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Ashkenazim and Sephardim: A European Perspective

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Andrzej Katny, Izabela Olszewska and Aleksandra Twardowska

This volume is devoted to selected aspects of the culture and language of the two largest Jewish Diaspora groups, Sephardim and Ashkenazim. The authors analyze the latest European research tendencies related to both Jewish factions. Questions concern the historical, social and cultural contact with non-Jewish environment, the problems of Jewish identity, the condition of languages in both groups (Yiddish, Judeo-Spanish, Hakitía), and Jewish anthroponymy. The reflections concern various areas of contemporary Germany, Poland, Russia, the Balkan countries, Italy, the countries of North Africa inhabited by both Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews. For the analyses, not only documents, manuscripts, press articles, and literary texts serve as a basis but also the artifacts of material culture.

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Paloma Díaz-Mas / Pilar Romeu Ferré: Being Multilingual: Judeo-Spanish as a Homeland in the Diaspora as Reflected in Jewish Sephardic Memoirs

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Being Multilingual: Judeo-Spanish as a Homeland in the Diaspora as Reflected in Jewish Sephardic Memoirs Paloma Díaz-Mas / Pilar Romeu Ferré Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas – CSIC / Editorial Tirocinio Abstract – This article is based on memoirs and autobiographical narratives published in the last half century by Sephardic Jews from around the World. We intend to analyze how these books reflect different aspects of Sephardic culture and attitudes: the concepts of homeland and diaspora, the relationship with Israel, with Spain and with the home countries of the East- ern Mediterranean and North Africa, relations with the Ashkenazi Jews or attitudes toward Sephardic language (Judeo-Spanish or Ladino) and towards the languages of the countries of their new settlement. Keywords: Memoirs, Autobiography, Sephardic Jews, Transnationalism, Sephardic Litera- ture, Migration, Language Attitudes, Identity Introduction In this article we focus on the triple component of the Sephardic identity in the Second Diaspora, on how the Sephardic language became something like a homeland for Sephardic Jews, and how their identity shows them different from their Ashkenazi brethren. Since the first decades of the 20th century political changes, economical cri- sis and the search of new opportunities took away many Sephardim from Tur- key, the Balkan countries and North Africa. Pro-Nazi regimes and prosecution of Jews during World War II erased many Sephardic communities almost com- pletely. In 1956 the independence of Morocco promoted most of the Sephardic population to emigrate. These migration movements (the so called “Second Sephardic Diaspora”) led to the drastic...

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