Research Query: Gitta Amipaz-Silber biographical information?

Ethan Katz's picture

I am looking for biographical information about the Israeli independent scholar Gitta Amipaz-Silber (1923-2005). She is best known for her pioneering book on the Machteret Yehudit b'Algeria (The Jewish Underground in Algeria during WWII -- about which I am currently writing a book). It is surprisingly difficult to find even basic background about her among colleagues I've spoken to in the field or by searching online, and I'd be grateful for any information or any possible leads. 


Ethan Katz


Dear Ethan,

Gitta Amipaz-Silber, an Israeli diplomat and a Holocaust survivor, was born in Poland on January 23, 1923, and immigrated to Israel in 1949. She worked in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 1951-1985, and died on January 10, 2005. She is the author of Jews in the Soviet Union (sec. revised ed., Jerusalem, 1977); Mahteret Yehudit be-Alg'iria, 1940-1942 (Tel Aviv, 1983; French trans.: La résistance juive en Algérie, 1940-1942, Jerusalem, 1986; English trans.: The Role of the Jewish Underground in the American Landing in Algiers, 1940-1942, Jerusalem, 1992); Gam bahem paga' ha-tsorer: Yehudim Mizrahiyim be-Tsarefat ha-kevushah, 1940-1944 (Jerusalem, 1994; English trans.: Sephardi Jews in Occupied France: Under the Tyrant's Heel, 1940-1944, Jerusalem, 1995); "A Japanese who Saved Jews [Chiune Sugihara]" (in Hebrew), Massuah, 14 (1986): 64-67.

Sources: (the date of her death should be corrected—LY)

Rotem Kowner, "Sugihara Chiune in Israel: A Delayed Reception," Deeds and Days (Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas), 67 (2017): 239-246.

All best,

Liran Yadgar

History Department, Oklahoma State University

Dear Ethan and Liran,

In addition to Liran's valuable lead, there's a letter in French from Gitta Amipaz-Silber to Raphael Benazerraf, Paris, from 1984 in which she poses research questions about North African Jews -- but also discloses a biographical detail about herself, which was evidently the origin of her inquiry: "I spent five years in Morocco, 1940-1945, as a Jewish refugee from Belgium -- first in Casablanca, then in Safi."

The letter is accessible at

An article she contributed to Ma'ariv (28 April 1985, following the publication of her book about the Jewish resistance in Algeria, was for some reason bylined "Gila" Amipaz-Silber. It, and a handful of other items, are accessible at the Jewish Press Project,

My direct interest in her was aroused by a detail in the Foreign Ministry memorial page to which Liran referred: she was awarded a citation in 1975 for a research work entitled (in Hebrew) "Could we have prevented the deterioration of Israeli-Soviet relations, 1947-1953?" As in those years she served in Israeli missions in Prague and Warsaw, this presumably drew on experience as well as documentation. The paper was apparently never published, and a preliminary search of Ministry files at the State Archive didn't locate it. As it relates to my own field of research, have you come across it in your study?

I've put out feelers to some Ministry old-timers -- will report if they can add any information for your project or mine.

Happy Hanukkah,

Gideon Remez

Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez

Associate Fellows, Truman Institute, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Authors of "Foxbats over Dimona: The Soviets' Nuclear Gamble in the Six-Day War"
(Yale, 2007) and "The Soviet-Israeli War, 1967-1973" (Hurst/Oxford, 2017)