Proofread by: Rebecca Lash
Transcribed by: Temi
Interview date: 9/18/2016
Location: Toronto, Canada
Interviewer: Henry Green
Total time: 1:01:18
Lilian Gozlan: Born in Cairo, Egypt, 1924. Left Cairo for Kobe, Japan in 1930. Returned to Cairo in 1945. Left Egypt for Paris 1956. Arrived in Canada 1957.
Henry Green (00:00:18):
Lilian Gozlan (00:00:19):
Henry Green (00:00:20):
What is your full name?
Lilian Gozlan (00:00:22):
My name is Lillian Gozlan.
Henry Green (00:00:25):
And what was your name at birth?
Lilian Gozlan (00:00:28):
Henry Green (00:00:31):
And where were you born?
Lilian Gozlan (00:00:32):
I was born in Cairo, Egypt.
Henry Green (00:00:35):
So first let me, uh, tell you how appreciative Sephardi Voices is that you have accepted our invitation to be interviewed. [LG: Thank you] So I wanted to begin just generally. Can you tell me something about your grandparents, your family background?
Lilian Gozlan (00:00:52):
Well, my, my grandparents that I can remember of them is my grandfather on my father's side. And, um, they came from Turkey to Egypt, to Cairo, and they were in the, uh, they had, uh, uh, a very big, uh, warehouse where they sold sundries and, uh, plates and cups and whatever you can think of toys. It was all a mixture of things that they were selling a very, very big warehouse. And he was one of my grandfather. What I can remember. He was one of the first people who had this, um, horse, carriage waiting for him outside his, his apartment. It was his, and it was rare to have someone like that. And that's all I can remember about them because
Henry Green (00:01:42):
What, what was your grandfather's name?
Lilian Gozlan (00:01:45):
Oh, that's a good one. Um, I called him nono. So I have no idea.
Henry Green (00:01:53):
Um, and do you have any, uh, memories of your time with him at all? Did he?
Lilian Gozlan (00:01:58):
Well, the reason I have memories is because when we lived in Japan, my family with my father and when my brother was turning 13 to have his Bar Mitzvah, we, we took a boat for 32 days to go back to Cairo, Egypt. So he could have the Bar Mitzvah with, his, with his grandparents. And that's why we went back to Egypt for a year. And then after that, my father didn't like it anymore. He had to go back to Japan because he preferred the, what he was buying there. So we went back again to Japan.
Henry Green (00:02:32):
And in that year that you spent and, um, with your grandfather, do you have any memories of him doing anything with him? Um,
Lilian Gozlan (00:02:40):
Well, he was pretty old at that time and he used to sit in his rocking chair with the beads. He was the sweetest man [laughs].
Henry Green (00:02:49):
And your- his wife. Your grandmother?
Lilian Gozlan (00:02:52):
Yes, my grandmother was Italian and, um, I don't remember much about her cause all I can remember is the beads.
Henry Green (00:03:02):
And what was her name? Do you remember her name?
Lilian Gozlan (00:03:05):
Well, I, uh, I think her name was Julia. Julia Del Borgo? Yes.
Henry Green (00:03:11):
And, um, that's your paternal side? What about your maternal side? Your maternal grandparents?
Lilian Gozlan (00:03:16):
Well, I never really saw my maternal grandparents. I only saw no, I never saw them. I don't remember them at all. Only from what I heard about them. [HG: And what did you hear about them?] Uh, first of all, uh, on my mother's side, they were very poor and, um, my grandfather came from, uh, Iran and he was an Agha Khan. And I know that my uncle, the first, the first son became an Agha Khan and his son became an Agha Khan and he was very big. He became an, a newspaper man for the Ma- Perry Match [ph] in Paris. His name was Vic Vance [ph]. He changed his name, but that was him. He still kept the Agha Khan.
Henry Green (00:04:04):
And, um, your parents, your parents, um, where, where did they meet? Do you, uh, do you know?
Lilian Gozlan (00:04:12):
Well, that's, um, that's a person that arranges these marriages. She was, uh, my mother was 16 at the time and she was supposed to marry my father's brother, younger brother. My father was already engaged, but my father hid where they were supposed to be meeting. And as soon as he saw her, he decided that she was for him and not for the other. That was it.
Henry Green (00:04:40):
And so how did, um, your, your father then meet your mother?
Lilian Gozlan (00:04:45):
That's it. He decided she was for him. And that's it. [HG: And where was this do you know?] That was in Cairo. [HG: and where in Cairo? Do you know?] Oh, I don't know. I have no idea.
Henry Green (00:04:55):
And your father's, your father's name is
Lilian Gozlan (00:04:58):
Nassim Carmona. [HG: And your mother's?] My mother's was Camille
Henry Green (00:05:04):
And, um, tell me something about your father.
Lilian Gozlan (00:05:08):
Well, my father, my father spoke so many languages so did my and my mother too, because at home they used to, uh, their sentences were one name, one, name, one, something in Spanish and French and Arabic and English. English was a very, very difficult for my mother, but she learned it and she learned Spanish from being with my father. She never, she didn't know Spanish before she learned Spanish from him. So they used to do all these languages when they spoke to us, the sentence was a few languages in the sentence. There was never a one sentence of one language. And that's how we learnt all these languages.
Henry Green (00:05:46):
And you, you lived in, um, you were born where
Lilian Gozlan (00:05:50):
I was born in Cairo, but really I lived in Japan.
Henry Green (00:05:54):
And what age did you leave Cairo?
Lilian Gozlan (00:05:57):
Uh, we left Cairo in, uh, 30, 32 think [HG: 32. And, uh, and you were born, you said], but I don't think, I think in 1930, not even 32, because my sister, my older sister was the only one who could go to kindergarten. I was, we were still at home. All of us. So I don't know what, what year it was.
Henry Green (00:06:23):
So if you let's say it's 1930, you were born in 24. You were about five or six years old, right? So what do you remember? What area you lived in Cairo
Lilian Gozlan (00:06:33):
In Cairo? No. [HG: You don't remember?] Oh, Cairo. [HG: You were five or six when you left?] I don't remember anything about five or six. I only remember Japan [HG: only Japan. Okay]
Henry Green (00:06:45):
So, um, you, you don't, you don't really, uh, remember much about growing up a five, four, five, six.
Lilian Gozlan (00:06:52):
The only thing I remember about Egypt is when we went back with, for my, for my brother, for his Bar Mitzvah. That's the only Egypt I know. [HG: So that when did you go back? What year was that?] Uh, when he was 13. 12, really, so he was born in 20, uh, 24, 24 and 12,36? Yeah.
Henry Green (00:07:15):
Okay. So you were there 36, 37. What do you remember then? And when you were there?
Lilian Gozlan (00:07:21):
Mmm, well, I remember is that I was scared of the Arabs [laughs]. That's about [HG: do you remember where you stayed?] We stayed with my grandparents and then my father took an apartment and he had brought all the furniture from, from Japan because he was going to live in Cairo. And then he, he furnished the apartment and everything. And in a year after that, he said, no, I'm going back to Japan. And that was it. We left the apartment and we went back to Japan. And, um,
Henry Green (00:07:54):
What language did you speak in Cairo when you were there in 1936?
