Suzi Schilton’s classmates

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This photo was taken in the 1950s.  My wife Suzi Schilton studied at the St. Benoit [French Catholic school] high school and this is a photo of her and her classmates as a souvenir of the end of the school year.  My wife was a very good student at school, she was very hardworking.  Her teachers loved her very much.  She did her homework always on time and got along with her friends very well.  I don’t know anyone else on this photo.

My wife, Suzi Behar Bitek, was born in Ortakoy.  Her native language is Judeo-Spanish.  My wife's real surname was Behar.  When the Surname Law was passed, some Jews took Turkish names, and my wife's family added the name Bitek [turkish for only one] to their surname.  My wife's father, Menahem Behar bitek was from Ortakoy, and he was very religious because his own father, Moshe Behar was a rabbi.  Menahem Behar therefore raised his daughter with a very strong religious identity.  Her mother, Rebeka Rifka Behar (nee Azuz) was a dressmaker.  She used to go to the houses of ladies and sewed all day.

My wife, Suzi graduated from the St. Benoit Lycée [French Catholic high school].  We are distantly related to her family actually.  Our relatives in Ortakoy used to praise this girl a lot.  After I broke up from my first fiancée, Beti Konfino, our relatives said Suzi was a great girl, a very good girl.  So I made a decision and one day they introduced us at one of our relative's homes.  Then they said, "now that you know each other, why don't you go out together for a while"; so we started going out to get to know each other better.  This did not last long because my wife's father was a very strict man; he did not think we should go out together for 6 or 8 months.  After a short time he wanted me to make a decision, it was either Yes or No. So I said Yes.  But he said, "It is not enough for you to say, yes, I agree.  You have to get engaged".  So we got engaged in a matter of 1-2 months.

My wife never worked, she is and has always been a housewife.  She is a wonderful cook, she cooks great Jewish dishes.  My favorite Sephardic dishes are, 'koftikas de prasa' [leek meatballs], 'pishkado kon guevo i limon' [fish with an egg-an-lemon sauce] and borekitas [pastry].

Interview details

Interviewee: Sami Schilton
Yusuf Sarhon
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Istanbul, Turkey


Suzi Schilton
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before WW II:
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  • Previous family name: 
    Bitek Behar
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