In 1952, the brothers sent raisins to Hamburg, and again the customer didn’t pay! Nathan was supposed to go to Germany and settle the problem, but his wife Victoria and her family vetoed his trip. The name of their cousin Aziz came up, but my father was strictly against sending him to Hamburg as their representative. Aziz was known as a person who likes pleasure more than business, and they needed someone more serious. It was then that my father decided to go, even though it meant leaving his wife and four children for a while. Luckily, my grandmother was there to help my mother, and we didn’t feel deprived.
My father didn’t realize it at the time, but this move changed the whole family’s destiny. In 1953, when I was 5 years old and my youngest sister Jany was 6 months old, the whole family moved to Germany. We didn’t plan to stay there for long, maybe one or two years, but business went so well, we ended up staying there for almost three decades.
Who knows, what would have happened if they had sent Aziz instead of my father?
Sasson: I admire Margrit. Margrit was a lioness who had little formal education, but allowed her husband, Agha Youssef Khakshouri, to dedicate his time with full power and ability, to business and trade. After her husband traveled to Germany, this lioness, together with her mother, Saltanat Khanom, took the best care of her son Parviz and her daughters Gollar, Louise and Jany.
When she came to Hamburg with her children, she did not know a word in a foreign language, yet turned very quickly into a lady of European mentality, and one of the most stylish women in Hamburg.
It was Margrit Khanom who, in a German environment, which was the worst and least suitable place for Jews, married off all her four children — her son Parviz and her three daughters — Gollar, Louise and Jany, and to the last moment of her life, took part in the joys and sorrows of her children and grandchildren. It is she who has helped her mother, Saltanat Khanom and supported her to her last days, and when Agha Youssef reached old age and could not move, it was Margrit who walked with him and remained loyal to her last breath.
I was ﬁve years old when we moved to Hamburg. The people around us had not yet forgotten the atrocities of the war, and were still in pain and agony — some also physically. Even housing was hardly available in bombed Hamburg, so when we arrived, we lived together with the Nassimi family, who gave us two rooms of their apartment. The apartment building was surrounded by ruins from the Second World War.
After a few years of living with the Nassimis, we got our own, newly-built 3.5 room apartment. The half room was my brother’s, one room was for my parents, and one room for the three girls and our grandmother. The maid slept in the kitchen. We couldn’t get a bigger apartment because none were available in Hamburg.
From this apartment, I used to look out the window at three newly-ﬁnished buildings, painted in bonbon colours, and was wondering why they had built such ugly buildings there. I went around and asked people what was there before and why they had built such ugly buildings. They said that before the war there was an ancient Jewish cemetery there. Imagine a 7–8 year old Jewish girl hearing such a thing! Whenever I passed by there, I started crying.
In 1958, we moved to Schwanenwik — the Swan Way. It was a 7 room apartment in a luxurious building in a good neighborhood. The living room was 50 square meters. In 1958, it was one of the most magniﬁcent apartments in Hamburg.