Meryl and Jack Menashe are the son and daughter-in-law of Nissim Menashe. Nissim's parents, Isaac (Ino) and Sara Menashe lived in Salonika and had ten children, one of whom died in childhood before the war. The first-born grandsons of Isaac were also named Ino after their grandfather. Isaac Menashe manufactured and sold olive oil cans. The family lived among other Jews and spoke almost exclusively Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) among themselves. The Menashes had nine children: Pauline, Sylvia, Oro, Nissim, David and Bino and two others. Before the war, their daughter Pauline was matched with Leon Algava, a Greek Jew who had immigrated to the United States and had returned to find a Sephardic bride. She then immigrated to the United States with her husband Leon and settled in New York. They later had two children, Lily and Charlie.
Sylvia married Jacob (Jack) Amar, the son of Abraham and Sara (Jolia Halegva) Amar. He was born in 1911 and worked as a watchmaker. Jacob and Sylvia married in the ghetto so that they could remain together, and both were deported to Auschwitz. Jacob survived heavy labor carrying rocks. Sylvia survived with her sister Oro in Block 10. (Oro had come to Auschwitz together with her husband and two children.) The sisters were the victims of gynecological experimentation that rendered them sterile and may also have been used by the Germans. Sylvia also knitted small items for the German guards. In exchange she asked for their help finding a better job and food for her husband. As a result, Jack was moved to work indoors in a workshop; however he was unaware the whole time of what had become of his wife. After liberation Sylvia and Jacob were take separately to France to recuperate. By coincidence they were in the same camp but living in different buildings. They eventually found each other and reunited. After learning that her first familly had perished Oro remarried to Yeshua Alfondari, another Auschwitz survivor who had also lost his spouse and children in the camps.
All of Isaac and Sara's other children perished with the exception of Nissim (later Nicholas). He escaped to Athens before the ghetto was established. He paid ten gold liras to a train conductor to work as the fireman so that he would not be spotted as a Jew. In Athens he worked as a merchant and met and married a Greek Christian, Ekatarina (Katy Halkosaki) on October 16, 1943 in a church. He lived out the remainder of the war in hiding. At one point a business acquaintance questioned Nicholas why his Greek was so poor. Nicholas responded that he had lived most of his life in France. After the war, his acquaintance told him that he knew he was Jewish but did not want to frighten him into thinking he would betray him. After the war Nicholas returned to Salonika to find his family. After he found only two surviving sisters, he returned to Judaism and resumed using the name Nissim. They later had two sons, Isaac and Jack, and five grandchildren. Sylvia and Jacob immigrated to the United States in approximately 1952. They later sponsored the immigration of Nissim and his family in November 1955. They moved to the Bronx in a largely Sephardi community.
A cousin Michel Assael also survived and later married Lillian Algava (of New York whose mother was a Menashe) and her husband . Michel and his two sisters, Lily Assael and Yvette Assael, were professional musicians who survived Auschwitz performing in the camp orchestra. However, in total the Menashe's lost sixty members of their close family.