Alhadeff Brothers

by Nick Alhadeff

There were four Alhadeff Brothers of whom Saul  [S.N.] was the eldest, followed by Jacob [J.N.] , Albert [A.N.] and Yehiel [Sylvest ] .All four were born on the Island of Rhodes .

The first to arrive in S.Rhodesia in 1913 was J.N. who worked for several years managing various trading stores owned by B.S.Leon . In 1922 he married Tamar

[ Behora ] Leon from Rhodes. On her arrival in the country J.N. went to meet her in Bulawayo and they were married there before proceeding to Salisbury . Their children all born in Rhodesia were : Nissim ,b.1924- d.1998 in Cape Town . Stella ,b.1925 married Solly Alhadeff . Alfred b.1926- d.1997, married Clairette Soriano in Elizabethville in 1954 . Ethel b.1932,married Sam Miller [divorced ] ,married Ken Brauer [deceased], married Ludwig Levy .

In 1924/25 J.N. together with J.S. Benatar and Haim Galante formed a partnership to take possession of a chain of concession stores operating on the gold mines in the Shamva/Bindura district . At the peak of the gold mining industry they employed many young immigrants from Rhodes , some of them relatives, who had come to Rhodesia lured by the stories of the discovery of gold . In 1930/31 with the closure of the majority of the mines in the area, the partners decided to liquidate the enterprise .

A.N. arrived in Rhodesia in 1923/24 and opened a general dealer’s store in Glendale with branches in the Mazoe area. In 1927 he married Grazia Levy in Istanbul and they had two sons . Isaac [Benj ] b.1928 –married Ann Shandling [divorced] married Ruth Codron . Edward[Teddy] b.1930-d.1998 ,married Suzanne Bar David.

In 1930/31 both J.N. and A.N. decided to move to Salisbury and together bought a controlling interest in a clothing factory operated by Harry Cohen and known as Crown Clothing Co. S.N. married Perla Levy in Izmir [Turkey} in 1920 and their children ,all born in Rhodes were : Rachel b.1922 married Dr. B. Roditi in 1953 .Nick b.1923 married Nelly Israel in 1954. Raphael b.1930 d.1941 . S.N. had worked in Rhodes as the managing-director of Bank Alhadeff ,a well established concern owned by an uncle.                                  

                                                  click above picture of Crown Clothing in 1933 to enlarge

The uncle together with two nephews were the joint owners of the bank as well as a large import/export business servicing the surrounding islands  and the south/west coast of Turkey. In 1930 .following policy disagreements, the uncle and the nephews split. The uncle kept the bank and the nephews took over the import/export business.

It was not long before  fierce and acrimonious competition broke out and this was further aggravated when the nephews decided to open a rival bank .At this stage both parties sought the services and banking expertise of S.N. who found himself  caught-up in a family  tug-of-war. Finally  rather than side with either party  he decided to emigrate and join his brothers in Rhodesia .Soon after his arrival in 1931 , the three brothers bought Harry Cohen’s share in the factory as well as expanding the business by establishing a wholesale outlet under the same name.

                                           click to enlarge picture of Crown Clothing in 1973

Yehiel [Sylvest] ,the youngest brother married Amelie Levy in Salisbury in 1935 and had two daughters : Sally b.1936 – d.1963 married Mark Plotkin [divorced], married Alec Kavonic .Marilyn b.1939 is the youngest in the family. Sylvest as the young brother worked  for his brothers for many years .

All the older brothers were involved in communal affairs and both S.N. and J.N. each served two terms as presidents of the Sephardi  Hebrew Congregation .Again ,all were ardent Zionists and A.N. in particular together with B.S.Leon played an active part in the Zionist  Fund Raising Campaigns .Over the years ,as many members of the  congregation turned to the brothers for advice or help with their personal or communal problems the Crown Clothing Co.’s offices became a focal point for the conduct of the congregation’s affairs.

This interview with Nick Alhadeff z”l was recorded in December, 2014

Nick served for many years on the board of the S African Zionist Federation (Israel) known as Telfed. He was Treasurer for several terms and then became Chairman for two terms.