|Haïm Vidal Sephiha (1923)
He was born in Brussels, Belgium, into a Spanish-Jewish family of turkish origin.
In 1938 he became a Belgian citizen. He studied at a French speaking High School where he learned Dutch, English, German, modern Spanish, Italian, Latin, Greek and also Hebrew, for his Bar-mitzvah and graduated in 1941 (at the beginning of the war).
He was arrested on March 1, 1943 and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Liberated on April 15, 1945 in Bergen-Belsen, he returned to Brussels, where he graduated in chemistry at the University of Brussels in 1948. The death of his mother, in 1950 (his father had died in Dachau in 1945), brought him back to his Jewish-Spanish sources. He then studied Spanish and Portuguese linguistics, literature and language at the Sorbonne University, where he became assistant Professor in 1963, teaching Spanish linguistics and dialectology. He also graduated in Hebrew, Yiddish and Rumanian at the INALCO (Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Sorbonne Nouvelle).
Having presented two Ph. D.s about Judeo-Spanish, he obtained the title of Professeur des Universités in 1981 and taught Spanish linguistics at the Saint-Denis's University.
In these teaching and research institutions, where Dr Sephiha has or is currently teaching, more than 400 masters and doctoral theses have now been written on this discipline (Judeo-hispanology).
In 1979, he founded and presided VIDAS LARGAS (Association pour la défense et la promotion de la langue et de la culture Judéo-Espagnoles).
In 1977, was published his manifest book: L'agonie des Judéo-Espagnols. Le Ladino (judéo-espagnol calque): Structure et évolution d'une langue liturgique was published in 1973 and a revised version in 1982.
Dr SEPHIHA wrote 7 books and 10 booklets and more than 400 articles on this problematics, and a few about concentration camps. He also edited records and tapes of Jewish Spanish lore. He has directed more than 400 students' works (Theses - M.A., etc.). He also wrote a book with Edgar Morin and Véronique Grappe-Nahoum, Vidal et les siens (1989).
From 1986 till 1988 he has been the Chairman of La Société des Etudes Juives. He also was administrator of La Société de Linguistique de Paris (1978 and 1979).
In June 1991, on retirement, he was awarded the title of Professeur Emeritus des Universités.
In November and December of 1996, he was invited as a leading guest during the XIII Sephardic week in Santiago, Chile and, as a speaker by the Santiago and Valparaiso universities. In September 1997, he was invited for a round of lectures in Buenos Aires, Argentina and in Montevideo, Uruguay.
On February 1997, he received a 648-page tribute entitled Homage to Haïm Vidal Sephiha under the direction of Professeur Winfried Busse, University of Berlin, Germany.
links: SEPHARDIC HOUSE
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