Bookstore Glossary Library Links News Publications Timeline Virtual Israel Experience
Anti-Semitism Biography History Holocaust Israel Israel Education Myths & Facts Politics Religion Travel US & Israel Vital Stats Women
donate subscribe Contact About Home


SAMAMA (Shemama?), NESSIM (1805–1873), Tunisian qāʾid; born in *Tunis and died in Leghorn. After a long career as a textile merchant, Samama entered the service of the general Ben Ayad as a paymaster; in 1853 he went on to serve the prime minister Mustafa Khaznadar, quickly taking control of the functions of treasurer and controller of finances. In October 1859 he was appointed qāʾid of Tunisian Jewry, and the following year he became director and chief revenue collector for the state. He was raised to the rank of brigadier general. In 1864 Samama left for *Paris on an official mission to negotiate a loan for *Tunisia. He carried 20 million gold francs with him and, without any intention of returning, he settled at first in Paris and then, in 1871, in Leghorn. As a result of the conduct of the Prime Minister Khaznadar, the bey of Tunis was compelled to file a suit challenging the rights of inheritance of Samama's considerable estate. The subsequent suits for and against the validity of the inheritance of the estate gave rise to numerous articles which were published in Arabic, Italian, French, and Hebrew. During his lifetime Samama contributed to the publication of several works of Tunisian and other rabbis, and also to the maintenance of a yeshivah in *Jerusalem which bore his name.

His nephew SALOMON SAMAMA (d. 1886) was also a qāʾid, and was chief collector of Tunisian revenues from 1864 to 1866 and 1869 to 1873. When the estate of his uncle was disputed, Samama fled to Corfu, escaping with several million gold francs; a large part of the money was successfully recovered by the Tunisian government. He died in Paris.


J. Brill, in: Ha-Levanon, 9 (1872–73), 224; AZDJ, 37 (1873), 143–4; Mosé, 8 (1885), 35–36; I. Loeb, in: REJ, 18 (1889), 156–7; M.S. Mzali and J. Pignon, in: Revue Tunisienne, 8 (1937), 209ff.; J. Ganiage, Origines du Protectorat Français en Tunisie: 1861–1881 (1959), index; R. Attal, in: Sefunot, 5 (1961), 507 (index).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.