Sarah Cohen Eldar was born in 1920. Her mother was Haim's cousin. Sarah knew Haim when she was a young child in Rustchuk. She later stayed in Haim's house in Haifa in the 40's when she was a student there. The following notes are excerpts from her personal journal.

Due to the fact that Haim Abraham's "negative" image and character, as described by many, if not by all, of the Israeli writers dealing with the NILI Espionage Movement and Sarah Aaronson's biography, I feel that it's my duty to describe another face, the real and positive face of my relative Haim Abraham.

Haim was the senior of four sons, the others being: Izak, Maurice (Moses), and Moni (Solomon, Shlomo). Their parents died of tuberculosis when he, the oldest, was just 12 years of age! Therefore, their grandfather Moni, and grandmother Rebecca (maiden name Covo), and sometimes their aunts took care of the three young orphans.

Moni, the youngest, was given and adopted by his aunt Mazal just after he was born. We used to meet with Haim quite often during summer holidays at my grandmother's - his mother's sister. My grandmother used to call him Henry; my mother called him Heinrich, and that's what he used to call himself: Heinrich Abraham.

Haim was born in Rustchuk (Russe) in northern Bulgaria on the southern bank of the Danube River. He matriculated from the local gymnasium for boys which used to be famous for its high level then. He went to Germany to study business and related subjects, and at a relatively young age started his business carrier. In spite of his success he never ignored his home and family whom he used to visit at every chance he had.

After the end of WWI, he founded in Rustchuk the "Maccabi" sports club that became the heart and core of the Rustchuk Jewish community. This sports movement was spread all over the Bulgarian Jewish communities. Haim, during this chapter of his life also "invented" Hebrew terms for gymnastics' commands (One should remember that those days the Hebrew sports language was quite dull!).

A big portrait of Haim with a blue-white band across his chest on which the slogan "Healthy spirit in a healthy body" in Bulgarian was decorating the gymnastic hall at Rustchuk.

From Rustchuk he moved to Constantinople ("Koushta" in Hebrew) which used to be his base for business with Germany. He also attended, if not as a delegate, but as a spectator, some of the Zionist Congresses. He has also had very good relations with many Zionist leaders of Germany and Eastern Europe, and the Palestinian Rahel Yanait - Ben Zvi, Hana Maizel. On the other hand he had criticism for the behaviour and habits of the Yishuv leaders, although he admired Haim Arlozorof, who was murdered in 1934, probably by an extreme-right Jew. He also liked Vladimir Jabotinsky, and was against David Ben Gurion.

He was introduced to Sarah Aaronson through his friend Dr. Israel Auerbach who knew and was a friend of the Aaronson family of Zikhron Yaacov. I met with Dr. Auerbach while I was a student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (mid. nineteen forties) who told me many times that Haim wanted a girl from one of the real pioneers who had settled Palestine. So he married Sarah, took her to Constantinople were she was isolated from her full time activities back home. In practice, they never were fit to each other, not in culture, interest, and nature.

Many years later, while I was studying at the Nahalal Agricultural school, which I attended at the very beginning of the Second World War, I used to visit the Abraham couple who lived in an apartment at the small Haifa suburb of Bat Galim. His second wife was Miriam Franco (born in Constantinople). He immigrated to Palestine in 1934.

Translation: Iris and Yaakov Nir.

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: Friday, December 7, 2018