Lilian Gozlan (00:07:58):
Well, usually with my grandparents in Spanish. And
Henry Green (00:08:03):
How did your parents, why did your parents speak Spanish? Where did the Spanish come?
Lilian Gozlan (00:08:07):
Because we have Carmona. We were from, from Spain. You know, we were the ones who were kicked out of Spain.
Henry Green (00:08:14):
So you're saying your, your heritage comes from,
Lilian Gozlan (00:08:19):
From Spain, from Spain, from the, from the Jews that was thrown out of Spain. They went to Turkey first and then from Turkey, they went to Cairo.
Henry Green (00:08:28):
And do you know roughly when they went from Turkey to Cairo?
Lilian Gozlan (00:08:34):
No, I have no idea.
Henry Green (00:08:36):
And so they, was it a Spanish they were speaking or was it a Ladino? Did you speak in Ladino?
Lilian Gozlan (00:08:44):
I have no idea.
Henry Green (00:08:46):
So when you, when you were living in Cairo, you were speaking
Lilian Gozlan (00:08:49):
[HG: Spanish] Yeah. [HG: Do you speak Arabic?] Arabic, because I was talking to the help that's I learned, and then I learned my French from reading the newspaper every day. So that's how my French became better because I was, I was, I really spoke English,
Henry Green (00:09:05):
Spoke English. So you, um, you're, you spoke help, uh, with the, uh, with, uh, you speak Arabic with the help. What kind of help was in the house then?
Lilian Gozlan (00:09:14):
Well, I had children, so I had help, you know, I had a babysitter with me.
Henry Green (00:09:20):
Was it a, uh, a Jewish was
Lilian Gozlan (00:09:22):
No an Arabic girl,
Henry Green (00:09:24):
An Arabic girl, Muslim, Christian? Do you know at all?
Lilian Gozlan (00:09:27):
Not Christian. A Muslim, but she wasn't praying all the time. No. No, no.
Henry Green (00:09:33):
And, and, um, do you remember, um, uh, the synagogue that your brother's bar mitzvah Bar <itzvah was in?
Lilian Gozlan (00:09:40):
I can't, we only had one synagogue close to my grandparents and close to where we had our apartment and that was the Ismailiyah [ph] Yeah. Yeah.
Henry Green (00:09:48):
And, uh, did, um, uh, when you were in Cairo during that period, when you were about what, 12 years old, you said? Yeah. Um, do you remember a Shabbat dinner at your house or holiday?
Lilian Gozlan (00:10:03):
Yeah, well, we, we went, you know, in Cairo there, it was not very Hebrew. We never learned Hebrew because we in Japan, we never learned Hebrew either. Uh, I can remember only that my mother used to take us to a special place in, uh, in Cairo where other Jews lived. It was a different, they called them, Karaite , they were different Jews and they, she would show me how they were living there. It was quite different to the way we lived.
Henry Green (00:10:31):
And what do you remember about how it was different? These Karaites?
Lilian Gozlan (00:10:37):
I think they were more Jewish, you know, but poor. It was a poor area.
Henry Green (00:10:43):
And what language did you speak to them at all? Did you speak to the,
Lilian Gozlan (00:10:46):
No, I just, my mother just took us there to show us all these places.
Henry Green (00:10:50):
Did you ever go shopping with your mother in the souk or with help? Do you remember? What about a school that one year that you were in, uh, back in Cairo? Did you go to school at all?
Lilian Gozlan (00:11:06):
Henry Green (00:11:09):
Um, did, did, um, did you meet any friends that you could play with at all
Lilian Gozlan (00:11:14):
Henry Green (00:11:17):
So let's, let's talk about Japan. So at six years old, you go to Japan and why did you go to Japan?
Lilian Gozlan (00:11:24):
Cause my that's where my hus, my father was buying the things to send to Egypt. He was buying all kinds of things that dishes, toys, everything you can think of, whatever you can think of him, pens. I don't know some, some funny things, but yeah.
Henry Green (00:11:42):
And where did you, what city in Japan? [LG: In Kobe]. In Kobe. And where did you have a house? Where did you live in Kobe?
Lilian Gozlan (00:11:48):
Yes, we had a house. Yes. [HG: Did you go to school in Kobe? ] Oh yes. We went to school and all the Jews, they were, when we were there, there were about 50 Jews and, and for the feast they would just rent a house. So they're one of the houses of the people. And that was the synagogue. They would just all congregate there for the, for the, uh, for whatever it was.
Henry Green (00:12:13):
So let's take some simple, a Jewish holiday. Yeah, a Passover. Do you remember a Passover? [ LG: Oh yes, we do Passover. Absolutely, all that] Tell me the story about Passover. What would it be like? [LG: It's just at home. It's the synagogue I told you it's just 50 people and it's [HG: but, but would a, your mother cook?] Oh yes. What would she cook?
Lilian Gozlan (00:12:34):
[overlap, laughter, shakes head] Haroset? I don't know. It was all, but it's a, you know, it's we could eat rice, Sephardics could eat rice so that there wasn't such a problem about food.
Henry Green (00:12:50):
So when you say rice, so what kind of dish would they make? Would they make a, like a brisket or would they make something different? Would it be, would it be Sephardic food? Do you remember at all?
Lilian Gozlan (00:13:00):
It's more like, um, we call it yellow chicken because it was all with turmeric. It was all turmeric and all, like, it was Egyptian cooking. My mother was more like Egyptian cooking than anything else.
Henry Green (00:13:14):
Was she a good cook? [LG: Oh, very good. Yes] What was your favorite dish?
Lilian Gozlan (00:13:19):
Yeah, yellow chicken [laughs], and mashi [ph] is my, my husband's favorite. Yes.
Henry Green (00:13:29):
And, and, um, the, the, um, uh, and what about on a holiday? Let's say like Rosh Hashanah. Would you have special food on Rosh Hashanah? Do you remember at all? Any kind of, or was it again yellow Chicken? [LG: I don't know. I don't remember] Don't remember. Where did you go to school when you were in, uh,
Lilian Gozlan (00:13:52):
In Kobe- Canadian Academy. First of all, we went to an English school, a real English school, a very small English school, and she kind of adopted us because my father gave her money and she adopted us and she was so good to us. She was put, because we were young, she would put us to sleep at lunchtime after we ate, she would. And then afterwards she left and she went back to England. So then we went to the Canadian Academy, which was a missionary school. It was all run by the missionaries.
Henry Green (00:14:25):
And you say missionaries, you mean, Catholic or Protestant? [LG: I mean real missionaries (laughs)]. Do you know if they were Catholic or Protestant? Do you remember?
Lilian Gozlan (00:14:33):
I think, um, I don't know. They were all from, uh, from Quebec
Henry Green (00:14:40):
And did, uh, and the language was English or
Lilian Gozlan (00:14:43):
English, but I'll tell you, um, the, the one who was making the sermon in the morning, who was the principal of the school, he would make the sermon. And he would always, after the, he spoke his sermon, he would say, and in the Jewish Bible, this is what it is. He never left us out. We were only the only Jewish family, there were two Jewish families in the whole school and one, a Turkish family. And he even said something about theirs also, but he never left us out.
