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Pell Lecture: From the Ottoman Empire to the Holocaust
The Jews of Rhodes and the End of the Sephardi Levant, 1900-1944
Date & Time:Wednesday February 08, 2012 05:00 PM to 07:00 PM
Location:The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley
Charles Michael Professor in Jewish History and Culture, Stanford University.
The small Sephardi Jewish community of the island of Rhodes lived under Ottoman rule
for centuries. The island was conquered by Italy in 1912, and the community underwent a complete political and economic transformation as a result of the new circumstances that prevailed on. Passing from a traditional old imperial setting to a new one where European "modernity" arrived under the guise of Italian colonialism, the Jews of Rhodes became Italianized rapidly and adapted to the new circumstances. It was only with the adoption of antisemitic legislation of 1938 that their situation began to deteriorate, with many restrictions imposed on Jewish political end economic activity. The German military occupied the island in 1943 after the fall of Mussolini. The Jews were deported to Auschwitz in the summer of 1944. Jewish life in Rhodes came to an end.With the disappearance of the mother community, the Rhodes Jewish diaspora created networks of communication and produced a significant literature about the lost ancestral homeland. Rhodes became an important Sephardi site of memory.
Professor Rodrigue is internationally renowned for his expertise in modern Jewish history and the Ottoman Empire. He has taught History at Stanford since 1991, and he is Director of the Stanford Humanities Center and Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities. His latest book is (co-edited with Sarah Abrevaya Stein) A Jewish Voice from Ottoman Salonica: The Ladino Memoir of Sa'adi Besalel a-Levi (2012). His other publications include Sephardi Jewry: A History of the Judeo-Spanish Community, 14th-20th Centuries (2000, with Esther Benbassa) and Jews and Muslims: Images of Sephardi and Eastern Jewries in Modern Times (2003).
Co-presented by Jewish Studies Program at UC Berkeley