Actual name: Salomon. Alternate spelling: Moni.
Mony Abraham was born on November 22 1889 (or November 10?), in Rustchuk, Bulgaria. The son of Mamo Abraham and Lea Jacob, he was the youngest of four children.
Sarah Cohen Eldar: "Moni, the youngest, was given and adopted by his aunt Mazal just after he was born."
"(He) was adopted by the eldest sister of his mother. His mother had promised her sister while she was pregnant that she would give birth for her sister."
Note that I haven't found any other mentions of Moni's adoption, and I have only seen documents referring to him as Moni Abraham.
Sarah Cohen Eldar: "In the family he was known as Moni Ventura, but perhaps he (later) decided to return to his biological name. Your father (Uriel) told (me) about it."
When he was four, Mamo and Lea (his biological parents) died of tuberculosis.
Nothing else is known about his early years.
Mony Abraham, age 7, Rustchuk, 1896.
Just like his older siblings Haim and Moritz, Mony came to Constantinople, although it's not known whether they all came together or at different times.
Based on a few surviving photos taken in Constantinople, Mony must have been fairly close to his brothers and his life seems to have been quite similar to his brothers', both socially and professionally. Like his brother Haim, he lived in Galata. His address was:
Appartment Rachel #9,
Like his older brothers Moritz and Haim, Mony was a merchant - listed as a "Commissionaire" in the Annuaire Oriental, and "Kaufman" (merchant) in German inheritance documents.
Mony Abraham appears in the 1921 Annuaire Oriental, where he is listed as occupying three rooms in Emin Bey Han, the same trade building as his brothers Haim and Moritz' company, Abraham Freres. There is no indication that he ever was a partner in his brothers' firm. However he doesn't seem to have been a competitor as he appears to have specialized in raw chemical imports, as evidenced by a couple of surviving parcel cards.
One of these parcel card is for a 5kg shipment of Iron Sulphate (a product used for inks and dyes - probably a sample, considering the quantity?) from the S.W. Hoffman company in Hungary. Another parcel card also from Hungary, from 1917, is for Calcium Hydrochloride (a bleaching agent for textiles).
In letter addressed to Aaron Aaronsohn - the agronomist and Nili spy ring leader - Mony said:
"I am surprised that I haven't heard from you since your departure. Do you have so little time that you can't spare a moment for your new friends?" [...]
"My business isn't bad - financially things could be better, but I can't complain, times are tough." [...]
"In the meantime give my best regards to Sarah"
Aside from confirming that Mony's business was separate from his brothers' ("my business"), and offering some vague assessment of the wartime conditions for business ("times are tough"), this letter is intriguing because the Mony's address on this letter appears as "Hotel Rubin, Pera, Constantinople, Tepe-Baschi".
Why did Mony reside in a hotel? Was he living in Germany by then, and only temporarily in Constantinople on business? Or was this a permanent arrangement?
The other interesting detail is that this letter was sent in July 1916, four months after Sarah had left Haim, suggesting that it was still believed that Sarah's departure was not definitive and that she would be returning to her husband Haim.
Mony married Elfriede Mädi Wertheimer, in Constantinople ("Cospoli") in 1917.
Mony and Mädi Abraham in Constantinople.
Mädi was not from Constantinople, as the following portrait was inscribed in the back with the following: "Souvenir from my stay in Constantinople - 1917."
Mädi in Constantinople, 1917.
Note: this photo was taken in the same studio as the "Oriental" portraits of the Datnowsky siblings in 1910.
|Chief Rabbinate Marriages 1887-1999 - Istambul|
|Groom surname||Groom given name||Given name of groom's father||Bride given name||Given name of bride's father||Bride surname||Date||Reference number|
Based on Mädi's father's name as it appears in her marriage record - Izidor Verthaimer - I assume she originally came from Germany, or from a neighborhing area (Czechoslovakia, Austria, etc.) (Izidor being the secular, Germanized alternative to "Israel".) So, just like his brothers Moritz and Haim, Mony married a German-speaking woman - probably "the thing to do" at the time for men in their social standing.
In 1923, Mony and Mädi adopted a daughter, Reni, born the same year. (Alternate name on hand-written tree: Ira.)
1924 - Dusseldorf
Reni surrounded by her cousins Gisi and Uriel Abraham in Dusseldorf, 1924, most likely while visiting on vacation.
I assume this photo was taken while Mony and his family were on vacation visiting his brother Moritz in Dusseldorf, suggesting that the brothers were close.
By December 1931, Mony had relocated with his wife and daughter Reni to Buenos Aires, Argentina. His address was: 1381 Alsina. This move may have coincided with the collapse of the Abraham Freres business, since the time period is similar to Moritz's family move to France. (Note that the date of the move to Argentina is unknown and could have happened anytime between the 20's and 1931.)
Mony, with his daughter Reni and (first? second?) wife. Buenos Aires, 1931.
According to a hand-written family tree, Mony wed in a second marriage Regina Witner. This *could* be the woman in the photo above, although she does ressemble Mädi.
In 1938, Mony died in Nice, France, at the age of 49. I *believe* the cause of death was uremia .
Why was he in Nice then? According to Sarah Cohen Eldar, he was "visiting his parents' friends."
*Note: There is a possibility that he could have been visiting relatives of his parents instead. See the Covo genealogical tree which shows one Joseph Coenca, born in Istambul 1870, who married a Rica Covo and was the father of one Flore Coenca and died in Nice 1942. Although completely hypothetical, this would possibly be a more credible scenario.
Mony's wife, Elfriede(*), died in Buenos Aires in 1953, leaving no children - at least according to handwritten notes from Ronya. However, Mony had adopted Reni, it may be assumed that she had died earlier, unless Ronya was mistaken.
* Some confusion here: according to my old handwritten notes - Mony was supposed to be remarried to Regina Witner?
After his death, disputes arose around his inheritance - I believe concerning land in Argentina. According to my father Uriel, it was "all for nothing - in the end they realized the land wasn't worth anything." (Note: This is the story I remember having been told once, however it seems the big inheritance fight was with Isak's inheritance, so again I might be mixing up stories - unless there were two such stories, which is not impossible.)
- Special thanks:
- Mehmet Sadettin Fidan for graciously sharing documents and information related to Mony Abraham's professional activity.