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I plan to collect historical documents and articles by various authors in this blog, usually without comments. Opinions expressed within the articles belong to the authors and do not always coincide with those of mine.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Genocides in Southeastern Europe

Source: Professor Stanford J. Shaw, 'The Jews of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic,' New York University Press, New York (1991).

Page 187:
"...the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire which had been going on for a century was disastrous for Ottoman Jewry. This was the age of nationalism among the Christian subjects of the Sultan, starting with the Greek Revolution early in the nineteenth century, which, based on the Megali Idea, or Great Idea, sought to add to Greek kingdom Istanbul and large portions of Anatolia, union of which with Greece was felt to be the 'dream and hope of all'. The success of the Greek national movement, provided more in fact by the intervention of the Great Powers than by the efforts of the Greeks themselves, stimulated similar uprisings among the other subjects in Southeastern Europe who had long been oppressed, not so much by the Ottomans but, rather, by the Greek religious hierarchy which dominated the Orthodox millet, leading first to pressure for religious independence, granted to the Bulgarian Orthodox Exarchate in 1870, to the Serbian Church in 1879, and to the Rumanian Church in 1885, with subsequent aspirations for, and achievement of, political independence following..."
 Page 188:
 "...They [new nationalist leaders] were greatly assisted in their campaigns against the Ottomans both by the diplomatic and consular representatives of the major Powers of Europe and also by Christian missionaries, who emphasized feelings of Christian superiority and hatred for Muslims and Jews which fortified the religious as well as ethnic bases of their pursuit of independence.
Christian nationalism, based as much on religious as on ethnic identity, soon resurrected the medieval bigotries which had devastated both Jews and Muslims and consequently had driven them together in the past. Vicious anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic movements developed, involving large-scale persecutions and massacres carried out by invading armies, by the independent states that resulted, also by Christian subjects who remained within the Empire, particularly because of Jewish and Muslim support for Ottoman integrity in fear of their fate in the emergent nationalist states of Southeastern Europe. The results were explosive and damaging.
The invading armies of Russia and Austria as well as the revolting nationalists and, later, successfully established independent Christian states, committed systematic genocide against Jews and Muslims throughout the nineteenth century, despite Great Power admonitions to the contrary in the treaties of Paris (1858) and Berlin (1878),..."
Page 188:
"...As the peoples of Southeastern Europe achieved their independence, their Muslim and Jewish minorities were systematically persecuted and massacred, and those who survived were driven beyond the ever- shrinking boundaries of the retreating Ottoman Empire in a kind of slaughter which had not been seen since the dispersal of the Jews from Palestine centuries earlier.
This sort of genocide had begun as long before as the late sixteenth century, with the Rumanian Principalities taking the lead, as united Rumania did subsequently during the later years of the nineteenth century. In 1579 the ruler of Moldovia, Peter the Lame, banished its Jews because of their competition with its Christian merchants. When Prince Micheal the Brave revolted against the Ottomans in the Rumanian principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia in 1593, he ordered the massacre of all the Jews as well as Turks in Bucharest."

Page 204:
"Greeks and Armenians agitated widely to prevent Jews from constructing new synagogues when needed in the Empire. The best example of this came with Greek opposition to the construction of a new Jewish synagogue at Haydarpasa in 1899. Sultan Abdul Hamid II allowed the synagogue to be built, and assured its opening despite Greek protests by sending a contingent of soldiers from the nearby Selimiye barracks, leading the congregation to adopt the name Hemdat Israel synagogue, choosing the name not only because of its meaning, 'the mercy of Israel', but also because the word Hemdat was close to the name of their benefactor, Sultan Abdul-Hamid [43]. Macedonia was a living hell for Muslims and Jews alike, with terrorist bands organized by Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian and even Rumanian nationalists slaughtering all those who failed to share their national passions [44].
Avram Galante, who lived for many years among the Greeks on the island of Rhodes, where the Jewish community was numerous, but still a substantial minority compared to the Greeks and Muslims, relates how he tried desperately to secure assistance from the Greek religious authorities to end the pogroms, securing Patriarchal encyclicals in 1873, 1874, 1884 and 1898, but with only limited success as they felt pressure from their flocks to go along with the attacks, or at least not to object, while the lower priests actively encouraged the attacks against the Jews, not only on the part of their followers but also by Muslims [45]. Efforts of the Grand Rabbi and individual Jews within the Empire to stop these pogroms were supported by leading European Jewish bankers such as Moses Montefiore and Baron Maurice de Hirsch (1831-96), principal builder of the Orient railroad between Vienna, Istanbul and the East, who as founder of the Jewish Colonization Association was the first Jewish philanthropist to help Jews resettle in the Holy Land, and by the AIU, whose educational efforts were also liberally subsidised by the Hirsch. Such interventions usually succeeded in getting the culprits imprisoned, but little could be done to remedy the damage done to Ottoman Jews during the course of the repeated attacks, and only the constant efforts at protection by the Ottoman government prevented things from becoming even worse as time went on."
[43] Guleryuz, 'Turkiye Yahudileri Tarihi: 19.Yuzyil sona ererken (2)', Salom, 19 November 1986.
[44] Robert Mantran, 'La structure sociale de la communaute juive de Salonqiue a la fin du dix-neuvieme siecle', RH no.534 (1980), 388; D. Levi, Ecole des Garcons, Rodosto, to AIU, 6 May 1920 (AIU Archives I C 33) describes a typical Greek blood libel incident at Gallipoli in 1920.
[45] Galante, Istanbul, 134-135. El Tiempo, 28 May 1920; Galante, Documents V, 181-96; Galante, Nouveau Recueil de Nouveaux Documents Inedits concernant l'Historie des Juifs de Turquie (Istanbul, 1952), reprinted in Galante, Turquie VI, 324.

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