100 SEC 3

Selma celebrating her 100th birthday

Name: Selma Arwas

Born: 7 May 1915

Birth place: Cairo, Egypt100 SEC 1

When did you leave Egypt and where do you live now?

I was forced to leave in 1956 due to of President Nasser’s regime. On arriving in London, I didn’t speak a word of English but the Jewish Board of Guardians helped us. We lived in Holland Park before moving to Stamford Hill, and then Golders Green. I’ve been living at Jewish Care’s Ella & Ridley Jacobs House in Hendon since September last year, which is also where I celebrated my 100th birthday with family and residents from the home (pictured). • How long were you married for? I married Eliyahu Baruch (Elli) on 28 February 1942. He passed away in 2007 at the age of 102.

Do you have any children / grandchildren / great-grandchildren?

I have one son, Maurice, who was born in the French Hospital in Cairo in 1945, one granddaughter, Laura Thurlow, and two great-grandsons, Joshua, who is five, and Jake, who is just a baby. He was born 12 days before my 100th birthday so he came to celebrate with us on the day. • What was your profession? I was a housewife all my life.

 100 SEC 2Something of a bilinguist, how many languages do you speak?

I speak five languages: Arabic, Italian, Greek, French and English. Today, I speak mainly French, especially with my son, Maurice.

 What were your main interests, things you enjoyed doing in your younger years?

My husband used to be a cinema manager at the Ambassador Cinema near Dalston Junction and I enjoyed watching films and going to the theatre. I liked to cook, make rugs, sew and loved to see my family.

What national or international news story would you say had the greatest impact on you over the years?

The death of Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1970, who was the second President of Egypt.

The secret to a long life is… Drinking champagne!