Abraham-Salomon de Camondo (1781-1873)

Abraham-Salomon, considered the founder of the Camondo “dynasty,” was born in Constantinople in 1781. He married Clara Lévy in 1804, and they had one son, Raphaël (1810-1866).

In 1832, Abraham-Salomon inherited the “Isaac Camondo et Cie” bank founded by his brother. He developed it considerably, building one of the greatest fortunes in Turkey, with credits and loans for the Sublime Porte (the Ottoman government) with which he had excellent relations.

A forward-looking man, he contributed to the construction of the European part of Constantinople where a street, buildings, staircases and baths were named after him. He was also an active and generous philanthropist; concerned with his community’s integration within the Ottoman Empire, he strove to set it on the path to modernity, particularly through education.

Abraham-Salomon felt a strong attachment to Italy, where his family had found asylum in the late eighteenth century, and provided financial support to Victor Emmanuel II’s project to unify the country. The king, touched by his generosity, made him a count in 1867. Although he had previously been an Austrian subject, he and his family then adopted Italian nationality.

In 1869, he followed his grandsons to Paris, where he died in 1873. He was buried with great pomp in the family mausoleum in Haskoy cemetery in Istanbul.