Daniel Saltiel

Daniel Saltiel
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  • Photo taken in:
    Thessaloniki
    Country name at time of photo:
    Greece
    Country name today:
    Greece
This is a picture of my maternal grandfather, Daniel Saltiel. It was taken in Thessaloniki, but I don?t know when. Grandfather Daniel Saltiel went to school. He went to a Turkish school, but he probably learned more in the Jewish school. Daniel's first business was to sell and place windows. He used to say that he had fit all the windows of the warehouses at the old railway station. He then changed his profession and became a lumber merchant. That was when I was around ten years old or maybe even younger. When he grew older, he said that he couldn't carry glass and climb up anymore. So he started as a lumber merchant and did really well. He mostly brought wood from Romania and Yugoslavia, and the top quality wood they were bringing from Sweden. Grandfather wasn't the first one in the business, but he was good. He worked hard; he would travel for business especially around eastern Macedonia. Many times he also went to Balkan countries for supplies. He would travel to Romania and Yugoslavia very often. His employees were an accountant and a porter. They were both Jewish. He first opened a shop on Aggelaki Street. That's where his shop was. That area is where the brothels were, but also the wood suppliers. When Aggelaki Street changed and became a busy street, all the wood suppliers moved from that area to the old railway station. The area used to be called New Xyladika and it was near there that my father had his factory. They were almost neighbors. This must have been around 1930. In fact he was so close to the train station that every day when he went to work, he stopped at the station for his coffee. He liked watching the trains go by. And when it was time, he would go and open the shop. He would go back home early. He was back at around seven in the evening. He always came home early. He never stayed out late, which was strange. Grandfather Daniel knew Turkish. He spoke a bit of Armenian and Hebrew, and he knew how to read too. I don't know if he spoke Hebrew but he certainly knew how to read it. He didn't know French very well. All the merchants and manufacturers spoke many languages. My grandfather learned Greek because of the business. He had to learn Greek because although he was working with Jews, he also had many other customers. Daniel wasn't so religious but he kept the traditions. I remember that every day after he got up, he'd first have to read for half an hour. I don't know what he read, but it was before he had his coffee. And then he would get ready, drink his coffee and go to work. He bought kosher meat, that's for sure. I don't know if he kept the kashrut, maybe he did at the beginning but later on, not as much. I don't remember them having separate dishes for meat and dairy products. But he definitely bought kosher meat. He never made a habit of going to the synagogue every Saturday. When it was a religious holiday he would go. He went to the Beit Saoul synagogue because it was close to his house.

Interview details

Interviewee: Mico Alvo
Interviewer:
Paris Papamichos-Chronakis
Month of interview:
November
Year of interview:
2005
Thessaloniki, Greece

KEY PERSON

Daniel Saltiel
Decade of birth:
1860
City of birth:
Thessaloniki
Year of death:
1949
City of death:
Thessaloniki
Country of death:
Greece
Died:
after WW II
Occupation
before WW II:
Merchant

Additional Information

Also interviewed by:
USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education
Date of interview:
29/03/1996

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