Henry Green (00:15:16):
And so you would have prayers in the morning?
Lilian Gozlan (00:15:18):
Yes. There was a sermon every morning. Yes. And the school wasn't very big. We would all congregate in one classroom.
Henry Green (00:15:26):
And you're, uh, you, you were born in 1924, you said. So you have brothers and sisters?
Lilian Gozlan (00:15:34):
Yes. [HG: Can you tell me?] I have an oldest. I had an older sister and a younger brother and a younger sister. [HG: And what was the name of your older? Uh] Irene. And she married an Egyptian boy in Japan. So they lived in Japan and then she came to Canada. And, uh, what year was she born? She was born in 20, 22. [HG: And she was born in Cairo?] Yes. [HG: And, um, the Egyptian man, she married Jewish or not Jewish? Jewish. [HG: So here was another Jewish family] Oh, yes. Oh yes. [HG: And was it-]
Lilian Gozlan (00:16:08):
By then- by the time she became 18, there were a few more Jewish families in, uh, in Japan.
Henry Green (00:16:16):
And was it important that, that your, um, uh, for their daughter to marry Jewish or not, was that, Uh, important for them? Your parents tell me-
Lilian Gozlan (00:16:25):
for my parents? I suppose so. Yeah.
Henry Green (00:16:32):
And, okay. So after, after you had the older sister at 22, you're 24, next?
Lilian Gozlan (00:16:36):
26. [HG: And who is that?] And that was my brother. And he married an Egyptian girl in, in, uh, in Toronto. She came from, from Egypt and he married her. [HG: And, um, he was born in Cairo also?] Yes, we were all born in Cairo. [HG: Born in Cairo also. And he, and he married the Egyptian woman, he married in Toronto Jewish or not Jewish. And then your last sibling? And my, uh, Nelly and she,
Lilian Gozlan (00:17:06):
was married to somebody before she had two children. She went, she went to New York with her husband and the two children. Then she divorced and she came here and she married, uh, Atkins, Michael Atkins, and then she had three more children with him. So she had a big family
Henry Green (00:17:24):
And she, um, was born, you have 22, 24, 26. And what year was she born? [LG: 28] She was born 28. And, and all of you were in this, uh, the Canadian Academy in Kobe? [LG: Yes] Okay. So, um, a very small community. You celebrated Jewish holidays. You'd said, what about Shabbat? Was anything happening on Shabbat?
Lilian Gozlan (00:17:50):
Not with other people. It was just us, but we didn't have prayers. No, we didn't. I can't remember having prayers at table.
Henry Green (00:18:01):
Did your mother a light Shabbat candles?
Lilian Gozlan (00:18:04):
Yes. Candles? Yes, but not prayers. My mother would just do a little bit. We didn't know. We didn't know Hebrew [HG: and did you learn Japanese?] Yes. Japanese from my neighbors that I used to play with and everything I used to play with Japanese girls and everything. [HG: So tell me about these girls] I love Japan, the Japanese, my father used to work with these Japanese people who would take us new year. We would go to their home. He would invite all our children without him to the home for three days, the new year, dress us up and feed us and may play with us and give us everything very nice. We had a good life there. [HG: Pleasant memories?] Yes.
Henry Green (00:18:50):
And did, uh, when you went to school, did you begin wearing more Japanese clothes at all or?
Lilian Gozlan (00:18:54):
No. No, just in the holidays, the holidays. And he used, he used to, he used to dress us and give us clothes [laughs]
Henry Green (00:19:04):
And, and did these, um, your friends that lived, uh, your, your Japanese friends that lived in the neighborhood? What kind of neighborhood was it? Describe the neighbourhood.
Lilian Gozlan (00:19:15):
It was good because they used to go to school though the girl and they work really hard. The Japanese, you know, the, the children are very studious. Yeah.
Henry Green (00:19:25):
And, and we, you, uh, we remember of, uh, uh, of a club, a youth club or anything
Lilian Gozlan (00:19:33):
That was for the British. We were not British, it was difficult. You know, I'll tell you what it was though. Uh, every, uh, every Friday, I think it was every Friday afternoon. We used to congregate in one of the British homes, very wealthy homes. And we would sit and knit for the, um, for the soldiers. Yes. And we would go there and we would knit and they would give us sandwiches and tea. Yes. That I can remember. That's the only British that, that we had that,
Henry Green (00:20:10):
Um, the, the, um, what about sports? Did you play any
Lilian Gozlan (00:20:14):
Well, I used to, by bike ride with my brother, we were the two that liked sports more than the others. My older sister was very feminine. My younger one. I don't know what she did, but my brother and I were the ones who used to do the sports. [HG: And if you, you bicycled, where were you bicycle?] All over?. We used to go to the right, to the school, which was half an hour away. We would just bike ride just for the fun of it. Yeah. [HG: And it was safe to do?] Yes. Yes. There wasn't much.
Henry Green (00:20:45):
Did you feel any kind of ever discrimination because you weren't Japanese?
Lilian Gozlan (00:20:50):
No. On the contrary, they used to look up to us. Oh, [HG: why?] Because foreigners, they didn't see many foreigners. We used to go to, uh, to the place where they, uh, I forget what it's called even. We used to go to see the shows and we would get on the streetcar to go so far away the train. And everybody would look at us because we were something foreigners. Oh my goodness.
Henry Green (00:21:18):
You would become a celebrity. [LG: yes, yes]. Did. Um, so let me take you back to your house. Um, what was your bedroom like? Do you remember your bedroom?
Lilian Gozlan (00:21:31):
Well, we had a nice house. I went I saw it, even afterwards, a few years ago, I went back to Japan and I, I sold the house from the outside in the street. I'll tell you when I was young and my mother used to take us every Saturday downtown because she would take us to the hairdresser and so on with her and with the streets used to be like a like, like here, like Brewer street, if you want, we thought it was so wide and so big. And then I went back with my husband to Japan and I saw that the street was nothing. It was a small street like this. I was surprised, but I found my, I found my house. I showed my husband my house because we had a huge wall opposite, our house, some Japanese that lived there. So I found the house and everything. And I had a friend that lived close to it. Yes, yes. She still lived there, [HG: still live there and did you talk to her?] An old person. And we went in with the children. She was selling things in her house. And we went in with the children and she spoke and we took pictures with her, but I can't remember where they are. Yeah.
Henry Green (00:22:38):
So you, um, you've come back in, in, uh, 36 for the, um, um, uh, Bar Mitzvah. [LG: that's right]. And then you go back after a year to Japan. Yeah. Okay. That's 1937. And, uh, you're still at the Canadian Academy, uh, studying in school. And then there is, um, uh, uh,
Lilian Gozlan (00:23:06):
The war started after.
