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Interview with Frederick De Cramer conducted by Görkem Daşkan on 18 June 2012

Introduction: The De Cramer Family

I was born in Bornova, which is a suburb of Izmir, on 25 May 1960. My father was also born in Bornova in August 1925 and passed away in 1991. My mother was born in Rotterdam, Holland, in 1936. She came to Izmir in 1955 as a bride. She is still alive and lives in Izmir. Her family name is Van Dijk which is a very classical Dutch name -so common in Holland that every second citizen is a Van Dijk. She used to work in a ballet/dancing group which was invited to come to Izmir International Fair, and that's how she got to meet my father. It was one of those spontaneous love affairs and they got married and so she stayed here. In order to get the blessings from parents in those days, telephoning and correspondence was very difficult, so there was a tobacco dealer who was from Holland and living in Izmir and once he went to visit his relatives in Holland, he visited also my mother’s parents there and told them: “This is a good family, don’t worry, they don’t live in tents - there is no desert or camels there” and convinced them for this marriage. That was a right approach, because at the beginning it was a huge shock, if you think about it, in the 1950s, the idea of marrying someone in a country like Turkey, which no one knew anything about. So it took a lot of convincing, but her parents finally accepted nevertheless. My father went to meet his parents-in-law, only after getting married to my mother.

My father’s name was Richard De Cramer and my mother’s name was a very old Dutch name, Geritje Van Dijk. Her short name was Gerda. My father was in the tobacco business like me. He started off working for some big corporation at the time and worked under several different partnerships and companies, and ended up, in the last ten years of his life, working at his own company, which I never worked for -my brother worked with him. After he deceased, we had to close it down, the company my father had established, because of the economic conditions and the fact that the environment was in high risks, so we decided not to continue operating on the same company. It was called Kramer Tütün (Cramer Tobacco Company).

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Alphonse de Cramer (Painter)
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Ambriose de Cramer Passport (1796)
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Ambroise de Cramer, laisser-passer (1796)

A “Family Business”: Tobacco

My father had graduated from St Joseph in Izmir, like I was going to do in the years to come, and then started working straight away at the age of 18. He didn’t go to the university. When he started working at the American Tobacco Company, which was an extant company in Izmir then, it was a place where most young people trained and got their first experience in tobacco. It was like the Philip Morris of the day. He worked for them for a while and then established a partnership with a German company called Tütüntex -they had built a partnership in Turkey, and my father was partners with them. He worked with them for over ten years, and later went on with another partner, a Turkish gentleman. He formed another partnership with him towards the 1980s. So, until the 1980s, he always worked with partners, and after that he continued on his own. He founded a company in 1981 called Kramer Tütün which he himself managed and ran. My brother used to work for him then. My father died in 1991 and we closed down the company after his decease. Tobacco used to be the main topic in lunch and dinner tables in those years. My uncle who married my aunt was also in tobacco business. His name was Stanley Peartree; he was a British citizen and had an interesting background. He worked for his father who was a tobacco dealer in England. Stanley had two brothers and one of them had gone to India and worked there for a company called Godfrey Phillips which still operates under the same name although it is bought by Philip Morris. Stanley went to Dresden, Germany, because Dresden was the centre for oriental cigarettes in Europe. There were the most advanced companies in producing cigarettes there, and this I am talking about was the days of the First World War. Then he was asked by the British Intelligence to become a spy and work for their agency in Dresden. After the Germans found out about him, he ran away to Bulgaria. That was the Second World War now. As the Germans approached Bulgaria, he ran away to Istanbul where he met my aunt. Then he came down to Izmir, continued doing trade business here, married my aunt and stayed in Turkey. He passed away in Turkey. My father got into tobacco business through him. He met my uncle and my uncle convinced him that it was a good business doing tobacco trade because Turkey was one of the main exporters of tobacco then. I’m talking of the 1940s and 1950s. There were not many export goods around then. You know, the classical dried fruits and tobacco were the main export articles of Turkey. All the big tobacco manufacturers, their offices, buying and purchasing teams etc. were based in Izmir. There was a huge tobacco community there. When I stepped into the business in 1983, there were over 25 companies operating in Turkey. Liggett & Myers had an operating purchasing organization called Gerry Tobacco. There was Glenn Tobacco which represented Reynolds -it was Reynolds America’s purchasing department. Each company like British American Tobacco and Philip Morris, to name a few, had their own purchasing people on spot. They were foreign enterprises that have been established in Turkey for quite a long time and all had their own networks in Turkey.

