Wednesday 13 April 2016. 7pm Central Synagogue, 36, Hallam St, London W1W 6NW. “He was the only foreigner who came to the country, brought his own money and did good to the country” so said the exiled Egyptian King Fuad. It is a fitting epitaph to an Iraqi-Jewish cotton trader from Manchester named Joseph Smouha.
In a city where the Jewish community today is down to five Jews, Smouha’s legacy is ironically, perpetuated in a residential suburb of Alexandria called Smouha City. The story of how Joseph Smouha came to buy, build, and eventually lose Smouha City to the Egyptian State, is told by his grandson Richard (Dicky) Smouha and two co-authors, Christina Pallini and Marie-Cecile Bruwier, specialists in archaeology and architecture.
This book stands as a monument to one of the great Jewish modernised cities of the 1930s Alexandria, the ‘Pearl of the Mediterranean’. Even if Egypt will not acknowledge its debt to Joseph Smouha, his memory will live on, thanks to his grandson Dicky’s lively and well- researched record.
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