Venice has the dubious distinction of being home to the world’s original ghetto, the area where in 1516 all the city’s Jews were ordered to move to. This came on top of other economic and social restraints, although the oppression was still less severe than in other parts of Europe and, ironically, these Dark Ages were not as dark as the allegedly enlightened 20th century.
The Jews of Venice only achieved equal rights with other Venetians after the Unification with Italy in 1866. The following plaque honors the Venetian Jews who fought and died for Italy in World War I,
but like in other Fascist/Nazi countries in Europe, this did not protect the community from the Holocaust only a few decades later. The memorial The Last Train commemorates the Venetian Jews deported to concentration camps.
There is a Jewish Museum in the ghetto, but you shouldn’t get the wrong impression that the whole ghetto is a museum. People, now of all religions, live there, as this active bakery attests to.
So I guess Shakespeare had good reason to place his Merchant of Venice specifically there…
Ahh, very good point!
By the way do you know Efraim kishon’s piece on Venice? It’s very funny.
I thought I have read most of his books/stories, but I don’t have an active recollection of it. I read them as a child/teenager, a long time ago.
Interesting article thank you.
The Venice photos are all from February 2012, but I thought it’s high time that I put them up (more coming soon).
Marvellous photos and a great post TY sir – always worth reminding people of these things – so many live in ignorance
Pingback: Das Ghetto von Venedig | Der reisende Reporter