Elza Niego affair

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Funeral march of Elza Niego

The 1927 murder in Turkey of a Jewish girl named Elza Niego by a Turkish official sparked an anti-government demonstration at her funeral that authorities regarded as criminal.[1][2][3] This led to the arrest of 9 Jewish protestors.


Mourners carrying Elza Niego's coffin

Elza Niego (22) was a typist of the National Insurance Company of Turkey.[4] During a holiday at the Heybeli island, a Muslim Turkish official Osman Bey fell in love with her.[4] Osman Bey, who was 30 years older than Elza, would follow Elza around the island.[4] In despair, Elza Niego cut short her vacation and went home. Elza Niego eventually became engaged to a Jewish co-worker. Osman Bey, who was enraged by the engagement, pursued Elza Niego and stabbed her to death with a knife.[4]


During the funeral, a demonstration was held in opposition to the Turkish government.[4] This created an anti-Semitic reaction in the Turkish press.[5] Nine protestors were immediately arrested under the charge of offending "Turkishness".[4] Nine Jews and also a Russian individual witness to murder were arrested. Four of them were sentenced for "denigration of Turkishness".[6]


  1. ^ "Turkish Jewry Agitated Over Murder Case". Canadian Jewish Review. October 7, 1927. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Kalderon, Albert E. (1983). Abraham Galanté : a biography. New York: Published by Sepher-Hermon Press for Sephardic House at Congregation Shearith Israel. p. 53. ISBN 9780872031111. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "TURKEY: Notes, Aug. 29, 1927". Time. Aug 29, 1927. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "New Trial Ordered for Nine Constantinople Jews Once Acquitted". Jewish News Archive. January 16, 1928. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  5. ^ Benbassa, Esther; Rodrigue, Aron (1999). Sephardi Jewry : a history of the Judeo-Spanish community, 14th--20th centuries (1. California paperback ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520218222. 
  6. ^ Münferit(!) antisemitizm vak’aları Archived February 1, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., Ayşe Hür, Taraf