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Rolo Family


Sephardic Jewish family of businessmen who had settled in Alexandria by the mid-nineteenth century.

The Rolo family produced a number of well-known and influential businessmen, among them Ruben (b. 1820), and his sons Simon, Giacomo (18471917), Robert S. (b. 1869), and Robert J. (b. 1876).

Robert S. Rolo gained the strongest influence in Egypt's economy among the family's members, since he served as a legal advisor to Crown Prince Fuʾad and was later regarded as a close confidant of the king, serving as an indispensable intermediary between the royal court and the British residency. He also served as director of the Egypt National Bank for many years. Ruben, Simon, and Giacomo Rolo joined forces with other Sephardic families, notably the Suarès and Cattaoui, in promoting such economic enterprises as the Helwan Railway and in creating Kum Ombo, Egypt's well-known agricultural company. Robert J. Rolo served as the president of Alexandria's Jewish community between 1934 and 1948.


Krämer, Gudrun. The Jews in Modern Egypt: 19141952. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1989.

Landau, Jacob M. Jews in Nineteenth Century Egypt. New York: New York University Press, 1969.

Mizrahi, Maurice. "The Role of the Jews in Economic Development." In The Jews of Egypt: A Mediterranean Society in Modern Times, edited by Shimon Shamir. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1987.

michael m. laskier

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