Henry Green (00:23:07):
So tell me about what's, how-
Lilian Gozlan (00:23:09):
The war started in Europe. So then my father was afraid. So he said we have to go back to Egypt because he didn't know there was already a war, you know, with the Chinese, but that has nothing to do with us before my father used to go to Shanghai all the time to buy things and do things all the time he was buying. But then there was the war. So he said, we have to go back to, to J- to Egypt. And we went to, um, we went to Hong Kong. My father did business there too. He bought a lot of things. He bought, uh, I can remember one thing he bought, he bought, um, needles for the, um, for the sewing machines. And then the wall came and that became very expensive because they hadn't been sent yet. He bought it, you know, gave the money to a Chinese and he bought them.
Lilian Gozlan (00:24:01):
And then the war came. And of course the Chinese man wouldn't give back the money, or anything and took the things for himself. And my father lost so much weight that day. I can't tell you he was so upset [laughs], but anyway, we were in the Peninsula Hotel. So that doesn't matter. [HG: So you're in the Peninsula Hotel] and then the Japanese came and the Japanese came and took Hong Kong. So when they took Hong Kong, my father spoke Japanese fluently. So he was translating for them when they came in. So they, it was dangerous in Hong Kong. At that time, they took us to, to, uh, to the Island. We were down, we were in the, in the I, they took us to the Island of Hong Kong. We were on the peninsula part, you know, the other part. So they took us to, to the hotel in Hong Kong. And then when they, when they, when it was finished, that they took the place, they took us back to the Peninsula Hotel that they were nice about.
Lilian Gozlan (00:25:00):
And we lived in the peninsula hotel with the Japanese, [HG: for how long?] Through the whole war. [HG: Through the whole war. Yeah. And what did you do during these years? You were a teenager] reading, reading. We read, we read a lot and we had a, I hate to tell you what we ate because you would be shocked. [HG: What did you eat?] We were, we had, no, we were, we had not much money, you know? So we had to take care. We used to make soup out of, um, lettuce and garlic and drink the soup. Yeah. [HG: No meat, no fish] Well, very little. We had one chicken that the, the, the guy who took my father's money, he used to give us one chicken once a year [HG laughs] for the new year. Because we weren't eating at the hotel. We lived in the hotel, but we had to get our own food.
Lilian Gozlan (00:25:56):
They wouldn't feed us. So my mother was selling whatever jewelry she had. She went and she was selling it for us to eat. Yes. [HG: How did your father, your mother's sold jewelry. How did your father make any money? How did they-] No. We were selling jewelry? [HG: Just selling what you had] Yes. [The Japanese didn't take it from you] No, no. That they didn't do. We were lucky because when we went to register, Egypt had declared war. So we were, they were going to take us to the, uh, to the concentration camps, whatever camps they had there. But the girls who had worked at the registration camp were half Portuguese, half Chinese. So they know Spanish. So when they saw the name Carmona, they told my father, put those passports back in your pocket and just say Spanish origin. And that's how we stayed out. That's how we didn't go to a, to camp. We stayed in the hotel. [HG: And, uh, you read, you said] there was one floor of the hotel that they gave to these foreigners, like us. There was a German woman who was a doctor and she took care of us. If we had anything, she would take care of us. So she was on the same floor as us and [HG: so there were other nationals]. Yes. We had one floor in the hotel that they gave to us. The ones who were not enemies. Yeah.
Henry Green (00:27:20):
And did they know you were Jewish?
Lilian Gozlan (00:27:23):
Well, it didn't bother them. It didn't, they didn't even ask.
Henry Green (00:27:26):
So you didn't have any fear about that at all. Um, but on the other hand you weren't saying I'm Jewish. You were
Lilian Gozlan (00:27:34):
No. I mean to who do [inaudibile]? Oh, yes. To, to the other nationals. They all knew even the German woman knew we were Jewish. It didn't make a difference. No.
Henry Green (00:27:45):
And what kind of books were you reading? And in what language?
Lilian Gozlan (00:27:49):
English. We got, we got friendly with an old man who had a bookstore and he would lend us the books and we'd give them back and we'd invite him to our place for whatever we had to eat. And he would eat with us. It didn't matter. He would come and eat. So he was lending us books all the time.
Henry Green (00:28:07):
And what favorite books did you read? [LG: I can't remember] Do you remember any of the books you read[ LG: not at all], any, any of the, uh, any, uh, during that period, there would have been, you know, some books with a girl themes. Do you remember?
Lilian Gozlan (00:28:20):
I don't remember. I know that when we went to Hong Kong, we put my younger sister at school, but then she had to get out because of the war It stopped, you know, and then she got out. But, but that was it. And then I, I must tell you that when the war finished, we were taken back by the British on a, on a, on a, on a warship, back to Egypt, back to Egypt. Oh yes. The British took us back because of our Egyptian passports.
Henry Green (00:28:48):
So, so you're, you have Spanish, you have Egyptian [laughs]?
Lilian Gozlan (00:28:53):
Yeah. My father had, my father got an Egyptian passport. He, he became Egyptian in, in Egypt. It was very rare for, for somebody to become Egypt, but that he became Egyptian
Henry Green (00:29:03):
And how did he do that? [LG: I don't know. I don't know] So you're you, so you're, you are Egyptian then also? [LG: we were] You were Egyptian. So after the war, which is, what year is this now? 1945. When did you go back? 1945? [LG: I guess (laughs)] Well, I'm just thinking the war ends
Lilian Gozlan (00:29:27):
We went after the war, I got married at 49. I was there for two years that I met my husband.
Henry Green (00:29:31):
So you go back to Egypt now, did your father have any, uh, assets? Did he have an apartment? Did he have a home in.
Lilian Gozlan (00:29:37):
We went to my grandparents’ apartment. [HG: So you went back to your grandparents] It's a very big apartment, very big.
Henry Green (00:29:42):
So your grandparents lived during,
Lilian Gozlan (00:29:45):
They were, they weren't alive anymore, but my uncle was there. [HG: Your uncle was there?] Yeah. My uncle was there. Yeah.
Henry Green (00:29:51):
In, in their apartment.
Lilian Gozlan (00:29:53):
Henry Green (00:29:54):
So you went in and lived with the,
Lilian Gozlan (00:29:55):
with the uncle, with uncle.
Henry Green (00:29:57):
So you, you have three siblings, one stayed in Japan. Married. You had?
Lilian Gozlan (00:30:04):
Yes, No, she, she, she came to Canada.
Henry Green (00:30:08):
She came to Canada after the war. She comes to Canada.
Lilian Gozlan (00:30:10):
She came to Canada.
Henry Green (00:30:12):
Lilian Gozlan (00:30:13):
to Toronto. [HG: And which one was that?] The oldest sister. [HG: the oldest sister] And then my youngest sister who divorced, came to Canada too. [HG: From Japan?] From, from the States, [HG: from the States] she was in New York. [HG: She was in New York]
Henry Green (00:30:25):
Okay. So when you go back with your parents and your brother, right to Egypt, did your brother join you back to Egypt?
Lilian Gozlan (00:30:33):
Yes. He came back and my sister, my younger sister too. We all went back to Egypt.
Henry Green (00:30:38):
you all went back and you're all living now in your grandfather's apartment?
