Albert Mashaal

Cleaned by: Julia Pappo
Transcribed by: Rev

Interview date: June 18th, 2018

Interviewer: Henry Green

Location: Montreal

Total time: 1:32:37

Albert Mashaal: Born in February 1934 in Baghdad,  Iraq. Arrived in Tehran in 1941. Arrived in Paris in 1948. Arrived in New York in 1949. Arrived in Montreal in 1951. Arrived in London in 1953. Arrived in Montreal in 1957. 

Henry Green (00:00:00)

But you went to Paris.

Albert Mashaal (00:00:01):

[inaudible 00:00:01]

Henry Green (00:00:02):


Albert Mashaal (00:00:02):


Henry Green (00:00:03):

So, um, whenever you're ready.

Henry Green (00:00:05):


Henry Green (00:00:05):

Yes, okay. Um, this is an interview for Sephardi Voices. My name is Henry Green. I am the interviewer. I'm with, uh, Albert ...

Albert Mashaal (00:00:15):


Henry Green (00:00:15):

Mashaal, who is the, uh, interviewee. It is June the 18th, 2018. I am in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and the, uh, camera man in Hugo [Du Feu Preup 00:00:27].

Henry Green (00:00:31):


Henry Green (00:00:32):

Rolling. What is your full name?

Albert Mashaal (00:00:34):

My full name is Albert Mashaal.

Henry Green (00:00:38):

And was this your name at birth?

Albert Mashaal (00:00:40):

At birth. Albert [Mashan 00:00:43] in Arabic.

Henry Green (00:00:45):

And where and when were you born?

Albert Mashaal (00:00:48):

I was born 20th of February 1934. But my, a ... uh, the, the date is not, it varies. It just, my father, he picked up a date. But I actually, I, I ca- carry this date. 1934.

Henry Green (00:01:08):

What country and city?

Albert Mashaal (00:01:10):

In Baghdad, Iraq.

Henry Green (00:01:13):

Okay, so let me first begin by thanking you. I, we ... Sephardi Voices very much appreciates that you've taken the time-

Albert Mashaal (00:01:20):


Henry Green (00:01:20):

To be interviewed. The, uh ...

Henry Green (00:01:23):

Oh, Henry, I just got to s- modify one thing. If you let me. Okay, rolling.

Henry Green (00:01:29):

He doesn't care about me. Okay, um. The first question I always ask is, tell me something about your grandparents, your parents. Something about your background.

Albert Mashaal (00:01:42):

My background ... We were, we were from Iraqi Jews that we originally, as far as I know the history, that we came 2750 years ago with a general who conquered part of Palestine, and his name is Abu [Hadmassah 00:02:05]. This is a general, they can see it. And he stayed as, the story goes, this is what I, I made a search and all this. And the story goes like this.

Albert Mashaal (00:02:19):

He stayed there, they say, 40 years. But actually, the 40 years is 10 years. That ... And then, one day, he decided to go back to, to Baghdad, which is, before it was Mesopotamia. Babylon. So to go back to his, uh, place. So, what he saw. He saw the Jews of Palestine. They were very smart. They were in trades with India, in the silk, uh, the, um, all kind of spices and all these things. He find them, they're very smart. And the story goes like this. He decided to make a, a farewell party that he wants to go back to Babylon.

Albert Mashaal (00:03:09):

So he, he invited 40 different families. Well to-do families. The rich, the top families in Palestine. So to, to make, to give them a farewell party. What he did is, he gathered them and took them all to Babylon. And these 40 family went from Babylon ... uh, from Palestine to Babylon. Mesopotamia, Baghdad. And out of the 40 family, we grew into 140,000 people. Jewish people.

Albert Mashaal (00:03:52):

Now, all the Jewish people, there were, when there were ... that was, we're talking about 2750 years ago. And because they did not wanted to assimilate with the Muslim, it was like a s- it was forbidden. So they intermarriage. And we end up, the, the 140,000, up to, to 1930, before people start going a- away, there were intermarriage. And there were family which is well-known to do, well, very well-known, like the Kaduri, the Sassoon, and our family, the Mashaal, because we were a big family.

Albert Mashaal (00:04:44):

The rich, rich, uh, top people. And, uh, from that time in the 30, we started, they started, and actually, beginning of 1900 century. They started to migrate. The Kaduri, they went to Hong Kong, to China. And, uh, the Sassoon, they went to India. So, Isaac Sassoon. And then, uh, some of them, uh, so ... and the Sassoon, they became very, very, extremely rich. And, as a matter of fact, Queen Victoria gave, uh, gave them the title Sir Sassoon in the, when she was ...

Albert Mashaal (00:05:29):

So, and we started ... And then, the Jews, because anti-Semitic started in the 30s. Before that, there wasn't no, it was the Jews and the Iraqis. They were together like brothers, and they were accepted as brothers, like. Until, until the English came in. And for the, uh, the British people, the British government to gain control of Iraq, so they had to, to play around, they introduced anti-Semitic, you know. To become nice with the, the Muslim and against the Jews.

Albert Mashaal (00:06:18):

The Jews, because they were the minority, they were always pushed around. And ever since that time, then in the 30s, the late 30s, the 40, Hitler wanted to come in because he knew there was oil there, and he went to dig over the oil, but he couldn't. And that's why, when the Farhud started, which is in 1941. It started in May 25th until June the 3rd. And this was, uh, it, uh, Rashid Ali. He overturned the government and he was with the, with the German, with the German. And he wanted to, uh, to be ...

Albert Mashaal (00:07:10):

The, the British, they stayed outside Iraq, Basra, and they came in and they surround- and they captured him, and they, uh, the German couldn't do anything. They didn't have enough force, army there. Then what, what happened is, after the Farhud, I remember it very clearly. I was about seven years old, six years old. We took a car from Baghdad. We went to [Chanachim 00:07:41], which is a border. There we knew ... we had a partner. He was in the car business. We had a car, uh, agency. We had the Buick and the Oldsmobile, I think.

Albert Mashaal (00:07:54):

And then, from there, we cross the border to, to [Kamarshal 00:08:00]. There in Kamarhsal we stayed for about three, four, five months, six months, and then we went to Tehran. And we lived in Tehran, and in 1948 ... It was a good life, between that time. Until Israel became a state. When Israel became a state in May 1948, there was this ... We were in an Iraqi school. Jewish Hebrew school. The name was Mir Abdullah School. It's an Iraqi Hebrew.

Albert Mashaal (00:08:43):

So didn't know whether it was going to open or not. My, my father already, he, he heard that they, he's going to be arrested by the, uh, by the Persian government and so on because the prime minister ask the shah or Iran, of all the Jews, all the rich Jews in Tehran to be arrested because they're deserter. To get them and bring them back to Baghdad. So when my father knew about this, that something's going to happen, he took off and went to Paris. And he stayed there in Paris to wait for my mother to come.

Albert Mashaal (00:09:32):

Then my mother called him, she said, "there is the two b- boys, Albert and Freddie." Freddie is older than me, a year and a half. She said, "what shall we do with them?" He said, "why don't you bring them to Paris? We take, we take them to London, we put them in a boarding school there, and then they continue to go to New York. They went to New York."

Albert Mashaal (00:09:58):

What happened when we were in Paris? That was in 1948. In August 1948, three years after the war. World War Two. There was a principal. He was a, an Algerian, French Algerian. His name was Monsieur [Sagbar 00:10:19]. He was the principal of the Alliance for many years. And any Iraqis, if you ask, if he's between 70 and 80, 85, you tell him, "were you, do you know Mr. Sagbar, the pri-" he says, "yes, of course." Because they all went to school there. To the Alliance. The Alliance is a Jewish organization.

Henry Green (00:10:42):

Alliance in which country?

Albert Mashaal (00:10:44):

In Baghdad.

Henry Green (00:10:45):

In Baghdad.

Albert Mashaal (00:10:45):


Henry Green (00:10:46):

The Alliance in Baghdad, okay.

Albert Mashaal (00:10:46):

This is ... Alliance is originally from, uh, from France.

Henry Green (00:10:52):

Yes, and ...

Albert Mashaal (00:10:52):

It is by Rothschild. They, they organize this, the Alliance. Okay. So, he convince my father, he say, "why don't you let them stay in Paris and at least they'll learn a couple, for a year or two, they, to speak French. And, uh, and then afterward, you go to New York, to, to, United States." So he convinced, he said, "how," he said, "don't worry. I'll, I'll, I can register them in the, the school." It was a public school. It could register anything. He went, he got the registration. He register us in the high school. In, in, uh, junior school.

Albert Mashaal (00:11:40):

And, uh, of course my father, he was very happy. I remember that time, he paid him. He gave him $500, which was worth a lot of money, that time. So, we got registered in Lycée Janson de Sailly. It's one of the most popular schools in Paris, if you ask anybody in this, he's seven ... between 70 and 85 years. You tell him, "you know the school?" He says, "yes. It's in, uh, Rue de la Pompe Victor Hugo. Avenue Victor Hugo."

Henry Green (00:12:16):

And which arrondissement is that?

Albert Mashaal (00:12:21):

Uh, this, uh, 16ième arrondissement.

Henry Green (00:12:21):

16ième, okay.

Albert Mashaal (00:12:23):

Près de Fort [Calderon 00:12:23].

Henry Green (00:12:23):


Albert Mashaal (00:12:24):

And another problem is, I forgot that. (Laughs) Okay, now, so we got registered there, and we were staying ... My father and my mother were staying in a hotel next to the Grand Hotel. And we stayed in a very cheap hotel, me and my brother. My brother. Okay. And then, all of a sudden, my ... they left. They went to New York. I was 13, my brother was 14. For, uh, uh, 14, 15. And my fa- I remember my father told me, he said, "listen, take this name down and the address. You go there every 10 days. You get money, he'll pay, give you money and so on."

Albert Mashaal (00:13:15):

So we were in the hotel and going to school for a whole year. From September all the way to the following year. I used to go, seven o'clock we used to get out from the hotel. We walked to Place de la Madeleine. From Place de la Madeleine we take a bus to Place de la Concorde. Place de la Concorde, we go to L'Étoile. From the Étoile, around there, we, we, we jump from one bus to another while the, they were going and go, continue. We take, uh, Avenue Victor Hugo all the way down, and then, uh, we get off at Victor Hugo, and then we walk for 10 minutes, Rue de la Pompe. That's Lycée Janson de Sailly.

Albert Mashaal (00:14:11):

As a matter of fact, three, five years ago, I went to see my school. Very big school. Very well-known school. It was opened by, in 1870 or something like that by Victor Hugo.

Henry Green (00:14:24):


Albert Mashaal (00:14:25):

Yes. Very well-known. So we spent two years in ... doing that. The following year, we decided we, we no longer wanted to take, to stay at the hotel. We rented an apartment. I don't know how, but we rented an apartment. I was 14, my brother was 15. We cooked in the apartment and we go to school there, and we were happy and h- enjoying ourselves. And then, afterward, we decided to leave. It was December 1949, to New York. Me and my brother, we went to New York.

