Nella Modiano

Nella Modiano
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  • Photo taken in:
    Thessaloniki
    Country name at time of photo:
    Greece
    Country name today:
    Greece

This is my mother Nella Modiano. The photo was taken in Salonica in the 1920s.

My mother was the daughter of Mair Tchenio, of a prominent family from Aragon, in Spain. The family was famous because after the massacres of 1390, part of the Tchenios, or Chenillos as they were called in Aragon, converted adopting the Christian surname of Santangel. One Louis de Santangel, who was purser to the King of Aragon, provided the loans that financed Christopher Columbus' expedition to the New World. When I was a child, my mother used to tell me, 'we are Tchenio but our other name was Santangel.' I didn't understand at the time, but I remembered this when I discovered the story of Louis.

My mother was very sweet and very pretty. She was a gentle person and had a lot of understanding. She wasn't a mother that was smothering her children; she would see to it that we grew up to be human beings. She would put pepper in our mouths if we said a dirty word. She wasn't a pushy Jewish mother, not at all. Mother was running our household as well as the whole family, since Father was so busy. She would read French books. We had quite a library at home, one that the Germans took away.

Interview details

Interviewee: Mario Modiano
Interviewer:
Milena Molho
Month of interview:
November
Year of interview:
2005
Athens, Greece

KEY PERSON

Nella Modiano
Year of birth:
1900
City of birth:
Salonica
Year of death:
1985
City of death:
Athens
Country of death:
Greece
Died:
after WW II
Occupation
before WW II:
Housewife
after WW II:
Housewife
Family names
  • Previous family name: 
    Tchenio
    Year of changing: 
    1920
    Reason for changing: 
    Marriage

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Mario Modiano having dinner with his parents and his wife
Solon Molho's ID
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