Following Dr Pomeroy's successful course on the Jews of Iberia, she will share her immense expertise on the Jews of Salonica and surrounds.
Some 20,000 Jewish refugees made their way to Salonica after their expulsion from Spain in 1492 and found a city empty of Jews. Their arrival was encouraged by the Sultan, Bayezid II. Learn about the history and rich vibrant culture of a community allowed freedom of religious practice and communal autonomy under Islam.
Whilst the Sephardi Jews had arrived destitute, living in poverty as manual workers or petty traders, some became entrepreneurs who supported the community and later brought new industry and trade to the city. Salonica’s flourishing port was manned by Jewish porters, stevedores, sailors and fisherman and shut down over the Jewish Sabbath. However, in the mid-twentieth century what had been the largest Ladino-speaking community in the world perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Week 1: The historical background, the Ottoman Empire. Arrival of Sephardi Jews.
Week 2: Jewish institutions, communal organisation and administration, education, both religious and secular, welfare organisations, trades, industry and commerce.
Week 3: Culture. Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish press. Traditions and customs. The Sephardi household.
Week4: Advent of modernisation and westernisation in the nineteenth century and ending with the 1890 and 1917 ‘great fires’. 1912-13, the Balkan Wars. Demographic disruption. The Holocaust. The situation today.
Dr. Pomeroy was awarded her PhD in the Department of Hispanic Studies, Queen Mary, University of London and taught the history and culture of Sephardi Jews in the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University College London. She chaired the foremost international conference on Judeo-Spanish Studies for twenty-five years, the last three conferences in collaboration with Bar-Ilan University, Israel, and the Consejo Científico de Investigaciones Superiores, Madrid. She has published numerous articles and a book on the Moroccan ballad tradition.