Albert Mashaal (00:15:10):

We already have a house in New Rochelle. That's, uh, about 15 miles from New York City. We stayed there, and then we went to boarding school. After, uh, Christmas. After 19, 1950, beginning. We got enrolled into a, a boarding school in, in Massachusetts. I- Williston Academy. And as ... in East Hampton, Massachusetts. Because I, I tell you why I remember all these things. Because I've written down everything. A, a, what do you call it, a diary. And I wrote, since we left, I left Tehran, all the way to ... I have it all, therefore I remember everything. So, we did the school in the east, Williston Academy, until June. Then we moved back, went to, to New Rochelle. From there, we registered into a public school in New Rochelle which is Albert Leonard Junior High. We stayed one year, graduated in 1951, June, and then me and my brother, we, we went to Montreal by car. And then, in 19, uh, in 1951, the September, I enrolled in a high school, which is next to our house where we had our, we lived in Montreal. It's Strathcona Academy. And I finish, I graduated in 1953. Uh, July, June '53.

Albert Mashaal (00:17:03):

So, I decided, besides, my parents had nothing to do with us since we were 11 years old, we were on our own completely. We decide everything. It was ... I don't know, this is how it worked because we were seven of us. My father was too busy making money. B- business. And, uh, my mother didn't ... She just kept the house with a lot of people. Anyway, so, in '53, I wanted to be very serious because I was having a good time in Montreal. I decided to go to London to study.

Albert Mashaal (00:17:52):

I went, I asked my father, I say, "I'm going to London to study." He said, "what?" I said, "I'm, I'm tired of here. I don't want to go to McGill." So I took off, I went to London. And there I end up in a school, in a college. [Luthra 00:18:10] College. It's in the midlands. Yeah. Now it's a ... There was about ... It was a physical education college, and they had engineering and, uh, chemical engineer, aeronautical. And now, the ... I went to visit it, after 60 years. Uh, it has about 30,000 students. It's a huge university now. London, uh, Luthra University.

Albert Mashaal (00:18:38):

So I graduated in 1957, construction engineer, civil engineer. And then, I decided to come back here to Montreal to join my father. It was ... he already had a construction company building homes and commercial buildings. And then we kept going, all the family. So everybody wanted to be in the business. Nobody wanted to become a doctor. I wanted to become a doctor, but I said, "what the hell, why should I? I want to join the business. Otherwise I'll be an outsider." So everybody, all my brothers, they joined, we joined in. We all joined, the, in the business.

Albert Mashaal (00:19:25):

And the, and the business still going. But some of us, they decided to have their own business as well because of, you know, the family getting bigger and so on. And I stayed in the main business, which we have now. Me and Morris, and the rest, they have ... But they are silent investors. They're very nice kids, they don't bother us. Sometimes they do want to bother us, we just have a good time. We go to a bar and drink and find out. Anyway.

Henry Green (00:19:59):

So let me go back.

Albert Mashaal (00:20:00):

Go ahead.

Henry Green (00:20:00):

Let me go back and ask some questions.

Albert Mashaal (00:20:01):


Henry Green (00:20:01):

Because that's, that's a very good overview. So, what you began with, uh, is that your, the Mashaal family-

Albert Mashaal (00:20:09):


Henry Green (00:20:10):

Goes back a long, long time.

Albert Mashaal (00:20:11):

Long time ago.

Henry Green (00:20:12):

Long time ago. And, um, uh, and, um, so if ... who, your father's, your paternal grandparents.

Albert Mashaal (00:20:21):


Henry Green (00:20:22):

Your father's parents, what were their names?

Albert Mashaal (00:20:24):

Okay, let me tell you something. My mother, this is a story, how we, from my mother, we found it, we heard it.

Henry Green (00:20:32):


Albert Mashaal (00:20:32):

Listen. In, in the 1800s, between 1850 or something like that, there was a family from Austria, lived in Vienna. One of the boys heard that there are Jews in Baghdad. And he graduated school, eight ... at the age of 18 and he decided to move on, to go and see Baghdad by car and so on. He got to go all the way. So ...

Henry Green (00:21:06):

Not by car.

Albert Mashaal (00:21:07):

By car.

Henry Green (00:21:08):

1850, there's no cars.

Albert Mashaal (00:21:09):

Camel, camel.

Henry Green (00:21:11):

Camel. No, but, by horse or something.

Albert Mashaal (00:21:13):


Henry Green (00:21:13):


Albert Mashaal (00:21:14):

Anyway. No, it was around then.

Henry Green (00:21:17):

It- no, the only reason why I say that is that horse takes a lot longer.

Albert Mashaal (00:21:20):

Not ... I would say, I would say maybe 1875. I don't know.

Henry Green (00:21:24):

Okay, but sometime-

Albert Mashaal (00:21:25):

I don't know.

Henry Green (00:21:25):

late 19... late 18th century.

Albert Mashaal (00:21:27):

That's it. He went there to visit, to see, he heard there's a community of Iraq Jews. So the first time, the first ... when he got to Baghdad, where does he go first? The first thing is to a Shabbat. Friday night, go to the synagogue and there, all the Jews were there. And he comes in, a European, blond hair, blue eyes like me, which are, this ... I got my blue eyes from him. Okay. They look at him, you know. Everyone was ... wanted to, to grab him.

Albert Mashaal (00:22:09):

So there was this family, intelligent family, she saw him, she got very friendly, she had a daughter. "Hi there, dadada, what's your name, dada, come [inaudible 00:22:22], come and stay at our place." He came and stayed in their place. And it was 1850. The daughter was 16. After a couple of weeks, they got in love. They fell in love together. Slowly, slowly, they got there, and they got married.

Henry Green (00:22:39):

And what was his name?

Albert Mashaal (00:22:40):

His name was Hersch. The family. Hersch.

Henry Green (00:22:43):

The last was Hersch?

Albert Mashaal (00:22:44):

Hersch, yeah.

Henry Green (00:22:45):

And the first name?

Albert Mashaal (00:22:47):

Uh, this, now, this, you caught me. I don't know.

Henry Green (00:22:50):

And what was his, uh, wife's name?

Albert Mashaal (00:22:52):

His wife ... I have no idea. But that was, we're talking the 1800s.

Henry Green (00:22:56):


Albert Mashaal (00:22:57):

And from there, the Hersch family, they got ... they, they, they got into another name. They change, I don't know how, they became Daniel.

Henry Green (00:23:10):

Became Daniel, okay.

Albert Mashaal (00:23:12):

Okay. And my mother is a Daniel.

Henry Green (00:23:14):

And your mother is a Daniel.

Albert Mashaal (00:23:15):

Yes, yes.

Henry Green (00:23:17):

So your, your mother is a Daniel. So, did you ...

Albert Mashaal (00:23:20):

Yes, she's from ... originally, her grandfather is a, is a-

Henry Green (00:23:25):


Albert Mashaal (00:23:26):


Henry Green (00:23:27):

Her grandfather. But your grandfather-

Albert Mashaal (00:23:29):


Henry Green (00:23:30):

Was Iraq, was Iraqi, then, born in Iraq?

Albert Mashaal (00:23:32):

Yes, Iraq. Yeah.

Henry Green (00:23:33):

And what was his name? Your grandfather?

Albert Mashaal (00:23:36):

[Menajshi 00:23:36] ... no, Menajshi ... my father was Menajshi.

Henry Green (00:23:39):

[inaudible 00:23:39]

Albert Mashaal (00:23:39):

[Hascal 00:23:39]. Hascal.

Henry Green (00:23:39):

Hascal. And, and your grandmother's name was?

Albert Mashaal (00:23:45):

My grandmother's name? Huh?

Henry Green (00:23:51):

[Mayir 00:23:51]? Oh, Mayir ...

Albert Mashaal (00:23:54):

Uh, [Mahnini 00:23:54].

Henry Green (00:23:54):

Mahnini. Baha.

Albert Mashaal (00:23:54):

Hahnini. Hahnini. Mahnini, we call her.

Henry Green (00:23:58):

Did you ever meet them? Did you know them at all?

Albert Mashaal (00:24:00):

Yeah. My grandmother, she came here.

PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:24:04]

Henry Green (00:24:03):

You know them at all?

Albert Mashaal (00:24:03):

Yeah, my grandmother, she came here, she joined us. She went to Israel, and then she came here in 1952. She lived 'til 1979.

Henry Green (00:24:11):

'79. And your grandfather-

Albert Mashaal (00:24:14):

And she died, she was 98 years old. And would you believe it? She was in full faculty-

Henry Green (00:24:21):


Albert Mashaal (00:24:22):

... 'til the day she died.

Henry Green (00:24:23):

Amazing. And your grandfather?

Albert Mashaal (00:24:26):

My grandfather, he died very early.

Henry Green (00:24:29):

So you don't, you don't-

Albert Mashaal (00:24:30):

I don't know him. I don't know him. No.

Henry Green (00:24:31):

Okay, what about your father's, uh, grandparents?

Albert Mashaal (00:24:34):

My father-

Henry Green (00:24:35):


Albert Mashaal (00:24:36):

I don't know them, no.

Henry Green (00:24:37):

You don't know them? And your fa-

Albert Mashaal (00:24:37):

No, we've never met them, no.

Henry Green (00:24:39):

Your father's parents-

Albert Mashaal (00:24:40):

He died early, very early.

Henry Green (00:24:41):

Your father's parents?

Albert Mashaal (00:24:42):

My father's parents, they- they died early.

Henry Green (00:24:44):

They died early, too.

Albert Mashaal (00:24:45):

Yeah, before I was born.

Henry Green (00:24:47):

Okay. So- so your parents, okay, let's talk about your parents. How did your parent- do you know anything about how your parents met?

Albert Mashaal (00:24:54):

How did they... yes. You see, my father and my mother, they were first cousins.

Henry Green (00:25:04):

First cousins?

Albert Mashaal (00:25:04):

Yes. Yes. And, you know, it's very funny... when my mother married my father, and after a year, she became pregnant, her mother, my... her mother got pregnant, too, at the same time. Would you believe it? And then my mother had the baby first, and she had her baby after three months. So actually, the one who was born, her m- uh, that means the- the- the- the... her sister, my mother's sister, his- his name is [Azra Daniel 00:25:50]. He is 91 years old. And he was younger than my brother, but he was his uncle- (laughs)

Henry Green (00:25:59):

(laughs) Right.

Albert Mashaal (00:26:00):

... you understand? Azra is, uh, he's- he's still alive. He lives in Israel, in Ramat Gan, and he was a professor for 25 years in biophysics, and he taught in the [inaudible 00:26:18], uh, in- in university there.

Henry Green (00:26:21):

So you were b- you said you were born in 1934.

Albert Mashaal (00:26:23):

'34, yeah.

Henry Green (00:26:25):

Do you know, uh, and you grew up in Baghdad, for seven years-

Albert Mashaal (00:26:29):

Yeah, yeah, well... yeah, yeah, yeah.

Henry Green (00:26:30):

Well, you left and you went to... what year did you go to Tehran?

Albert Mashaal (00:26:34):

The- in '41.

Henry Green (00:26:35):

'41, okay.

Albert Mashaal (00:26:36):


Henry Green (00:26:36):

So you were seven years old.

Albert Mashaal (00:26:38):


Henry Green (00:26:39):

And you went before or after the Farhud?

Albert Mashaal (00:26:43):

We were in the Farhud there.

Henry Green (00:26:45):

In Iran?

Albert Mashaal (00:26:46):

Yeah, exactly the day after the Farhud finished. You know, the Farhud started on the 25th of May, 1941, and ended up June the 3rd, 1941.

Henry Green (00:27:00):

And you left-

Albert Mashaal (00:27:01):

We left the fourth, uh, uh, day after, after the Farhud.

Henry Green (00:27:05):

After the Farhud?

