The Jewish people arrived in the land now known as Morocco over 2000 years ago. Protected since the 7th century by the Islamic principle of tolerance, they flourished, holding high positions in trade and government. The Star of David was a symbol all Moroccans shared in common, appearing on the currency and even the national flag. During the Holocaust, when asked for a list of Jews, King Mohammed V declared, “We have no Jews in Morocco, only Moroccan citizens.”
In 1940, Morocco had 300,000 Jewish people, the largest population in the Arab World. Following World War II, Israel’s expansion marked the beginning of an exodus. Today, fewer than 5000 Jews remain.
This photographic project is a journey into the remnants of a culture. Documenting an epoch of Judaism existing in peace with Islam, Aaron Vincent Elkaim seeks to honour an important historical truth. Reviving memories of a past forgotten in the wake of Zionism, he tells a story at odds with current perceptions of both Jews and Arabs. Elkaim was drawn to this subject through his own family’s history. His father was born in the Jewish Quarter of Marrakech and immigrated to Canada with his family in the 1960s.