This book is the first publication of the unfinished memoir by the Portuguese Jew Jacques José Abravanel (1906–1993). For almost sixty years he was Portugal’s honorary consul in Istanbul and an active defender of ladino language.
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For many years, there was almost no memoir available written by Jews in Turkey, and although several interesting publications have appeared in later years, they are still scarce. This is why this memoir is interesting, even though it was never completed, nor published while the author Jacques José Abravanel (1906–1993) was alive. Instead, it was published posthumously upon the initiative of his nephew, Professor Marsel Erdal, and independent scholar Rifat N. Bali. A Portuguese Jew, Jacques Abravanel was born in Salonica and moved to Istanbul with his family at the end of the World War I. He became the honorary consul of Portugal in Istanbul in 1934 and remained in this position for the rest of his life. In addition, Abravanel was a great defender of the ladino language and he wrote several articles on the subject for Salom, the newspaper of the Jewish community in Turkey. In this book, he tells the story of his life until 1944. Although unfinished, it constitutes a valuable portrait of the life of the Jewish community in Turkey.