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The Greek roots of Patrick Modiano

09 October 2014 / 23:10:40  GRReporter
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The French writer Patrick Modiano is the latest winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was born in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt, but his family roots lay in Thessaloniki until the beginning of World War II.

The Modiano family were Sephardic Jews who settled in Thessaloniki in 1492 after having been expelled from Spain by the Alhambra Decree. Some of the writer's ancestors were rabbis in Thessaloniki synagogue.

Modiano left the city a unique cultural and architectural heritage. Their presence can be found in various places in Thessaloniki, but the most famous among them is the covered market, known as the Stoa Modiano (Modiano Bazaar). The market is named after its creator - engineer Eli Modiano who built it in 1922.

The city also has another arcade that bears the surname of the writer - Stoa Saul Modiano. Saul Modiano was probably the richest Jew in Thessaloniki. Initially, the bazaar was built with the idea of it ​​serving as a shopping centre at the time. The construction lasted between 1867 and 1881. The great fire in the city in 1917 badly damaged the building, which was restored in 1929 pursuant to the plan of another Modiano - Carl.

According to Greek media, the descendants of the family now scattered throughout the world gather in Thessaloniki every two years. Thus, they pay homage to their ancestors, promote ties between them and show younger members of the family where their family history started.

Tags: Literature Nobel Prize Patrick Modiano Thessaloniki Sephardic Jews Modiano family
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