I was very privileged to visit both cemeteries with Asher Knafo, who is a poet, writer, and researcher of the history of Jewish Mogador. Several members of his family are buried in the new cemetery. An article I wrote about my day with Asher was published by Scoop in New Zealand. Read it here.

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