How did minorities fit into the new Greek state during the country’s transition from imperial rule to national sovereignty? How did the relationship between Greece and its Jewish minorities, in particular, shift as definitions of national belonging expanded, shrunk, and transformed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? These are the questions that Dr. Evdoxios Doxiadis
, Associate Professor in History at Canada’s Simon Fraser University, seeks to answer in his new book, State, Nationalism, and the Jewish Communities of Modern Greece
(Bloomsbury Academic, 2019). Grounding his arguments in Greek political and popular sources, as well as material from the local and international Jewish press, Doxiadis shows that the Greek state’s treatment of their Jewish minorities was anything but predictable. Rather, he paints a notably ambivalent picture of a state whose policies did not necessarily conform to the desires of the popular majority, and that treated Jews and other minorities differently depending on their perceived ability to conform to national goals of Hellenization and homogenization. Geographically centered in the Balkans, Doxiadis’ book has broader significance, and speaks to the larger issues surrounding statehood, identity, and the age of nationalism that historians are commonly grappling with today.
Robin Buller is a PhD Candidate in History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.