Mazaltov Mardoche (Eliezer) (1889 - 1966)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Ioannina, Epirus, Greece
Death: Died in Caracas, Venezuela
Managed by: Jonathan Alcantara
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Mazaltov Mardoche (Eliezer)

[JBA:]

Mazaltov was the eldest child of Kalomira and Eliezer Abraham Eliezer, born in 1889 in Ioannina. In 1911, at age 21 or 22, she married Elia Mordehai, the son of Mordehai Menachem, who was 29 years old. Soon after he was drafted to fight in the Balkan wars, possibly on the Greek side as Jews were normally excluded from the Ottoman army.

Mazaltov gave birth to her first child, Louisa, in 1912 in Albania, while Elia was away with the army. This suggests that Mazaltov had been sent away from Ioannina to avoid the fighting or siege situation there. It might also suggest that Elia fought on the Turkish side, since his wife was sent into Ottoman territory for safety. In 1913, Epirus passed definitively to Greece as the result of this war, and Elia returned to the family and they were back in Ioannina. In this period Mazaltov may have given birth to another child who did not survive.

In 1915, Mazaltov's mother Kalomira died, during or shortly after giving birth to her last child, Sarina. There is family history that Mazaltov, the eldest at 26 and already married, helped to continue to raise her siblings: David was 10 and Esther, 15, in addition to the new baby, along with her own toddler. There is also family history that Elia Mordehai went alone to Palestine around this time for a few months, after his shop in Ioannina burnt down. After his stay in Palestine, Elia went on to Alexandria, Egypt, where the family would settle. Mazaltov joined her husband sometime afterwards, despite her friends warning her against it.

This would mean that she left her young siblings back in Ioannina with her father. The next oldest sister, Rachel, was 21 and married around the time of her mother's death. Perhaps this sister, assisted by their aunt Steroula, stepped in to assist with Mazaltov's siblings, allowing her to move to Egypt and join her husband. In any case, her next child, Nessim, was born there in 1917. I would speculate that Mazaltov spent at least a year in Ioannina after the death of her mother, otherwise the tradition that she helped raise her siblings makes no sense; so perhaps she joined Elia in Alexandria sometime in 1916.

Mazaltov had the remainder of her children in Alexandria: Esther in 1919, Marco in 1920, and Nina in 1929. In Alexandria, they started using a francophone version of their name, "Mardoche". Daughter Esther married Max Algazy in 1939, Nessim married Marcelle Habert in 1943, and Louisa married Morris Besso in 1944, and Mazaltov and Elia became grandparents. The family survived the air raids on Alexandria in WWII. In 1948, Israel became independent, which was followed by the Arab-Israeli war, in which Egypt took part as part of the Arab coalition against Israel. After this event, things became difficult for Alexandria's Jews. Mazaltov's son Marco was expelled to Israel around that time and he met and married his wife there. Correspondence between Marco and the family had to be done via her Aunt Steroula in New York.

Daughter Nina married Leon Levy in 1954. The family continued to live in Alexandria until 1956, when after the Suez crisis all British and French nationals were expelled. Esther's husband Max held British citizenship, so the Algazys went to settle in London. With the situation deteriorating, the Alexandrian Jews tried to find countries to emigrate to. They were stripped of their Egyptian citizenship and so had the further difficulty of being stateless refugees if they had no third country citizenship. Nessim's wife had relatives in Canada, so they took a boat there and settled in Montreal. In 1957, the Levys got away to France and from there went on to Caracas, Venezuela, where some of Leon's relatives had gone ahead. The Bessos later joined them there.

Mazaltov and Elia went to Israel, and in 1958 Nina flew there from Venezuela to collect her parents. They made a stopover in New York, where Mazaltov was able to see again, after 40 years separation, her brother David and his family, and her aunt Steroula and her Colchamiro cousins. This event is captured in photos available on this site. Then they went on to Caracas.

Mazaltov and Elia lived out the rest of their days in Venezuela. They both passed away there in 1966.

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Mazaltov Mardoche's Timeline

1889
1889
Ioannina, Epirus, Greece
1911
1911
Age 22
Ioannina, Epirus, Greece
1912
1912
Age 23
Tirana, Albania

Louissa Besso is born while her father is away in the army.

My mother (Nina Mordo) claims that Louisa was born in Tirana, Albania (410 km or 255 mi from Ioannina).

1913
1913
Age 24
Ioannina, Epirus, Greece

Elia Mardoche come back home as a soldier, and is presented with two baby girls that were born in his absence (while he was at war). Both are named Lisa. He is asked to choose which one is his daughter (which was born in his absence.) He picks the right one.

The other Lisa (Lisa Menahem) is either Marco Menahem's sister (not on the tree--need to confirm whether this person existed) Marco Menahem's cousin (and later on his wife).

This event took place in either 1912 or 1913 (probably the latter).

1914
1914
- 1917
Age 25
Ioannina, Epirus, Greece

Once settled in Alexandria, Elia Mardoche calls his wife to come and meet him there. Mazalo joins him with their young daughter Luisa.

As an anecdote, when Mazalo was readying herself to go to Egypt, her friends were warning her not to go, warning her of poverty and infectious eye diseases.

My mother (Nina Mordo) claims that there was one or possibly two other children that died young. It is not clear whether they were born in Ioannina, moved to Alexandria, and died there--or whether they were born in Alexandria in the first place. Not much more is known about them.

Mazalo's move must have taken place at some point between 1914 and 1917. In 1917 she gives birth to Nessim Mardoche in Alexandria.

1917
April 14, 1917
Age 28
Alexandria, Egypt
1919
January, 1919
Age 30
Alexandria, Egypt
1920
March, 1920
Age 31
Alexandria, Egypt
1935
1935
- 1936
Age 46
Alexandria, Egypt

When my mother was about 6 or 7 years old, they moved to a better neighborhood in Alexandria--the house in la Rue Tatwig. The house even had electricity! My mother invited some of her old friends to show them how at the click of a button you could turn lights on and off.

The street was immortalized in Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet books. (I confess I have not read them!).