Albert Mashaal (00:27:06):

Yeah. My father, he arranges with the car. We took all the seven boys. No... no, no. What I am talking about? Not the... uh... um, uh, Victor, he was with us. Sue wasn't born and Amy wasn't born, so we were five of us... six of us. And we went across the border.

Henry Green (00:27:30):

Okay. So you were seven years old?

Albert Mashaal (00:27:32):


Henry Green (00:27:33):

And what... do you know what area, what section, [inaudible 00:27:36], you lived in- in, uh, Baghdad?

Albert Mashaal (00:27:39):


Henry Green (00:27:40):


Albert Mashaal (00:27:40):

They call it, uh, um, uh, uh-

Henry Green (00:27:46):

Bat- Battawin? In-

Albert Mashaal (00:27:47):

No, no, no, no, no. Um, Simche, Simche-

Henry Green (00:27:48):

Oh, you lived-

Albert Mashaal (00:27:48):

... the fish--

Henry Green (00:27:48):

You lived in Simche?

Albert Mashaal (00:27:49):

... the Simche, or they call it Betawi-

Henry Green (00:27:56):

Yeah, yeah.

Albert Mashaal (00:27:57):

... [Bravalich 00:27:57].

Henry Green (00:27:57):


Albert Mashaal (00:27:57):

You know it.

Henry Green (00:27:57):


Albert Mashaal (00:27:58):

You know more Iraqi than I do.

Henry Green (00:27:59):


Albert Mashaal (00:28:00):

Yes, yes.

Henry Green (00:28:01):

No, I just, I hear too many interviews.

Albert Mashaal (00:28:02):

Yeah. They call it... or, uh, they call it, uh, [Bastalokha 00:28:08], they call it.

Henry Green (00:28:08):

So when the-

Albert Mashaal (00:28:09):


Henry Green (00:28:09):

... Farhud happened-

Albert Mashaal (00:28:10):


Henry Green (00:28:13):

... did you, uh, did your family know, did you know that it was happening? You were a young boy. Did you-

Albert Mashaal (00:28:17):

Yes, yes. We were, we were scared, we're all in there, we're in the basement and we're very scared, and there were some guards that were near us because we were rich people in Tehran. We had they send us guards so nobody could come in the house.

Henry Green (00:28:36):

And the guards were Muslim?

Albert Mashaal (00:28:37):

Yes, yes, of course.

Henry Green (00:28:38):

And you had... do you remember the house you lived in? Was it on the, uh, river? Or-

Albert Mashaal (00:28:43):

No, no, it was in front of a- a- a square garden, uh, park.

Henry Green (00:28:49):

In front of a park?

Albert Mashaal (00:28:50):


Henry Green (00:28:50):

And did other members-

Albert Mashaal (00:28:51):

And I remember the- the, what do you call it, the gardener there, who looks after the park. You know? And really, what- what struck me is he used to have a- a stick with asphalt on top. They call it [Taphuz 00:29:08], Taphuz. Huh? So you know it becomes strong and he can hit people.

Henry Green (00:29:13):

(laughs) Did he hit you?

Albert Mashaal (00:29:15):

No. No, no, no. And, you know, just to scare the people. But he was the gardener for the, for the whole square. It was there for us. Yes. Yes.

Henry Green (00:29:26):

So d- um, did- did, um, um, when- when... your father was in what kind of business?

Albert Mashaal (00:29:36):

He was... now, we had dealership. Now, dealership in I- in- in Iran, in- in Baghdad and so on, is when you have a dealership, it's o- you're only one. You don't have 10 different... Ford agency, something here, here. No. We were in the International Harvest Combined Missionary for Farming, and we were... we had... in Baghdad, we had, uh, the Buick and the Oldsmobile, I think, or Chevrolet cars. We were, we were agent for that.

Albert Mashaal (00:30:15):

And, uh, in Tehran, we had the agency for Firestone Tire for all the Middle East, Combined Harvester, International Harvester. And there... a real truck. There was heavy, heavy construction trucks.

Henry Green (00:30:33):

These are all American companies.

Albert Mashaal (00:30:35):

Yes, exactly.

Henry Green (00:30:37):

Um, the... do you have, uh... did you go to school when you were in Baghdad? Do you remember going to school?

Albert Mashaal (00:30:46):

Very faintly, no. We didn't school-

Henry Green (00:30:48):

You didn't go to the [crosstalk 00:30:48], or-

Albert Mashaal (00:30:49):

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. We... my mother used to, she has a teacher and they used to come and, uh, teach us. A- a-

Henry Green (00:30:56):

What kind of language did you speak at home?

Albert Mashaal (00:30:58):


Henry Green (00:30:59):


Albert Mashaal (00:31:00):

And we continued speaking Arabic 'til we came to Canada. And the reason why, because my father didn't speak English, and my mother, she spoke French a little bit because of [inaudible 00:31:16]. But we spoke Arabic so that everybody... between us, we spoke Arabic, and when we came to Montreal, we- we continue Arabic, and we speak very fluent Arabic 'til now. Now we're the only... the last generation, like, me, my brother, Victor and so on, we are the last generation who speak Arabic. After our generation, [Arabic 00:31:42].

Henry Green (00:31:41):

Hmm, hmm.

Albert Mashaal (00:31:44):

So... yeah, that's true. Nobody will speak Arabic. Like Ravi, he will understand Arabic, but he cannot speak Arabic. You see?

Henry Green (00:31:52):

So- so do, um, your help in the house, was it, uh, Kurdish, Muslim-

Albert Mashaal (00:31:59):

Where? In Baghdad?

Henry Green (00:32:01):

In Baghdad.

Albert Mashaal (00:32:01):

In Baghdad, they were, uh, they were, um, from, uh, not Kurd- Mus- from Mosul.

Henry Green (00:32:09):

From Mosul?

Albert Mashaal (00:32:10):

They were T- Turkish and so on. Yes. We had a nanny. But in- in- in- in, uh, in Tehran, we had three nannies to look after the kids, and one chief... uh, uh, chef, a- a woman, uh, they call it [Arabic 00:32:30], she's a... she makes the food, and then two to clean up the house. We had a driver. It was a- amazing living. Driver and a gardener.

Henry Green (00:32:42):

All Muslim?

Albert Mashaal (00:32:44):

Yes, they are Muslim, yeah.

Henry Green (00:32:46):

So- so- so your... you- you didn't have, like, a Jewish nanny or something?

Albert Mashaal (00:32:51):

No, no. No, no, no. But that time, that time, there was no anti-Semitic nothing.

Henry Green (00:32:58):

In Ir-

Albert Mashaal (00:32:58):

In Iran.

Henry Green (00:32:59):

In Iran.

Albert Mashaal (00:32:59):

In Tehran. And then-

Henry Green (00:33:00):

But not Iraq.

Albert Mashaal (00:33:00):

In Iraq-

Henry Green (00:33:01):

In Iran?

Albert Mashaal (00:33:01):

... there was, but in Tehran, there wasn't.

Henry Green (00:33:04):


Albert Mashaal (00:33:05):

No, no.

Henry Green (00:33:06):

Let me just finish with Iraq then. Do you remember ever going to synagogue when you were in, uh, Iraq?

Albert Mashaal (00:33:12):

No, I don't remember that.

Henry Green (00:33:14):

Did your mother keep Kosher?

Albert Mashaal (00:33:16):

Yes, my mother was very Kosher, and she kept all the tradition. You know, Yom Kippur, she used to fast. Uh, we used to do all the ki- the Passover and everything. And I still... would you believe it? I still remember, and I can, uh, sing the Haggadah.

Henry Green (00:33:34):


Albert Mashaal (00:33:35):


Henry Green (00:33:35):

In the Iraqi, uh-

Albert Mashaal (00:33:38):

You know, I can, I can... we can [inaudible 00:33:41], because we were small and we used to sing it, you know, the Haggadah, the Passover.

Henry Green (00:33:44):

Sure, sure, of course. Um, so you remember, uh, when you were seven, the day after the Farhud, why did your father leave the day after the Farhud? Why do you think your father left Iraq?

Albert Mashaal (00:33:55):

Well, because it was dangerous. We were gonna get killed or anything like that.

Henry Green (00:33:59):


Albert Mashaal (00:33:59):

So we just have to leave.

Henry Green (00:34:01):

So he- he didn't say... he- he just, "Everyone, get in the car and let's go." Is that, uh-

Albert Mashaal (00:34:06):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's it. A- actually, they did tell us. They said, "We're gonna go for picnic-"

Henry Green (00:34:09):


Albert Mashaal (00:34:10):

... because they didn't want, they- they- they didn't want the gardener know, the... nobody know. They say, "We're gonna go to Qalāqī," which is on the border-

Henry Green (00:34:23):

Yeah, yeah.

Albert Mashaal (00:34:25):

..., "We're going there for a picnic." And we stayed in Qalāqī, and I remember, one night, and the next day, we arrange the border, uh, the police, the border police, they got all paid and everything and we go into, uh, uh, we went to- to Khorramshahr.

Henry Green (00:34:44):

Did he have any passports?

Albert Mashaal (00:34:46):

No, there was no passport, nothing.

Henry Green (00:34:47):

No passports, okay.

Albert Mashaal (00:34:48):

We just went through.

Henry Green (00:34:48):

It's all just-

Albert Mashaal (00:34:48):

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Henry Green (00:34:50):

Just pay and go.

Albert Mashaal (00:34:50):

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Henry Green (00:34:51):


Albert Mashaal (00:34:51):

Yeah, yeah.

Henry Green (00:34:51):

So you go to, uh, Tehran... to Ir-

Albert Mashaal (00:34:54):

No, we went to [Qabarshah 00:34:55]-

Henry Green (00:34:55):

Qabarshah, for-

Albert Mashaal (00:34:57):

We stay for about six months-

Henry Green (00:34:58):

Six months, and then to-

Albert Mashaal (00:35:00):

... and then after we moved to Tehran.

Henry Green (00:35:02):

And how did he continue his business then?

Albert Mashaal (00:35:04):

Oh, in business there, we- we opened the same thing. International Harvester, we opened it in- in- in Tehran. And we opened... we had the Dunlop Tire for bicycles, and then we had the Rolls Royce irrigation pumps. They were amazing. And then we had, uh, Firestone Tire for cars.

Henry Green (00:35:31):

So you're in Tehran, and in Tehran, you live with, uh, um, I- Iranians, or Iraqis, or-

Albert Mashaal (00:35:38):

No, no. In Tehran, we bought a beautiful house in the city, and with a garden all around it and there's high walls. It was surrounded. This was, like, a... in a compound. And we lived there.

Henry Green (00:35:52):

And your family, you... just your family? Or also more relatives?

Albert Mashaal (00:35:56):

No, no, no, no, no, no.

Henry Green (00:35:57):


Albert Mashaal (00:35:57):

And the others, they moved in, too.

Henry Green (00:35:57):

Yeah, they moved into-

Albert Mashaal (00:35:59):

They came a- afterwards.

Henry Green (00:36:02):

And what school did you go to in Tehran?

Albert Mashaal (00:36:04):

In Tehran? Meir Abdullah, they call it. It's an Iraqi school.

Henry Green (00:36:08):

You went to-

Albert Mashaal (00:36:08):

Which it's in Iraq, he opened it, and they were teaching English and Arabic, and, uh, Persian, too.

Henry Green (00:36:18):

And Farsi.

