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Koplik, Sara Beth (2003) The Demise of the Jewish Community in Afghanistan, 1933-1952. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00034024

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Abstract

This thesis examines the demise of the Jewish community in Afghanistan. In the early 1930s, an influx of Soviet refugees was a source of great concern for the Afghan government. Bukharan Jewish refugees were considered very dangerous, and potential Soviet agents. Afghan suspicion then extended to the local Jewish population. Security considerations were linked to the economic sector, and a series of discriminatory regulations were enacted against the entire Jewish community. Jews were forbidden from engaging in trade, and had to reside in Herat, Kabul or Kandahar. These policies caused impoverishment and an internal refugee crisis. The Afghan government based its plan for economic development on a monopolisation system, and much of the discrimination that the Jewish community faced was directed through the Ministry of National Economy and the Afghan National Bank. This strategy was adopted ostensibly as a way to limit Soviet influence in Afghanistan, and benefltted the Pashtun majority. Historiographically, the most contentious debate centres on the extent of Nazi influence in Afghanistan. 'Abd al-Majid Khan, the instigator of nativist economic policies, was also the primary negotiator with Berlin. The Third Reich influenced some aspects of Afghan policy, however it was predominantly indirect and confined to the economic sector. After World War II, the economy plunged, and a famine engulfed the region. When the state of Israel was established, Jews in Afghanistan saw it as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy, and most left as soon as legal emigration was authorized. This work shows that once nationalism appears on the horizon, and the processes of modem development begin, the condition of a very small, easily distinguishable, specialized group is endangered. It also examines the rich congruities between the political and economic history of Afghanistan and one of its smallest minorities.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00034024
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:28
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/34024

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