This article deals with the relations between Jews and Non-Jews, especially Greeks, in late and post-Ottoman Rhodes. In the first part, I show that an understanding of the dimension of cosmopolitan Ottoman port cities is necessary for inquiring into the societal dynamics of the post-imperial local context. Secondly, I describe the obstacles for a pluralistic and inter-confessional historiography based on the current trends pursued by Greek and Jewish authors. The economic aspect of the coexistence between Greeks and Jews being a recurrent, yet very generalized and superficial motive in those works, I inquire into relations of individuals in the capital and labour market of Rhodes. In this empirical section, I draw from archival sources to show that inter-communality was far from being an exceptional, a-normal occurrence in different professions, from moneylending to prostitution. Instead, it represented a persistent factor of cooperation, interdependence and occasional conflict. By downplaying any rigid narrative of confessional segregation and coherence, I argue that ‘groupist’ reading of the history of Rhodes in the twentieth century should be challenged by further efforts towards a polyphonic and inclusive narrative more focused on the social actors.
Abbreviations: ACS = Archivio Centrale dello Stato, Rome; AIU = Alliance Israélite Universelle, Paris; ASDMAE = Archivio Storico Diplomatico del Ministero degli Affari Esteri, Rome; BOA = Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi, Istanbul; CADN = Centre des Archives Diplomatiques Nantes ; DR LEX HC = Dimos Rodou – Lexiarcheio, Household Census; GAK DOD = Genika Archeia Tou Kratos – Nomou Dodekanisou, Rhodes; MDR = Il Messaggero di Rodi; ÖSA = Österreichisches Staatsarchiv, Vienna