Eli Perahya with his brother Albert and aunt Cecile

Eli Perahya with his brother Albert and aunt Cecile
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  • Photo taken in:
    Istanbul
    Country name at time of photo:
    Ottoman Empire
    Country name today:
    Turkey
I?m standing on the left. I can be seen on this photo together with my brother Albert and my aunt, my mother's sister, Cecile. The picture was taken in Istanbul in the late 1910s. According to the Muslim Calendar my year of birth is 1328, meaning 1913 in the Gregorian calendar. I was born on 14th February in a distinguished little district of Istanbul on the Anatolian side, called Haydarpasha. Why am I named Eli, when according to the Sephardic tradition, where the first child is named after his paternal grandfather, I should have been named Ishak? The simple reason was that my paternal grandfather didn't want to give his name when he was alive, thus he opened the Torah at random and decided on the first biblical name he read: it was Eliyau? Ilyao is my name spelt erroneously in the civil registers. My younger brother, Albert, whom we lost as a very young child, was a beautiful baby. On a summer day on Buyukada while my mother was pushing him along in his baby carriage, a woman passing by came to her and said, 'ke ermozo ijiko' [what a beautiful boy] and went away. That same night, after a very sudden high fever, my brother developed quick-spreading meningitis, and in a short time he passed away. My mother, Klara Rottenberg, was born in Istanbul in 1886 as one of eight children of an Ashkenazi family. My mother's sisters Rachel and Hanna died very young, of tuberculosis, in Istanbul. Her brothers Manuel and Josef immigrated to France whereas Leon and Cecile went to Belgium.

Interview details

Interviewee: Eli Perahya
Interviewer:
Naim Guleryuz
Month of interview:
January
Year of interview:
2005
Istanbul, Turkey

KEY PERSON

Eli Perahya
Jewish name:
Yaakov
Year of birth:
1913
City of birth:
Istanbul
Occupation
before WW II:
Accountant/Bookkeeper

Other Person

Albert Perahya
Jewish name:
Eliyau
Decade of birth:
1910
City of birth:
Istanbul
Year of death:
1910
City of death:
Istanbul
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