are 3 families in Izmir with the surname Filipuci and according to some
members, are unrelated. Since its origins are ancient, the root of the
family is not certain, but is probably Italian with a possible minor
Greek blood input.
Note: According to the book ‘Les
Anciennes Familles Italiennes de Turquie – Willy Sperco’, the Filipuci
family are from Genoa and having lived for a while amongst the Latin
colony on the Greek island of Chios, came to Izmir p.50. The island
of Tinos was also a stepping stone for this family p.57.
The great-grand-father of Maria was born in Vienna and was the captain
of a smallish boat. As a buyer he would trade in grapes and figs with
the British Levantines Paterson and Whittalls. Later with a developing
friendship, the wife of Paterson invites him for dinner. On the dinner
table seeing an attractive dark haired Catholic seamstress, the wife
of Paterson convinces him to stay for a while and later they get married.
This event happens approximately 200 years ago, (I would place it more
mid 19th century). They live in Bornova for a few generations
and in 1912 when the mother of Maria gets married they move to Bayraklı [archive views].
Born 1914, Maria’s grand-father was a furniture maker and father was
a guitar teacher. She gave piano lessons for 40 years. An Italian music
professor named Rozatti was going to send Maria to the same conservatory
in Naples from which he had graduated but the war breaking out in 1940
made it impossible.
Maria’s husband worked as the chief accountant at the now non-existent
Izmir Yün Mensucat owned by the Giraud family. Like some of the
other old Levantine families (Rees, Clarke etc.), the Giraud family
were highly involved in horse racing, winning many races and even today
in honour of the late William Giraud, a cup race in his name is organised
The first name of the St. Antoine church in Bayraklı was St. Espedi
(until 1922?), and it was much smaller than today (chapel). Despite
the fact that the great 1922 Izmir fire did not affect these parts,
the local Catholics took refuge in here out of fear. From time to time
Maria used to play the piano during church services. The house in Bayraklı
built on the land purchased in 1912, burnt down in 1952, through flames
escaping from the oven. Her beloved piano was also lost in the fire.
Rebuilding of the house was financed by the company (Izmir Yün
Mensucat) he worked for, which later deducted it from his wages. The
failing health of the husband of Maria forces them to move to Alsancak
in 1986, and the house is sold to a German. On the same road as the
house which is close to the church, are 4 former Armenian houses. The
later owner despite knocking one of these down could not rebuild as
the deeds still show the former Armenian names.
Before the great fire there were approximately 90 Greek families in
Bayrakli and their church was where the mosque currently stands. Following
the exchange of population exchange of 1926, a single Greek remains,
the pig farmer Dimitri who emigrated to Rhodes in 1955-60. With this
exchange, for those who could show title deeds, efforts were made to
provide equivalent property in their new country.
The Catholic population of Bayrakli was more numerous and all were involved
in commerce and would go to Izmir for work. The clean air and sea attracted
the better off and travel was by train or boat. In that period there
was no bus and the sea was further inland. Being mostly of Italian background
the Bayrakli Catholic names she can remember are Galici, Prelorenzo,
Rivens (English), Fabiano, Tius, Mellini, Bertucci, Derviche (Belgian),
Kokilya, Martini, De Filipi, Apaque. The Rivens family living across
their house had to emigrate to England before 1940 following the enactment
of the law preventing foreign small traders from operating. Today all
that remains are the Papi (Maltese) and the later arrival Greek Catholic
Fotini and Piro families.
Turan, situated half a km. away from Bayrakli towards Karsiyaka was
also a neighbourhood where Levantines lived by the sea. Later dirty
industry, such as British Petroleum establish works here and the area
degrades in quality. The names of the Catholic families Maria can remember
are Stano and Kaleya (part English).
Maria goes to school in Bayrakli until grade 3. This is the now ruined
building behind the church. The school closes down towards 1930 and
was named ‘Scuola d’Ivrea Italiana’. The teachers were all nuns whose
names were Sister Magdalena, Sister Rosina and the director Sister Rinaldo.
She continues her education at the old Italian school (Scuola Centrale
Italiana) in Alsancak. The school had a chapel within and the names
of the nun teachers were Sister Natalia, Sister Pia, Sister Andreina
and the director Sister Assuntina. This building was where the 9th
of September university rectorship is presently situated on the 2nd
The large but ruined mansion near the Bayrakli train station belonged
to an influential pasha (general) during the Ottoman period, Yahya Pasa.
The presently building covered hillside above Bayrakli also belonged
to him and using his power and authority was able to collect the money
from all who had built on his land, adding wealth to his fortune. A
restoration project on this building that was supposed to happen recently
fell through due to the non-agreement of the Karsiyaka council and the
Heritage foundation. Again on the same row existed a large gardened
mansion was pulled down by Eczacıbaşı holding and the
presently seen long apartment blocks were erected. On the same row but
towards Alsancak was a small winery active in 1920-30s. In the same
area the German Schlosser family lived and raised flowers in their garden.
Maria’s father also raised flowers and would specially bring the seeds
from Italy. The Schlosser family would buy the seeds from him and when
he died in 1952, they became the sole cultivators. The children who
are still around operated a florist in Alsancak for many years.
Note: The book, Punta’dan Alsancak’a
(Alsancak Tarihine kısa bir bakış) [A brief look at the
history of Alsancak] – Bülent Moralı – 2000(?), on page 26,
specifies the location of this florist as on the Kıbrıs Şehitleri
Caddesi, a little further than the present ‘Alican’ restaurant.
Unfortunately Mrs Filipuci died in 2007 and is buried in Paşaköprü cemetery. May she rest in peace.
interview date 2001