My mother-in-law

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  • Photo taken in:
    Istanbul
    Year when photo was taken:
    1960
    Country name at time of photo:
    Turkey
    Country name today:
    Turkey

My cousin Fani Levi who was the youngest daughter of my aunt Verjini, born in 1893, later became my wife.  My aunt was married to Salvator Levi who was very cultured, who spoke French, German and Hebrew and who was an antiques dealer.  However the family lost this angel of a father at a very young age as a result of a feverish disease. My aunt Verjini became a widow with her children at a very young age.  Because these children had to earn money at a very young age, they couldn't even finish elementary school.  

Fani's mother, that is to say my aunt, was really like an angel.  She suffered a lot of poverty but never made a concession on her pride.  Her children and herself were always dressed clean and with a smiling face.  They lived in Ortakoy for a long while too,  we saw each other very often as a family since we were close to each other.  I felt very comfortable with my cousins, we grew up all together.   Later on my aunt left Ortakoy and settled around Galata Tower [on the European side, one of the neighborhoods where Jews preferred to live at the beginning of the 20th century] 

In 1980, Verjini who was my mother-in-law as well as my aunt, went out to the street after having dinner at her daughter Sara's house in Heybeliada to give the bones of the fish they had eaten, to the stray cats.  She had a heart attack when she leaned down to give the bag to the cats and died on the spot.  We buried her in Haskoy Jewish cemetery.

Interview details

Interviewee: Lazar Abuaf
Interviewer:
Meri Schild
Month of interview:
November
Year of interview:
2006
Istanbul, Turkey

KEY PERSON

Verjini Levi
Decade of birth:
1890
City of birth:
Istanbul
Country name at time of birth:
Ottoman Empire
Year of death:
1980
City of death:
Istanbul
Country of death:
Turkey
Died:
after WW II
Died where:
Istanbul
Occupation
before WW II:
Housewife
after WW II:
Housewife

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