The stereotyped "Greek jew" from Auschwitz-Birkenau to Israeli popular culture

K. E. Fleming

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Over the course of the twentieth century, Greek Jews underwent a gradual, if anomalous, process of nationalization. While other groups (Asia Minor refugees, for example) "became Greek" through assimilation within the physical territory of Greece, Jews "became Greek" in large part as a result of their exile from that territory. They were definitively portrayed as being first and foremost "Greek" largely within contexts that were characterized by mass heterogeneous Jewish populations. In Auschwitz-Birkenau and later in the context of post-war Palestine/Israel, Jews of Greek origin were a tiny minority within Jewish contexts dominated by other Jewish groups. While in the Orthodox Christian-dominant context of Greece Jews had, variously, struggled to establish their status as Greeks; rejected the categorization altogether; or developed complex hybrid identities, in the contexts of Auschwitz-Birkenau and, later, Israel/Palestine, they were understood by others, and, later, by themselves, as uncomplicatedly "Greek." This "Greekness," however; particularly in Israel/Palestine, largely took the form of a stereotype, one that elided the subtleties of Greek Jewish identity as it had begun to take shape in Greece before the Second World War.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)17-40
    Number of pages24
    JournalJournal of Modern Greek Studies
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 2007

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cultural Studies
    • History
    • Sociology and Political Science


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