distant relative of Loucienne Arcas, is the owner of the same named,
large haulage firm in Izmir. His ancestors came from Venice around 1850
to work for the English run railways. Possibly the son of the first
arrival, Giuseppe, operated a 1,200 acre farm in Salihli containing
vines and 2,000 sheep. He was a ‘wheeler-dealer’ of the time and amongst
his business interests was the export of raisins. The off-load point
of this produce was the still standing Kızlarağası han
(Konak, Gümrük quarter) and was brought here by train or camel.
During the 1922 war, both the farm and possessions piled high on the
train platform were burnt and destroyed.
After the war he built 3 houses in Karşıyaka and these were
used by both by himself and his then school attending children. Because
his farm was destroyed he retired. The land was sold in the year of
1943 for 75,000TL. The family were unable to make later use of these
houses which had become listed properties, were sold for cheap to a
person, who finds a way to knock these down and in around 1980, constructs
a 5 story block in their place. Giuseppe still retains the drawings
of this row of houses.
The father of Giuseppe, Albert had a relative working at the Izmir branch
of the American Standard Oil (later Mobil) corporation who was an assistant
manager and he himself started working there in 1927 (at the time 80
kurus=1$), stayed with them till 1962, rising up to the position of
Giuseppe too worked there between 1950-60, as a clerk (storehouse and
city service). He worked in a total of 10 companies and the first place
he started work was as a salesman with Benyamin Amado who traded in
sacks. Later for a year at the Banca Commerciale Italia, an old Levantine
family run firm C.J. Giraud (export of raisins, cotton and tobacco,
operating between 1900s-1990s) for a year as a clerk, Dewilux paints
(bosses of Austrian background Dermond family, later sale to Durmus
Yasar, emigration to Austria 1980s) for 21 years as a cashier and accountant,
leaving 1983, for 10 years Kontuar Maritime (Greek shipping agents)
and still working there part-time.
For his primary schooling Giuseppe goes to the Alsancak Italian (still
functioning, behind the Italian cultural centre), later to the French
St. Joseph lycee.
In his youth, public transport in Karşıyaka was only provided
by horse-drawn trams (1930-40s) and from the Pier one could go to Soğukkuyu,
Bostanlı (undeveloped then, a place to eat fish) and Alaybey. Towards
the Girne exit, the side opposite the present day Karşıyaka
marriage hall were segregated swimming baths. The houses by the seashore
had their own pier and wooden baths attached and the sea was approximately
50 m. more inland than today. During the 1940s in all of Karşıyaka
there were a total of 5 private motor cars (Mercury, Ford, Desotto,
and Chevrolet). The owners of these cars were Tius (Italian, jeweller),
Dr. Karaali, Braggiotti (Italian, merchant), a Turkish birth doctor
whose name he has forgotten and the Turk Lütfi Krom who had a medicine
storehouse [advert]. The daughter of Lütfi bey married the rich Izmir businessman,
Selçuk Yaşar and their grandchildren are still alive. City
buses only came to Karşıyaka around 1945. In that period the
population of Karşıyaka was around 16,000 and an important
segment were Christian, which has declined seriously over the years.
The present Jewish community of Karşıyaka is also insignificant.
Many of the old Karşıyaka Catholic families now live in Izmir.
Among these are Tonna (Maltese background), Borg (Maltese and jewellers
today), Braggiotti (Italian, merchant background), Gallia (Maltese?,
one of the old partners of the BMC motor works), Solari (Italian) etc.
Of the Catholic families still living in Karşıyaka are Petrizza
(Italian), Pennetti (Italian, nail and hardware factory owner), Missir,
Caleia (Maltese), Casagrande (Italian), Löhner (German – Bostanli),
Faruggia (Maltese, from Alsancak), Reggio (Italian), Edizel (French?),
Gloghini (Italian), Padulano (Sicily, from Bayrakli) and Deportu (Venice).
One of the reasons for the change of residence of families such as Faruggia
is the running down of their former neighbourhoods.
Due to the law that came into force in 1937-38 preventing foreigners
from practicing small trades and as artisans, thousands of Maltese and
Italians emigrated. The Catholic middle class disappeared and the majority
of the Italians moved to the then Italian controlled island of Rhodes
while the Maltese migrated to countries of the British empire such as
Australia. Prior to this law many Maltese were artisans while the Italians
tended to have mid-sized businesses.
According to the information provided at the time by the mother of Giuseppe,
Eugenie, the bell on the tower of the Greek church Aya Fotini (sacred
light) was the gift of the Russian Tsar to the local Greeks and the
bell could be heard from Karsiyaka.
The former owners of the still remaining houses along the Karşıyaka
coastal strip are, Isçimenler (Turkish merchant), Löhner
(German, raisin exporter, next to Osmanbey park, sale to a Turk and
with construction permission banned, abandoned and now a ruin), next
along Pennetti, D’Andria,
Van der Zee (vacant, Dutch ship broker, no remaining family, office
in Izmir still active, centre in Athens), Alliotti mansion (now the
residence of Durmus Yaşar) opposite the marriage bureau. When Mr
Alliotti sold the house he moved to Rhodes where he established an alcohol
factory. In 1945 with the islands returning to Greek control, the venture
comes to an end.
The shipping brokerage firm operated by the Alsancak Dutch family Dutilh
is sold a few years ago to an Istanbul family for a high sum.
The banks street (no 1715) was in its time populated by many Levantines
including Braggiotti, Filipuci (Italian, clerk), Depolo, Palamari, Pennetti
(all Italian, merchants), Romano (Italian, shipping agent) and Tonna
The Frenchman, Peret was the architect and builder of both the Konak
clock tower and the Karşıyaka Latin Catholic church.
interview date 2001