Integration through the past: Jewish scholars write history in inter-war Salonica

Eyal Ginio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The chapter examines the different ways in which Jewish intellectuals narrated Greek history in interwar Thessaloniki. The main argument is that writing popular history in Judeo-Spanish-still the main language of local Jews-served them in their efforts to promote Jewish integration into Greek society and the national community. While some of the local Jews opted to emigrate, the majority of Jews chose to stay in their natal city and adapt themselves to the new and uncertain political reality. This desired integration was not an easy mission to accomplish due to different tensions that prevailed in the relations between the Jews and the Greek state. The Jews understood that adaptation meant the acquisition of a new cultural identity that could dovetail with their newly required Greek citizenship. By analyzing some of the published popular history books and lectures, this chapter sheds light on several targets of this channel of acculturation: the wish of Jewish scholars to acquaint local Jews with Greek history-both ancient and modern-as a way to better integrate them into Greek society, to make Greek history relevant to Greek Jews and to insert the local Jews into Greek history since ancient times.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThessaloniki
Subtitle of host publicationA City in Transition, 1912-2012
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780429510236
ISBN (Print)9780429201561
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 selection and editorial matter, Dimitris Keridis and John Brady Kiesling; individual chapters, the contributors.


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