Identity card

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  • Photo taken in:
    Istanbul
    Year when photo was taken:
    1943
    Country name at time of photo:
    Turkey
    Country name today:
    Turkey
The document given to me in the Technical University of Istanbul. This document indicates that I study during the daytime. Because there is the option of studying at night also in the universities. After highschool, if I did not enter the university, I had to go to the military. ITU (Istanbul Teknik Üniversitesi[The Technical University of Istanbul] is the best engineer school of Turkey) is a university that only the best students, that is to say the ones who graduate as first, second or third from their highschools have a chance to enter after one exam. I forgot about this test and started studying philosophy. And of course I got an 8 out of 10 and graduated from highschool. But I was not prepared for the ITU exam. During the exam, I began to doze off. A person, whom I found out later to be a professor, told me "Do what you can, we will see what happens after the test." What he told me made me realize the seriousness of the situation. I began answering the questions with all my power. The result was not too positive. I could not get into ITU, so I began attending another technical university that was recently founded. One day, I read in the newspaper that ITU was currently accepting students that were previously waitlisted. And, my name was on that list. My mother wanted me to become a doctor because there were many doctors in our family, but I knew I wanted to be an engineer. Mathematics came easily to me… I was very happy while studying engineering, and I have always liked what I did for a living. I had the opportunity to form wonderful friendships at ITU. Suleyman Demirel [9]and Necmettin Erbakan [10] were both my classmates there. An important feature of the educational program in those years was that our faculty contained both Architecture and Civil Engineering students. Today, both fields are distinct, but back then, we had the opportunity to graduate with two different degrees, as stated on our diplomas. That was how I decided to continue my education. By the time I was a senior, however, anti-Semitic events at school had significantly increased. That year, all seniors had to participate in a graduation project called the diploma project. A professor came from Germany for the diploma project. For the diploma project, the students were given a task to come up with a plan to build a hotel (its interior, exterior - the works…). The project was expected to be beneficial to passengers arriving to and leaving from the Yesilkoy airport. After I completed a 3-4 page paper, I presented it to my professors. They looked through everyone's project, and separated mine from the others. One of them told me "If you would, can we please put your project up on the board so that your classmates could benefit from your insights?" I was extremely happy, but later on, I found that I had failed. The professors had failed two more students like me; one of them was Russian, and the other was a Jew living in Izmir. We all wanted to resubmit our project, but the situation was getting worse. We realized the professors were determined to fail us. Therefore, we decided to take the problem as far as the Minister of Education at the time, Hasan Ali Yucel. He was both a customer and a good friend of my father's. After hearing us out, he had to put in a good word on behalf of us to the university professors. Only then, were we allowed to graduate.

Interview details

Interviewee: Albert Arditi
Interviewer:
Feride Petilon
Month of interview:
May
Year of interview:
2005
Istanbul, Turkey

KEY PERSON

Albert Arditi
Year of birth:
1923
City of birth:
Instanbul
Country name at time of birth:
Turkey
Occupation
after WW II:
Accountant/Bookkeeper

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