Foremost authority discusses Sephardim experience during Holocaust

Sephardim were just as persecuted as the Ashkenazi under the Nazis

For Washington University’s annual Holocaust Memorial Lecture, Stanford University scholar Aron Rodrigue, PhD, will discuss the lesser known experiences of the Sephardic Jewries during the Holocaust.


Rodrigue will present “Reflections on Sephardic Jewries and the Holocaust” at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, in Umrath Hall Lounge on the Danforth Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

“The Holocaust Memorial Lecture is an annual event that was inaugurated in 1989. This year’s lecture is the first to focus specifically on the experience of the Sephardim,” says Tabea Linhard, PhD, associate professor of Spanish in Arts & Sciences.

Joining the Stanford history faculty in 1991, Rodrigue has served as history department chair and as co-director of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies. He now holds the Charles Michael Professor in Jewish History and Culture and directs the Stanford Humanities Center as the Anthony P. Meier Family Professorship in the Humanities.

Rodrigue is renowned for his scholarship in modern Jewish history, Jews of modern France, minority identities and the Ottoman Empire. As a specialist in the history and culture of Sephardi and French Jewries, he is one of the world’s foremost authorities on understanding their experiences during the Holocaust.

As a result of his research, Rodrigue has put to rest the widely held notion that Sephardim living in the Balkans and other European lands during the Holocaust were not as badly affected as the Ashkenazi in Eastern Europe. The truth is that they experienced widespread persecution and destruction under Nazi occupation.

His book, A Voice From Ottoman Salonica: The Ladino Memoir of Sa’adi Besalel a-Levi, co-edited with Sarah Abrevaya Stein, was published this year. Other important titles include: Images of Sephardi and Eastern Jewries in Transition, 1860-1939: The Teachers of the Alliance Israélite Universelle; Sephardi Jewry: A History of the Judeo-Spanish Community, 14th-20th Centuries, co-authored with Esther Benbassa; and French Jews, Turkish Jews: The Alliance Israélite Universelle and the Politics of Jewish Schooling in Turkey, 1860-1925. In addition, he co-edits (with Steven Zipperstein) the Stanford Studies in Jewish History and Culture book series published by Stanford University Press.

Among his professional distinctions, Rodrigue is a fellow of the American Academy of Jewish Research; the recipient of the Alberto Benveniste Prize (Paris) for Research in Sephardic Studies; and recipient of the National Jewish Book Council Honor Award in Sephardic Studies. He formerly served as member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Rodrigue earned an undergraduate degree with first-class honors from the University of Manchester, England, and graduate and doctoral degrees from Harvard University.

For more information about this or other Assembly Series programs, visit or call 314-935-4620.