21 May 2010

New Jersey: Sephardic Jews and Holocaust, June 6

Devin E. Naar will speak on "Sephardic Jews in America and the Holocaust" at Rider University (Lawrenceville, New Jersey) on Sunday, June 6.

The 10th Dorothy Koppelman Memorial Holocaust Lecture, of the Koppelman Holocaust/Genocide Resource Center, will begin at 1pm, in the Luedeke Student Center.

Devin is a Stanford University doctoral candidate in history. His surname also figures prominently in Caribbean Sephardic life.

His talk will focus on the responses of Sephardic Jews in the US to the destruction of their native communities in Greece and the Balkans during the Second World War - a theme previously unexplored by scholars.

He will draw on a variety of textual and visual sources, including Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) newspapers, institutional records, private correspondence, memoirs, poetry and photographs.

Devin is one of the few scholars who have mastered solitreo, handwritten Ladino. He has specialized in the Jewish history of Salonika in the 20th century with emphasis on the effects of the 1917 Great Fire , which left some 50,000 Salonika Jews homeless. Naar’s great grandfather was a rabbi in Salonika.

For a truly fascinating and very detailed journey through Devin's own genealogy, "Tracing the Origins of the Naars of New Jersey: A Personal Odyssey," click here for the article at the Jewish Historical Society of Central Jersey website.

His ancestral Jewish community of Salonika, with a pre-war population of some 60,000, was destroyed during the Nazi occupation; 95% of the city's Jews were killed in Auschwitz in 1943.

Readers interested in attending should send an email to the Holocaust Center administrator.

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