Abraham Freres was the company run by Haim and Moritz Abraham in Constantinople. According to my parents' recollections, the company was an importer of cheap metal goods from Germany, such as razor blades, and distributed them all over the Levant. One relative believed that they owned a factory in Germany - but I doubt it as I never saw any documents (letters, stamps) indicating such ownership, and this was never mentioned by my parents.

Abraham Freres - Constantinople.

Abraham Freres - Constantinople, 1916. Labelled Envelope.

(Scan courtesy of Mehmet Sadettin Fidan)

Abraham Freres.

Abraham Freres, letterhead, 1918.

In the "1909 Annuaire Oriental" (1909 Trade Registry), Abraham Freres are listed as "Commissionnaires" - French for "Agents" or "Brokers."

Abraham Freres listed - Annuaire Oriental - 1909

Annuaire Oriental - 1909

(Scan courtesy of Mehmet Sadettin Fidan)

The company's office was located on the first floor of Emin Bey Han (Han = business center) in Eminönü. Abraham Freres occupied 3 rooms or offices (26 to 28.)

Note that on this fragment of the 1909 directory, almost all tenants of Emin Bey Han are "Commissionaires".

Abraham Freres.

Abraham Freres stamp, 1916.

Abraham Freres listed - Annuaire Oriental - 1921

Annuaire Oriental - 1921

(Scan courtesy of Mehmet Sadettin Fidan)

The 1921 Annuaire Oriental shows that by then, Abraham Freres by now only occupied 2 rooms or offices.

Other Abraham brothers

There is no evidence that either of the two younger Abraham brothers - Isak or Moni - were involved in the company.

The 1921 Annuaire Oriental however shows that Mony Abraham (listed as "Abraham Moni") was also a merchant ("Commissionnaire") and had an office in the same building (Emin Bey Han - 10, 16, 17).

Address

Although most professional correspondance to Abraham Freres indicated "Emin Bey Han" as their address, some was simply addressed to "Abraham Freres, Constantinople", suggesting that the company was of sufficient size and well known in Constantinople.

Parcel Card from Haim, 1917

Parcel Card, 1917.

(Scan courtesy of Mehmet Sadettin Fidan)

For example, in 1917 Haim sent this parcel card (?) and addressed it to:
Herren Abraham Freres, Constantinople - Stambul, Europ. Turkei

Parcel Card from Hungary, 1917

Parcel Card from Hungary, 1917.

(Scan courtesy of Mehmet Sadettin Fidan)

Another example of business mail addressed to:
Herrn Abraham Freres, Konstantinopel - Stambul, Turkei

There are many examples of personal correspondance addressed c/o Abraham Freres, with no additional street or building information. For example, Haim sent this postcard from Vienna in 1913 to his sister-in-law Ronya, and simply addressed it to:
"Riwka Abraham,
c/o Abraham Freres,
Constantinople".

Zionist Congress, Vienna 1913.

Postcard from Vienna - Sept 4, 1913.

Products

Abraham Freres dealt with products manufactured in Germany and from neighboring countries. One main focus was metal goods such as razor blades (produced by companies from the Solingen area). Abraham Freres appears to have also dealt with other lines of products - shoe polish, etc. - as evidenced from this list of business correspondance:

1910, Ludwig Leverr & Co., Frankfurt, GERMANY

1916, Paul Arzberger, Chemnitz, GERMANY

1916, 1917, Hartmann & Mittler, Wien, AUSTRIA (Ink factory)

1916, Paulmann & Kellermann, Elberfeld, GERMANY (Envelopes)

1916, Ungarische (...) , (Shoe polish)

1916, C.F.Schröder (Schroeder)

1916, Picard-Werk GmbH, Cronenberg

1916, Germania-Werk, Solingen (Razor maker)

1916, Kamphausen & Plümacher, Solingen-Ohligs (Cutler/Open-blade razor maker)

1917, Peter xxxxx & Söhne, Ohligs, GERMANY

1917, Max Plümacher, Metallwaren-Fabrik, Weyer, GERMANY ("metalgoods factory")

1917, Herzeg Geza, Chemische Fabrik, Budapest, HUNGARY (chemical factory)

1917, Carl Blanke

1917, Otto Jaeger, Siegen Westphalia, GERMANY

1917, Bribach & Böckmann

1917, Richard Mittler & Co

1917, H Münzing Spedition, Hagen, Westphalia, Germany (transport / shipping company)

1917, Lersch & Kruse, Hagen L. W., GERMANY (Transport / shipping company)

(Data courtesy of Mehmet Sadettin Fidan)

The end of Abraham Freres

Although the last surviving artifacts from the company (mail and business card) date from 1918, Abraham Freres continued to operate for a few more years and the company's name still appears in the 1921 Annuaire Oriental.

At the end of 1922 however, there was an acrimonious falling out between the two brothers Moritz and Haim, as described in a letter from Elfriede (Mädi) to Ronya dated December 8, 1922, and the company was dissolved.

This split coincided with Moritz' move to Dusseldorf (actually his move was delayed by a few weeks while he was attempting to resolve the dispute with his brother); It's not clear what triggered the dispute.

Moritz continued to run his business out of the same building, as evidenced by a 1927 entry in the Registry Book of the Spanish Consulate in Constantinople which listed his address as Emin Bey Han, No 23. The List of Professional Tenants in Emin Bey Han also includes an entry for "Abraham, M., Merchant" in 1927.

Haim on the other hand moved his business to a new location; in the Registry Book of the Spanish Consulate in Constantinople, an entry dated September 18 1928 shows Haim's business address as Seyh Davud Han, Tahtakale street.

(Source: Mehmet Sadettin Fidan)

Special thanks:
I am indebted to Mehmet Sadettin Fidan who graciously shared his knowledge of Constantinople's Hans and provided a wealth of documents and data about Abraham Freres.
Links
Emin Bey Han

This family history project started September 2009.
All photos and documents belong to the author and are © Daniel Abraham, except for maps and where indicated.
This is a work in progress. Please contact me if you have any more information to contribute.

Last Modified: Sunday, January 5, 2014