The Mediterranean port city of Salonica (Thessaloniki) was once home to the largest Judeo-Spanish-speaking Sephardic Jewish community in the world. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the city’s incorporation into Greece in 1912 provoked a major upheaval for Salonica’s Jews.
Drawing on previously unpublished archival materials in six languages, including holdings from YIVO in New York, this lecture tells the story of transition and adaption through the voices of Salonican Jews as they forged a new place for themselves in Greek society and the broader context of world Jewry prior to the tragedy of the Holocaust.
Dr. Devin E. Naar is the Isaac Alhadeff Professor in Sephardic Studies, Associate Professor of History and faculty at the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. A former Fulbright scholar with a PhD in History from Stanford University, Dr. Naar has transformed the University of Washington into a major center for the study of Sephardic history, culture, and language. His first book, Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece, won a 2016 National Jewish Book Award and the 2017 prize for best book awarded by the Modern Greek Studies Association. His current book project investigates the encounters of Sephardic Jews with the immigration system and racial hierarchies in the United States in the 20th century. While he conducts research in six languages, Dr. Naar speaks his ancestral language, Ladino, with his two small children.
JW3 is delighted to be in partnership with YIVO. The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is dedicated to the preservation and study of the history and culture of East European Jewry worldwide. For nearly a century, YIVO has pioneered new forms of Jewish scholarship, research, education, and cultural expression. Their public programs and exhibitions, as well as online and on-site courses, extend their global outreach and enable them to share their vast resources. The YIVO Archive contains more than 23 million unique items and YIVO’s Library has over 400,000 volumes—the single largest resource for such study in the world.