Opening Event: New Exhibit on The Jews of Corfu

Date: Sep 07, 2022

Time: 5:00 pm - 7:45 pm

Sponsor: The Library

Category: Library Events Public Lectures & Events Visit Library Exhibits

The Jews of Corfu: Between the Adriatic and the Ionian

A Concurrent Exhibition of The Library of JTS and the Norman E. Alexander Library for Jewish Studies at Columbia University 

Opening Event
September 7, 2022
The Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University, New York City


Join us for the opening event of this unprecedented exhibition, which offers a window into the rich history and culture of the little-known Jewish communities of Corfu. Columbia University and JTS, two of the world’s largest repositories of rare materials from Corfu, are displaying a selection of illustrated prayer books, historical documents, celebratory poems, and elaborately decorated ketubbot that tell the story of the island’s vibrant, distinct, and sometimes contentious Jewish communities. Situated on a major trade route, these communities thrived under Venetian and then Greek rule from the Middle Ages until 1944, when the Jews of Corfu were almost entirely annihilated by the Nazis. 

Event Schedule

5:00–6:00 pm: Welcome and reception at Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library
6th Floor East, Butler Library
535 West 114th Street

6:45–7:45 pm: Welcome and introductory remarks at The Library of JTS
3080 Broadway at 122nd Street

Guided Tours of the Exhibit

The JTS Library will offer a series of guided tours of the exhibition on its campus.

11:00 a.m.  September 22, October 25, November 8

6:00 p.m.: September 29, November 17 

Individuals wishing to view the exhibition may also come to JTS during Library hours, with proof of vaccination.

About the Jews of Corfu

Today considered part of Greece, from 1386 until the end of the 18th  century the island was under Venetian rule and closely affiliated with Italian Jewry. Yet it included Jews from many different lands. The earliest Jewish community was made up of the Romaniote—Greek-speaking Byzantine Jews. Later came a large contingent of Jews fleeing Apulia (also known as Puglia) in the wake of mass expulsions in 1510–11 and 1541, who were followed by refugees from the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the 16th century. The complex and often contentious relationship between the two main Jewish communities.   

In 1864, the island of Corfu, along with the six other Ionian islands, was integrated into the modern Greek state and the Jews of Corfu were granted equal rights with the rest of the population. Tragically, the Jewish community of Corfu was almost entirely annihilated by the Nazis in 1944, and few people today know of its rich cultural history.