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Chemla Family

(370 words)

Author(s): Uri M. Kupferschmidt
The Chemla family can be traced back to Monastir in nineteenth-century Tunisia. Clement Chemla (b. ca. 1875) and his older brothers David (b. ca. 1861) and Victor (b. ca.1864) were cloth peddlers. Toward the end of the century they opened a fashion store in Tunis. The Galleries Chemla soon grew into one of the first local department stores. In 1905, Clement left for Cairo. With the family’s Tunisian experience, he apparently foresaw wider business opportunities in Egypt. Clement was followed by his brothers, as well as by some other relatives and a few empl…

Suarès della Pegna Family

(544 words)

Author(s): Uri M. Kupferschmidt
The Suarès (Suarez) della Pegna family came from Livorno to Egypt at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The members of the Egyptian branch of the family retained their Italian citizenship in the years that followed but did not generally use the della Pegna extension, which designates Spanish origin. As one of the Jewish “grand families,” they have sometimes been called the Egyptian Rothschilds.      The founding father of the Egyptian branch of the family was Isaac Suarès, who began his career as a moneychanger (Ar. arrāf). With the transition to a modernizing economy, he…

Levi, Isaac G.

(480 words)

Author(s): Uri M. Kupferschmidt
Born on January 4, 1878, in the Italian-Jewish community of Istanbul and raised there,Isaac G. Levi obtained a doctorate in law from the University of Naples in 1900, as well as a diploma from the Istituto Orientale in Napoli. In the same year, he went toEgypt where he first practiced law independently, and soon became oriental secretary at the Italian Consulate. In 1905 he joined the Egyptian government’s Department of Statistics, making important contributions to its development and ultimately becoming its director-general. Under his guidance the Annuaire Statistique began to a…

Harari, Sir Victor Pasha and Ralph

(378 words)

Author(s): Uri M. Kupferschmidt
Sir Victor Harari Pasha (1858–1945), the son of immigrants from Lebanon, was born in Cairo. After receiving a modern elementary education, he pursued studies for eight years in France and England. In 1876 he entered the Egyptian Ministry of Finance. He advanced rapidly to the high post of inspector of the budgets division of the accounting department and then of the Treasury itself. He was also involved in a reform of the public waqf supervision system. After his retirement from the Ministry of Finance, he served on the boards of the Light Railways and, later, the State Railway…

Cicurel Family

(476 words)

Author(s): Uri M. Kupferschmidt
Moreno Cicurel (ca. 1820–1919), an Italian subject, migrated from Izmir to Cairo around 1860 and initially worked in a textile store. In the years that followed, he and his sons attained great economic influence and respect. In 1882 Cicurel bought a textile and clothing store called Au Petit Bazar in the Muski commercial quarter. It became the springboard for a large department store (1910) on the modern Avenue Boulaq (which later became 26th of July Street). His three sons, Salomon, Joseph, and Salvator, turned it into the largest and most luxurious department store in C…