Ashkenazi Jews / Ashkenazic Jews / Ashkenazim are Jews who originally lived in northern and eastern Europe. They once lived in the area of Rhineland and France and after the crusades they moved to Poland, Lithuania and Russia. In the 17th century, avoiding persecution, many Jews moved to and settled in Western Europe.
|Regions with significant populations|
|United States||5–6 million|
Modern: Local languages, primarily English, Hebrew, Russian
|Judaism, some secular, irreligious|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Sephardi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, Samaritans, Kurds, other Levantines (Druze, Assyrians, Arabs), Mediterranean groups (Italians, Spaniards)|
Scientists believe that Ashkenazi Jews originally came from the Land of Israel and initially went to Italy, France, and Germany. Later, during pogroms in the middle ages, mainly in Germany, they fled to Poland and Lithuania, and from there they spread over the rest of Eastern Europe. They then adopted the Yiddish language.
After that, two terms, Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews, became commonly used: The former indicates the Jews who worshiped in the German way and spoke Yiddish, the latter indicates the Jews who worshiped in the Spanish way and spoke the Ladino language. They differ in language (pronunciation), cultural tradition and worship style.
During World War II, about 6 million Jews, 5 million of whom were Ashkenazi, were killed in the Holocaust. The Holocaust destroyed or greatly reduced the large Jewish communities and the Yiddish language in Europe. Many of the surviving Ashkenazi Jews emigrated to countries such as Israel, Canada, Argentina, Australia, and the United States after the war.
As of 2018, Ashkenazim are around 75% of the 14.6 million Jews of the world. They are also the mainstream of Israeli politics. Famous Ashkenazim are Albert Einstein, George Gershwin, Gustav Mahler, Franz Kafka.
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