In the late 1940s, the Jewish community of Libya was the smallest in the North African region. An estimated Jewish population of about 30,000 individuals lived in the Tripolitanian region, while Jews living in the Cyrenaica were about 6,000. The migration of about 30,400 Jews from Libya in a very short period – between 1949 and 1952 – represents a unique phenomenon since almost ninety percent of the Libyan Jewish community left for the state of Israel in the immediate aftermath of its establishment (May 1948).
The literature on this phenomenon of mass migration tends to concentrate on the major reasons which caused it, and more rarely explores the personal, intimate journey of its protagonists. Mrs Rina Messika Guetta was one of them.
The story presented in this map is based on the recollections by Mrs Rina Messika Guetta, as they emerged in conversation with Piera Rossetto. The interview is part of the Collection Mapping Living Memories, by the CDEC Foundation (Milan) (more on the collection here: https://edizionicafoscari.unive.it/en/edizioni4/riviste/annali-di-ca-foscari-serie-orientale/2014/1/across-europe-and-the-mediterranean-sea/).
Rina’s letter to her friend Nini is a creative elaboration by Martina Melilli, inspired by the lifestory of Mrs. Rina Messika Guetta, and illustrated by Michela Nanut. Text and drawings intertwine and shape a creative form of mapping, able to shed light on the more individual, micro perspective on this event of mass migration.
Art Direction and Texts: Martina Melilli
Graphic and Illustrations: Michela Nanut
Scientific Advice: Piera Rossetto
Ze haya be-leil Shabbat, The eve of the Shabbat was originally written in Italian and translated into English (by Ian Mansbridge), printed on paper (170 g/m2). The texts are available here: