Skip to Content

Cohen, Yolande, Martin Messika, and Sara Cohen Fournier. "Memories of Departures: Stories of Jews from Muslim Lands in Montreal." In Beyond Testimony and Trauma: Oral History in the Aftermath of Mass Violence, edited by Steven High, 311-31. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2015.


Cohen, Messika, and Fournier use interviews with Sephardic Jews from Muslim Arab nations who settled in Montreal to explore the idea of “remembered stories of departure.” The phrase “departure” instead of “displacement” is utilized as some of those interviewed, such as those from Morocco, saw themselves as immigrants rather than refugees; some depicted their journey as tainted with trauma, while others expressed that it was done with relative ease, though it was also noted that “the perceived ‘effortlessness’ of their departure was linked to their desire not to be seen as victims and their desire to understand their migratory trajectories as a matter of choice rather than as an imposition.” As Steven High phrases it, “This is a study of memory itself: of what is minimized, emphasized, overlooked and forgotten.”

Shannon Leggett