Albert Mashaal (00:36:19):

Yeah, Farsi.

Henry Green (00:36:19):

So did you learn Farsi?

Albert Mashaal (00:36:22):

Not too much. But I speak f- uh, I speak Persian, but I forgot about... but I can, I can, I can understand very well.

Henry Green (00:36:30):

And how did you learn it? Did you learn it at school or by speaking to the... Did the help-

Albert Mashaal (00:36:32):

Well, to the, to the, with the-

Henry Green (00:36:33):

The workers.

Albert Mashaal (00:36:34):

... with a farm- uh, with the, with the chauffer, with the... you know, with the maids and so on.

Henry Green (00:36:39):

They spoke Farsi.

Albert Mashaal (00:36:40):

Yes, yes. They spoke Far-

Henry Green (00:36:41):

Did they speak Arabic also? Or just-

Albert Mashaal (00:36:43):

No. No, no.

Henry Green (00:36:44):

Just Farsi.

Albert Mashaal (00:36:44):

They didn't speak Arabic.

Henry Green (00:36:45):

And your parents would speak Arabic in-

Albert Mashaal (00:36:47):

Arabic. Was-

Henry Green (00:36:47):

... to you?

Albert Mashaal (00:36:48):

At home, we speak Arabic.

Henry Green (00:36:50):

So you would go to school, and-

Albert Mashaal (00:36:51):

We could do that.

Henry Green (00:36:51):

... how many years did you go to school? How many years did you-

Albert Mashaal (00:36:54):


Henry Green (00:36:55):

At the, uh, Iraqi school?

Albert Mashaal (00:36:56):

In- in Tehra- Iraq? A few years.

Henry Green (00:36:58):

A few years?

Albert Mashaal (00:36:59):

Yeah. 'til 19... and I left, we left in 1948.

Henry Green (00:37:03):

'48. So what month did you leave in '48?

Albert Mashaal (00:37:07):

It was in July, '48.

Henry Green (00:37:09):

Okay. So you're there in May, 1948-

Albert Mashaal (00:37:13):


Henry Green (00:37:14):

... when Israel was created as a state.

Albert Mashaal (00:37:15):


Henry Green (00:37:15):

Remind... tell me what you remember about that. You were now 14 years old, you, uh... do you remember anything about it?

Albert Mashaal (00:37:21):

Well, uh, you know, it was like a... um, in- in Baghdad, it was very bad, because when Israel became a state, they were fighting and everything, you know, to get more position of Israel, how big, you know, to move in, 'til the United Nation came in, too, uh, to draw the line in, uh, the front. But, uh, it- it was... in Tehran, wasn't so bad.

Henry Green (00:37:53):

Well, do you remember the announcement? Did you listen to the radio? Do you remember-

Albert Mashaal (00:37:57):

No, they used to be... the radio, yeah. We used to listen to the radio, a short-wave. We had these short-wave, and from Voice of America and all these things, you know. And, uh-

Henry Green (00:38:10):

So do you remember when Israel was created in May? Was... do you...

Albert Mashaal (00:38:14):

Yes, I remember, yes. Yes. The United Nation, when they were taking a- a vote and everything, and all this. It was... everybody was listening.

Henry Green (00:38:25):

And tell me about the Iraqi community that you were part of in Tehran.

Albert Mashaal (00:38:29):

Where, in Tehran? Now, when we went there... because before we were there, uh, we were... we used to live in Khorramshahr in the 1930, early '30s, in the '20s, and so on. And when we went to Tehran, my- my... our... uh, what do you call it? My aunties and... they all came. They- they followed us. You see-

Henry Green (00:38:58):

They all left Baghdad and came to Tehran.

Albert Mashaal (00:38:58):

Yeah, yeah. My father had three sisters, and they all... they were married, so they all came with us.

Henry Green (00:39:06):

And did they live with you?

Albert Mashaal (00:39:09):

Uh, in- in- in, uh, in Khorramshahr, they lived with us. We had a big, very big house. One sister there, one sister, one... they were married and everything, (laughs) you know. We all lived together.

Henry Green (00:39:20):

So it was, like, a house with a courtyard in the middle, and-

Albert Mashaal (00:39:22):

Yeah, and everything, yeah.

Henry Green (00:39:24):

But in Tehran, it wasn't like that.

Albert Mashaal (00:39:25):

No, in Tehran, no. No, each of them, they got... they stay... they got a- a house by themself.

Henry Green (00:39:32):

So did the Iraqi community, uh, mix with the, uh, Iranian community? Or was it separate? Or-

Albert Mashaal (00:39:37):

No, slowly they does, uh, start mixing it. But we start- they start coming, a lot of Iraqis. They went to- to Tehran, uh, because business was very flourishing in- in Iran. You can make a lot of money in Tehran. But in Baghdad, there was, there was no money. And you can-

Henry Green (00:40:02):

So the Iraqi community grew in that-

Albert Mashaal (00:40:03):

It grew, yeah, yeah. So they start going to Tehran because there was a lot of money. And I'll give you an example why, what- what... I mean, when I say there's a lot of money to be made there.

Albert Mashaal (00:40:16):

You know, the, uh, uh, the toman, or the rials, was very stable. 3.2 to ones to a dollar, and it's always... yeah, for years, for years. But interest rate in Baghdad, used to get 3% per year. In Iran, used to get 2% per month.

Henry Green (00:40:40):


Albert Mashaal (00:40:41):

It's amazing. And every three years, you double your money. Something incredible. And you didn't get lo- and you give it to good people. And it was... there was so much money there. In Baghdad, there was no money at all.

Henry Green (00:40:57):

So, but the... okay, so you're making money, your father's doing well in business-

Albert Mashaal (00:41:02):


Henry Green (00:41:02):

... the- the, um, uh, and I- I'm trying to get the sense of... you're going to an Iraqi school, you're speaking Arabic-

Albert Mashaal (00:41:09):


Henry Green (00:41:09):

... but there's lots of Iranian Jews. You're not really connecting to them? Are you, are you, are... do they go to... it's an Iraqi school, so-

Albert Mashaal (00:41:17):

No, no. No, because after the- the others that came in, they didn't go to the Iraqi Jews. There was the community school. The American community school. And they were... they accepted one or two boys of a family to be a... to go to the communities school, where they speak Eng- uh, English.

Albert Mashaal (00:41:42):

So I couldn't go to the community school because we were seven of us. My two brothers, like, uh, uh, Salim and Morris, they went to the community school-

Henry Green (00:41:53):

They went to the community school.

Albert Mashaal (00:41:53):

... but, uh, that's all. If, uh, you're seven of you, no. Only two. Because otherwise, you have everything, the community school-

Henry Green (00:42:01):

And in the community school, who would be students going there?

Albert Mashaal (00:42:04):

Uh, student, uh, Jewish school? Americans, because they were, you know, Americans, they had English and so on.

Henry Green (00:42:13):

Jewish and not Jewish.

Albert Mashaal (00:42:14):

Yeah, Jewish and not Jewish, yeah.

Henry Green (00:42:16):

And would they- they... would your brothers have friends that would take them-

Albert Mashaal (00:42:19):

Yeah, they were friendly, very friendly.

Henry Green (00:42:21):

And you could take them to your house-

Albert Mashaal (00:42:22):

Yeah, because they were girls and boys of Iraqis, and we Iraqis, we get very friendly. We could, you know, we get friendly very fast. We can make friends.

Henry Green (00:42:35):

D- did, um, at home, uh, now you're in Tehran. Did you, um, there's a group of people called Mashhad. Mashhadis, Mashhad.

Albert Mashaal (00:42:43):


Henry Green (00:42:43):


Albert Mashaal (00:42:44):

(laughs) Mashhadi.

Henry Green (00:42:45):


Albert Mashaal (00:42:46):

Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Henry Green (00:42:48):

Did you meet any of these people?

Albert Mashaal (00:42:50):

No. No, I didn't. I met people when after I left, when we came here. I- I'm... well, we met in- in Montr- uh, there were a community of Iraqis in- i- in Long Island, in New York. Big community, Iraqi communities. And here, we were the first... would you believe it? We were the second family came to Montreal. The first family was a, uh, [Reuben Rhabbia 00:43:24]. Okay?

Albert Mashaal (00:43:27):

And how it happened, how we came here is: my father was with Victor and Sue and Emile in London. They were staying at the Cumberland Hotel. And... for about four, four or five months, because they would not let us go to the United States, because there... our file was... you could not... they would not give us visa of the- the whole family to come to the United States. Otherwise, if we... we would've come, because there was a quota for the, uh, of the Jews. 150, something stupid.

Albert Mashaal (00:44:10):

So what happen? If we all go there, we go... it's very easy. We stay there and we're stateless, get a lawyer, and that's how we stay. Okay. So they forbid us, either my mother or my father comes there. And some of the kids, they cannot all come there, so we won't stay, because my- my two brother- my three brothers, one of them, Edward, came, went to Milford College. Salim, he went to Boston University. Morris, he went to MIT. Victor went to MIT. You see. And so they didn't [inaudible 00:44:53].

Albert Mashaal (00:44:52):

What happened, this guy, Reuben... Rhabbi- Rhabbia, he heard, because we're a very well-known family in- in- in Iran and in Baghdad, very well-known. So he heard that he wants to get a visa. He wrote my father. He said, "Why don't you come to Canada? Here you can get the immigration at the border. You come here, stay for three, four years, five years. You become Canadian, and afterward, go to New, go to New York."

Albert Mashaal (00:45:31):

So thanks, God, we- we came here. When we came here, we got the whole family united. Who wants to go to New York. So we stayed here, my father started the business in 1955, building homes. And then we grew from that time, we kept building all over Canada, Toronto, Montreal, Hamilton, Calgary, Edmonston, everywhere.

Henry Green (00:46:02):

What was the name of the business?

Albert Mashaal (00:46:04):

The... Yale Properties.

Henry Green (00:46:05):


Albert Mashaal (00:46:06):

Very well-known. It still exist. It's there. It's, uh-

Henry Green (00:46:10):

So you- you... when you, um, in 1948, uh, leave-

Albert Mashaal (00:46:16):


Henry Green (00:46:16):

... to go to Paris, did, um, your father tell you that it was, uh, that he had to go? Did he... or did you just-

Albert Mashaal (00:46:23):

No, no, no. We just left.

Henry Green (00:46:24):

Just left?

Albert Mashaal (00:46:27):

Because he left with his partner, my father, because he didn't speak English and didn't speak French.

Henry Green (00:46:34):

So what-

Albert Mashaal (00:46:35):

His part- his partner, he was a doctor, but he was a partner with him in business. He took him and went to Paris so they can be... they [inaudible 00:46:45].

Henry Green (00:46:46):

He spoke French, the partner?

Albert Mashaal (00:46:47):

He spoke French, yeah.

Henry Green (00:46:48):

So your father leaves Paris, right?

Albert Mashaal (00:46:50):

Yes. Yeah, he stayed in Paris. He went to Paris-

Henry Green (00:46:53):

So he's- he's-

Albert Mashaal (00:46:53):

... directly.

Henry Green (00:46:54):

So he's living in Paris with...

Albert Mashaal (00:46:57):

No, he stayed there, and then... this is after, uh, Israel became a state. So it was chaotic, everything.

Henry Green (00:47:07):


Albert Mashaal (00:47:08):

So... and he heard that they might arrest him and take him back to Baghdad [crosstalk 00:47:13].

