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Rosa Eskenazi

Noted singer Roza Eskenazi enjoyed a second flowering of her career when Greek youth began a revival of traditional music in the 1970s. Born Sarah Skinazi (probably long before the 1910 date she claimed in her autobiography, What I Remember), Eskenazi moved to Greece with her family at age seven and became enamored of the local theater scene over her parents’ objections. She began performing with an Armenian troupe as well as alone in local taverns and theaters. In the late 1920s, Eskenazi caught the eye of composer and recording mogul Panayiotas Toundas and began recording for him in 1929, launching a prolific and successful career, touring extensively and recording more than five hundred songs in the next ten years. She was briefly married to actor Gianko Sarntinidi, who died while she was pregnant. Widowed, she sent her son to be raised by his grandparents and spent the German occupation running a restaurant in Athens, often risking her life to save others from the Nazis. After a brief resurgence as a recording artist in the 1950s, she retired, only to return to the spotlight in the 1970s, singing, dancing, and performing on television for enthusiastic audiences until shortly before her death. 

Topics: Holocaust, Music, Dance
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Rosa Eskenazi in Athens in 1932 with Demitris Semsis and Agapios Tomboulis. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Date of Birth
Between 1883 and 1910
Birthplace

Constantinople/
Turkey

Date of Death
Occupations
Singer, Songwriter, Dancer, Writer

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rosa Eskenazi." (Viewed on September 16, 2019) <https://qa.jwa.org/people/eskenazi-rosa>.

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