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The State of Eritrea is†a republic in northeast Africa,†having a long stretch of coastline along the Red Sea, opposite Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The territory was a separate†Italian colony from 1890†until 1936, when it became a province of Italian East Africa (which also included Italian Somaliland and the then recently conquered Ethiopia). During World War II,†Eritrea was captured by British forces in 1941 and administered by the UK until 1951, when it was federated with neighboring†Ethiopia. In 1962, Ethiopia formally annexed Eritrea as a province.†In 1993, the territory gained its independence as the State of Eritrea.


"Jews first settled in Eritrea in the late 19th century, emigrating from Yemen. Many Jews came to the country in search of economic and commercial opportunities. In 1905, the Asmara Hebrew Congregation was formed. During the 1930s, many Jews arrived in Eritrea fleeing Nazi persecution in Europe.The last wedding celebrated at the Asmara Hebrew Congregation was in the 1950ís. During that decade the Jewish congregation numbered more than 500. .... In 1948, many Jews left Eritrea when Israel gained its independence. Nevertheless, the majority of the Jewish community left the country in the 1970s during its thirty year battle with Ethiopia for independence. In 1975, the Rabbi and much of the community were evacuated. By then, only 150 Jews remained in Eritrea.The synagogue is kept up by Samuel Cohen, the last Jew left in Eritrea. The Cohen family immigrated to Eritrea around 1900. Asmara Hebrew Congregation, Haille Mariam Mammo Street, Asmara, Eritrea, Synagogue Keeper, Samuel Cohen." Virtual Jerusalem.† [January 2009]

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