04 December 2007

Washington, DC: Sephardim and the Holocaust, Dec. 19

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum will present "Judeo-Espagnol and the Holocaust: A discussion with Haim-Vidal Sephiha," at 1pm, Wednesday, December 19.

The program will address the little understood and under-researched fate of Judeo-Spanish through the experience of Auschwitz survivor Haim-Vidal Sephiha, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the Universite Paris IV-Sorbonne, and President of Judeo-Espagnol Auschwitz in Paris.

Sephiha was born in Brussels to a Sephardic family of Turkish origin, and was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943. He joined the Sorbonne faculty in 1963, authoring seven books, 10 booklets, more than 400 articles and directed directed more than 400 master's and Ph.D. theses on Judeo-Espagnol history, linguistics and culture.

He will discuss his personal Holocaust experiences, his life's work on the study of Judeo-Espagnol and opoprtunities for future research. The interview will be conducted by Radu Ioanid, International Archival Program Division director at the USHMM's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.

On the eve of World War II, the Judeo-Espagnol community was concentrated in the Balkan countries of Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Romania, with main centers in Salonika, Sarajevo, Belgrade and Sofia. During the Holocaust, these centers of were almost totally destroyed and unique language and traditions nearly eradicated.

For more information, click here.

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