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 3/15/2014  New story: A secret Ulpan in the Communist Odessa: Hi everybody, I'd like to tell you about the new article by Anna Aizic called "A secret Ulpan in the Communist Odessa". While most of our people stories tell us how Jews lived in Odessa in late 19th and early 20th [More...]
 1/31/2014  The Odessa Archives Vital Records Indexes Project: Hi everybody, As you would know, we've undertaken a very big acquisition and translation project of Vital Record Indexes on the Odessa Archives from 1875 to 1920. Yoni Kupchik is leading the project. These are [More...]
 1/10/2014  New article: Recollections of Odessa, by Ben Swartz: Thanks to his granddaughter Judy who transcribed this vivid story describing many aspects of Jewish life in Odessa. Enjoy this great memory by clicking here located in the section People [More...]

 

From the hundreds of cities of Italy, from Genoa to Brindisi, a long procession of dark-eyed adventurers made their way towards Odessa: merchants, shipbuilders, architects and smugglers of the choicest variety. They settled in the young capital and lent the melodic and mischievous tone of her language, their light-hearted music, their style of building and laid down the basis of its future wealth.

At approximately the same time the Greeks started pouring into Odessa, shopkeepers, boatmen and also, of course, masters of illicit trades. These connected the young port of Odessa with every nook and cranny of the Anatolian coast, with the Aegean Isles, with Smyrna and other ports.

Then came Jews, who cut into the steppes a cobweb of invisible canals down which harvests from the rich Ukraine poured into Odessa.

Thus Odessa was built by the descendants of the three tribes which once created humanity: the Greeks, the Romans and the Jews.

Later came Russians and Ukrainians. The Russians ruled; as for the Ukrainians: They gave Odessa her superb sailors and masons and -most important- the salt of the earth, those pillars of the fatherland, those real creators of Odessa and of the whole of south Russia -those real, full-blooded human beings: I mean, of course, the tramps...

... under the laughing sun, among the smells of the sea, of acacia and garlic, my town, the genuine "and legitimate child -though born before its mother- of a League of Nations."

Vladimir Ze'ev Jabotinsky                 


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