Monday, August 17, 2015

Turkey: Ladino language is almost extinct in Turkey

Sunday's Zaman reports (via Watch Antisemitsm in Europe):

The recently screened documentary “Las Ultimas Palavras” (The Last Words) has revealed that the Judeo-Spanish language, also known as Ladino, is on the verge of extinction in Turkey, which director Rita Ender believes to be the result of violations of minority rights.

The documentary was shown in Turkey for the first time on Thursday evening at the Lale Movie Hall on Büyükada, one of Istanbul's Princes' Islands. The islands -- which are located just an hour by ferry from the metropolis -- are one of the few places with sizable populations of non-Muslim communities in İstanbul, especially in the summer months. Each island is known for housing a non-Muslim minority: Kınalıada is known for its Armenians, Heybeliada for its Greeks and Büyükada has long been something of a safe haven for local Jews.

The film featured young people from the local Sephardic (Jews originally from the Iberian Peninsula) community between the ages of 25-35. Through the interviews with young people, the film came to the conclusion that Ladino will die with this generation. A large population of Sephardim migrated to the Ottoman Empire, finding refuge from the Spanish Inquisition and bringing with them their culture and language, which is now on its last legs. Read more.

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