Henry Green (00:47:14):

So where does, where does he go?

Albert Mashaal (00:47:15):

So what happened, he went to... he took off to Paris.

Henry Green (00:47:18):

Took off to Paris?

Albert Mashaal (00:47:19):


Henry Green (00:47:19):

So he's living in Paris-

Albert Mashaal (00:47:21):


Henry Green (00:47:21):

... with your mother?

Albert Mashaal (00:47:23):

With... then my mo- no. He went with his-

Henry Green (00:47:26):


Albert Mashaal (00:47:27):

... his business partner.

Henry Green (00:47:28):


Albert Mashaal (00:47:28):

They stayed at the hotel there. After three weeks, four weeks, my mother-

Henry Green (00:47:33):

Joins them.

Albert Mashaal (00:47:34):

... joined them with me and Freddie because our school wasn't gonna open.

Henry Green (00:47:38):

I- I understand. But your- your... he... does he leave Par- when he leaves, he leaves Paris without you, right?

Albert Mashaal (00:47:43):


Henry Green (00:47:43):

You stayed in Paris?

Albert Mashaal (00:47:44):

He- he left us.

Henry Green (00:47:45):


Albert Mashaal (00:47:46):

Me and Freddie, he left us-

Henry Green (00:47:47):


Albert Mashaal (00:47:47):

... and he went to New York-

Henry Green (00:47:48):

Right. So-

Albert Mashaal (00:47:49):

... with my mother-

Henry Green (00:47:49):

For two years.

Albert Mashaal (00:47:50):


Henry Green (00:47:51):

Now, you... do you see him at all in those two years?

Albert Mashaal (00:47:54):

No. No.

Henry Green (00:47:56):

So what do you-

Albert Mashaal (00:47:57):

We just left.

Henry Green (00:47:57):

So what do you think? I mean, he sends you money, but what do you think? You're not seeing your mother and father.

Albert Mashaal (00:48:02):

We're okay.

PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [00:48:04]

Henry Green (00:48:02):

Not seeing your mother and father?

Albert Mashaal (00:48:02):

We're okay. We're fine. We're... we did our... you know, I was 14, he was 15, can you imagine, and we went to a public school. And do you know what I've noticed, really? In Paris, in 1948, you could not find two boys age of 13, 14, in all of Paris after 6:00. It's impossible. It doesn't exist. Every time we used to go out to eat at 7:00, 8:00, we used be arre- by the police, they stop us, "What are you doing?" [inaudible 00:48:45] it was unknown, because the families, Parisian families that time, if they have children, they live outside Paris.

Henry Green (00:48:54):

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Albert Mashaal (00:48:54):

There were no boys at all. No boys, no boys. Nothing. We were the only two, I swear, in Paris. (laughs) Something incredible.

Henry Green (00:49:05):

Did you-

Albert Mashaal (00:49:06):

But I was used to [inaudible 00:49:06].

Henry Green (00:49:06):

Did you, um, were you... in those years of Paris, you're now a teenager.

Albert Mashaal (00:49:10):


Henry Green (00:49:10):

Were you a member of any kind of club, or sports, or anything?

Albert Mashaal (00:49:14):

No, no. But one thing is fu- [inaudible 00:49:18]. You know [inaudible 00:49:19]? They had about 700 people, 700 student. And it seemed that they were all Christian. And when we came in there, we were Jewish. There was one Jewish guy there. I didn't know how, all of the sudden, they find out that we're Jews. Really. Me and Freddie, they were Jews.

Albert Mashaal (00:49:48):

So what happens is... French student, they get ganged together. And they used to... there were about 15, 20 people or something, and they used to come and hit us and run away. And we were, you know...

Albert Mashaal (00:50:04):

But my F- my brother Freddie, God bless him, he was a street fighter. He was really tough. And after a few days, they were doing this, hitting us and run away. My f- my... Freddie told me, "Albert, I'm... I had enough. I'm gonna do something about it." I said, "Come on, Freddie. Don't. I mean, they go- they... they could..." He said, "Don't worry, I'll do that."

Albert Mashaal (00:50:37):

He... there were three... the top of the gangs, three of them, you know, they were the one who was the big shot. So Freddie was watching them, and he was watching them, all of the sudden, they went into this public bathroom of the school. So they went inside and Freddie came in. He look at them completely this- this, and Freddie was a dirty fighter. So he, right away, he- he kick them in the, in the testicles, and they were all down. Three of them that went down, completely. And he dragged them to the toilet and he flushed it, and then he left. Everybody finds out, and (laughs) Freddie becomes the... (laughs) the- the Godfather. Afterward, if there were any fights-

Henry Green (00:51:40):

[crosstalk 00:51:40] that story?

Speaker 1 (00:51:40):

Yeah. (laughs)

Albert Mashaal (00:51:41):

... if there were any fight or anything, they used to come to Freddie. "Freddie, this guy hit me. This, this, this." And Freddie would... (laughs)

Henry Green (00:51:48):


Albert Mashaal (00:51:49):

... and we became known... Freddie was the king. Voilà. That easy. He was a very dirty fighter. (laughs)

Speaker 1 (00:51:57):


Albert Mashaal (00:52:00):

And Robin was... (laughs)

Henry Green (00:52:04):

Did- did, um, did you have other experiences of anti-Semitism at all in Paris?

Albert Mashaal (00:52:08):

Yes. I'll tell you something. When we... after the hotels, we moved to an apartment. I don't know, I don't... we went to the... on the sixth floor, an apartment. We- we rented a one-bedroom. And the superintendent was French, but he hate Jews. He could not stand Jews. Oh, my god. And he find out that we're Jewish. So the guy, he was always against us. He's doing this, this. So one day, I went... me and Freddie, we went to Galerie de Lafayette. And I saw there was fishing, for fishing. I said, "Freddie, let's buy this fishing reel." We went to La Seine. We couldn't fish anything. So, okay, perfect. We go home, and I said, "Freddie, I got an idea. The- the- the superintendent was exactly direct underneath us on the ground floor. He had a c- cat, beautiful cat. I said, "Freddie..." We put meat, little meat in the hook. We lower it, (laughs) and we have the- the fishing poles with a bell. When it rings, we know we catch the cat. And we- we brought the hook about a foot away from the ground, and we're watching, and then we were cooking and everything, and all of the sudden, the bell start ringing. I said, "Freddie, we got the cat!"

Henry Green (00:53:49):


Albert Mashaal (00:53:50):

Did not. Amazing. I still, I still remember it. What happen, the superintendent. He saw it. He saw we were gonna catch the cat. So what he did, he took a towel and take this ring and start pulling it, and he broke the string. Could you imagine? I still remember it. We had the chutzpah, okay, to run downstairs, me and Freddie. We told him, "Look, we want the hook back."

Henry Green (00:54:21):


Albert Mashaal (00:54:21):

And the guy went crazy! I said, "If we don't give you the hook... if you don't give us the hook, we're gonna do worse things to the pussycat. We're gonna kill the cat." The guy, the guy, he became hysterical. And he said, "The best thing is, I better do... we have to be friends and so on." Afterward, the guy, he loves us, he said he does this, this, this, this. (laughs)

Henry Green (00:54:47):


Albert Mashaal (00:54:47):

I swear to God. We were wild completely.

Henry Green (00:54:51):

Did you, um-

Albert Mashaal (00:54:54):

We did.

Henry Green (00:54:54):

... you dated your-

Speaker 1 (00:54:54):

Wait, just wait... hold on a second-

Albert Mashaal (00:54:54):


Henry Green (00:54:56):

God, it was getting interesting here.

Speaker 1 (00:54:57):

Yeah, yeah, no, I'm sorry.

Albert Mashaal (00:54:58):


Henry Green (00:54:58):

Wait, wait, you can't talk until he finishes, (laughs) because this'll go on camera. You know these stories, though, right?

Speaker 1 (00:55:04):

Yeah. [crosstalk 00:55:05]-

Henry Green (00:55:05):

That's... these are great stories.

Albert Mashaal (00:55:12):

This is our apartment-

Speaker 1 (00:55:21):


Albert Mashaal (00:55:21):

What he's doing?

Henry Green (00:55:21):

He's doing something with the light. I have no idea.

Speaker 1 (00:55:23):

All right.

Albert Mashaal (00:55:24):

Okay. Then-

Speaker 1 (00:55:26):

Wait, wait-

Albert Mashaal (00:55:27):

... after the fishing, we... you know, in our apartment on the f- f- 6th floor, on the 7th floor, part of it, there was some kind of a, like, the 7th, there were pigeons and so on. I said, "Freddie, let's buy a BB gun. Maybe we can shoot these pigeons."

Albert Mashaal (00:55:50):

We went to Galerie Lafayette, we bought a- a- (laughs) would you believe it? A BB gun. Those air-

Henry Green (00:55:57):

Air, yeah.

Albert Mashaal (00:55:58):

We try to hit the- the... so it's impossible. But what happened? There was an old lady. She had her clea- her- her laundry-

Henry Green (00:56:08):


Albert Mashaal (00:56:08):

... you know? And these laundry, to dry them, she has this wire and she sends on it. So we were- (laughs)

Henry Green (00:56:16):


Speaker 1 (00:56:16):


Albert Mashaal (00:56:20):

... aiming at the laundry to practice and everything. She went completely berserk. She sees her panties all full of holes. (laughs)

Henry Green (00:56:24):


Albert Mashaal (00:56:27):

Oh, my god. We were wild completely.

Henry Green (00:56:30):

Dating. What about dating and girls?

Albert Mashaal (00:56:32):

Dating girls. I'll tell you something. In a way, f- I was too young in Paris. But Freddie, he got, you know, he went to these espresso shops. And, uh, there were these pinball machines, so he used to play, play the pinball machines. What happened with these- these coffee shop in Paris, you know them. You have these call girls, call girls-

Henry Green (00:57:06):


Albert Mashaal (00:57:06):

... around and so on. They see him, this guy, he has money, da-da-da-da. So they're, "Freddie, let's go, da-da-da, ha ha," and Freddie goed with them. (laughs)

Henry Green (00:57:17):


Albert Mashaal (00:57:19):

So every time I get the money, we s- split the- the money in half. Freddie, after five days, "Albert, I have no money!" I said, "What happened? What do you mean? I know how to do it! I'm spending all the money for food and everything," and he- he's running and got the money. I said, "Freddie, what's that?" He said, "I don't know, my God, my friend..." "What?" "I didn't know, I think I lost it, somebody pickpocket me," or this and this. And then he never had money! He was giving it all to the girls. (laughs)

Henry Green (00:57:48):


Speaker 1 (00:57:48):


Albert Mashaal (00:57:50):

But anyway, (laughs) it was fun.

Henry Green (00:57:53):

Th- this in the early '50s, you... 'cause you were, you were-

Albert Mashaal (00:57:56):

That was in '49.

Henry Green (00:57:56):

'49, but you were there-

Albert Mashaal (00:57:58):

So it-

Henry Green (00:57:58):

... 'til '51, right?

Albert Mashaal (00:57:59):


Henry Green (00:58:00):

You were there 'til 1951?

Albert Mashaal (00:58:02):

No, 'til... we left... we took a boat from the [inaudible 00:58:06], i- in December 21st, 1949.

Henry Green (00:58:12):

To- to London.

Albert Mashaal (00:58:13):

To London? No, in- in beginning of December. It took us three weeks to go to New York. We went to Lon- to New York. [crosstalk 00:58:21] from La- from Par-

Henry Green (00:58:22):

Okay, okay.

