The Kohen family visiting Bulgaria

+
  • Photo taken in:
    Balchik
    Year when photo was taken:
    1962
    Country name at time of photo:
    Bulgaria, 1944-1989
    Country name today:
    Bulgaria

The photo shows my father Beniamin Shemtov Kohen and my mother Iafa Beniamin Kohen, nee Levi. At that time they visited us in Bulgaria. It was August. I remember that my mother swam very well. She also taught us and our children to swim well. So this picture was made in 1962 in Balchik.

My mother's name is Iafa Beniamin Kohen, nee Levi, and my father's name - Beniamin Shemtov Kohen. They were both born and raised in Samokov. My mother had primary education and my father - secondary high school education. He knew French, because his parents wanted him to go to study in France, which did not happen, because my father was the first born child and his duty was to stay and support the family, who was not very well-off. My father believed in communist ideas, but I did not remember if he was a member of the party or if he was involved in illegal party activities. In this sense my father was more of an idealist and communist in beliefs than an active party member. My mother was apolitical.

I remember that my father worked in a small shop owned by him, but did not earn much money. I also remember that we were constantly short of money and my father had to carry goods on his horse to the nearby villages on Sundays. He carried the villagers' hats, which my mother sowed and knitted at home, as well as cotton, or other things they needed. The Bulgarians bought them and provided us with an income. At first my mother sowed clothes for my father's shop. My father often worked as a travelling salesman to the nearby villages so that his children would have enough food and clothes. My parents also insisted that we further our education. When my parents wanted to go for a walk, they asked us to draw or write something interesting, made up a variety of artistic activities, then they came back and pointed out our best works.

My family dispersed in 1948 when all my relatives except for me emigrated to Israel. In fact, the decision was taken by my brothers and sister and my parents decided that they should follow their children. At that time I was already married. My sister Milka became a social worker in Israel (she had a university education in Bulgaria), my brother Sinto, who was studying medicine in Bulgaria became a famous doctor and my brother Miko (he is the only one of us with secondary education) became a lab chemist. They still live in Israel today and have good families, children and grandchildren. My sister has two boys, my brother Sinto - a son and a daughter, and my brother Miko - a son. All I know about their families is that Milka married before she left - to Rofat Revah in 1940, who was from Plovdiv and I lived with them in Samokov for a while.

Interview details

Interviewee: Lora Melamed
Interviewer:
Patricia Nikolova
Month of interview:
September
Year of interview:
2004
Sofia, Bulgaria

KEY PERSON

Beniamin Kohen
Year of birth:
1877
City of birth:
Samokov
Country name at time of birth:
Bulgaria
Year of death:
1979
City of death:
Tel Aviv
Country of death:
Israel
Died:
after WW II
Occupation
before WW II:
Businessman, Retail merchant
after WW II:
Retail clerk

Other Person

Iafa Kohen
Year of birth:
1885
City of birth:
Samokov
Country name at time of birth:
Bulgaria
Year of death:
1973
City of death:
Tel Aviv
Country of death:
Israel
Died:
after WW II
Occupation
before WW II:
Housewife
after WW II:
Housewife
  • Previous family name: 
    Levi
    Year of changing: 
    1920
    Reason for changing: 
    Marriage

Additional Information

Also interviewed by:
Shoah
Date of interview:
1998

More photos from this country

Adela Hinkova with friends during Purim
Leon Beraha

Read more biographies from this country

glqxz9283 sfy39587stf02 mnesdcuix8
glqxz9283 sfy39587stf03 mnesdcuix8