Alice Cherki

During World War II, Alice Cherki discovers racism and segregation. When Alice Cherki is 3-4, she is kicked out of school because she is Jewish under the anti-Semitic laws introduced in October 1940 by the Vichy Regime.  She grows up in a society marked by racism and segregation with Europeans, Jews and Arabs living apart in their communities. 

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For her, the independence of country is inevitable. At 18, she enters medicine and realises that segregation even exists in the medical profession. In 1955 she starts collecting medical supplies for FLN guerrillas and distributes leaflets.  It is then that Frantz Fanon offers her work at the psychiatric hospital in Blida south of Algiers. She accepts. Most of Fanon's interns shelter guerrillas and wounded.

 

When Fanon is arrested and expelled from Algeria in January 1957, the interns and nurses at the hospital are threatened with arrest. Alice decides to go to Paris illegally. There she continues to fight for Algerian independence, both with the FLN in France and the small underground network of French people who are opposed to the war. 

 

In 1958, she moves to Tunisia where she again meets Fanon and then, at the beginning of 1959, as part of the scholarships granted to Algerian students, she goes to East Germany where she continues her training as a neuropsychiatrist. In 1960 she returns to Tunisia where she cares for refugees and wounded soldiers and civilians until the cease-fire between the French Government and the FLN in March 1962. Then, with Janine Belkhodja, she volunteers to return to Algiers to work in suburbs of Belcourt and Kouba where she tends to the wounded and the sick who cannot go to hospital because of attacks by hard line settlers in the Secret Army Organisation (OAS).

 

A few months after independence, she returns to Paris to finish her training as a child psychiatrist.

 

Alice still lives in Paris.

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