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Stamps Honoring the Turkish Diplomats Who Saved Jews

Category: General Announcements
Published: 15 February 2009
Written by Administrator
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Turks have been instrumental in the Jewish survival since the early period of the Ottoman Empire; beginning with the firman issued by the second Ottoman Sultan Orhan the first in 1332 that allowed them to settle in the Ottoman territories. Similar protection acts followed, including Sultan Beyazit the second's evacuation of the Sephardic Jews from Spain in 1492 and the young Turkish Republic's embracement of the Jews expelled from Germany. (Please click here for an informative article by historian Stanford Shaw.)

To commemorate some of these late efforts, the Turkish General Directorate of Post and Telegraph Organization (PTT) has issued two new stamps to honor the Turkish diplomats Necdet Kent (1911-2002) and Selahattin Ülkümen (1914-2003), who risked their own lives in order to save those of hundreds of Jews during the WWII. 

Turks have been instrumental in the Jewish survival since the early period of the Ottoman Empire; beginning with the firman issued by the second Ottoman Sultan Orhan the first in 1332 that allowed them to settle in the Ottoman territories. Similar protection acts followed, including Sultan Beyazit the second's evacuation of the Sephardic Jews from Spain in 1492 and the young Turkish Republic's embracement of the Jews expelled from Germany. (Please click here for an informative article by historian Stanford Shaw.)

To commemorate some of these late efforts, the Turkish General Directorate of Post and Telegraph Organization (PTT) has issued two new stamps to honor the Turkish diplomats Necdet Kent (1911-2002) and Selahattin Ülkümen (1914-2003), who risked their own lives in order to save those of hundreds of Jews during the WWII.

Selahattin Ülkümen saved the lives of more than 200 Jewish families in Rhodes, where he was serving as the consul general of the Turkish Republic. In rataliation for his assistance to the Jews, German planes bombed the Turkish consulate, killing Ülkümen's pregnant wife Mihrinissa Ülkümen (source). 

Necdet Kent was the Consul General of Turkish Republic to Marseilles, who, in order to save them from the Nazi gas chambers, gave Turkish citizenship to dozens of Jews living in France.