Lilian Gozlan (00:30:42):
Henry Green (00:30:43):
Okay. So this is after the war? [LG: Yes] And you're now, uh, after the war, you're 1924, 34. So you're in your twenties already? Your early twenties? [LG: I got married at 25, I think] At 25. [LG: Yeah] So how did you meet your husband
Lilian Gozlan (00:31:00):
At a picnic? [HG: At a picnic] At a picnic, a Jewish picnic. And, uh, he had a cousin who spoke, who spoke a British cousin. She, she was British, supposedly. Anyway, she spoke English and French. So he met me and she would translate from my English to, for him to do his French.
Henry Green (00:31:23):
And you, you were, you weren't able to speak French then?
Lilian Gozlan (00:31:26):
Well, at my French was, I told you, I, I learned French by reading the paper everyday after that. But at first, no, I spoke English. So for him it was like a celebrity [laughs].
Henry Green (00:31:42):
And where you met your husband at a picnic? It was at a Jewish club.
Lilian Gozlan (00:31:47):
It was, there was a Jewish picnic.
Henry Green (00:31:49):
It was a Jewish picnic and a Jewish club or
Lilian Gozlan (00:31:51):
A we, you know, it's far from Cairo. Yeah. But I don't know what the, what the, I don't know what that club is.
Henry Green (00:32:00):
Do you remember the area, your uncles, your grandfather's apartment and your, do you remember the area that, that was, in.
Lilian Gozlan (00:32:05):
That was near the synagogue, Ali Basha [ph] yes, that's right, right close to the synagogue.
Henry Green (00:32:09):
And what did your father do then when he came back to Egypt? What, what, what kind of the same business as before or?
Lilian Gozlan (00:32:15):
He didn't do anything finished, when we went back, first of all, my father got a, we used to go to the, um, to, uh, to Ras el Bar which was a place for, you know, for the summer and take a place there. He was with us and, and with the children, you know, and then we were there one day and he found something and it was cancer. And he lived six months after that. So
Henry Green (00:32:42):
Do you remember the year he passed or roughly when he passed your fatherr? When he passed your father, do you remember the year?
Lilian Gozlan (00:32:50):
When he passed away? [HG: Yeah] we, uh, he was still, [overlap]he was still there. No, he was in Japan when we, Oh, he went back to Japan. He was in Japan. When we got married, [HG: he was in Japan]. Yes. He went back to Japan for business. [laughs] Don't ask me, I guess he wassending something still to my uncle. My uncle was still in the business. So he went back to Japan by himself with my sister was still in Japan. So he went back to Japan and he was sending things to my now I remember to my uncle. Yes.
Henry Green (00:33:27):
What was the name of the business? Do you remember the actual name of it?
Speaker 5 (00:33:32):
Lilian Gozlan (00:33:33):
It was probably Carmona.
Henry Green (00:33:36):
Your, your mother is still continued living in Egypt then. in the, uh, in the, uh,
Lilian Gozlan (00:33:43):
Yes, no. My mother was in Egypt and then we came to, uh, Canada and we brought her to Canada.
Henry Green (00:33:51):
Okay. But you, but now when they, when you meet your husband and your husband's name is?
Lilian Gozlan (00:33:59):
Roger. Yes. My mother was with us. My mother was at the wedding, but not my father.
Henry Green (00:34:04):
When you met your, your, your husband, your husband, what is his background? Where is where's his parents from? Were they born in Egypt?
Lilian Gozlan (00:34:14):
I think they were, they were born in Egypt, but I think that, that, uh, they came from Tunis, Tunisia,
Henry Green (00:34:21):
So they were Tunisian Yeah. So I'm just trying to get a sense. Um, and help me here. So-
Lilian Gozlan (00:34:27):
I know that w before we left, he went to the Fre-. When the children were born, it was at the French consulate that he was doing the, their, uh, birth, uh, birth birth certificates.
Henry Green (00:34:42):
So your, so your husband, Roger was
Lilian Gozlan (00:34:44):
Was really Fre- you know, Tunisia, but French, I think his father was French.
Henry Green (00:34:48):
So he had a Tunisian passport or French? French passport?
Lilian Gozlan (00:34:51):
Yeah. No, I had a Tunisian with a French thing on it. I don't know.
Henry Green (00:34:56):
Tunisian with, well, because, um, you said you were married. What year are you married? [LG: 1949] So Tunisia is still a colony of France at that point? [LG: Yes]. And your children, your children, what are their names? [LG: Alan and Manel. And Sharon] And Alan is born. When, what year? [LG: Uh, 53]. And I'm the second one? Manel is-
Lilian Gozlan (00:35:19):
In 55. [LG: and the thrid one?] And Sharon was 61 because she was born here.
Henry Green (00:35:24):
So the first two are born in Cairo. [LG: Yes]And when you re, when your, when your husband registers them is through the French, [LG: From the French embassy] From the French embassy? [LG: Yes] Tunisia is still being colony of France, but your father was Egyptian. So [LG: Yes, my father was Egyptian] Was your mother Egyptian?
Lilian Gozlan (00:35:47):
Yes. My father had Egyptian passports for the family. That's before I got married.
Henry Green (00:35:53):
Before you got married, after you got married, the Egyptian pass- your hus, Roger didn't have an Egyptian passport?
Lilian Gozlan (00:35:59):
No, no. We left, we left we left Egypt with his passport,
Henry Green (00:36:05):
With his French passport. Okay. So now you're okay. So you're married in 1949 and, and, uh, uh, you don't leave, you said, till till, uh, [LG: 56] 56. So you now have seven years living, um, married life in, in, in Egypt and Cairo. And where did you live then? [LG: Ali Pasha] In your uncles? The same uh? And, and what did Roger do for a business
Lilian Gozlan (00:36:33):
Jewelry, His father was a jeweler. [HG: ah, his father was a jeweler?] Yes. And he, they opened ea store before we left . He was there or they opened a beautiful store and all that went, they took it
Henry Green (00:36:47):
Where was the store and where, where was the store in the,
Lilian Gozlan (00:36:50):
what was the street? Roger? I don't know that the, the streets was just one street after at the Ali Pasha, but I don't remember what the street name was.
Henry Green (00:36:58):
And so you're at home, what language did you speak with Roger? What would be your language? [LG: French] French. French. And did you have help in the house?
Lilian Gozlan (00:37:06):
Oh, yes. Men, man, [HG: a man] a man, and a girl for the children
Henry Green (00:37:13):
And a girl for the the children. And were they Muslims? [LG: and they lived upstairs?] They lived upstairs. [LG: I mean, the man lived upstairs, the girl lived in the bedroom with the, with the children. I mean, she lived in] And what language did you speak to the men? Arabic. And were they Muslim or Christian? [LG: Oh, they were Muslim. They were Muslim [LG: but there was no nothing prayers. I mean.] And so when, um, uh, did, um, your mother lived with you too during this time? Did your mother live in the [LG: yes. When we went back, we were all together] All together? [LG: Yes] Okay. So, so now you, your kids are growing up and, uh, what school did they? Did your children go to, did Alan go to school at all or? [LG: No, not till we went to Paris][LG: not you went to, as soon as we went to Paris, they went to school, both of them] So uh, you spoke to your children in what language? French,
Lilian Gozlan (00:38:09):
French. They spoke French beautifully till they came here and they were with their cousins for a week and the French was gone and they were English [laughs], beautiful French, the beautiful French went. I can't tell you what it was like.
