THE ORIENTALIST MILIEU IN WILNO (VILNIUS) 1919-1939 (Orientalistyczne srodowisko w Wilnie: 1919-1939)
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Oriental studies in interwar Poland developed at universities in Kraków, Lvov (Lviv) and Warsaw. Vilnius had large Jewish, Tartar and Karaite communities totaling around 54,000 people. There was an interest in both Oriental culture and languages: Hebrew, Turkish, Arabic and Karaite. The following institutions were active in the field: the Vilnius University Ethnographic Museum, Belarusian Museum, a large Jewish Library, and since 1930 also Karaite Museum. These also included the Republic of Poland's Tartar Cultural and Educational Association and the Karaite History and Literature Friends Association. The following periodicals were published: 'Rocznik Tatarski' (Tartar Yearbook), 'Zycie Tatarskie' (Tartar Life'), 'Mysl Karaimska' (Karaite Thought) and a number of Jewish titles. Vilnius hosted two conferences of the Polish Association for Oriental Studies (1932 and 1937), with the participation of Karaite and Tartar representatives. Both of Eastern European Research and Science Institute, founded in 1930, and the School of political Studies had Orientalists among their founders: Tadeusz Kowalski and a Karaite, Seraya Shapshal. Shapshal taught Turkish and held lectures on Oriental culture at the School of Political Studies, and published a number of papers in the field. Karaites from Troki (Trakai), Ananiasz Zajaczkowski and Wlodzimierz Zajaczkowski, left for Warsaw and Kraków and worked there as Orientalists. Vilnius hosted the Muftiate of the Republic of Poland and Tartar Museum.
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