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(gĕt`ō), originally, a section of a city in which Jews lived; it has come to mean a section of a city where members of any racial group are segregated. In the early Middle Ages the segregation of Jews in separate streets or localities was voluntary. The first compulsory ghettos were in Spain and Portugal at the end of the 14th cent. The ghetto was typically walled, with gates that were closed at a certain hour each night, and all Jews had to be inside the gate at that hour or suffer penalties. The reason generally given for compulsory ghettos was that the faith of Christians would be weakened by the presence of Jews; the idea of Jewish segregation dates from the Lateran Councils of 1179 and 1215. Within the ghetto the inhabitants usually had autonomy, with their own courts of law, their own culture, and their own charitable, recreational, educational, and religious institutions. Economic activities, however, were restricted, and beyond the ghetto walls Jews were required to wear badges of identification. One of the most infamous ghettos was that of Frankfurt, to which Jews were compelled to move by a city ordinance of 1460. Crowded into a narrow section, the ghetto underwent several disastrous fires. The ghetto in Venice was established in 1516 after long negotiations between the city and the Jews. In 1870 the last ghetto in Western Europe, in Rome, was abolished. In Russia the Jewish PalePale.
1 In Irish and English history, that district of indefinite and varying limits around Dublin, in which English law prevailed. The term was first used in the 14th cent. to designate what had previously been called English land.
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 continued to exist until 1917. After the 18th cent. ghettos were also to be found in some Muslim countries. During World War II the Nazis set up ghettos in many towns in E Europe from which Jews were transported to concentration campsconcentration camp,
a detention site outside the normal prison system created for military or political purposes to confine, terrorize, and, in some cases, kill civilians.
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 for liquidation; the WarsawWarsaw
, Pol. Warszawa, city (1993 est. pop. 1,655,700), capital of Poland and of Mazowieckie prov., central Poland, on both banks of the Vistula River. It is a political, cultural, and industrial center, a major transportation hub, and one of Europe's great historic
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 (Poland) ghetto was a prime example. In the United States, African Americans, Chicanos, and immigrant groups have been forced to live in ghettos through economic and social forces rather than being required to do so by law. See also anti-Semitismanti-Semitism
, form of prejudice against Jews, ranging from antipathy to violent hatred. Before the 19th cent., anti-Semitism was largely religious and was expressed in the later Middle Ages by sporadic persecutions and expulsions—notably the expulsion from Spain under
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a segregated area of a city characterized by common ethnic and cultural charac teristics. The term originated in the Middle Ages in Europe as the name for areas of cities in which Jews were constrained to live. The term was adopted more generally in sociology by the CHICAGO SCHOOL, and particularly by Wirth (The Ghetto, 1928). Ghetto has now taken on a meaning which implies not only homogeneity of ethnic and cultural population, but also the concentration of socially-disadvantaged and minority groups in the most impoverished inner city areas. The term is often used in emotive, racist and imprecise ways.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Beginning with the Egyptian bondage and continuing through the Assyrian deportation, the Babylonian captivity, and the great Diaspora, Jewish people have found themselves living among Gentiles of many nationalities (see Judaism, Development of). Originating from the Latin word for "nations," "Gentile" simply means any nonJewish person.

Frequently, especially in Europe beginning in the Middle Ages, Gentiles established Jewish-only quarters of the city called ghettos. This was not a new concept. Way back in the time of the Exodus, Jewish people were confined to the "land of Goshen" while building bricks for the Egyptians. Although the term is now used in a more generic sense, it often was the custom to wall in the Jewish ghetto at night and to completely lock it off during Christian Holy Days to prevent mixing between Christians and Jews.

Even under these harsh and demeaning circumstances, Jewish leaders attempted to run their communities according to Talmudic law, providing for the especially poor and fostering Jewish study and scholarship.

Among the most notorious ghettos were those established by the Nazis during World War II. One such ghetto was established in 1940, when the Nazis ordered all the Jews in Warsaw, Poland, to gather in a certain part of the city, then erected a tenfoot wall to seal off the area. An article published by the Public Broadcasting System describes the conditions: More than 400,000 Jews lived there, near starvation; 10 percent of the population died from disease by the end of the first year. Deportations of "non-productive" inhabitants began in 1942, and 300,000 Jews were deported that year, most of them to Treblinka death camp. In April of 1943, when the Nazis moved to liquidate the ghetto, the remaining inhabitants began their desperate, and hopeless, resistance. Shortly before his death in battle, resistance leader Mordecai Anielewicz wrote, "My life's dream has been realized. I have lived to see Jewish defense in the ghetto rally its greatness and glory."