Henry Green (00:38:25):
So in Cairo, uh, in these seven years, between 49 and 56, uh, your, your husband's working in the jewelry store and, and you're at home. And, uh, and, uh, so, and you, did you celebrate, for example, Passover in your home with your children? And what was, can you tell me about that? What would that be? Like?
Lilian Gozlan (00:38:48):
We just celebrated, we didn't have any of these prayers and things. We didn't do all that. I don't know. I guess we did the, like, we do it, but it's not much [HG: right. No, no. I'm just trying to get a sense] it's just the books, you know, you just read the books and around and that's it
Henry Green (00:39:04):
I understand. And what about, what about, um, cooking again? Is, was it still yellow chicken or [LG: all kinds of things, but] so do, at this point, were you cooking the meals too, at that point who was doing the cooking? [LG: My mother, my mother] or your mother was [laughs]. Okay. So what happened, uh, in terms of, um, uh, 1950s? Well, okay. You're there. You, you come back in 1949, 47. Okay. Israel is created in 1948. Do you remember anything about
Lilian Gozlan (00:39:43):
Nothing happened. We had, when we had the Jewish holidays in Egypt and we would go to the synagogue that we used to do, you know? And, uh, the Gamal Abdel Nasser used to come to the synagogue on Yom Kippur and stand next to the Rabbi. Yes. And we know that everything you need in Cairo, the banks, everything, it became, everything was closed. Everything was quiet because the Jews weren't working. It was quite different.
Henry Green (00:40:15):
This was, uh, in, um, well, let, let me just historically go back here. 1948 Israel was created and there, there was no sense.
Lilian Gozlan (00:40:24):
No, nothing. It was still the same. Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing at all.
Henry Green (00:40:29):
You didn't feel like this [LG: No] negative because a lot of Jews left at that time?
Lilian Gozlan (00:40:34):
No, not till they did the war in 56.
Henry Green (00:40:37):
So do you know people who left in 1948 Egypt?
Lilian Gozlan (00:40:40):
Yes. My husband knows, but I wouldn't know, but my husband said there were people who left and we were going to leave. And then, uh, I think his father made us come back or something may, said no.
Henry Green (00:40:52):
And what, okay. So Nasser comes to power. Were you, uh, what was, do you remember that at all when he came to power? [LG: There was nothing wrong] There was no kind, what about businesses? Uh, Jews weren't able to, uh, have business, you know, be the owners?
Lilian Gozlan (00:41:07):
No. No, but I'm telling you, my husband had a jewelry store and everything. No, no. Everything was good. It's only that 56. [HG: Okay. So what happened in 56?] When they, the, uh, the French and the Jews and the British, when they wanted to do the Suez canal, that was, that was the part. [HG: And what happened then?] What happened? They were going, they were, uh, there was, uh, the lights had to be out and they were going after the Jews. That's when we got scared.
Henry Green (00:41:40):
And do you, um, uh, when saying, coming after the Jews, did people know you were Jewish?
Lilian Gozlan (00:41:44):
Everything changed, everything changed yes [HG: so can you give me some examples?] Well, they had to, uh, they were afraid even in the store, you know, so they had to close the store because we had to leave. We were expulsated. They told us that we had to leave everything, except our clothes. We were allowed to take our clothes with us.
Henry Green (00:42:06):
And how much time did they give you to do that?
Lilian Gozlan (00:42:09):
Uh, I don't think it was much, but we left everything. We didn't care.
Henry Green (00:42:14):
You didn't, you didn't.
Lilian Gozlan (00:42:16):
We left everything. We left the whole apartment, everything. Nothing.
Henry Green (00:42:19):
Were you worried for your children? Were you scared?
Lilian Gozlan (00:42:23):
Yes. We just wanted to get out. Yeah.
Henry Green (00:42:26):
You just wanted to get out. Do you remember, um, uh, bombs or hearing noise of fighting or anything?
Lilian Gozlan (00:42:32):
Yes. There were, there was fighting and all in the streets, but, uh, we had nothing to do with it.
Henry Green (00:42:39):
Did you, would you shut your window as well?
Lilian Gozlan (00:42:41):
Oh, we were in blackout. [HG: In blackout] Yeah.
Henry Green (00:42:47):
And what, how would you get food or different things during the day then?
Lilian Gozlan (00:42:50):
It didn't last long. I don't think that, uh, I think it didn't last long. That story of 56, you know?
Henry Green (00:42:59):
And so how did you leave? How did you, uh, find, how do you, do you have to get passports or papers? Or
Lilian Gozlan (00:43:05):
My mother-in-law had, uh, a very good friend, uh, high up and he arranged for us, even he came right to the airport with us, you know, for us to get out and everything. Yes.
Henry Green (00:43:22):
So you flew from Cairo to Paris and, um, and you had, what? One suitcase, what did you have with you?
Lilian Gozlan (00:43:31):
Oh, three or four. Uh, a big suitcase. Big ones, you know? Yeah.
Henry Green (00:43:38):
Was your husband able to take any jewelry with him?
Lilian Gozlan (00:43:42):
The only thing that we tried to hide, I hid my ring in the, in a hem and so on, but we could, we couldn't take much. No.
Henry Green (00:43:51):
Did you, we were able to hide other things at all, or
Lilian Gozlan (00:43:55):
Henry Green (00:43:56):
What did, what, what did your children take anything special?
Lilian Gozlan (00:44:01):
No. [HG: So you] we, we even arrived in Paris and, and they stole a lot of our things. You know, the French, they went through our suitcases and stole what they wanted and so on.
Henry Green (00:44:15):
And what happened to your, the jewelry business?
Lilian Gozlan (00:44:20):
We just left it and it's continued to work, but not for us. They kept the store open. I don't know. The Egyptians took it.
Henry Green (00:44:28):
And what about your, your, your apartment?
Henry Green (00:44:32):
And [LG: we don't know what happened. We left it. That's all. We just went out] and you never tried after [LG: we walked out. That's all]? So you, you come to Paris? [LG: Yeah] And what happens in Paris?
Lilian Gozlan (00:44:47):
Because he had a brother there. So we stayed there and made, pa- the, waited for the papers to be able to go to, to come to Canada.
Henry Green (00:44:55):
And, uh, in Paris. Do you remember where you stayed?
Lilian Gozlan (00:44:58):
Oh, yes. Well, we stayed outside Paris in Bondi,
Henry Green (00:45:01):
in Bondi [sneeze]. And, and, um, and how long were you there for?
Lilian Gozlan (00:45:08):
I think eight months.
Henry Green (00:45:10):
And do the kids go to school at all or?
Lilian Gozlan (00:45:12):
Yes. Alan and Manel, both went, [LG: both, went to] she went to, uh, even kindergarten, I don't know, it was so cute [laughs].
Henry Green (00:45:23):
Do you have any photos of her going to school?
Lilian Gozlan (00:45:27):
[laughs] I think I showed him a couple of pictures they're up there.
