Margarita and her husband Shemuel Kohen

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  • Photo taken in:
    Zlatni Pyasutsi resort – Varna
    Year when photo was taken:
    1939
    Country name at time of photo:
    Bulgaria, 1878-1944
    Country name today:
    Bulgaria

The picture was taken in May 1939 in Zlatni Pyasutsi resort near Varna [a town on the Black Sea coast] at a voyage de plaisir – honeymoon with my husband Sharlo [Shemuel Kohen]. The sea seemed to me very frightening and endless. We traveled by train. We visited some other towns like Vratsa, Belogradchik and we traveled on the Danube by ship. There is neither a stamp on the back of the photo, nor any other inscription.

My husband Shemuel Samuel Kohen was born in 1906 in the town of Samokov. He was a Sephardi Jew. He had three brothers – Leon, Mois and Zhak. My husband was the youngest – the fourth child. Sharlo had finished the Jewish junior high school. After that he had enrolled in the high school and had started studying there but his parents couldn’t afford it and he couldn’t finish it, he dropped out. He started work first as a carpenter, then he became a clerk and in the end, just before getting engaged, he started helping his parents. Afterwards, when the shop needed an accountant, instead of hiring somebody else, he quit the accountancy and started helping his father and brother. After 1944 he finished planner courses and worked as a planner at machine tools enterprises like ‘Balkan’ and ‘Madara’. It was very nice to be with him, he was good company. He wasn’t picking on people, he was very tolerant and later, in marriage, he remained the same – very open-minded, easy-going and with great sense of humor – man with spirit. In fact, the choice was mutual but it seems to me his father liked me very much too.

After the wedding we were living in my husband’s house with my mother-in-law, father-in-law, my brother-in-law Zhak who a year and a half later married the Jew Dora. We, the whole family Kohen, were living on the second floor and the first and the second were rented out. On the ground floor there was a shop which was also rented out. My mother-in-law was quite a dame and very house-proud. As a young bride she used to wake me up at five in the morning: ‘Come on, come on, let’s start cleaning!’ Mum would say: ‘My God, are you wearing aprons on Saturday?’ My mother liked cleanliness too but not as much as my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law’s behavior wasn’t very normal. She liked doing the same things every single day, and that turns into a routine, becomes very boring, but I couldn’t do anything. In fact, that cleaning was mainly my task because she couldn’t do it – she was paralyzed.

Interview details

Interviewee: Margarita Kohen
Interviewer:
Svetlana Avdala
Month of interview:
March
Year of interview:
2006
Plovdiv, Bulgaria

KEY PERSON

Margarita Kohen
Year of birth:
1917
City of birth:
Gorna Dzhumaya
Country name at time of birth:
Bulgaria
Occupation
before WW II:
An assistant dental mechanic
after WW II:
Housewife, librarian
Family names
  • Previous family name: 
    Selanikyo
    Year of changing: 
    1939
    Reason for changing: 
    Marriage

Other Person

Shemuel Kohen
Year of birth:
1906
City of birth:
Samokov
Country name at time of birth:
Bulgaria
Year of death:
1988
City of death:
Plovdiv
Country of death:
Bulgaria
Occupation
before WW II:
Carpenter
after WW II:
Planner at ‘Balkan’ State Company and ‘Madara’ State Company

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