Isola della Giudecca – the Venetian Ghetto…

C’est à Venise que revient le triste “privilège” d’avoir inventé le ghetto dans le quartier(sestiere) du Cannaregio, au 16e siècle, et l’attitude de la “Sérénissime” a toujours été ambiguë à l’égard des Juifs. Cet ensemble ne possède pas de grands monuments, mais reste intéressant à découvrir pour comprendre l’histoire des Juifs vénitiens. Au 12e siècle, on attribua à la communauté juive – la plus importante, après les Grecs – l’île de la Spinalunga, qui prit le nom de “Giudecca”(la juiverie) après leur installation, et il était utilisé dans toutes les villes italiennes. En 1516, les Juifs reçoivent pour la première fois l’ordre de se rassembler pour vivre en un lieu séparé – “un ghetto”.

Ce mot vient de l’italien “geto” qui signifie “fusion, séparation”, et la prononciation gutturale de “geto” s’expliquerait par l’accent des Juifs ashkénazes, originaires d’Allemagne et d’Europe centrale. La municipalité de Venise, dans son souci de “véniatiser”(sic!) les noms, en supprimant quasi-systématiquement les doubles consonnes, a transformé tous les panneaux et inscriptions liés au “ghetto” en “gheto”, avec un seul “t”. En 1797, Napoléon Bonaparte décida la suppression du “Ghetto”, qui fut rétabli par les Autrichiens, et définitivement aboli en 1866. Au 20e siècle, le terme s’est généralisé, les “ghettos” se sont “multipliés” sur plusieurs méridiens, et ils continuent à exister au 21e siècle, hélas…
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N.B. néanmoins, sous la république Vénitienne, la ville a été un refuge et a mieux traité la population juive qu’ailleurs en Europe, et ce, malgré la ségrégation, car les juifs étaient appréciés pour leurs compétences dans de nombreux domaines…

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Venice has also the sad ‘privilege’ of having invented the ghetto during the 16th century, in the district(sestiere) of Cannaregio, and the “Serenissima’s” attitude has always been “ambiguous” towards Jews. This subdivision has no large monuments, but it’s worth discovering it to figure out the history of the Venetian Jews. In the 12th century, the isola-island of Spinalunga was assigned to the Jewish community which was the largest one after the Greek one, it took the name of “Giudecca”(the Jewry) once they settled in, name used in all Italian cities for the Jewish neighborhoods. In 1516, the Jews were given for the first time the order to get together and to live in a separate place – called “a ghetto”.

This word comes from the Italian “geto” which means “fusion, separation”, and the guttural pronunciation “geto” is explained by the accent of the Ashkenazi Jews from Germany and Central Europe. The municipality of Venice, in its concern to rewrite names, by eliminating double consonants almost systematically, transformed all signs and inscriptions related to “ghetto” into “gheto” with only one “t”. In 1797, Napoleon Bonaparte decided to close the “Ghetto”, which was restored by the Austrians, and finally abolished in 1866. Throughout the 20th century, the term became widespread, ghettos “multiplied” over several meridians, and they’ve continued to exist in the 21st century, alas…
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N.B. nevertheless, under the Venetian Republic, the city was a refuge for the Jews who were better treated than elsewhere in Europe, in spite of the segregation of the Jewish population, valued for their skills in various crafts…

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Posted on 23 January 2016, in melanie. Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. I have visited there! sad history! Very interesting post, Melanie!

  2. Ai dreptate, Melania, principiul ghetto-ului a supraviețuit peste secole și există și azi. Ce altceva sunt cartierele de săraci, de țigani, de negri…

    Un articol frumos, cu fotografii pe măsură. Felicitări! Zi senină! 🙂

  3. Great photos, Melanie, and a reminder that man’s inhumanity to man just keeps trucking on. – Curt

  4. Je ne savais pas tout cela. J’apprends des choses avec toi, merci! Bonne soirée, Mo

  5. I’m so envious! 😉 one day I’ll get there. Enjoying your photos!!!

  6. Ton “N.B.” est important, car à travers l’histoire, Venise, ville commerçante par excellence, a presque toujours – avec des périodes de hauts et bas – apprécié et donné beaucoup d’importance au rôle des juifs…

  7. Very interesting post, Melanie! Thanks so much! 🙂

  8. Beyond the signs, I couldn’t think of the photographs as a ghetto for other persons. They look quite peaceful. Perhaps that proves that separation has no sense when the other people are alike.

  9. Well done! Your account is very informative and insightful. We did manage to find our way to this area, but I’m glad for the return visit and reminder. Thanks.

  10. I really enjoyed the history and the photos today.

  11. I lived in the Ghetto di Roma for nearly two years in the 1980s… it is very touristique now, but was then a little less so. For me, its past was evoked with every step I took, in the air that I breathed. The Italians, I’m afraid were rather good à l’époque. Have we moved on at all… after all, we want to force migrants into encampments and specially designed places that are, in effect ghettos by another, more palatable name! 😦 Beautiful photos by the way and the history, brilliantly condensed by you! xxx

    • on dit que l’histoire se répète et on sait que chaque époque aura eu ses “ghettos”… speaking of the terrible current situation, things and circumstances are completely different, as our “old Europe” has dramatically changed… Michel Rocard, ex-PM already pointed out at the beginning of the 80’s:”La France ne peut pas accueillir toute la misère du monde…” – and nowadays, all Europe is simply “hard-pressed”!!!
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      molto grazie, cara mia! ❤

  12. I love to learn with you Melanie!

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