The Last Jews in Turkey

Perhaps the most underreported tragedy of the 20th and 21st centuries is the religious cleansing in the Middle East that’s been going on most of that time. Here’s a part of Turkey’s role in it:


Before the Turkish Republic was established in 1923, the Jewish population of Edirne, for centuries a home to Jews, was 13,000, as reported in the detailed essay “The Jews of Edirne,” by Rifat Bali, an independent scholar specializing in the history of Turkish Jewry. But by 1998, Edirne had three Jews left: Yasef Romano, who was born in 1938, and Rifat and Sara Miftani, a couple who owned a shop there.

Today, the current Jewish population of Edirne is two.

The Jewish presence in Edirne dates back to early Byzantine times, during the rule of Roman Emperor Theodosius I (reigned 379-395 CE). During the Ottoman Empire, Edirne — home to many Jewish intellectuals, scientists, musicians, publishers and merchants — was as central to Jews as Constantinople (Istanbul) and Thessaloniki.

What happened?

Read the whole thing, never forgetting why there must be an Israel.


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