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a part of the city set aside as a residential area for Jews. The designation “ghetto” appeared in the 16th century (apparently from Italian ghetta—the cannon workshop around which the Jewish quarter of Venice, set up in 1516, was situated). However, ghettos existed in many medieval European cities prior to that date (the best-known ghettos were in Frankfurt am Main, Prague, Venice, and Rome).

The settling of Jews in ghettos originally was in keeping with the corporate order characteristic of the Middle Ages, when every professional or religious group lived in isolation, but in the 14th and 15th centuries it became compulsory. Residents of the ghetto were forbidden to leave it at night (the ghetto gates were locked for the night). Life within the ghetto was regulated by the wealthy upper-class members of the Jewish community and by the rabbinate. A legacy of the Middle Ages, the ghettos disappeared in the first half of the 19th century (the Roman ghetto was permanently abolished only in 1870). There were no ghettos in tsarist Russia. Only in a few cities annexed to its territory when Poland was partitioned (late 18th century) was there a restriction on the right of Jews to live outside streets assigned to them; this restriction was ended in 1862.

During World War II (1939-45), in a number of Eastern European cities under fascist German occupation, the Nazis created ghettos that were essentially huge concentration camps in which the Jewish population was destroyed. The armed uprisings of the prisoners of the Warsaw ghetto in 1943 and the Białystok ghetto in August 1943 were part of the national liberation struggle of Poland’s antifascist forces.

The term “ghetto” is sometimes used to designate a section of the city inhabited by national minorities that are subject to discrimination (for example, Harlem, “Negro ghetto” in New York).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
La primera reedicion de Fervor de Buenos Aires, de 1943, presenta un sinnumero de variantes (vease Scarano, Varianti; Cajero), pero el poema "Juderia" se caracteriza por pocos cambios: la traduccion del verso que estaba en hebreo en 1923 y por el cambio de su titulo, que pasa a ser "Judengasse" desde ese ano.
Sin embargo, "Judengasse" se reproduce sin modificaciones con respecto a la edicion de Losada de 1943.
No sera entonces una sorpresa ver que "Judengasse" se ve inserto en una nueva red de innumerables relaciones.
Aunque inscripto, esta vez, en la tradicion abierta por "El matadero", de Esteban Echeverria, y con la mediacion estilistica de "La Refalosa", de Hilario Ascasubi, que funciona evidenciada al estar como epigrafe del relato, en "La fiesta del monstruo" (como en "Judengasse", como en "Juderia"), el centro del relato lo ocupa la escena del linchamiento de "un sinagoga".
Si bien este ultimo poema podria tener mayor relacion, la ausencia del tono de denuncia del linchamiento que las versiones de "Juderia" y "Judengasse" tenian y el abandono del ritmo de salmo biblico que el tipo de versificacion otorgaba, impiden ponerlo en una serie demasiado productiva.
Si bien en muchos casos las modificaciones y exclusiones que realiza Borges sobre sus ediciones tiene que ver con el abandono de una estetica y el intento de borronear su presencia en su obra, tampoco la voluntad de abandonar ese "estilo de salmo biblico" que describia al poema en 1920 parece ser la razon de la exclusion de "Juderia"/"Judengasse".
On a wall outside the entrance to the Museum Judengasse I saw a memorial poster listing 1,300 Jewish and other children from Frankfurt who had been murdered by the Nazis, and next to it a smaller replica with the words "Against Forgetting and Suppression" stamped in bold capital letters across it.
Alongside the interchangeable symbols of contemporary European consumerism, such as shopping arcades, supermarkets, and business and bank franchises, it is precisely the Judengasse, expanded into the main thorough fare in the town center, and its buildings, constructed in the style of 1950s anti-aestheticism, that seem to manifest the desire to shake off the East European past once and for all.
It is true that "the mob" had marched bellowing through the Judengasse smashing window panes, destroying or looting merchandise, but a pogrom never took place in Mattersburg.
What do the daughters, sons, and grandchildren of those who were expelled from this town feel when they stand in the Judengasse for the first time?
Coming back to the narrower Frankfort perspective, one finds an original piece on Goethe's well-known portrait of the Judengasse. The historian Gabriela Schlick not only carefully reconstructs what Goethe could have seen there, but also utilizes documents of the city archives and reports of travel literature on the Frankfort ghetto to give us a more realistic picture of this place.