Izak and Suzi Sharhon with Izi Levi in a restaurant

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This photo was taken at Palet 2 [a musical fish restaurant in Tarabya, a district on the European shore of the Bosphorus].  You can see my husband, Izak Sarhon on the left, then me and then Izi Levi.  Izi Levi was one of our best friends.  One night we went to Palet 2 with a group of friends and they took our photo while we were making a toast.  I remember having great fun that night.  We had another friend, Ceni Rutli who made us laugh all the time.  Then there was music, we danced and all in all had a great time.

My husband, Izak Sarhon, was born in Ortakoy, in 1914.  His mother tongue is Ladino and he speaks French, too.  My in-laws were very nice people.  I met my husband through an acquaintance.  That person told us there was somebody (my husband) so and so and when we said "OK", we met at the Hay-Layf café in Pangalti.  My uncle and my brother Vitali came, too.  We saw each other for the first time there.  We chatted a little, then we ate something and then he left.  Then, the person who introduced us went to talk to his father and they said "OK".  Then his father called my uncle and they talked about what was necessary to talk about [probably about the dowry], and then they said "OK".  Then Izak came to visit us one evening and then we got engaged in 1948.  We got engaged in my home.  My uncles, my in-laws, and my sister-in-law all came to my home and we had a family dinner.  There were a lot of flowers.  My in-laws brought me a ring.  And my family gave my fiancée a gold watch as a present.  Of course, the fact that my fiancée was Jewish was an important factor in our decision for marriage.

In 1949, one week before the wedding, we had our civil marriage ceremony in Tunel .  The civil marriage was at the registrar's hall and it was quite crowded.  I wore a tailor-made suit and my husband wore a dark suit.  My witness was my uncle Daniel and my husband's witness was a cousin of his mother's, the lawyer Selim Danon.  After the ceremony we went to my father-in-law's house and there was a kind of cocktail.  There were about 30-40 people present.  We talked and listened to music on the radio, there was nothing else in those days. 

One week later, on a Sunday, on 10th July, I got married at the Zulfaris Synagogue [16] in Karakoy at 6:00 p.m.  I don't know why we got married so late in the day, probably because there was no other free hour.  I bought my wedding dress from a shop, I did not have it made especially for me.  On that Sunday morning, we got up early.  My uncle and his wife, my friends, all came to my house.  The hairdresser also came and did everybody's hair.  Then we got dressed.  At 10 minutes to 6 we went to the synagogue all together.  My cousin Sami Schilton gave me away and he and my mother got on the "teva" with me.  I also had a little bridesmaid and an older one who accompanied Sami Schilton later on.  After the wedding ceremony, we went to my husband's parents' house.  We changed there and then went to the Belvu Hotel [the turkish version of the french expression "Belle Vue"].  We did not have a party that night.  We stayed at that hotel for 4 days.  It was raining hard all the time so we spent the whole of the 4 days inside the hotel.  We did not go out.  Then we went to Caddebostan [this district on the Asian coast of Istanbul used to be a summer resort.  It is now a residential area.].  We rented a house for the summer.  Our friends also rented a house and we spent the whole summer together having fun.

Every summer we went to Caddebostan [a district in the Asian side of Istanbul, which used to be a summer resort until the 1970s.  It is now a rsidential area.] for the summer.  There we would hire a boat and go swimming with the kids.  When we came back, we went back home in a horse carriage.  We had a lot of friends.  I can give you their names as far as I remember: Ceni Jak Rutli, Esti Mordo Peres, Zelda Yomtov Behar, Izi Suzet Levi. They were very intimate friends.  We were a big group and during the day we went swimming together. Then in the evening we would meet again with the kids.  The children would play together, we would prepare food and eat all together.  Sometimes we would go out.  My husband had a car and we would go for rides.  We were together with our friends every weekend.  And when summer came, we would all rent houses near one another so we could be together all the time, both during the week and at weekends.  During the day we would go swimming and in the evening we would either go to the cinema or gather at one house.

Interview details

Interviewee: Suzi Sarhon
Yusuf Sarhon
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Istanbul, Turkey


Suzi Sarhon
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Izak Sarhon
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Ottoman Empire
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