ROSE ELIAS, "Rosa", was born in Craiova, Roumania on March 16, 1861. She was the daughter of ESTHER BLAUSTEIN, also born in Craiova and SIMON ALSCHERER, who was born in Denin, Turkey.

She married MENACHEM ELIAS who was born in Constantinopol, Turkey. It is the understanding of our family that there are definitely ties to Spain, so it is our belief that Simon's family migrated to Turkey upon their expulsion from Spain at the time of the Inquisition (1492), although there were later expulsions. We do know that Rosa's generation (and probably her parents generation as well) kept traveling between Turkey, Spain & Roumania, although we are not sure of the order of the countries traveled.

According to her grandchildren, (as told to them by Rosa) she was an excellent seamstress who made all or most of her children's clothing. One day when Queen Maria (we are still determining if they were in Spain or Roumania at that time) was riding in her carriage when she saw 2 girls lined up along the roadside who were both beautifully dressed.

Stopping her carriage she called to the girls and inquired where they had gotten their dresses - the girls answered that their Mother had made the dresses for them, but she was skeptical and ordered the girls to bring their Mother to her - The girls ran home while the Queen waited in her carriage and returned with Rosa who informed the Queen that indeed she had made the clothing.

Queen Maria, remaining skeptical, commanded Rosa to get in the carriage and with her go to the castle, but Rosa stated that she could not leave her children. So Queen Maria ordered the girls into the carriage and away they all went to the castle, where Rosa had to sew something in front of the Queen to demonstrate her skill. On that day Queen Maria hired Rosa to be her personal seamstress. She worked for the Queen for many years to accumulate the funds necessary to bring her family to the United States of America, where they arrived about 1904.

Another interesting facet of Rosa's life is that she always lit her shabbos candles behind the commode, which our family believes was a carry-over of the family practice dating back to the Spanish Inquisition.


Copyright © 2002 Roberta Cohen

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