Kerem Y. Tangential Representation of the Sephardim and Mizrahim in the Holocaust: multi-cultural diversity lost under Ashkenazi hegemony

Y. Kerem - The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Jerusalem, Israel ORCID: 0000-0002-6328-5643


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ABSTRACT. Since the 1980s, researchers working on Sephardic and Mizrahi (Eastern) Jewry during the Holocaust in the Balkans, North Africa and Iraq have published much on the inclusion of the non-Ashkenazi Jews in diverse aspects of annihilation, resistance, and hiding. Due to the lack of awareness, proximity to Israeli Holocaust museums, and large groups of survivors outside of Israel, very little research and interviewing was done on Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry in WWII and the exposure of the Jews of the Balkans, North Africa, the Middle East and the Far East to the Holocaust. In this process, the Holocaust history of Morocco and Iraq was virtually known outside of Israel. Since for many decades after the Holocaust Ashkenazi hegemony emphasized heroism and resistance in its narrative, when Sephardic research addressed Jewish partisan resistance in the Balkans, and in Auschwitz and other labor and death camps, it was blocked from the general historiography and museum commemoration. In the last two decades, the Holocaust establishment has been including Sephardic Jewry and other non-Ashkenazi groups in Africa and Asia in its narrative at best as a token element. In ex-Yugoslavia, the Jasenovac death camp has reduced portrayal of its Jewish victims to a minimum in defense of Croatan nationalist cover-up; in Serbia Holocaust commemoration has not progressed beyond socialist realism representing Jewish annihilation in passing; in the new Skopje museum much of the new Sephardic and Holocaust content has been censored by the government; and Bulgaria continues to deny its role in the annihilation of Jews in Macedonia and Thrace. In recent years, the second generation has initiated local March of the Living commemorations in Salonika and Northern Macedonia, while Holocaust monuments continue to be desecrated throughout Greece. In Israel, the partial courts have rejected the status of Moroccan and Iraqi Jews as survivors of the Holocaust in class action suits, despite the archival evidence and Claims Conference recognition of the Moroccan Jewry under Vichy.


DOI 10.31250/2618-8600-2020-2(8)-66-79 
УДК 9 4(=41 1 . 16)


KEYWORDS: Sephardic, Holocaust, Auschwitz, Mizrahim, Salonika, Morocco, Farhud, Warsaw



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