Wednesday 12 December
A part of the Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492 sought refuge in the Ottoman Empire, settling in several cities where they created their own Sephardic culture. In this lunchtime lecture, Dr Odette Varon-Vassard describes this new diaspora, focusing on Salonica, where the largest community of Sephardis lived and thrived. She will discuss how Salonica’s Jews shaped their identity first in the context of the Ottoman Empire, and after Salonica’s annexation, as Greek Jews in the framework of the Modern Greek State. The few survivors who after the Shoah formed the after war community are a small group but with special symbolic importance.
Dr Odette Varon-Vassard is a historian of Resistance, of the Holocaust and of the sephardic diaspora. She was a senior Lecturer/Advisor, Hellenic Open University from 2001-2017, and has lectured at the annual seminar on “Teaching about the Holocaust in Greece” for High School teachers at Jewish Museum of Greece (JMG, Athens) since 2007. Since 2011 she directs her own seminar on “Genocide of European Jews: history, memory and representations” at the JMG and is associated in many projects of the same Museum.