Letter to the Editor

The world’s first ghetto

Monday, October 9, 2017

Dear Editor,

My good friend Margaret Shapiro subscribes to International News, which is published in Sacramento, Calif. The complete title of this publication is International Travel News: A Celebration of Travel.

The August 2017 edition of this publication featured Venice, Italy. The location of the world ‘s first ghetto, a story by Julie Skurdens.

When I was going up in Denver, the Fourteenth Street viaduct crossed over the railroad yards. Just beyond it in West Denver was a genuine Jewish ghetto. I watched Orthodox Jews and more moderate reformed Jews walking along the streets going about their various activities.

Later, when I was a teacher at Stephen Knight elementary school in Denver, I met a family who told me they had lived in a Jewish ghetto in Europe.

They had later gone to Omaha.

s016, the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the first ghetto in the world. Doge Loredan decreed that all Jew must live together in the ghetto of san Girolamo, a section of Venice, Italy.

In the Venetian dialect, ghetar means “cast in metal.

“For centuries, Jews had been allowed to settle in Venice. From 1516-July 1797, the decree was strictly enforced.

Then the decree was revoked by Napoleon. From that time on, Venetian Jews, other Jews from Various parts of Italy, Jews expelled from England, France, Spain and Portugal as well as from Germany and also the Middle East and Africa were crowded together in ghettos.

They were closed from dusk to dawn. For 281 years, Jews were segregated. It is estimated that in the 17th century, 5,000 Jews lived in the Ghetto in Venice.

Today, less than 500 of them still live in the Ghetto of Venice, Italy. In 1980, the Lithuanian artist, Arbit Blatis, depicted Venetian Jews on bronze plaques being deported to concentration camps during World War II.

In 2017, though, the Venice Ghetto is small, there is plenty of shops, bookstores, cafes and restaurants. They serve delicious Jewish foods like latkes (potato pancakes).

A Jewish museum is open daily except on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.

Helen Ruth Arnold,

Trenton, Neb.

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