Skip to main content

“Not Only the Country’s Independence, Mine Too!” Arlette Bourgel, an Algerian Jewish Communist (b. 1928)

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
The Palgrave Handbook of Communist Women Activists around the World


Arlette Bourgel was born in French colonial Algeria in 1928, in a Jewish family. She became a teacher in 1949 and joined the Parti communiste algérien in 1953. During the Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962), she was involved in the opposition to the French colonial regime before joining an underground network. Wanted by the French army, she had to flee and found refuge abroad. In 1962, after Algeria’s independence, she came back to Algiers, where she lived until 1965. Her life story, analyzed on the basis of a biographical interview and archives from the French intelligence services and military justice, allows us to investigate the effects of her multifaceted minority status on her biographical and political-dissident trajectory. This status obliged her to deal with, refuse and/or subvert, the identities and places she was assigned to in order to feel in harmony with herself, while struggling for a new social, political, racial, and gender order.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD 119.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 219.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

Change history

  • 05 April 2023




  • Archives nationales d’outre-mer (ANOM), Aix-en-Provence, France.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dépôt central des Archives de la justice militaire (DCAJM), Le Blanc, France.

    Google Scholar 

  • Testimony of Roger Lefèvre. “Chronique d’une période noire: Algérie 1954–1956.” 1998. Institut d’histoire du temps présent, Paris, France.

    Google Scholar 

  • Service historique de la Défense, Caen, France.

    Google Scholar 

Secondary Sources

  • Abitbol, Michel. The Jews of North Africa during the Second World War. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1989.

    Google Scholar 

  • Byrne, Jeffrey James. Mecca of Revolution: Algeria, Decolonization, and the Third World Order. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2016.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cole, Joshua. Lethal Provocation: The Constantine Murders and the Politics of French Algeria. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2019.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Drew, Allison. We Are No Longer in France: Communists in Colonial Algeria. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Gréki, Anna. Juste au-dessus du silence. Translated by Lamis Saidi. Marseille: Terrasses Éditions, 2020.

    Google Scholar 

  • Le Foll-Luciani, Pierre-Jean. “The Communists in Algeria (1920–93).” In Communist Parties in the Middle East. 100 Years of History, edited by Laura Feliu and Ferran Izquierdo-Brichs, 199–215. London: Routledge, 2019.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. “ ‘If only I could have been a bomb, I would have exploded’: Algerian women communist militants, between assignation and subversion of gender roles (1944–1962).” Le Mouvement social 255 (2016): 35–55.

  • ———. Les juifs algériens dans la lutte anticoloniale: trajectoires dissidentes (1934–1965). Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2015.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. “La répression des communistes en Algérie (1954–1957).” In Réparer l’injustice: l’affaire Maurice Audin, edited by Magalie Besse and Sylvie Thénault, 51–65. Paris: IJFD, 2019.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. “La Voix des soldats. Un réseau clandestin du Parti communiste algérien dans la guerre d’indépendance (1955–1957).” Cahiers d’histoire. Revue d’histoire critique 140 (2019): 47–64.

  • Marrus, Michael R., and Robert O. Paxton. Vichy France and the Jews. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2019.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Meynier, Gilbert. Histoire intérieure du FLN, 1954–1962. Paris: Fayard, 2002.

    Google Scholar 

  • Planche, Jean-Louis. Sétif 1945. Chronique d’un massacre annoncé. Paris: Perrin, 2010.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sayad, Abdelmalek. L’immigration ou les paradoxes de l’altérité. Vol. 2, Les enfants illégitimes. Paris: Raisons d’agir, 2006.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schreier, Joshua. Arabs of the Jewish Faith: The Civilizing Mission in Colonial Algeria. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2010.

    Google Scholar 

  • Valensi, Lucette. Juifs et musulmans en Algérie, VIIe–XXe siècle. Paris: Tallandier, 2016.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vince, Natalya. The Algerian War, the Algerian Revolution. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. Our Fighting Sisters: Nation, Memory and Gender in Algeria, 1954–2012. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015.

    Book  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Pierre-Jean Le Foll-Luciani .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Le Foll-Luciani, PJ. (2023). “Not Only the Country’s Independence, Mine Too!” Arlette Bourgel, an Algerian Jewish Communist (b. 1928). In: de Haan, F. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Communist Women Activists around the World. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-031-13126-4

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-031-13127-1

  • eBook Packages: HistoryHistory (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics