From Ottoman Subjects to Greek, Bulgarian and Turkish Citizens: Experiences of Sephardic Jews in the 19th and the 20th Centuries

Vasilis Ritzaleos's picture
March 1, 2019 to March 2, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Jewish History / Studies
On March 1 and 2, 2019, an international conference on the topic of From Ottoman Subjects to Greek, Bulgarian and Turkish Citizens: Experiences of Sephardic Jews in the 19th and the 20th Centuries will be held in Alexandroupoli, Greece (Egnatia Hotel, Parko Egnatia, Alexandroupoli, 68-100).  This freeinterdisciplinary conference is organized by the Greek Institute of Thracian Studies. This conference aims at contributing to a still-emerging understanding and studying of local and transnational dimensions of Jewish experiences in parts of the Ottoman Empire and in the modern nation-states of Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece.  Papers will present important new research on a number of topics, including Jewish concepts and expressions of culture, religion and community; relations among Muslims, Christians and Jews; the impact of nationalism, socialism, zionism, and efforts at assimilation; the ideology and practice of exterminationist racism during World War II; the reconstruction of Jewish communities in the post-war years; and cultures of remembrance and memorialization since the 1950s. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in English and Greek. 
For more information please consult the conference program given attached. 
We look forward to welcoming you to this important event. 
Dr. Vasilis Ritzaleos
on behalf of the Conference Academic Committee


From Ottoman Subjects to Greek, Bulgarian and Turkish Citizens: Experiences of Sephardic Jews in the 19th and the 20th Centuries

Grand Hotel Egnatia, Alexandroupoli, 1-2 March 2019




Friday, March 1, 2019

17:00-17:30  Registration

17:30- 18:00 Welcome and Opening Remarks


Keynote Lecture  

18:00-18:40  David Bunis, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The Rise of the Ottoman Sephardic Identity in the 16-17th Centuries.


18:40-18:55 Discussion                   


Panel 1:       Sephardic Experiences in the Ottoman Empire


Chair: David Bunis, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


18:55-19:15  Rena Molho, Thessaloniki

 Judeospanish as a Language of Instruction in the Schools of the Alliance Israélite Universelle: The Course of Letter Writing in Joseph Nehama’s Schoolbook “El Comercho”.


19:15-19:35 Gila Hadar, University of Haifa 

The Traveler’s Gaze: Representations of Jewish Communities of the Borderlands Between Salonica (Komotini) and Alexandroupoli in the late 19th Century. 


19:35-19:55 Eyal Ginio, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

        The Jewish Community of Dimetoka (Didymóteicho) Between Empire and Nation State.


19:55-20:15 Discussion




Saturday, March 2, 2019


Panel 2:       Jews as Citizens in Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey


Chair: Henriette Rika Benveniste, University of Thessaly, Volos  


09:30-09:50 Susy Gruss, Bar-Ilan University

A Hidden Figure in East Macedonia and Thrace: Juda Haim Perahia HaCohen (Thessaloniki 1886- Xanthi 1970).


09:50-10:10 Angel Chorapchiev, University of Haifa/ Yad Vashem

The Jewish Communal Schools in Bulgaria and their Role in Forming the Identity of the Country’s Jews in the Interwar Period.


10:10-10:30 Giorgos Margaritis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Social and Political Issues of Antisemitism in Greece in the Interwar Period.

10:30-10:50 Berna Pekesen, University Duisburg-Essen

                     Jewish Responses to Turkish Nationalism During the Interwar Period.


10:50-11:20 Discussion

11:20-11:40 Coffee Break  


Panel 3:       World War II and the Holocaust

                     Chair: Rena Molho

11:40-12:00 Valery Kolev, Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski"

The Bulgarian Administration in “Aegean Thrace” and the Jewish Question.


12:00-12:20 Vasilis Ritzaleos, Drama

The Persecution and Deportation of Jews in the Bulgarian Occupied Alexandroupoli, 1941-1943.


12:20- 12:40 Andrew Apostolou, Washington DC           

From Protected Subjects to Racial Targets: The Jews of Northeastern Greece, 1940-1942.


12:40- 13:00 Corry Guttstadt, Hamburg                     

Rescue of Jews from Greece Through the Aegean Route.


13:00-13:30 Discussion     

13:30-14:10 Break (Light Lunch)  


Panel 4         After the Holocaust

Chair: Gabriella Etmektsoglou, New York University in Berlin

14:10-14:30 Nadège Ragaru, Sciences Po, Paris              

Jewish Deportations on Trial: The Case of Chamber 7 of the Bulgarian People’s Courts (1944-1945).


14:30-14:50 Rumyana Marinova Christidi, Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski"  

The Jews in Communist Bulgaria.


14:50-15:10 Henriette Rika Benveniste, University of Thessaly, Volos

Early Postwar Correspondence of Greek Jewish Holocaust Survivors.


15:10-15:30 Duygu Atlas, Tel Aviv University

Navigating Between Discriminations: Turkish Jews Through Israel's Lens, 1948-1955.


15:30-16:00 Discussion

15:50-16:10 Closing Remarks Henriette Rika Benveniste, Gabriella Etmektsoglou, Vasilis Ritzaleos


Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in English and Greek.

Free Entrance


Conference Academic Committee

Rena Molho, President

Henriette Rika Benveniste

Konstantinos Chatzopoulos

Gabriella Etmektsoglou

Rumyana Marinova Christidi

Vasilis Ritzaleos

Organized by

The Greek Institute of Thracian Studies

Funded by

The Municipality of Alexandroupoli

Mrs. Ariela Brownstone – Shani

Dr. Deborah Brownstone

Mrs. Rina Brownstone – Solomon

Mr. Mike Brownstone



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