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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Burma

Jewish immigration in the 19th century - trade and British army - Jews from India and Arab countries - Japanese invasion 1942 and emigration - partly return after 1945


Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Burma, vol.
                            4, col. 1526, migration movements of Jews to
                            and from Burma in the 19th and 20th
                            centuries
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Burma, vol. 4, col. 1526, migration movements of Jews to and from Burma (Myanmar) in the 19th and 20th centuries.

From 1840 to 1860 Jewish migration from Baghdad and Cochin arrives at Calcutta. At the same time further migration is arriving at Rangoon and then spreading over the country. (It can be admitted that the arrows all should go over the sea and not over land because travel by ship was cheaper than over land through the jungle). In 1942 2,000 Jews are fleeing Burma (Myanmar) from the Japanese occupation. In 1945 some Jews (300-500) are coming back.


from: Burma; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 4

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)


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<BURMA, republic in southeast Asia.

[[There is no indication about the natives in Burma in the Encyclopaedia Judaica]].

Jews from Calcutta, Cochin, and Persia may have settled in various towns of Burma in the first half of the 19th century. A Jewish merchant Goldenberg from Rumania [[Romanian]] engaged in trade of teakwood and accumulated great wealth. Solomon Reineman of Galicia arrived in Rangoon, the capital of Burma, in 1851 as a supplier for the British army and opened stores in various places. His Masot Shelomo ("Solomon's Travels", 1884) contains a long chapter on Burma, and is the first Hebrew account of the country and its towns.

In 1857 the synagogue Mazmi'ah Yeshu'ah was built in Rangoon, and in the early decades of the present century a prayerhall was founded in Mandalay with the help of Ezra Shaul.

The Jewish community, scattered in several places in the country, included members of the *Bene Israel group from Bombay, Arabic-speaking Jews from Calcutta, and Jews from Cochin [[since 1996: Kochi]] and other parts of the Oriental Diaspora. The number of Jews in Rangoon and other places once reached several hundred.

With World War II and the Japanese invasion of Burma, community life was disrupted and many Jews fled to India or Erez Israel. In 1968 the number of Jewish inhabitants was negligible.

[W.J.F.]> (col. 1526)




Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Burma, sources
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Burma, vol. 4,
                        col. 1526
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Burma, vol. 4, col. 1526


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