The deportation of Sephardic Jews of Paris
Firstly let's define the title: I refer specifically to the fate of the Judeo-Spanish people from the former Ottoman Empire.
This theme raises two questions, to which I will try to provide some elements of response.
(1) what is a Judeo-Spanish person?
(2) What are the specificities of the deportation of the Judeo-Spanish population?
Characterize a Judeo-Spanish person before 1900 is relatively easy: he/she has a typically Judeo-Spanish name (Gattegno, Saltiel, Sephiha, Saporta, Fresco…) or was born in a town of the former Ottoman Empire (Salonica, Edirne, Istanbul, Izmir…). In 1941 the roundups began and things became a little more complicated: the most characteristic case is that of a Cohen born in Paris. How then is it possible to characterize him as Judeo-Spanish in the names on the lists of deportees?
One of the specificities of some Judeo-Spanish people was to have passports of so-called "neutral" countries and thus to benefit from the protection of the Governments of these countries such as Turkey, Spain… This protection was relative, yet their trains traveled through Europe not to Poland but to the Spanish border or Istanbul.
Some 30,000 Judeo-Spanish people lived in France before WWII out of which 10,000 have been deported.
Alain de TOLEDO
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