Portraits From a Bygone Istanbul: Georg Mayer and Simon Brod

This book recounts the tale of Georg Mayer and Simon Brod, two legendary Jewish businessmen who lived and worked in Istanbul in the first half of the twentieth century, in a world that has long since vanished in all but memory. Both men were Ashkenazi Jews operating within a largely Sephardic cultural sphere. Mayer was the founder of one of several pioneers in bringing the department store to Istanbul (and, by extension, to Turkey). For his part, Brod was one of the leading 'Sultanhamam' textile merchants, but apart from this he is remembered among the Jewish population as the person who, during the Second World War, devoted his own energies and resources to assisting Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Europe for Palestine. By tracking down a great number of otherwise overlooked written and oral sources the author has succeeded not only in rescuing these men's stories from oblivion, but in the process has also brought to life for us both the central characters and the era in which they lived.

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