Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sephardim in Hungarian territory, 1840

I never realised that Sephardim had migrated so far north, to the edge of central Europe. The towns mentioned in Miss Pardoe's book are today in Serbia, but were formerly in the Hungarian part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It had been Ottoman territory for around 150 years until 1699. I have no idea when the Sephardim arrived. In 1840 Miss Pardoe reported that Hungarian Jews were tolerated rather than emancipated. Some of the wealthier had converted to Catholicism and joined the Hungarian aristocracy.

"At Semlin [Zemun in Serbia?] and Pancsova [Pančevo in Serbia] many Spanish and Portuguese Jews still reside descendants of those who were compelled to exile themselves during the persecutions of Torquemada.

These people retain their original language, like their brethren at Constantinople, of whom I have spoken in a previous work [The City of the Sultan, vol. iii. (2nd edition.)], and who fled at the same time from the same evil."

Source: Julia Pardoe. The City of the Magyar, or Hungary and her Institutions in 1839-40: Volume 3. Page 300.

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