Matilda Levi’s mother Rashel Behar

This is my mother, Rashel Behar, sometime in the early 1940s, I guess. The photo was taken in Sofia.

My mother was my father's first cousin. She graduated from a French boarding school in Yambol. She has shown me what they had embroidered at school and it was incredible. It looked as if it wasn't made by a human hand. She embroidered magnificently. She spoke French. She was a housewife.

After I graduated, I left for Paris. My mother laughed because I didn't know French. I spoke only German; I had studied it in high school. I began learning French in Paris. When I came back, the fact that I could speak French didn't help me at all. I liked medicine very much. My mother was never healthy, she used to take a lot of medicines and I became keen on medicine but when I was told that I would have to see dead men, I gave up. My mother wanted me to study chemistry. I have never had a mark lower than excellent but I wasn't especially keen on it. Well, I enrolled into chemistry but when my mother left for Bulgaria several months later, I moved to the Sorbonne and enrolled into Archeology and History of Arts. I had just returned for my holidays when the war began.