“A Brief History of the Ashkenazi Community in Türkiye” Project emerged from an extensive research coming from public records to family albums and sometimes to deep memories.

This is a living archive and a permanent exhibition project. In the exhibition which opened in Schneidertempel Art Gallery (Karaköy) in May 2019, there are several documents, photos, objects and stories reflecting the cultural history of the Ashkenazi Community from the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic.

The word “Ashkenazi” has been used to describe German territories since the Middle Ages and in time, has begun to refer to all Eastern European Jews. Ashkenazim living in Türkiye are the descendants of people who emigrated to the Ottoman Empire from Eastern European countries at various times.

Especially the second half of the 19th century was a period when the Ashkenazim took on major roles in the political and commercial relations between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottomans. Ashkenazim from Europe have taken over high-level executive positions especially in financial, educational and cultural institutions based in the Galata region, and started to create an elite social environment thanks to their modern lifestyles and cultural background.

This social and economic differentiation, while preparing the ground for the emergence of Ashkenazim’s cultural establishments, did not prevent them from making endeavors for the cultural development of their coreligionists.

We invite you to explore the long history of the Ashkenazi Community in Türkiye thanks to this exhibition in Karaköy and the project's website: www.askenaz.org