Roza Benveniste with her husband Rene and their son Alberto

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This photo was taken in 1940 and it is a photograph of myself with my husband Rene and our son Alberto. The photo was taken the year that the war began between Greece and Italy, and Rene had been summoned to the Greek Army.

Alberto is the older one of our two children; he was born in 1939 and his sister Sarah was born in 1947.

My son finished elementary school here. We were planning to go to Israel. There was a school in Israel and we decided to send him there. In the summer he had gone to this summer camp and in a contest he had won a tallit. We went to the school with my husband to the supervisor to give her my son’s clothes, so he takes the tallit out and asked me, ‘Ma ze?’ – What is this? I lost it and thought, we’re in Israel and my son doesn’t know what a tallit is. I couldn’t get over it. Anyway, I explained to her that he had won it in a contest, and he put it back inside.

It was the school of agriculture that organized these camps, and the children were learning other languages there too. My son had finished elementary school and he already knew French and English very well. He learned English there. The school was located in the border region, and every now and then Arabs would come by and there would be stabbings, so we were very upset. We couldn’t calm down. They were also teaching them how to hold a gun in order to be able to defend themselves. We decided to bring him back, but he had already lost two years of school, so we sent him to a school in Lozenge.

Alberto now lives in France where he has retired from working as a travel agent.

Interviewee

Roza Benveniste