Albert Mashaal (00:58:23):

... from Paris... we didn't go to London.

Henry Green (00:58:25):

Didn't go to London, whereas-

Albert Mashaal (00:58:26):

We never went to London.

Henry Green (00:58:27):

... you went actually from Paris to New York. 'Cause that-

Albert Mashaal (00:58:29):

Paris to New York.

Henry Green (00:58:29):

... 'cause I was wondering, you know, in this period, of, like, when you were there-

Albert Mashaal (00:58:33):


Henry Green (00:58:34):

... you know, um, St-Germain Dupré, Deux Magos, uh, [crosstalk 00:58:38]-

Albert Mashaal (00:58:38):

Yes, yes, yes.

Henry Green (00:58:39):

... I mean, all these places... you were too young, I guess, for-

Albert Mashaal (00:58:42):

We were too young, yeah.

Henry Green (00:58:42):

Too young.

Albert Mashaal (00:58:43):

But there were a lot of pro- hookers and everything.

Henry Green (00:58:46):

Yeah, I mean, because this-

Albert Mashaal (00:58:46):


Henry Green (00:58:46):

... was also a-

Albert Mashaal (00:58:47):

Yeah, I didn't... I was still-

Henry Green (00:58:48):

... a scene after the war that, uh-

Albert Mashaal (00:58:48):

Yeah, yeah.

Henry Green (00:58:48):

... was very-

Albert Mashaal (00:58:49):

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That's fine.

Henry Green (00:58:51):

But you were, but you were-

Albert Mashaal (00:58:52):

Three years after the war, don't forget.

Henry Green (00:58:53):

Right. Well, that's what I'm saying, was-

Albert Mashaal (00:58:54):

It's amazing, it's amazing.

Henry Green (00:58:55):

... there was a scene going on there.

Albert Mashaal (00:58:56):

It was a beautiful life.

Henry Green (00:58:57):

I only read it in books. Uh-

Albert Mashaal (00:58:58):

Yeah, yeah. A beautiful life. Yeah.

Henry Green (00:59:01):

... you lived it, you lived it. (laughs)

Albert Mashaal (00:59:03):

Yeah, we live... we had a great time. I swear to God, something incredible. You know, we stayed, uh, in the hotel. My father stayed in a very high-class hotel. And after four street, Rue Vignon, I still remember the street. I went there to see it. And there were about 30, 40 hotels. And we went there, and we asked... they asked us about 50, 50 cents a room a night. So we stayed in one of the rooms here on top. And we didn't know that these hotels are all used by hookers!

Henry Green (00:59:36):


Albert Mashaal (00:59:37):

Every hooker has this hotel, and they come in as well. Would you believe it? After three months, I know about half the hookers in my... in-

Henry Green (00:59:47):


Albert Mashaal (00:59:47):

... Rue Vignon. (laughs) You know, I used to see them in the morning, and in the afternoon, coming back at 4:00, "Hello, Sylvie!" [French 00:59:58]. (laughs) And do you know? We were the only two in that street going, between all those men, you know, going there. (laughs) And then what we were doing there. Can you imagine?

Henry Green (01:00:17):


Albert Mashaal (01:00:17):

Yes, yes.

Henry Green (01:00:18):

So you go... you come... you go to New York, and then-

Albert Mashaal (01:00:20):

We go to New York.

Henry Green (01:00:21):

... and then you come to Montreal.

Albert Mashaal (01:00:24):

Yeah. We go to New York, we stay one- one-

Henry Green (01:00:26):

One year.

Albert Mashaal (01:00:26):

... year in New York.

Henry Green (01:00:28):

In New York.

Albert Mashaal (01:00:28):

We went to, uh, Winston Academy-

Henry Green (01:00:30):


Albert Mashaal (01:00:31):

... and then Albert Lerner New Rochelle, and then front there, do, uh-

Henry Green (01:00:35):

Come to Montreal and-

Albert Mashaal (01:00:36):

Yeah, Montreal.

Henry Green (01:00:36):

... you join your family.

Albert Mashaal (01:00:37):

Yes, yes.

Henry Green (01:00:38):

So what was that like, coming to Montreal now?

Albert Mashaal (01:00:40):

It was nice! Because we all got together. It was very nice. We enjoyed it, the house, and-

Henry Green (01:00:47):

Now, it- it was very Iraqi at this time?

Albert Mashaal (01:00:49):

Yes, Iraqi completely. You know, I remember my mother used to cook Iraqi food, and especially they call it [Foreign language 01:00:59], rice with the... ch- chicken with rice. And, uh, and then the minute she set up the table, da-da-da-da-da, the minute she says, "The food is on the table," we rush. And we take, you know, we take our portion, big portion, and we... (laughs) because we were 10 of us, don't forget.

Henry Green (01:01:21):

Right, [crosstalk 01:01:21].

Albert Mashaal (01:01:22):


Henry Green (01:01:22):

And did-

Albert Mashaal (01:01:23):

We had a good time together.

Henry Green (01:01:25):

And so one of the stories I've heard is that when- when you came, as you said, that, um, you were the second Iraqi family.

Albert Mashaal (01:01:34):


Henry Green (01:01:34):

So more Iraqi families-

Albert Mashaal (01:01:36):


Henry Green (01:01:36):

.... came. Would they come to your house? Would they-

Albert Mashaal (01:01:39):

Yeah. Every... would you believe that? This is one thing I forgot to tell you. Every Iraqi family who comes in... first, they were the co- uh, co- uh, cousins, they come and stay in our house. Now, could you imagine? Listen, how we bought the house, it's something amazing. We were on [Coates and Catharine 01:02:01] Road in the... and- and we're looking for a hotel. And my father, he says, "Oh, here's the, here's the hotel." We see "Hotel DeVille." Hotel DeVille. We stop there, we went to a room. No, no! This is [inaudible 01:02:20].

Albert Mashaal (01:02:20):

Soon afterward, there was a... exactly in front of the Hotel DeVille, there was a house for sale. We went there and my father bought it. I remember that time, and he paid a lot of money in 1951. He paid $46,000 for it-

Henry Green (01:02:40):


Albert Mashaal (01:02:41):

... which was a hell of a long time... uh, mo- big money. But, you know, we were very rich in- in Iran. We had, you know, we were... I don't know, our family is so well-known that if you go to Australia and the guy from Baghdad, and you say, "Do you know the Mashaal?" He say, "Which one, from Montreal?" He said, "Yes, of course I know them." Yeah, yeah. All over, all over.

Henry Green (01:03:08):

So you're... all these Iraqis are coming to- to your ho-

Albert Mashaal (01:03:10):


Henry Green (01:03:11):

Is your father-

Albert Mashaal (01:03:11):

They come in, they stay for a month or something in my... in our house, and then after, we- we try to get them a- a- a place that... uh, uh, for an apartment or a house to rent, and so on.

Henry Green (01:03:24):

So did you... uh, the Montreal Jewish community was very Ashkenazi.

Albert Mashaal (01:03:28):


Henry Green (01:03:29):

It wasn't Sephardi. It was Ashkenazi. So you became connected to-

Albert Mashaal (01:03:32):

No. The b- at the beginning, at the beginning, we didn't go to the synagogue. We were... because we were not too many people. And then afterward, we joined The Young Israel on Van Horn. You know Montreal?

Henry Green (01:03:46):

I know Montreal, yeah.

Albert Mashaal (01:03:47):

Oh, okay. Young Israel. And then we used to have, uh, a wedding, we start having wedding after three, four years, then we start wedding. And we invite everyone! If they Iraqi, we invite. We invite. And it grew. Now we're about 3,000 people, Iraqis.

Henry Green (01:04:08):

And your father, your father at some point became involved with some club or something.

Albert Mashaal (01:04:13):


Henry Green (01:04:14):

Can you tell me about that?

Albert Mashaal (01:04:15):

Yeah. That is... my father wanted to open a club, Iraqi club. But there was another family, the [Lawi 01:04:25] family, which they said no, first we have to open... we have to build the synagogue before we open a club. My father told them, listen... that was in 1960. He said, "Listen, this is impossible. You open a synagogue, it cost you a million dollar. And you want... you put $25,000 to have your name here." "Well, yeah," and then they say, "But..." I said, "No." So we open a- a Riverside Country Club, my father, and he brought... and all the Iraqis, if they want, we told them to come in.

Albert Mashaal (01:05:03):

But some of these, he knew... they knew the Lawis. They said, "Don't go there, don't." You know, so it's stupid, this thing, very stupid. Because they were high-class and we were very average people, you know. My father, he was ver- you can say we were a very rich family, but at the same time, we're down to earth, you understand? My father, he loved to have people around him and everything, and we were down to earth.

Albert Mashaal (01:05:32):

So that's why there was a family distinction between... in Montreal. The Lawis, and the Mashaals. But we- we- were the, were... and they- they really, they kept fading away and this. But that's why.

Henry Green (01:05:54):

So the... with the club, you remember going to the club?

Albert Mashaal (01:05:57):

Yes, I remember for-

Henry Green (01:05:58):

And what would you, what would you do at the club?

Albert Mashaal (01:06:00):

Oh, we used to have swimming pool, everything. It was on the... and we were by the water, it was on the river. Beautiful club, we paid it. And then after my father passed away in '65, nobody... we didn't want to have anything to do with it. We kept it and somebody... we- we just gave up.

Henry Green (01:06:21):

And when did you become in- involved with the synagogue, the Spanish-Portuguese-

Albert Mashaal (01:06:25):

Oh, the Spanish-Portuguese, I'll tell you. In 19... then we joined the Spanish-Portuguese in 1963... '61. Then after my father passed away, we wanted to- to have it named for my father. The Spanish-Portuguese, they had a- a mortgage of $300,000. We said, "Listen, we will pay you the mortgage and give us the name for the synagogue, the [Manheim 01:06:57]," which is there. And they, of course, said, they said, "Okay, fine." Because we- we were building a lot and we decide... And then afterward, we wanted to... but here, the Spanish... it was nothing. It was terrible. Then we raised money. I think the first time we raised about $2.500.000. Most of it came from my fa- my m- well, f- our family, and we spent money, yeah.

Albert Mashaal (01:07:29):

And then in 1992, again, we raised money. Nobody pays. This guy paid $1,000, da-da-da-da-da. And then we- we put up $2,500,000, and we did the beautiful place. And, uh, five years ago, six years ago, the same thing. Because the big synagogue, we had to have the seats changed and everything. So we went around to- to get donations, da-da-da-da, and we needed about a million dollars. So we- we kept going from here, there, this guy wants to give $1,000, this, this. But then it's about $60,000, $70,000. I said, we- we sat together, my br- I said, "The hell with it. Look, we don't want any donation from them. We'll put up the million dollars, but we will build it."

Albert Mashaal (01:08:29):

So we did that, my brother, we did everything. And it was... we did a good job. And I'll give you an example. You know the- the Jerusalem, uh, if you go to the big synagogue, you see those, the Jerusalem stone, okay? Somebody wanted to... we told them, "We want this." And there was a contractor. He said, "It'll cost you $570, 000 to do this." So... the one... we were in Flo- Florida, and there was this Iraqi who used to se- sell- s- uh, in Miami, selling stone, selling Jerusalem stone in Miami. We went there to see, "Hey, what's going on? Da-da-da. We need so much this. How much it'll cost?" He said, "It costs about $40,000." Can you imagine? " Okay, send it." He sends the thing. We get somebody else to put it up, $35,000, $75,000, and they want $570,000. You see how- how they take... (laughs) This is what happen here. If you don't... everybody wants to... you know? They come and prey us on, but if they knew there's, uh, there's money in the synagogue, they want to.... "Of course!"

