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From Amsterdam to Istanbul: Fundraising and Jewish Refugee Relief in the Seventeenth Century

Event Date & Time: 22nd May, 2019 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Location: Birkbeck, University of London, Clore Lecture Theatre, Clore Management Centre, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7JL
Speakers: Professor Adam Teller, Brown University
Tags: Hanover, Yusuf Ben Naftali, Yusuf Ben Shimon
Theme: Economics, Fundraising, Humanitarianism, Politics, Refugee, Slavery, Violence
Region / Country: Amsterdam, Asia, Europe, Iran, Istanbul, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Ukraine
Historical Period: 17th century


This lecture examines the ways in which Jews across Europe and Asia co-operated in helping the tens of thousands of their co-religionists displaced by the mid-seventeenth century wars in eastern Europe.  A broad economic network coalesced which took money raised in communities as far distant as Amsterdam, Hamburg, Vienna, and Mantua and channelled it to where it was needed most – Poland-Lithuania, the Ottoman Empire, and even Iran.  The focus of the talk will be the Jews of Italy in general, and of Venice in particular, who were at the heart of the network, coordinating the fundraising, giving support to the refugees at home and abroad, and co-operating with the Jews of Istanbul in ransoming the thousands of Jewish captives brought to the slave markets there.

Adam Teller is Professor of History and Judaic Studies at Brown University in the USA. He specializes in the economic, social, and cultural history of the Jews in early modern Poland-Lithuania. His latest book is Money, Power, and Influence in Eighteenth Century Lithuania: The Jews on the Radziwiłł Estates (Stanford University Press, 2016). 

This lecture is one of a series exploring themes from the exhibition, Jews, Money, Myth at the Jewish Museum London (19 March – 7 July), developed in collaboration with the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism.

Statement – 1

The founding principle of the Pears Institute is that the study of antisemitism is vital to understanding racialization, racism and religious intolerance.

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