Israeli Cartoonist Michel Kichka Commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day in Morocco
“Today I will go back to Israel with one thing in mind; when am I going to come back [to Morocco]?” Michel Kichka said.
Sara Zouiten Jan. 31, 2023 7:32 p.m.
Israeli comic artist Michel Kichka speaking about his book “Second Generation: The Things I Didn't Tell My Father"
Rabat - In commemoration of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Israeli Liaison Office in Rabat hosted a press conference headed by Michel Kichka, renowned Israeli comic artist and son of a Holocaust survivor, who shared his father’s story during the Holocaust.
Kichka spoke about his book “Second Generation: The Things I Didn't Tell My Father.” In an interview with Morocco World News, the Israeli cartoonist indicated that the book tells the story of “what it was like living in a house where the Holocaust was always present but not told … like the ghost of the past.”
Written in 2011, the book was a success and was translated into nine languages. Kichka hopes that the book will also be translated into Arabic, as an opportunity for speakers of the language to learn about the Holocaust.
Michel Kachka's book "Second Generation: Things I Didn't Tell My Father"
The Holocaust, also known as Shoah, was the systematic persecution and genocide of millions of Jews in Europe, in addition to other minorities, during World War II by the Nazi regime.
Kachka’s book was adapted into an animated movie, which was streamed in Belgium and France this year. Kichka emphasized that telling the story of the Holocaust, which was not an “easy” period of history, through an animated movie is “absolutely unexpected.”
The 86-year-old Israeli illustrator said that tackling his experience with the Holocaust in an animated movie “full of colors, with some humor in it,” was an original way to tell his story that happened in such a dark era.
Born in Belgium in 1954, Kichka migrated to Israel when he was 19 years old. He currently works as a professor at the Academy of Art in Jerusalem, in addition to being one of the leading comic book artists and political cartoonists in Israel.
Morocco, a Model of Coexistence
Kachka told MWN about his “short but intensive” three-day visit to Morocco, during which he visited the cities of Rabat, Tangier, and Casablanca to commemorate the memory of the Holocaust victims.“
When I was invited by the Israeli embassy to the [Holocaust] commemorations here in Rabat, Casablanca, and Tangier, I was really surprised that it is commemorated in Morocco … positively surprised,” Kachka told MWN.
Israeli comic artist Michel Kachka at the press conference
The Jewish synagogue in Casablanca, also known as Temple Beth-El, hosted the official ceremony for the screening of Kachka’s animated movie, with the presence of Morocco’s Minister of Education and the ambassadors of the US, Germany, and Poland to Morocco.“
The synagogue was full of half Jews and half Muslims … and that was a deeply touching moment to me,” the Israeli comic artist said, highlighting the hospitality, warmth, and coexistence that Moroccans displayed.
Kichka said he will go back to Israel “with one thing in mind; when am I going to come back [to Morocco]?” He explained that he has a lot more to learn about the North African country’s culture, history, and most importantly its people.
In addition, the cartoonist highlighted the “strong connection” that Jews in Israel have with Morocco, which he attributed to the efforts made by Moroccan kings in the 20th and 21st centuries, including Mohammed V, Hassan II, and Mohammed VI.
Eyal David, Deputy Chief of Mission at Isreal's Liaison Office in Rabat, speaking at the press conference
The late King Mohammed V, the grandfather of King Mohammed VI, had a crucial role in protecting the Jewish community in Morocco during World War II. The late monarch rejected the Nazi-Controlled Vichy France’s government to deport 250,000 Moroccan Jews to concentration camps in Europe.
Meanwhile, King Mohammed VI also strongly rejected holocaust denial, describing it as “one of the most tragic chapters of modern history.”
Given the deeply rooted, centuries-old ties that connect Morocco and Jewish people, Kachka is “optimistic” about what the future holds for Morocco and Israel’s diplomatic relations, notably after the opening of the official Israeli Liaison Office in Rabat two years ago.
For Kachka, “Morocco will be the bridge to other Arab and Muslim countries to try to overcome political difficulties” and normalize relations with Israel.Israel’s envoy to Morocco Alona Fisher-Kamm echoed Kachka’s remarks, saying that Morocco “can serve as a model of coexistence, not only during the dark times of the Holocaust but until now and along the history.”
Morocco and Isreal's flags
Describing Morocco as a “lighthouse of hope and light,” Kamm emphasized that people should learn about the relations between Muslims and Jews in Morocco, “which are very different than many other countries in the world.”
Teaching the Holocaust in Morocco
According to Kamm, Kachka’s book depicts the story of the relations between the second generation and the survivors of the Holocaust, who kept the atrocities that occurred in the Nazi concentration camps hidden in order to protect their children.
She told Morocco World News that the book conveys a central message, which is the “necessity” for people of all ages, backgrounds, and religions to learn about the Holocaust.
Israeli envoy to Morocco Alone Fisher-Kamm speaking at the press conference
Learning about the Holocaust is crucial “not only because it is important to know what happened in one of the darkest moments of the history of humankind, but especially to prevent and avoid those things in the future … not only to the Jews … to everybody,” she stressed.
In a heartfelt message to people worldwide, Kamm said: “We have to teach people how to live together, how to work together, how to respect each other, and how to avoid hate.”
In this respect, she highlighted the importance of teaching the history of the Holocaust in schools across the world, including in Morocco.
Poppenkast. Meanwhile worden Palestijnen de strop om de nek steeds strakker aangetrokken.