Henry Green (01:09:57):

So tell me about... okay, so you have, uh, the Iraqis, you're very involved with, whatever. And then in the '60s, the North Africans, the Moroccans, the Algerians start coming.

Albert Mashaal (01:10:09):

Yeah, yeah.

Henry Green (01:10:09):

So what is your relationship, the Iraqis, your family's relationship with the North Africans that come?

Albert Mashaal (01:10:15):

With the, uh, Moroccans? It was good. It was very, very good. And you could see it, that my brother, he married a Moroccans... my two brothers, they marry Moroccans. We got, you know... because the Moroccans, they are very, you know, close, really, like the Iraqis and so on. And, uh, every time there's a wedding, we used to have about a wedding a month, at least 'til now. 200, 300, 400 people. And the community start growing bigger and bigger.

Henry Green (01:10:50):

What happens when you sit down to eat? Moroccan cous cous is not the same as the-

Albert Mashaal (01:10:54):

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. This is... then the Canadian, comes in the Canada- we don't do, "No Iraqi, no cous cous."

Henry Green (01:11:01):


Albert Mashaal (01:11:01):

No, no, they come in and gets roast beef or [inaudible 01:11:05] and all these things, and da- da-

Henry Green (01:11:07):

And you lose the Iraqi cuisine?

Albert Mashaal (01:11:08):

No, the Iraqi cuisine, every Iraqis, they have their tradition, and it is Iraqi food, and it's delicious. It's the best food, really. We have... still, there is this Iraqi, uh, they call it tbit-

Henry Green (01:11:24):

Tbit, yeah.

Albert Mashaal (01:11:26):

... tbit, tbit. This is... it comes from about two or three-thousand years ago. They used to do it, the chicken with rice and so on. They d- they cook it in the morning on Friday, and they put it on the slow fire 'til the next day. You know? And the fire keeps going, and by the time on Saturday... er, on Friday night, they take it out and they have a beautiful to eat, and Saturday, they eat, because on Saturday, cannot-

Henry Green (01:11:58):

They cannot-

Albert Mashaal (01:11:58):

... no fire.

Henry Green (01:11:59):

But are- are you, uh, did you remain Kosher?

Albert Mashaal (01:12:03):


PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [01:12:04]

Henry Green (01:12:03):

Are, are you... uh, did you remain kosher?

Albert Mashaal (01:12:03):

No, no.

Henry Green (01:12:04):


Albert Mashaal (01:12:05):

My wife is kosher. So, at home, uh, she would not accept anything.

Henry Green (01:12:12):

And your wife's name is?

Albert Mashaal (01:12:14):

Uh, Sandy.

Henry Green (01:12:15):


Albert Mashaal (01:12:15):


Henry Green (01:12:15):

And what's her-

Albert Mashaal (01:12:16):

You know, I'll tell you a story. A very-

Henry Green (01:12:17):

What's her maiden name?

Albert Mashaal (01:12:18):

Yeah, Sandy Kazam.

Henry Green (01:12:20):


Albert Mashaal (01:12:20):

And, uh, she's Iraqi. I got married in 1968, okay. And then... I, I'm not kosher. Nothing wrong with that. And then, after we got married, uh we went up north, and there's, I know there's a restaurant there, they the beautiful ham, baked ham with, uh, with syrup and so on. So delicious, okay?

Albert Mashaal (01:12:53):

I'll go there, and she, she doesn't say anything, she wants anything. I ate the sandwich and so on. And I, I order a piece of ham like that. (Laughs) I took it home, I put it in my fridge, and the next night I was supposed to eat something and it disappeared. (Laughs) I said, "I better not say anything." She didn't (laughs) say anything, and we understand each other. (Laughs) It [inaudible 01:13:24]

Albert Mashaal (01:13:24):

I knew she was (laughs) [inaudible 01:13:26].

Henry Green (01:13:25):


Albert Mashaal (01:13:27):

Kosher. (laughs) And, she does not, she, she Kosher.

Henry Green (01:13:32):

And your, do you have children?

Albert Mashaal (01:13:33):

I have three girls.

Henry Green (01:13:34):

And, their names and their birth?

Albert Mashaal (01:13:35):

Their name- yeah, Sharon, she's born in 1970, 48 years. And then Joanne, uh, Joanne, uh, 1974, which is 44, and Kim, 1980, 38. So, listen, and the beauty about it, every time- when I got married, my father wasn't there. My mother, you know, she's very religious and so on. And, naturally, the Iraqi tradition and so on, for the, her son, the first thing, if, when, I, I, to have a baby, they want the firstborn baby, boy.

Albert Mashaal (01:14:18):

So, when, after I got married, and I said, "Mama, Sandy, she's pregnant." [inaudible 01:14:26] "Oh, oh, [inaudible 01:14:28]. I'm praying to God it's gonna be a boy."

Albert Mashaal (01:14:31):

Anyway, I- and then, all of a sudden, Sandy got, uh, she gave birth. She gave birth to a girl. (Laughs) I said, "Mama, Sandy (laughs) gave a birth to a girl." She said, "No, I don't believe you." I said, "Mama, it's a girl." She said, "No, no. It's impossible." I convinced her and everything. Okay. So, fine. It was okay.

Albert Mashaal (01:14:59):

After four years, I said, "Mama, Sandy, (laughs) she's pregnant." She, "Oh, my God, I hope it's a boy. It's a boy." (Laughs) Sandy gave birth to a girl. I said, (laughs) "Mama, Sandy gave a birth." She said, "It's a boy." I said, "No, no. It's a girl." She said, "No, I don't believe you. You are not right. You are either not. You're fooling me." She said, I says, "Sandy, Mama, please remember, I'm telling you, I swear to God, it's a, it's a girl." And she got mad and everything. Okay.

Albert Mashaal (01:15:36):

The third one, (laughs) I tell, "Mama, Sandy, she's pregnant." She said, "Oh, my God. This is gonna be a boy." I said, "Of course. [inaudible 01:15:48] Mama." Then, I got to Mama, "Mama, Sandy gave birth." She said, "It's a boy." I said, "How did you know? It's a boy. Of course, it's a boy."

Henry Green (01:15:56):


Albert Mashaal (01:15:56):

What could I tell her? Not a girl. So, she was so happy and everything. And, she's waiting for the bris. After seven days, she said, "Albert, when is the bris?" I said, "Mama, the baby has jaundice."

Henry Green (01:16:16):


Albert Mashaal (01:16:17):

We cannot do the bris (laughs) 'til about a month. (laughs) Afterward, my Mama, she said, "[inaudible 01:16:24]? (laughs) "It's a girl."

Henry Green (01:16:23):


Albert Mashaal (01:16:29):

She did not believe it. It's impossible. (Laughs) Anyway. I asked God, I said, "Why do you do this to me? We're seven of us boys, and you give me three girls." He said, "Don't worry. Albert, wait. When they're gonna get married, you're gonna have boys."

Albert Mashaal (01:16:50):

Sharon has two boys. Joanne has four boys. Kim have three boys, and then the last two, two girls.

Henry Green (01:16:57):


Albert Mashaal (01:16:58):

So I have 11 boys- nine boys and two girls.

Henry Green (01:17:02):


Albert Mashaal (01:17:03):

So, I [inaudible 01:17:03].

Henry Green (01:17:04):

So, what you-

Albert Mashaal (01:17:04):

This is God.

Henry Green (01:17:05):

What you learned from this is patience.

Albert Mashaal (01:17:06):


Henry Green (01:17:07):


Albert Mashaal (01:17:08):

Patient. Of course. Of course.

Henry Green (01:17:10):

So, the, the, um, your children and the grandchildren are all in, uh, Montreal?

Albert Mashaal (01:17:16):

Yeah. Mont- uh, Sharon, yeah, in Montreal. Now, what I did is to bring them to Montreal. My idea. I said, "The best thing is," because, you know, girls, they tend to, to bring the boy- when they get married, they tend to, they have the tendency to bring their, their husband to the family, which is always [inaudible 01:17:41]. I said to make it for sure that they gonna stay in Montreal, what I did, I bought them each a home, a house so they stayed.

Albert Mashaal (01:17:52):

Now, the third one, she became five years before she got married, she went to Israel for three months, and she came back, and she [inaudible 01:18:02] become a [inaudible 01:18:03]. So, she's very, uh-

Henry Green (01:18:08):


Albert Mashaal (01:18:08):

Uh, very-

Henry Green (01:18:09):

[inaudible 01:18:09].

Albert Mashaal (01:18:09):

Religious, religious. Anyway, it's help, you know what? Because, every sat- Friday night, my wife has a Shabbat dinner, and if she didn't become, could you imagine I have six of them, the three girls, the three husband, and 11 boys. It will be like a- it's impossible. How can I get in the-?

Henry Green (01:18:33):


Albert Mashaal (01:18:34):

Now, at least five, (laughs) five boys, three boys and two girls, they're, they don't come because they cannot [inaudible 01:18:42]. They're not supposed to-

Henry Green (01:18:44):

Drive on Shabbat?

Albert Mashaal (01:18:45):

[inaudible 01:18:45]

Henry Green (01:18:46):

Did, did, how, did Israel play a role in your life in any way?

Albert Mashaal (01:18:50):

Yes, yes. Yes, yes, yes.

Henry Green (01:18:51):

Designers and- How?

Albert Mashaal (01:18:53):

Beautiful. I love Israel. Israel is amazing town, is a beautiful. And, I said, "One day, I would like to come and live in Israel, or to have roots there." You know?

Albert Mashaal (01:19:04):

What I did 10 years ago, I said, I decided to buy two apartment, one penthouse and one lower on this 30th floor.

Henry Green (01:19:16):

In where? Where?

Albert Mashaal (01:19:17):

In Ramat Gan.

Henry Green (01:19:18):

Ramat Gan? Yeah.

Albert Mashaal (01:19:19):

I bought it, and I still have it, and three years ago, I decided to make Aliyah.

Henry Green (01:19:26):

You made Aliyah?

Albert Mashaal (01:19:27):

Yes, yes, of course. But, my wife won't come. She said, "No, I cannot leave the kids." I said, "It's okay." So I made Aliyah.

Henry Green (01:19:35):

So, it just sits there, the apartment sits empty?

Albert Mashaal (01:19:37):


Henry Green (01:19:37):

The apartment sits empty?

Albert Mashaal (01:19:39):

They go there. We go there. They come, we go a lot. We, they stay the girls there, and I stay at the hotel. Because it's [inaudible 01:19:47].

Henry Green (01:19:47):

So, you go back and forth.

Albert Mashaal (01:19:48):

Yeah, back... Well, yeah. But, you see, when you make Aliyah to Israel, you don't have to- there's no special time you have to stay there or something.

Henry Green (01:19:58):

No. [crosstalk 01:19:58]

Albert Mashaal (01:19:58):

You, you make Aliyah, the city, whenever you wanna go, you go. You don't wanna go, you don't wanna go.

Henry Green (01:20:03):

Does, does, uh, do you speak any Hebrew?

