LibyaThe Mizrahi Project

Penina’s Story - Jews Lived in Libya For Over 2000 Years

LibyaThe Mizrahi Project
Penina’s Story - Jews Lived in Libya For Over 2000 Years

Watch Penina's Story

Penina Meghnagi Solomon was born in 1949 in Tripoli, Libya. She was raised in a family where Jewish tradition was deeply instilled within her. Despite being exposed to numerous ethnicities and various religions in Libya, Penina was still faced with the possibility of being persecuted for her Jewish faith.

In the beginning of June in 1967, during the outbreak of the six-day-war in Israel, Penina was suddenly told to leave where she was and for her own protection to not take the main streets while she was walking home. Libyan media had announced that there was a war going on in Israel and angry Libyans turned their rage for Israel upon their Jewish neighbors. As a result of the discord, several Jewish neighborhoods were ransacked and destroyed. Concerned for their safety Penina and her family went into hiding, relying on the kindness of friends to bring them food.

Eventually, hiding was no longer an option. The Libyan government gave Jewish citizens the ultimatum of either living in a government-run camp, or leaving the country — relinquishing their Libyan citizenship and their possessions.

Penina and her family left Libya on June 30th, 1967. The family immigrated to Italy, where they settled into a refugee camp. Starting with almost nothing, they began the arduous journey of rebuilding their lives.

In later years, Penina would immigrate to the United States, and now resides in Los Angeles, California.