Eli Shaul (1916-2004) was a Turkish Jew. After spending his childhood in the colorful Balat neighborhood, he received a superb education at the prestigious İstanbul Erkek Lisesi (Istanbul Men's High School), the University of Istanbul, and the Reserve Officers Training School in Ankara. While still in high school, he began keeping a diary, which he continued during his college years and the time he spent serving as an army dentist in eastern Turkey. Those diaries, contained in this book, provide rare insights into what life was like for minorities—and particularly for Jews—in Turkey during the nineteen thirties and forties. Atatürk's Republic, which most of them ardently supported, had raised their hopes of at last being accepted as fully equal Turkish citizens in every way, but those hopes were cruelly dashed when discrimination and anti-Semitism continued, and even worsened, especially after Atatürk's death in 1938. Not surprisingly, most of Turkey's Jews immigrated to Israel after it won its independence in 1948. That exodus provoked harsh criticism of the Jews in the Turkish press, and the Turkish Jews founded their own newspapers and magazines to respond to those attacks. Shaul was one of the first contributors to Turkey's fledgling Jewish press, and some of his most important articles are included in this volume. He himself moved to Israel in 1950 but continued to write articles for Turkish Jewish publications throughout his life and also authored a book on the folklore of the Turkish Jews. From Balat to Bat Yam is a testament to Eli Shaul's deeply felt patriotism, which consisted not only of love for his native Turkey but insistence that she treat all her citizens as equals.
My Life Story
My Childhood Friends in Balat
My Memories of Childhood in Balat - I
My Memories of Childhood in Balat - II
My Memories of Childhood in Balat - III
"Don't go to a Fire, Don't Interfere in a Quarrel"
Who Lived in Balat?
Avram from the Shack
The Jews and the CHF in the One-Party Period
Balat and the Jews
Balat on the Jewish Holidays
The First Time I Left Balat
"Eat a Jew's Food, but Don't Sleep in His House!"
"A Turk Won't Hit a Jew, But What If He Did?"
High School and University Years
The Letter I Sent to the Governor on January 30, 1937
Continuation of the Diary
Prof Dr Alfred Kantorowicz and Others
How Do I Think The Fire of Nationalism Can Be Extinguished?
Memories of the Wealth Tax
Yıldız, her Mom and Dad, and the Wealth Tax
Concerning the Wealth Tax
Letter I Sent to Ahmet Emin Yalman Concerning the Wealth Tax
The Second Letter I Sent to the Vatan Newspaper Concerning the Wealth Tax
Among the Negative Results of the Wealth Tax: The Rise in Prices
Concerning the Wealth Tax, Government Profiteering
Profiteering and the Wealth Tax: Business in Eastern Anatolia
What Does It Mean for Non-Muslims to Live in Turkey?
Victim of Duty
A Confession of Nihat Bey's
What Does the Word "Yahudi" Mean to Us?
The Third Letter I Sent to the Vatan Newspaper Regarding the Wealth Tax
Sexual Intercourse and Prostitution in the Barracks and the Army
The Hotel Business
Inspection and Purchasing Commissions
The Place of the Word "Big" in the Language
Is It Possible for Non-Muslims to Assimilate in Turkey?
The Numbers and Weights Commission
Is It Possible for Non-Muslims to Assimilate in Turkey? Escaping from
Regarding Our Histories
When My Close Friend Got Drunk
Reading and Study
The Condition of Our Draft Offices
The Combat with Typhus
After A Conversation About Typhus
The Condition of Our Villages in the East
Reserve and Regular Soldiers
How To Turn Heaven Into Hell?
A Journey in Our Land
Freedom of the Press and Criticism
What Is Soap For?
The Mentality of the Bureaucrats in the Treasury and the Ministry of Finance
Who Are the Contractors?
Regarding the Theater Tax
Regarding Our Language
Are Hospitals Taxed?
Why Is There Smuggling On Our Borders?
Why Steal Our Sheep?
Is There a Business without Bribery?
Is It Shrewd to Abuse a Right Given By Law?
Regarding Our Bureaucrats' Attitudes
Our Community Centers
Have You Ever Been in the Minority?
Talking of This and That
A Gentleman in Sürbahan
Fascinated with the Uniform
Letters from Israel
"He Who Speaks Turkish Doesn't Fear God"
An Open Letter from Israel to Prime Minister Adnan Menderes