This is a picture of my father, Vidal Cohen, taken in the early 1930s. At the time he was in the south of France. He would travel to France for medical treatment because he had asthma.
My father owned a shop called ‘Com fete’ that sold clothes and trench coats. The shop used to have the nickname ‘The Trench Coat Source.’ Before the war he had established a shop that was very original, with goods from Paris. He had brought machines from Paris to waterproof the trench coats. We had a room in the house where he would store the coats while they were being made. He worked with agencies around Greece and he had a contract with army officers’ cashiers. The officers would shop at my father’s shop.
My father attended a Jewish school and he knew Hebrew and Rashi. In fact, I have a card of his written in Rashi. He would travel to France for medical treatment because he had asthma.
My father wasn’t very religious, he always worked on Saturdays. Our food was kosher anyway, because we bought the meat from the Jewish butcher. My father would go to the synagogue only on religious holidays.
My father was a very difficult man. He was very strict. He wanted the towels to be very well ironed, and if they weren’t he would say, ‘What is this?’ in an angry manner. When I think of what we had on the table everyday… We had to have a variety of salads as well as boiled vegetables that weren’t very common at the time, like greens.