Jews in the Ottoman Army

Discussions on the final era of the Ottoman Empire, from the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 until the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
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Peter H
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Jews in the Ottoman Army

Post by Peter H » 03 Mar 2007 08:10

The musician,Avraham Zvi Idelsohn:

.. served as a bandmaster in the Ottoman Army during World War I



The Israeli PM,Moshe Sharet:

http://www.pmo.gov.il/PMOEng/Government ... Sharet.htm


The Jews of Libya:

http://www.jcpa.org/cjc/cjc-simon-f01.htm

In the spirit of the nineteenth century Ottoman reforms, the regime tried to enlist the local population, including Jews, into the army. Conscription was carried out in Libya only following the Young Turks revolution and Jews were actually mobilized in 1911. The few hundred Jews who were enlisted served only a short period of time in the Ottoman army, due to the Italian invasion of late 1911. The Jewish soldiers underwent basic military training, their physical condition improved, and they had their weapons with them when the invasion took place.

Tosun Saral
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Post by Tosun Saral » 03 Mar 2007 11:02

According to the book "Sehitlerimiz" (Our Holy dead) published by Turkish Defence Ministry I found a name of a Ottoman Jew:

The Turkish Jew from Adana Composed Labour Battalion:Original Turkish name is "Adana Mürettep Asakir-i Muavenet Taburu" Composed Military Aid battalion of Adana"
Prv.Istor Benajel wounded at Palastine front and died at Adana Military Hospital of wounds on 23.5.1917
The Sehit(Holy dead) Benajel was from Corum, a tawn 2 hours away from Ankara. At that time there were Jews, mainly Turks, Greeks and Armanians living in Corum.

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infantry
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Post by infantry » 03 Mar 2007 17:47

As far as I know the Jewish recruits turned out to be only loyal non_Muslim minority soldiers during the Balkan Wars.

Ami
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list of ottoman/jewish medical officers killed in action

Post by Ami » 04 Oct 2007 13:06


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Mr Holmes
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Post by Mr Holmes » 04 Oct 2007 13:48

Hello Ami, welcome to AHF :-)

Mr Tosun Saral provides a list of non-Muslim subjects who served in the Ottoman Army in another thread here.

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?p=1060292#1060292
(Captain Dimitroyati)

Admittedly the thread's focus was on Greeks who served in the Turkish army of that period, but the list contains names of some more Jewish soldiers.

Cheers

Nick

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Post by Tosun Saral » 05 Oct 2007 10:09

Veterinary Capt. Vital Sturumuza from Mersin:
He was a son of an ancient Jewish families from Mersin. Before WW1 he worked at the Duane/customs Office as a veterianry and teached at school as teacher. As Mersin and all Cilicia was occupid by French after the armistrace of Mundros the Jews of mersin and Cilicia worked for the benefit of Turkish National Forces againts French. Thet organized a Jewish committee to support National Movement. Capt. Strumuza was the leader of the organization. Just of the the fight at Subendi he was arrested by the French for sipionage. He spend 41 days at French prison. The Spanish consul in Mersin Mr. Hanri Gatenyon who was also a Jew and a relative of the family insisted to save him. For his afforts vat.capt. Strurumuza was released by the French. The French arrested him again claiming that he had some MGs hiding at home for the Turkish milis.
Only the Jewish community stand for Turks during War of Independance while others betrayed.

Thats all I could find about him.
Source: Ziya Aykin "Kurtuluş Şavaşında İçel" (Mersin During War of Independance"

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Post by tj rogerson » 05 Oct 2007 19:04

Don't forget that a number of Jews living in Ottoman territory opposed Ottoman rule and joined organizations like Trumpledor's Zion Mule Corps. I wonder if there is a correlation between native Ottoman Jews siding with the Turks and Diaspora Jews supporing the British and French (with obvious exceptions like Sharett)? Anyone know?
TJ

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Post by Tosun Saral » 05 Oct 2007 19:43

Dear Tj I am not an expert of Jews of Ottoman Empire. But I can say that the Jews who joined to Zion Mule Corpss were European Jews living in Britain, France ect. Those A NUMBER OF JEWS living in Palastina and Jerusalem could have joined after the defeat of Turkish Armies at Palastina front hoping to get a free state.The Jews of Turkey knew very well that they were saved and protected only by Turks againts Christian thread during the long time of history.
1- From Spain they were shipped to various parts of Turkey to safer places.
2-Jews of Hungary under Habsburg thread were protected by Turks and were sattled at Selanik and Balat in Istanbul.
3- Jews of Russia and Ukranie find a safe heaven on Turkish territory.
4- Jews of Germany find a safe home in Ataturks Republic as Hitler came to power
5-ect.

