The Holocaust and Sephardic Jews of the Balkans and North Africa JGSCV April 1 Program

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV) will be meeting on Sunday, April 1, 2012 1:30-3:30 pm at Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks, CA.

This program commemorates Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial) Day even though the actual date is April 19. This is a new program created at the request of JGSCV!

The Topic: The Holocaust and Sephardic Jews of the Balkans and North Africa

Much has been written and many documentaries and dramas have been made concerning the Holocaust. Overwhelmingly, these deal with the horrors experienced by the Jews of Eastern Europe. Less well known is the plight of the Sephardic Jews of the Balkans and North Africa. Benveniste's talk will focus on the story of the Jews of Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and North Africa. He will include the personal stories of people he has known from Salonika, Athens, Rhodes and Morocco. The Anti-Semitic policies of Nazi Germany are well known, Benveniste's talk will cover the policies of Fascist Italy, Franco Spain, Vichy France and the kings of Bulgaria and Morocco.

Speaker: Arthur Benveniste. His parents were from the Island of Rhodes where his ancestors lived for four hundred years. He grew up in a community of Ladino speaking Jews from Rhodes. For many years, he has been interested in tracing the roots of Sephardic culture. Arthur has been active in the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies since 1993, where he was president of the society from 2001 to 2003. He served as the co-editor of Halapid, the newsletter of the society. Mr. Benveniste has visited Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Peru, Italy, Morocco, Turkey and Greece. In 1992, he was invited by King Juan Carlos to return to Spain to commemorate the quincentennial of the expulsion of Jews.

Our Schmoozing corner, which starts 15 minutes before the meeting begins will be facilitated by Werner Frank, JGSCV founding member and former board member . This permits attendees to ask questions on brick walls and get directions on how to do their research.

The 5-minute genealogical technique will be presented by JSGCV president, Jan Meisels Allen on what information you can find in a marriage record.

Our traveling library will have categories A and C books and the holocaust collection of category D. The books are available starting 30 minutes before the program to shortly after the program. To see which books are coming to the meeting, please see our website under traveling library.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County is dedicated to sharing genealogical information, techniques and research tools with anyone interested in Jewish genealogy and family history.(

There is no charge to attend the meeting and all are welcome to attend. Annual dues are $25 for an individual and $30 for a family. Dues paid good through December 2012.

For more information including directions to the meeting, see our website:

Jan Meisels Allen
President, JGSCV

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