On the occasion of Greece’s Presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance 2021, the Embassy of Greece in Stockholm organised the Webinar Lecture “Romaniots: the Jews of Greece in the Middle Ages”, on the 24th of February 2022.
The keynote speaker was Professor Nicholas de Lange, Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University of Cambridge, probably the foremost world authority on Judaism in Byzantium and on the interaction between Judaism and Hellenism from the Hellenistic Age until the late Byzantine era. Professor de Lange is also known through his wonderful translations of works of Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua and S. Yizhar from Hebrew into English for which he won worldwide acclaim.
Professor de Lange pointed out that many people do not fully appreciate that Greece is home to the oldest Jewish community in Europe with continuous history since ancient times. In his lecture he outlined the history of the Romaniots in the Middle Ages, dwelling on their unique culture, with roots in Ancient Greece and contacts with Byzantine and Italian Christianity, as well as with Judaism in various parts of Europe and the Middle East. He also emphasised that unlike Jewish communities in many other parts of Europe the Romaniots did not live marginalised in ghettos. Finally, Professor de Lange followed the traces of the Romaniots through post-Byzantine times and until the present day.
Welcome addresses were given by Andreas Fryganas, Ambassador of Greece in Sweden, Ute Steyer, first woman Rabbi of the Jewish community of Stockholm and Katherine Hauptman, the Director of the Swedish Holocaust Museum. Noa Hermele, Managing Director of Paideia – The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden moderated the event.