Conference in Istanbul

Conference in Istanbul: Exiles From Nazism as Architects of Modern Turkish Education

In partnership with the University of Bahcesehir (Istanbul) and the Jewish community in Turkey, we organized an academic conference in Istanbul in April 2012 to shed light on the little-known role played by Jewish exiles from Nazism in the development of modern Turkey’s higher educational system.

Following a 1933 request for help from Albert Einstein to President Atatürk of Turkey, almost 200 “heimatlos” or refugee professors, mostly of Jewish descent, immigrated to Turkey and taught the first generation of modern Turkish citizens, who would later become the professors, specialists, reformers and creators of the new Republic of Turkey. Many of the heimatlos professors eventually stayed permanently in Turkey.

The Aladdin Project has had a fruitful cooperation with Turkish intellectuals and the Jewish community in Turkey. We have been very supportive of an initiative by the Chief Rabbi of Turkey to reach out to Muslims in that country and we hope to be able to contribute to the promotion of Jewish-Muslim ties in Turkey through a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing awareness of Jewish history among the Muslims of Turkey.