Well-known family of Jewish financiers and philanthropists of Spanish-Portuguese origin. Several centuries ago it established itself at Venice, where some of its members became famous by their scholarship and by the services which they rendered to their adopted country. After having lived for a long time at Venice, the Camondo family in the nineteenth century established itself in Constantinople.Count Abraham Camondo:
Italian and Turkish financier and philanthropist; born at Constantinople 1785; died at Paris, his place of residence, March 30, 1873. In 1832 he inherited from his brother Isaac (who died without children) a fortune, and managed it so wisely that at his death he was estimated to be worth 125,000,000 francs. While Venice was under Austrian rule, he received as an Austrian subject the title of Chevalier of the Order of Francis Joseph. When Venice again became an Italian possession, Camondo, as a Venetian citizen, presented large gifts to several Italian philanthropic institutions, in recognition of which King Victor Emmanuel conferred upon him the title of count, with the privilege of transmitting it in perpetuity to the eldest son of the family.
Count Camondo's career in Turkey was an extraordinary one. He exercised so great an influence over the sultans 'Abd al-Majid and 'Abd al-'Aziz, and over the Ottoman grand viziers and ministers, that his name became proverbial. He was banker to the Ottoman government before the founding of the Ottoman Bank. It was he who obtained from the Porte a firman by virtue of which the privilege of possessing real estate in Turkey, which until then had been restricted to subjects of the Ottoman empire, was extended to those of foreign nations.
Profiting by this decree, Camondo erected such a large number of houses at Pera (Constantinople) that even to-day (1902) the family is one of the richest landholders in the Ottoman capital.
Camondo was especially active in behalf of his Eastern coreligionists. He established at Constantinople a central consistory for the Jews of Turkey, of which he was almost continuously the president; he introduced reforms into the communal administration; and he founded in 1858 an educational institution, the Institution Camondo, at Peri Pasha, the poorest and most densely populated suburb of the capital. Shops for tailoring and shoemaking were soon added. On account of this school its benevolent founder was excommunicated by certain fanatical rabbis, and he endured otherwise much vexation; yet it has flourished for thirty-two years, and trained the majority of the Jewish officials now in the service of the Ottoman government.
Dying at Paris at the age of eighty-eight, Camondo, according to his last wishes, was buried in his family vault in the Jewish cemetery at Haskeui (Constantinople). The Ottoman government held memorial services in his honor.Raphael Solomon de Camondo:
Born 1810; died 1866 at Constantinople. He left two sons, Count Béhor Abraham de Camondo and Nissim de Camondo, who died at Paris within a year of each other, in 1886 and 1887, respectively. Each of these two brothers left an only son: the first, Count Isaac de Camondo; the second, Count Moses de Camondo, both of whom are (1902) living in Paris.Solomon Camondo:
Turkish rabbi and man of letters; lived at Salonica in the second half of the eighteenth century; related to the Camondo family of Constantinople. He is the author of responsa, published under the title "Neharot Dammesheḳ," Salonica, 1772.