Samuel Coyas and his friend David Dalva

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This is a photo of me and my friend David Dalva, who lived in the same neighborhood as I did. The picture was taken on 6 September 1936 in Kuzguncuk. I am holding my school cap in my hand. It had narrow bands on it. In those times wearing a uniform was not compulsory but hats were. If you went to a regular school, you had to wear a hat with yellow bands on it. If you went to an art school, you had to have a hat with green bands on it. My friendship with David lasted as long as we lived in that neighborhood. Years later he got married and had two sons. He always lived in Kuzguncuk and died 3 years ago. I started school at the 45th state elementary jewish school in Kuzguncuk (1929). The school changed its building three times. Finally, it moved to the very big house of Marko Pasha, which was situated at an upper part of Kuzguncuk, and was named after Marko Pasha himself. Turkish grammar was the lesson which I liked most and was most succesful at in school. I was a good student, in general. Our next door neighbor, Madam Viktorya taught me French for free. I owe the little bit of French which I speak today, to her. We didn't have much of a regular reading habit. There were only religious books in French and Hebrew, which had been left from my grandfather, at home. Later on, as I grew up, I started reading the novels of writers like Alexandre Dumas, and Michel Zevaco in Turkish. I even used to read one page to my mother each night. She would like this very much.

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Interviewee: Samuel Coyas
Tuna Saylag
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Istanbul, Turkey


Samuel Coyas
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David Dalva
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after WW II

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