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Mico Alvo

The International Trade Fair of Thessaloniki would last three weeks and it was a great event. This was the only fair at the time; there weren't any other specialized fairs. The fair at the time was like a festival. Aunt Daisy used to take us when we were little. It was a chance for her to meet up with her friends. Later, when we grew older, we used to go on our own. We mostly went to the exhibition because of the games that they had, the little cars and the big wheel. Many, many people used to go to the games. We had to queue to get in. The fair was so successful because of the children that were going to the games. The adults would go, too.

We would also go around and visit the different stands. The best and bigger stand was the one of National Agricultural Production that showed you all the agricultural and cattle products. A very interesting stand was the one of the Carpet Manufacturing Association which had really tasteful things. All these hand woven carpets. They were one nicer than the other one. My father loved carpets very much, he was a collector you could say, and he would buy one carpet every year from there. Unfortunately they are all gone. We only have one left.

There would be many celebrations at the fair. To catch people's attention they would even bring acrobats. One of the things they had brought was 'the barrel.' It was a very large surface in the shape of a barrel inside which a motorcycle was moving. Another one was jumping from 30 meters into a barrel of water. They would have fireworks every year, and really nice ones. Not only at the end of the fair. Sometimes they would have fireworks on the weekends, too, because there would be three weekends during the time that the fair lasted. We could see them from our house, far away. It really was a cheerful time, a feast for Thessaloniki.

The time of the fair was a time when there would be a lot of business in the city. This was because it had so many visitors and it would last for quite a long time. I remember that if it rained in September, they would cry. They would rent out the spaces in an auction and the poor guys that were renting for restaurants or cafes: when it rained it would ruin their business.

Also, something that existed only at the exhibition was black beer. One could only find it at the fair, as well as the frankfurter sausages. There were many places out in the open that would sell black beer and frankfurters. They would give you some mustard in a small piece of paper separately, and it would be a feast. Everyone would go to the exhibition, men and women, especially on weekends there were so many people that you couldn't get in. I remember one time when there was so much pushing around at the door to get in, it was unbelievable!

Sometimes my father took part at the fair, but not many times. I remember about four or five times. He had some agencies, so had to show the products. My father didn't have his own stand. He was renting a space inside somebody else's stand. An employee would stay there. He would sometimes take orders. There were many different stands where one could buy what one wanted there and then. We didn't have anything similar, we just exhibited the products. If someone was interested to make an order, we would take the order and deliver it after the fair ended. My father took part at the fair from about 1930 to 1935. After that they stopped. They didn't need to anymore.
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Mainly Christians lived in the neighborhood. We didn't have Jewish neighbors. It was a wealthy area. It was full of detached houses of one or two stories, with very nice gardens, and they would be very competitive about who had the prettiest flowers. Three or four houses would have the same gardener, Charito.

We had really good relationships with the neighbors, with all the Greeks of the neighborhood. Their financial situation was about the same as ours, maybe slightly lower. We had really good relations with the family of Germanos, who also spoke French. It was an Athenian family, very aristocratic. Nikolaos Germanos was the one who founded the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair [36]. I remember the first time that the Fair opened, the manager, Nikolaos Germanos, took along Mother and Father in the taxi. He went to the inauguration of the Fair in a taxi! His younger daughter, Alexandra, loved my mother very much and she would come around the house very often.
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Eugenia Abravenel

My husband knew many foreign languages, he could manage many things. He knew Spanish of course, German, French and a little English. Leo had to become an interpreter at the Thessaloniki Fair. I remember he had bought a Linguaphone, because he wanted to go to London and told them that he would learn English in two months. He would study and listen to the records all day long.
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When we settled in Thessaloniki it was during September, the time of the International Fair [8], which must have started the year before, in 1927. In September 1928 we visited the fair, but most of all we visited the AGFA stand and examined the cameras. However, at another stand they convinced us to buy the KODAK model of the year. It came with a tripod so we could use delayed action shutter release and run and be in the picture as well. My brother Kleanthis created a dark room at home.
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Yvonne Capuano-Molho

The music school was at the grounds of the International Fair of Thessaloniki [24]. It was easy to go there on foot. I recall that when I started going there, my mother knew every detail of what I was doing there and I kept wondering how my mother managed to learn everything in detail.

Once, while visiting my Molho grandmother, I saw Aunt Gracia talking to Mr. Karantsis, who was the director of the music school. He was living next to my grandmother and aunt, and then I knew how my mother was so well informed. I was about nine years old at that time. Those years were very good, I also had friends from the music school and my teacher there was Mrs. Emily, who was a Jew.

And later I was a member of the mixed chorus of Mr. Floros and once we sang at the Palace theater house that song which says ‘Alleluia.’ Kaufman sang solo the ‘Ave Maria’ and we accompanied her. At that time there were two piano schools; one was Margarite’s and the other Kaufman’s, who was a German Jew. The Kaufman that sang solo was his daughter. The performance was very beautiful, and I still have vivid memories of it.

We even got an award. Where is this award? Well, we left [during the Holocaust] and what did we find afterwards? Nothing! We had given things to people to hide for us, and when we returned my mother would see the same things at their houses but they would say, ‘There is nothing left, they took everything from us.’ What to say.
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