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03 Notable Members of the Community

David Joseph Ezra

Sir David Ezra

Sir David Ezra

 

David Joseph Ezra was a trader in indigo and silk and exported opium. He was also an agent for Arab ships arriving in Calcutta for Arab merchants from Muscat and Zanzibar importing dates and other produce from their countries in exchange for rice, sugar and other food items.

David Joseph Ezra invested his profits in prime real estate. His buildings included Esplanade, Ezra and Chowringhee Mansions, and Ezra Terrace. Ezra Street is named after him.

He died in 1882 as the largest property owner in the City, leaving his estate to his eldest son Elias David Ezra who also invested in real estate. He put in a large sum of money to build the Maghen David synagogue in honor of his father.

Elias David Ezra was a philanthropist and community leader.  His wife, Mozelle, was the daughter of the great philanthropist Sir David Sassoon of Bombay and sister of Edward Sassoon, MP. Her marriage united these two families. She established the Ezra Hospital in the Medical College Complex for the community in 1887, and was known for the numerous charities she supported.

Jospeh Elias Ezra, the eldest son married a grand-daughter of Sir David Sassoon. He was well known in the business world of Calcutta and was Municipal Commissioner (1886 – 1896) and the First Jewish Sheriff of Calcutta (1888 – 1889). Both his sons became Sheriffs of the City.

Sir David Ezra was knighted, and addition to Sheriff of the City was Director of the Reserve bank and Bengal Veterinary College and many other industrial organizations. He served as President of the Asiastic Society. His residence at 3 Kyd Street was one of the finest in the City. The building was palatial and the spacious grounds included a private zoo as Sir David was a great lover of animals. His home was next only to the official residence of the Commissioner of Police that lent prestige to the area.