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Karaims (Poland)

Karaim minority in Poland

Last modified: 2017-11-11 by andrew weeks
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[Karaims flag] image by Chrystian Kretowicz, 14 Feb 2008 See also:

Karaims flag

Karaims - (not to be confused with Karaites, with whom they share the religious beliefs - non-rabbinical, non-talmudic branch of Judaism) are a ethno-religious group of Turkic origin, descendants of the Khazars, Kumans and the Polovtsi, settled originally in Crimea, later moved in large numbers to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, subsequently to Poland and, later yet, spread over the Russian Empire.
After the Bolshevik Revolution many of the Russian Karaims emigrated to Poland, France and the U.S. More recently, the vast majority of the Russian and Crimean Karaims left for Israel and the U.S.
Presently, there are only 800 Karaims left in the Ukraine (Crimea, Kiev and Lvov), 600 in Russia (Moscow), 200 in Lithuania (Trakai and Vilnius) and 150 in Poland (Warsaw, Wroclaw and Gdansk).
Outside of Israel and San Francisco (Republic of California, otherwise known as "I'll Be Back-Land" or "Coocooland" or "Terminatorland".), only two of their temples (kenesa) are still in operation - in Trakai (Troki) and Vilnius (Wilno) in Lithuania - although the elaborate kenesa in Kiev (Ukraine) was returned to the Karaim community and is under renovation for the European Soccer Championship in 2012.
In Poland, the Karaim minority, although tiny, is highly respected, produced large amount of the highest quality intellectuals, and maintains the House of Prayers, language and religious school, folkloric group and tends to the Karaim cemetery in Warsaw dated back to 18th Century.
The Karaim Coat of Arms shows a golden double spear on white, silver shield on gold, and the representation of the historic castle- bastion at Chufut-Kale in Crimea, in gold on blue.
The Karaim flag is the tautological rendition of the Coat-of-Arms, blue, white and yellow.
Much more information can be found at this website.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 14 Feb 2008

Karaims Coat of Arms

[Karaims coat of arms] image sent by Chrystian Kretowicz, 14 Feb 2008