Henry Green (00:45:31):
and, and, um, of course they spoke French, so [LG: yes. Fluent. Fluent French Yeah]. And, and, uh, it was a public school or was it a-
Lilian Gozlan (00:45:40):
Because we spoke to them in French, even in, in, uh, Egypt, once they were born, we were speaking French all the time. We weren't speaking English. [HG: Uh huh And the, the, the, um, it wasn't a private school They went to, it was a public school] I don't know what school it was. It was public. Of course we didn't pay anything. They just went. [HG: And, and, um, because your husband had a French passport] Yes. [HG: Uh, did he get special privileges compared to other Jews who might be coming] where? [HG: to France?]
Henry Green (00:46:16):
Did you know other Egyptian Jews who were coming to France? [LG: I have no idea. No idea] No idea. So you're eight months and then you go to Canada. Why? Canada?
Lilian Gozlan (00:46:26):
Because I had a sister here.
Henry Green (00:46:28):
and which sister was this again?
Lilian Gozlan (00:46:30):
My older sister was here.
Henry Green (00:46:32):
This is the one that went to the States.
Lilian Gozlan (00:46:35):
No. My younger sister went to the States that was different. [HG: The older sister] the older sister from Japan came straight to here because they, after the war, they did the, the business of, uh, the tennis business. I forget what it's called, yeah they were. They were selling, uh, tennis balls and rackets and things from, they had a big business in Japan after the war. [HG: And they came to Toronto] And she came to here, yes. [HG: Do you know what year she came? In the fif sometime in the fifties, or] I guess so.
Henry Green (00:47:10):
So you're you leave in 56. And then in 57, you come to Toronto? [LG: Yeah. She's already here] She's already here. Yeah. And when you come, did, uh, any organization help you at all? Like JIAS, the Jewish immigrant aid society or anything? So how did you, how you, uh, where did you get the money to pay for the tickets? Did your sister help you?
Lilian Gozlan (00:47:34):
No, we had money. I had a bit of money on us. I mean, we did have a bit of money. I don't know how Roger got it, but he got money.
Henry Green (00:47:42):
So you don't know how, if Roger took money out through the banks or whatever you
Lilian Gozlan (00:47:47):
Oh, no, we couldn't go to the banks, but he must have had money because we bought the tickets and came out
Henry Green (00:47:53):
And okay. You come to Toronto. And where do you live in Toronto when you first arrived?
Lilian Gozlan (00:48:00):
That's a good story. When we first arrived, my sister had two apartments, one opposite, the other, I think we stayed with her for a for, just, just when we came. But then we took an apartment in Lord Seaton. We lived on our own, we had an apartment. [HG: And the, uh, your children went to school?] Yes, we were at Lord Seaton? So I don't know what school that was. Do you remember when we were to Lord Seaton, do you remember what school?
Henry Green (00:48:37):
Okay. And you then stayed there for a while. And did you move somewhere else after a while? Or
Lilian Gozlan (00:48:43):
After that? We went to, uh, Wilson Avenue, Wilson and, um, yeah, between Yonge and Bayview. That's when they went to the other school, uh, York Mills School, York Mills. We went to York, Yeah. We were on York Mills and not Wilson. York Mills. And they went to York, York Mills School there.
Henry Green (00:49:01):
And Roger, what kind of, did he go back to the jewelry business? What did he do?
Lilian Gozlan (00:49:05):
Yes. He started the jewelry business,
Henry Green (00:49:08):
So he started another business again. And did he-
Lilian Gozlan (00:49:12):
Well, first he started to work for some people and then, um, he went on his own [HG: and then he went on his own] It didn't take long [laughs]. No, he's not made to work for other people. He's too smart for that [laughs].
Henry Green (00:49:32):
You, uh, were, um, a mother, a housewife during this period. [LG: That's all] And did you belong, did you join any Jewish clubs or any, any other clubs? Did you become active in the community?
Lilian Gozlan (00:49:47):
Well, once Roger's business became good. First of all, at first, nothing, you know, it, uh, at first we were nothing, but when Roger's business became good, then a friend of his, you know, whoever his lawyer, I dunno, who told him, Oh, you have to join Oakdale. What do you mean? You're not at, so he put us, he made us join Oakdale and that's how the whole family's at Oakdale.
Henry Green (00:50:12):
And, and, um, you're uh, and Alan, your oldest, did you have a Bar Mitzvah?
Lilian Gozlan (00:50:19):
Yes. Catered by me, [HG: catered by you? ]Yes. Ask him catered by me. Th the dinner, the lunch, and the next day with all his friends from school? Yes. Everything was catered by me. [HG: And what synagogue was it?] What was that? Synagogue? We went to the one on Bathurst and what? Viewmount. Yeah.
Henry Green (00:50:39):
So Alan, you said was born in 53, I think you said. So this would have been a 66, 67. And on Bathurst and Viewmount? Uh, I know that synagogue, uh, I, uh, my, my, uh, my aunt lived on Viewmount, so, uh, around the corner. Yeah. So, um, so the, did you, uh, did, did, did you go to synagogue? Is that where you went for? Uh, a Rosh Hashanah or high Holy day?
Lilian Gozlan (00:51:17):
Yes. First we went to Viewmount. Afterwards. I don't know how we went to Beth Tzedek. I have no idea.
Henry Green (00:51:24):
And so later it was Beth Tzedek. [LG: Yeah] And did you, um, did you become involved in any, uh, Mmm, Jewish organizations or a?
Lilian Gozlan (00:51:37):
Oh Hadassha, okay, Hadassah.
Henry Green (00:51:43):
What about other non Jewish organizations? Like the ballet or the opera or? [LG: No. No, no] And, and, um, and your, um, what about Israel? Did you ever visit Israel?
Lilian Gozlan (00:51:57):
Oh, yes. We went to see our cousins and all, many times. And Roger used to go there for business, he went to Israel for business too.
Henry Green (00:52:05):
When did he begin to go to Israel? Do you remember how far back?
Background speaker (00:52:10):
67. [HG: After the six day war] actually before and during, even.
Henry Green (00:52:14):
He went during the six day wars? And can someone tell me that story? ...
Lilian Gozlan (00:52:27):
He used to see all the, Oh, the soldiers parading and so on. Roger saw a lot of that in Israel,
Henry Green (00:52:37):
but why would he go to Israel? Uh, during this conflict?
Lilian Gozlan (00:52:42):
I don't know. He used to do business. [HG: Did your husband deal with] he was buying diamonds, diamonds, diamonds, all over the place, Amsterdam and Israel. [HGL And you're, and did did Roger make the settings for the diamonds? Would he buy the raw diamonds and then make settings?] Yes. Yes. He was making jewelry. [HG: He was making jewelry]
Lilian Gozlan (00:53:09):
They became quite big Gozlan brothers. [HG: Gozlan brothers] and they went bankrupt.
Background speaker (00:53:15):
I can tell you, but I don't want on camera, but I can tell you,
Henry Green (00:53:18):
so just speak, speak. You won't be on camera.
