In the garden of the Ikinci Karma School at the entrance gate

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This is a photograph of all of the female and male members of the Mishne Torah, which is a club for aiding poor students. The other people in the photograph: As far as I can remember, on the top row in center is Isac Niyego, who was the founder of the society. The second one next to him is the lawyer Daniel Behar, who became the second president later. In addition, I can remember Rafael Menase, Israel Menase, Viktor Amon, and Bohor Pinhas who was in the second row of the men, among them. My father, Saul Modiano, was born in Salonika in 1887. He passed away in Istanbul in 1970. My mother, Ester Modiano [her maiden name is Kohen] was also born in Salonika in 1894, and passed away in Istanbul, in 1979. My parents are both buried at the Italian-Jewish Cemetery in Sisli, Istanbul. My father was of medium-height, and was slightly overweight. He had whitish hair. He had glasses, but only used them when he was reading. He did not wear a tie around the house, but he always wore one when he was outside. He always wore clean, fashionable clothes. My mother, Ester Modiano, was also of medium-height and was slightly chubby. She had a very reserved personality. Her hair was medium-length. She wore casual clothing both inside and outside the house. She usually wore lipstick, and used nail polish. My father was a very serious, introverted kind of man. He did not speak much, and when he did, he spoke with utmost care - as if he was weighing each word. He was a reserved man just like my mother was. My father was also very smart and perceptive. He did not have a lot of time to read, but he followed all major news of the day. My mother did spend a lot of her time reading. She graduated from a French school in Salonika. My parents both went to school in Salonika. The school my father attended was called 'Idadiye' back then. It was a special kind of Italian school. My father's native tongue was Italian, and my mother's was Spanish. They spoke in Spanish and French between each other and their own parents. When he lived in Salonika, my father used to work as a regular employee at a firm. Later on, when he came to Istanbul, he founded his own business. He became a commissioned representative for some factories located in Europe. He also provided those European companies with insurance expertise, and handled their insurance needs. My father had significant responsibilities at Misne Tora. He was also an active member of the Italian-Jewish Community. He represented the Italian-Jewry in Turkey at the Chief Rabbi's office. At Misne Tora, he participated in end-of-the-year activities every year. During these activities, a number of different shows were put on, including a play put together by the Youth Commission.

Interview details

Interviewee: Enrico Modiano
Rozet Modiano
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Istanbul, Turkey


Saul Modiano
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The Ottoman Empire
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after WW II
before WW II:
Businessman, Retail merchant
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