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Post by Peter H » 06 Oct 2007 01:44

Jewish Medical Officers killed in Ottoman service:

http://www.sephardicstudies.org/pdf/medical.pdf

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yeniceri
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Post by yeniceri » 06 Oct 2007 13:26

An account of a Jewish soldier in the Ottoman Army called "With the Turks in Palestine" by Alexander Aaronsohn. can be downloaded for free at http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/10338

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Post by Tosun Saral » 08 Oct 2007 08:57

Dear Tj
Maj. Gen. Hüseyin Hüsnü Emir Erkilet (formal CoS of Yildirim Army Group) "Yildirim (The Lightning) p. 180

"The British had organized a very good and trustable information service. They got true and sufficent information about our troops. Especially the Jews living along the shores of Palastina had not missed the change to earn money for their informative services. Turkish counter-spionage made firm a center in the village of Zemarin between Jafa and Haifa which was a branch of an important Jewish spionage centre. Many jews were arrested with documents and papers."

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Post by tj rogerson » 09 Oct 2007 18:05

From that it appears that Diaspora Jews (those coming to what is now Israel from Europe) did not particularly support the Ottomans (Trumpledor was from Russia) while Jews native to the Empire tended to stand with the Turks.
I know that's an overgeneralization, but seems from the small bit of info provided here to be true.
Thanks to all for the info.
TJ

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Bill Woerlee
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Post by Bill Woerlee » 10 Oct 2007 02:07

Mates

The Jews in Palestine at that time were in a no win situation. Pick your particular theory and you will find a Jew to fit into the slot. The Jews living in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria as a group are not so easy to disassemble at might first appear. To undertake the task of deconstruction implies a homogeneous group, in this case they get the convenient sobriquet "Jew" because of their religious faith. Nothing could be further from the truth. The sad thing is because they are Jews they get a kicking from everyone.

Let me illustrate. The iconic work dealing with the history of the Australian Light Horse written by Harry Gullett is quite anti-Semitic. In this book, Gullett makes no bones about accusing the Jews in the specific Jewish settlements of Palestine as being pawns of the Jewish Banker plot run by the Germans, a restatement of the old pre-war anti-Semitic jibe that circulated in Europe at the time. So now the Jews are portrayed in Australia as being part of an international conspiracy. Heck, the Jews don't get a break do they?

The role of the Jews in the Ottoman Empire - pre Zionism - is one of mutual collaboration as it was with all Arabic and Islamic cultures. There is nothing in Islam that is anti-Semitic. Indeed the prophet himself profited by this collaboration. Algebra is the keenest articulation of this collaboration. Indeed, the Jews had much to fear from Christians rather than the Moslems or the Turks. The current wave of anti-Semiticism in the Arabic world is more a response to the 1967 War rather than any deep seated hatred.

So we come back to Jews in the Ottoman service. Jews served and served well. They did so voluntarily and some did so after being forced into service. No different to anywhere else. The Ottomans, on the whole, were good to the Jews. In historical terms, far better than the Christian nations. So I am not quite sure why this should be of any surprise to anyone.

Cheers

Bill

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 10 Oct 2007 03:09

Both David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi were expelled from Palestine in 1915(for their 'political activities").They both ended up in New York.If anything this action was rather lenient.

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Post by Bill Woerlee » 10 Oct 2007 05:37

Peter

G'day mate

The whole Jewish business reminds me of a joke that was circulating in Vienna prior to the Great War. It is of two elderly Jewish fellows having a morning cup of coffee in a cafe reading the daily newspapers. One was reading the most rabid anti-Semitic newspaper that was published in Vienna at the time - there were many which gave Adolf all the inspiration he needed - while his friend was reading the current left wing, Pro-Jewish newspaper. This fellow looks up and is horrified to see what his friend is reading and says:

"Why are you reading that anti-Semitic rubbish?"

His friend looks at him askance and replies:

"Because we Jews are always doing much better in this newspaper than in the one which you are reading."

This joke makes a profound point which adds weight to this topic.

Cheers

Bill

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