Tahrir Square has been in the news as the focal point for Egypt’s ‘Arab Spring’ revolutions. But how many people know that the imposing buildings around it were once home to Cairo’s wealthy Jews ? In an extraordinary five-page feature published on 12 July in the Weekend Supplement of the Hebrew newspaper Yediot Ahronot titled “That was my house “(no link available), Ronen Bergman explores the highly sensitive question of property and assets seized without compensation from Jews in Egypt. The list is not exhaustive (with thanks: Levana):
That’s my house you’re living in… or mansion, or palace. Partial list of Jewish properties around Tahrir Square
Joseph Nissim‘s home on the banks of the Nile: Now the residence of the Russian ambassador. The site houses the modern Russian embassy.
Victor Castro‘s palace: now Jehan Sadat’s residence. Egyptian government property.
Emile Zikov‘s house – now the Pakistani embassy.
Isaac Abdo‘s house: the merchant’s home is now the South Korean embassy.
The home of the Zuckerman family. Now the Swiss embassy.
Maurice Cattaoui‘s home. Now the German embassy.
Ovadia Salem‘s house. The home of the manager of the Chemla department store is today the Canadian embassy.
Guido Levy‘s house. Today the Dutch embassy.
Moise Cattaoui‘s house. Today the Great Library of Cairo.
Henri Curiel‘s house. Today the Algerian embassy.
The Castro family house. Today the embassy of Bahrain.
The Rollo family house. Formerly the US embassy. Now in private hands.
Salvatore Cicurel‘s house. Became a stock exchange and events hall. Now part of the US embassy.
The Chemla, Ades, Benzion, Levy, Cicurel, Orosdi Bak department stores still exist, but are owned by the Egyptian government.