Albert Mashaal (01:20:06):

Well, I'll tell you something. It's very difficult. I speak little bit. I'm trying to understand, to learn, but it's very difficult. I find it-

Henry Green (01:20:14):

When you go to-

Albert Mashaal (01:20:15):

I thought it was easy.

Henry Green (01:20:16):

When you go to Israel, there's a big Iraqi community.

Albert Mashaal (01:20:19):


Henry Green (01:20:20):

And, you must have some cousins there, or whatever. Do you spend time with them?

Albert Mashaal (01:20:23):

No. A, a lot of Iraqis, I don't. [inaudible 01:20:26] Yeah. And my [inaudible 01:20:28], my living uncle, he's the only living uncle.

Henry Green (01:20:32):

And do you see- when you're there, you speak Arabic with them, or?

Albert Mashaal (01:20:35):

Yes, I speak Arabic with him.

Henry Green (01:20:37):

And, here, do you listen to Arab music still, or?

Albert Mashaal (01:20:40):

Yes, I do, of course. Of course. Beautiful. Yes.

Henry Green (01:20:43):

So, the culture-

Albert Mashaal (01:20:44):

You go to the YouTube, and you listen to Arabic.

Henry Green (01:20:46):

And, what identity does your children have?

Albert Mashaal (01:20:50):


Henry Green (01:20:50):


Albert Mashaal (01:20:52):

Canadian. They don't speak Arabic. The girls only, they under- like Sharon understand Arabic. Uh, Joanne, a little bit. And, Kim, um, [crosstalk 01:21:02].

Henry Green (01:21:02):

Do they cook Arabic, do they cook Iraqi food?

Albert Mashaal (01:21:04):

Yes, they cook Iraqi food and everything.

Henry Green (01:21:07):

And, the grandchildren?

Albert Mashaal (01:21:07):

Grandchildren, what? They don't cook. (Laughs) They go to school, that's all.

Henry Green (01:21:12):

They go to school.

Albert Mashaal (01:21:13):

Of course. Of course.

Henry Green (01:21:14):

Um, so a few more questions.

Albert Mashaal (01:21:18):

Go ahead.

Henry Green (01:21:20):

So, in the 1970s, the [Kibba Kwe 01:21:23] come to power in [Leveq 01:21:24].

Albert Mashaal (01:21:25):


Henry Green (01:21:25):

And, do you worry about, uh, staying, leaving, or anything?

Albert Mashaal (01:21:30):

No. No. Well, was nothing. You know, when, when, uh, uh, Charles De Gaulle, he came here in 1967, 68.

Henry Green (01:21:40):


Albert Mashaal (01:21:40):

And, he went, he said [inaudible 01:21:43] leave. We thought now it is time, because we were only building, we were had, we were building in Sherbrooke City outside, in Sherbrooke, and Granby and all these thing we were building, and in Montreal. We decided that it's time to move on.

Albert Mashaal (01:22:05):

So, in 1968, we decided to move on, and the first big project we got, got from the, the city of Hamilton. It's a big shopping center, which we build it in four stages. We start in 1970, and [inaudible 01:22:24] finish in '86 with 400 stores, 1,000 cars, uh, ground, on the ground level, and then with three, four, four buildings, uh, the Stelco building is 31 story building high, and others. The bank pavilion, and then we had another two more buildings, quite a big complex. It's in the downtown Hamilton.

Henry Green (01:22:52):

So, you didn't think in the '70s of leaving or-

Albert Mashaal (01:22:55):

No, no, no. The problem is, because I'll tell you something, Quebec, Montreal is the most beautiful city, I think, in North America. Why? Here, Montreal, it's a big town, city, but at the same time, it's a very small, small town, city. The reason why, because you see, it's divided between English and French.

Albert Mashaal (01:23:22):

Now, if you tell me, Albert, when do you go to [Pinoff 01:23:26]? I say, in 20 years, I don't know.

Henry Green (01:23:29):


Albert Mashaal (01:23:29):

Huh? Because, mine is almost to Parker, to Park Avenue, to Milos. That's where I go. And I'm in Westmont and so on. Look, I live in [inaudible 01:23:39]. I live, uh, Sharon lives in Westmont, five minutes from drive. Five minutes, I- I live, uh, from my office, it was seven minutes, and my, with the, with the other kids in town of Montreal, the same thing. And, it's a small, small community. We have a, a card game where, where we can, let's have a card game, a poker game. Within five, 10 minutes, we're all together.

Albert Mashaal (01:24:08):

You know? Not like Toronto. Toronto is completely- [inaudible 01:24:12] One is here, the other one an, an hour and a half, and so on. Here, it's a beautiful life. So, rudely, we said, "No. We're, we're go- we built. We went to Calgary. We went to Hamilton, we went to Edmonton. Went all over. And we said, " Okay, we'll build in Toronto. We'll have- we have property all over Canada."

Albert Mashaal (01:24:35):

And, uh, we're happy here. We go there, come back. [inaudible 01:24:40].

Henry Green (01:24:39):


Albert Mashaal (01:24:43):


Henry Green (01:24:43):

Okay. Uh, what do you, um, what do you keep of your Sephardi heritage here today? What, what would you consider in terms of your Iraqi heritage?

Albert Mashaal (01:24:52):

What do I keep? I'll tell you. We are Jewish, and we love to be. You know, this antisemitic is really past us, because when the Israel became a state, we're no- we're no longer scared. We have a, a country that we can always lean back. Before, we never had anything. We were wanderers. Uh, we weren't, maybe you might mention we're refugees. No. We're not refugees.

Albert Mashaal (01:25:32):

You see, the Iraqi people, they were not refugees. The reason why I say not refugee, you see, refugees is where these people leave their house, their belonging, everything, and they go out with their pants down and out. They are refugees. They have nothing.

Albert Mashaal (01:25:53):

Iraqis, they never did that 'til when it, this, uh, uh, when the state of Israel became, uh, uh, then the Iraqis, they became a refugee, then they left. They told them you can leave with one, one bag, and that's it. One, and you can go.

Albert Mashaal (01:26:17):

So, they went. They were the refugees, but actually, the Iraqis, from then 19, the 1900, they were migrating, the rich people, they always went to New York, they went to, uh, London. They were a big community in London, huge community.

Albert Mashaal (01:26:34):

And, in New York, in, in, uh, Los Angeles, everywhere, there is community. So, but we [inaudible 01:26:43] we were not considered be refugees. I mean, my father, when he left, he left, we were very rich. I mean, we, we bought a house $47,000 at that time, and it was nothing. We just [inaudible 01:26:57] it cheap. They couldn't believe it. You know what I mean? So, we were very comfortable, very, very. And, everybody, all these Iraqis, when they came here, they were comfortable. They weren't refu- you couldn't say that refugee.

Henry Green (01:27:12):

What, what do you think your, uh, if, if someone asked your child-

Albert Mashaal (01:27:15):


Henry Green (01:27:16):

What's your identity, what do you think they would say?

Albert Mashaal (01:27:18):

If they ask me-

Henry Green (01:27:21):

Your child.

Albert Mashaal (01:27:21):

My child? They're Canadian.

Henry Green (01:27:24):

And [crosstalk 01:27:24]

Albert Mashaal (01:27:24):

They're Jewish Canadian.

Henry Green (01:27:25):

And you? If they ask you?

Albert Mashaal (01:27:26):

Me, I'm, I'm Canadian. I feel Canadian. I went to school here. I did everything here. I live here. I live Montreal my [inaudible 01:27:35]. Actually, my, my, uh, my place is Montreal, and I won't leave it. I had a, I had a, many time, 20 years ago, to go to Toronto, to LA, everything. I wouldn't, I wouldn't know. Montreal is the most beautiful city. And it still is a beautiful city. I love it.

Henry Green (01:27:56):

So, one last question. That is-

Albert Mashaal (01:27:58):


Henry Green (01:27:58):

Uh, people are going to, uh, listen to this interview when we put it at the National Library of Israel.

Albert Mashaal (01:28:04):

Yes. Yes.

Henry Green (01:28:04):

What message do you want to give to them? What message do you want to leave them?

Albert Mashaal (01:28:10):

Well, I'll tell you something. I feel now we, the Jewish people, are really proud. Now, we, now we have heritage, we have tradition, and then our tradition from 2,000 years ago, now it became strengthened, and people are, they like to have these traditions because we Jewish feel, feel very, very secure now. Really. And, with Israel, what do you have? You know, Israel. It's become a world power. You cannot understand it, but, but Israel, it has a, it has, what? The army, 60,000. The air force. It could beat up Russia, all these garbage thing. You see them. You know, in film, like Russia, they show you 1,000, 10, 10,000 soldiers marching in and so on. These army, if you had half a million, they are garbage. They're no good, because you gotta feed them, dress them, make them... And, make them, give 'em sleep [inaudible 01:29:27], and do everything. And, you get the air force to the Russia, the Amer- uh, the Israeli air force, you have about 20 pilots, or 50 pilots or 100 pilots, they control the whole [inaudible 01:29:41].

Albert Mashaal (01:29:43):

And, I'll tell you something. With Trump his being here, you're gonna have a peace with Israel, because now I feel Trump is the only one who can make peace with Israel. The others, they were garbage. No good. The reason why, he is a businessman. He's not a politician. The rest, they were scared. Uh, no American president dare to have an embassy in Jerusalem, because it will get killed. But, the way is Trump, he came in, beautiful, he did it. He pacified them. He said, "We're gonna have it in 2020." "Oh, no, no."

Albert Mashaal (01:30:35):

Then, after a couple of weeks, then, "No, we'll make it 2019." "No, no, no," all this. And then, all of a sudden, "No, we're gonna have it in two weeks' time or three months time. We're gonna have Israel."

Albert Mashaal (01:30:48):

So, everybody's, the [inaudible 01:30:50] are, and they're- the Israel, the embassy is there. Now, what he's gonna do, he's slowly, slowly, he is preparing Hezbollah and Hamas, he's gonna cut all the funds. No more funds, dried up. They, and you don't hear anything about it, because I watch Israel, and I, you don't hear anything about Hezbollah or this or this.

Albert Mashaal (01:31:17):

And, the Middle East became nothing. You know? It used to be talks and everything. Now, it's with Rocketman. North Korea, and the way he brought him Rocketman down to his knees. And, he will do it. He will, uh, he will, Trump, I'm sure, for- after he finish with North Korea and the, uh, the midterm election, he's gonna start with Iran. And, he's gonna, I can guarantee you, by April, he'll topple Iran. Iran will have a revolution, and you see all these [mullers 01:31:56] with the beards, huh, you better, you can, you should buy Gillette stocks.

Henry Green (01:32:02):


Albert Mashaal (01:32:03):

Because, the minute there is a revolution, everybody will be looking for Gillette shaver and so on, (laughs) and you won't find any Gillette [inaudible 01:32:11]. Believe me, and this what's gonna happen. And the Middle East will be quiet, and no more nuclear in the Iran. Iran will be completely finished, and that's it. And now, everybody's against Trump, but he's, he's the best. He's the best America ever had.

Henry Green (01:32:30):

So, the message is Trump?

Albert Mashaal (01:32:32):

Trump. Absolutely.

Speaker 2 (01:32:34):


Albert Mashaal (01:32:34):


Henry Green (01:32:34):

Thank you. Thank you.

Albert Mashaal (01:32:35):

All right.

Henry Green (01:32:36):

Wait, you can't move until he takes-

PART 4 OF 4 ENDS [01:32:37]