Background speaker (00:53:20):
Okay. So what happened is my father went to Israel in 1965 and used to go once or twice a year. And then he, he, because he would do business with the diamond dealers outside Tel Aviv, and then even in 1967, just after the six day war, he had a trip planned and he didn't cancel it. He went there and all the people in the diamond exchange were all dressed in military garb with all of their insignias on it. And they were still doing business, but they were doing business in military guard, like, uh, no one, uh, took heed, I mean, they, they had been in the army for those six or seven days or whatever, but it became business as usual. And the economy had to be started very quickly again, because they didn't want to lose the momentum, uh, that they had lost during that short time during the war,
Lilian Gozlan (00:54:18):
He knows more than I do see. [BS: No, I just asked dad].
Henry Green (00:54:22):
So when, when you, uh, when your husband Roger would go, were you worried at all that he would be going to Israel or these places?
Lilian Gozlan (00:54:30):
No, because I went to Israel a few, a few times too, with him.
Henry Green (00:54:34):
after that, or after 60 after 67? [LG: after 67, yeah]
Henry Green (00:54:39):
And when you would go to Israel, uh, what are your memories of Israel? Do you have some memories, early memories of Israel when you would go?
Lilian Gozlan (00:54:46):
Well, it's just like being a tourist, that we used to go to the best hotel and, and we used to see my, all my, the family that we had, actually, my cousin, one of my cousins, no, one of my nephews was the manager of that big hotel. I forget what that hotel was called even [background speaker: the Dan, I think] I don't know. I can't remember.
Henry Green (00:55:09):
So your your nephew. So that means your your sister's child, your,
Lilian Gozlan (00:55:17):
Oh, it was a cousin, not a nephew. It was my cousin, actually. It was my aunt's son yes. It's a cousin. [HG: Have they come your aunt's son? So was your aunt from Egypt?] Yes, my mother's family was only in Egypt. I used to see them a lot. When I went back to Egypt, I was very friendly with all my mother's family, but she didn't have her mother or her father. She had all her sisters. [HG: And so you were friendly with them] Oh, yes. And my cousins. I loved them all. [HG: And you used to play with them?] Oh, yes. o why I used to be with [HG: and this was when you went back, when you went] when I went back after the war, [HG: after the war and your aunt and your cousins, did they leave Egypt also?] Yes. That's when that's, when they went to Israel [HG: and they, this is 1956?] I think they left. Well, we all left at the same time. [HG: So they went to Israel? And you went to Canada?] Yes. They went to, we went to Paris and to Canada, but they all went to Israel. [HG: And why did they go to Israel?] Because they had, they had nowhere else to go. [HG: They had nowhere else to go] I think the, they, they went to the HIAS or something get them there. I don't know. Yeah.
Henry Green (00:56:27):
I see. So part of your family then your mother's family ended up living in Israel. [LG: all of them went there] And what about your father and your, your, um, your father had, uh, other brothers and sisters?
Lilian Gozlan (00:56:39):
Uh, his younger brother went to South America. He went to, uh, is it Argentina or Venezuela? I dunno. He went to, he went to South America, [HG: South America?] Yeah. And the older one, I think he went to Europe. I don't know.
Henry Green (00:56:59):
And what about your, your Roger, your, your, your husband's, he did he have brothers or sisters?
Lilian Gozlan (00:57:05):
That's the, the brothers, sons went to Israel. [HG: They went] they went to Israel. They were in the kibbutz. We went and visited them in the kibbutz and everything. Yes. Both, both sons. He had two sons, his brother had two sons. They went to the, to Israel. We went to the kibbutz to visit them.
Henry Green (00:57:22):
Now, you, you said you used to, uh, play with the, uh, the aunts and their children and everything.
Lilian Gozlan (00:57:28):
My cousins [HG: were they] because they were not in Cai- They weren't in Cairo. They were in Heliopolis, which is like a yes. So, and I used to go there and I would play with them and stay with them and everything. Well, you were so young, you know, we would talk and we'd just have fun.
Henry Green (00:57:46):
And in, um, uh, and were any of this side of the family involved in Zionism at all or anything?
Lilian Gozlan (00:57:53):
They all went to, uh, South America. My cousins. [overlap] Those are, those went to South America. [HG: the ones in Heliopolis] The ones in Heliopolis went to South America? Yes. She got married. One of them got married and, and they were in the carpet business, I think in South America. Yeah.
Henry Green (00:58:13):
So let me ask you some, uh, some final questions. Um, is there any part of your, uh, you said you, you, you told me that your family came from Spain and, and this long heritage. Yes. Um, is there anything, uh, what do you preserve now of Sephardi heritage? What would you say that you preserve now of your Sephardi heritage?
Lilian Gozlan (00:58:36):
It's just that I feel Spanish, whichever way I, whatever. Anyone asks me any question, I say I'm Spanish [laughs]. I feel Spanish.
Henry Green (00:58:48):
So if, if one asked you what your identity would be, what would you say
Lilian Gozlan (00:58:53):
I'd say I'm Spanish?.I tell everybody I'm Spanish.
Henry Green (00:58:56):
Would you, would you say you also, uh, Egyptian or Canadian or
Lilian Gozlan (00:59:02):
Well I am Canadian now.
Henry Green (00:59:03):
Do you say that, do you identify yourself by that way?
Lilian Gozlan (00:59:07):
Canadian, it's going to be 60 years there we're here you know, it's no joke.
Henry Green (00:59:15):
What do you consider yourself a refugee? Uh, or how do you consider yourself
Lilian Gozlan (00:59:22):
That we came? Yes. I think first we would, I would say that.
Henry Green (00:59:28):
And, and then as time continued, your, your thinking changes or?
Lilian Gozlan (00:59:34):
Yeah, it was actually, when we got married, my husband wanted, uh, wanted to leave Egypt. Anyway, we were going to go to Cuba and then it fell through, he was, he was going to do something there and it fell through. So we didn't go to Cuba. So we were happy to come to Canada.
Henry Green (00:59:52):
Well, both begin with a C. Um, where do you consider home?
Lilian Gozlan (00:59:58):
Henry Green (01:00:00):
And what identity do you want to pass onto your children?
Lilian Gozlan (01:00:07):
Humble is the first thing, you know, because we went through a lot and yeah, we can't think a lot of ourselves at all with what we went through, you know, to me, I consider everybody the same and I don't want to worry about anything at my age. You don't want to worry about anything anymore.
Henry Green (01:00:34):
Have you ever, um, you said you went, you went back to Egypt. Uh, no. Japan, you went back [LG: no, never went to Egypt, but just to Japan a few times] but never back to Egypt.
Henry Green (01:00:47):
So let me ask you one last question. Anyone who listens to this interview, what message would you like to give to them?
Lilian Gozlan (01:00:56):
That we're all equal in this world? I mean, we shouldn't think of people, you know, anyone being different because we're all, we're all the same. We all go through things in our lives, you know, life is not easy [laughs]
Henry Green (01:01:12):
So I want to thank you very much for taking the time.
Henry Green (01:01:15):
Oh, thank you. Oh, this is different for me. It's very difficult [laughs].
Lilian Gozlan (01:01:18):
Oh, it was very good. Thank you so much [laughter]