In World War II, Morocco was a French Protectorate area ruled by Sultan Muhammad bin Yousef (later King Muhammad V), where 6.25 million people lived, including approximately 200,000 Jews.
Even before the war began there were many young Jews who sought to volunteer for service in the French Army, but this was made possible for only a few of them. Subsequent to the occupation of France the Vichy Government began to enforce “anti-Jewish laws”, which discriminated against Jews and restricted their rights in employment, in education and in other fields. Numerous Jews, including ones who had volunteered to serve in the French Army, were arrested and placed in forced labor camps that had been built throughout the Country. The Sultan objected to the oppressive steps against the Jews and to the preparations for a possible liquidation of this Community.
The Allied invasion on the shores of Morocco, on 8 November 1942, and the takeover of the Country following battle brought a change in this situation. The Moroccan Underground was supposed to assist the Allied Forces in their invasion of Morocco and was supposed to take control of some key points in Casablanca, but in the end it did not do so.
There were very few Jews in the Moroccan Underground, but on the other hand, Jews from Morocco managed to reach England and there join General de Gaulle’s Forces.