Challenging Communal Boundaries in Late Ottoman Thrace: Jews and Muslims in Dimetoka (Didymoteicho)

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This article turns to microhistory to explain the targeting of Jews by their Muslim opponents following the Second Balkan War (July 1913) and the return of Ottoman rule to Dimetoka. It explores intercommunal tensions between Jews and Muslims over boundaries and representation in the public sphere that surfaced following the 1908 revolution and the project to construct a new building for the Jewish school in part of the town that was situated outside the boundaries of the traditional Jewish neighborhood. This article argues that the humiliation triggered by Ottoman defeat in the Balkan Wars, the atrocities against Muslim civilians at the hands of Bulgarian soldiers and irregulars, and calls to avenge the Muslims’ suffering following the Ottoman retaking of Eastern Thrace provided legitimacy for retaliation against non-Muslims. Existing prewar tensions between Muslims and Jews in Dimetoka, combined with desires for revenge, made the latter into victims of sporadic violence and an economic boycott.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)88-122
Number of pages35
JournalJewish Social Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Dimetoka
  • Jewish-Muslim relations
  • boycott
  • communal violence
  • the Balkan Wars

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Religious studies
  • History


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