As regards whether those people had a kind of Levantine quality to them… Well, let’s not forget that Izmir was a very important NATO base, so it was quite a combination. Between the 1950s and 1980s, there were a lot of NATO people in Turkey and Izmir. That was a combination: a quite a big community of Levantines, Americans and the other NATO people combined, who used to integrate, have parties, tennis and football games together. There was always something happening around when I was a child, I remember, every other week there was something happening, a gathering or something else out there in Izmir.

At the time, Americans had built factories and processing plants; not cigarette factories but green tobacco sourcing. Oriental tobacco is a very high-flavoured tobacco, so it is a very important component and was first introduced to the world with Camel cigarettes. Camel was very popular in the 1950s and then Marlboro took over and became very popular. So, the oriental tobacco which was grown mainly in Turkey and partly in Greece and Bulgaria gave this special “spice”, as we call it, to this brand. That is why the cigarette industry had to make investments in Turkey: in order to promote and expand the growth of this kind of oriental tobacco. Brands like Camel and Marlboro were not yet present in the Turkish market then, because foreign brands were allowed to make it to the Turkish market only after 1980s, during the Özal government. Until then it was illegal, a “black market” thing, to sell those cigarettes in the market. There were Tekel (monopoly) brands around then, which were state brands and they manufactured good-quality cigarettes in those days until politics really began to evolve around the tobacco industry and that eventually reduced the quality of the cigarettes. Imports were allowed in the 1980s and then an increase of investments in the cigarette industry was seen towards the end of the 1980s, like when PhilSA came in and then followed rest of the industry. Now, we are all in all 6 major manufacturing factories in Turkey that produce their own cigarettes for the local market and export purposes. As I said before, I never worked for my father. I worked for him only as a trainee during the summer holidays in my school years. I used to go help out in the warehouse in processing and that type of things, but never worked physically, or on one-to-one level so to speak, with my father. I have always worked for the competition (laughs). I started as a trainee, the classical way, and then started professionally in Germany after graduating from the trading school in Bremen and found, actually in a newspaper, a job based in Hamburg at a company called Standard & Commercial. It was an American company but the owner’s wife was from Germany, so he had his company’s headquarters based in Hamburg. They sent me over to Turkey, since I spoke the language and knew the market well. I worked for that company as an enterpriser in Turkey for three years until I switched to another company. Later I worked for Philip Morris for 6-7 years. That’s how I entered the tobacco business -a pure coincidence. I have had a job before graduating from the school. I was lucky: I was the only one at the school who had already started working before graduating. At Sunel (the company Mr Cramer currently works at -GD), I have been working since 2000. It is my twelfth year here.

Ancestors and the Family’s Heritage

According to the family tree, the farthest date I can go back is 1787. That was actually when the first De Cramer came to Izmir from Austria, I assume from somewhere close to Vienna but I remember from our cousin Getrude (Trudy) Roux (born Belhomme) she mentioned that the original ancestor descended from Cologne, Germany. His name was Hermann Ambroise De Cramer (?-1808, Izmir). He came and stayed there for 3 years. I even wrote to the archives in Austria to learn more about him, and luckily, it turned out that he was registered there. During the big fire in 1922, many of the archives in Izmir had unfortunately been burnt. Even in the consulate they lost everything, but they had a copy of some correspondence in the main archives in Austria, and actually sent me the copies of all those letters and correspondence some written in old German, some in Latin, some in French, some in Italian and all kinds of languages. Hermann Ambroise lived in Izmir for three years and then married an English lady, Sarah Maltass, who was a descendant of the Maltass family. Together they had 6 kids (Catherine Marguerite, Joseph Gustave, Frederic, Adolphe, Charles and Susan) and one of them, Joseph Gustave (1801-1872, Izmir), constitutes the branch from which my family has descended. Joseph Gustave had 5 children, and among them, Richard Rodolphe Louis (1839-?) was my great grandfather. For generations male children were given the names Frederick and Richard mostly. My brother’s called Richard, my father’s called Richard and my grandfather’s called Richard and so on -a lot of Fredericks also. So it’s a bit confusing. I guess it’s a popular name and it keeps on coming back all the time.

Hermann Ambroise De Cramer had been sent to Izmir by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire as a consul. The first trade agreements between the two countries (Austrian-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires) had already begun before that happened. Due to the capitulations Austria had also got some advantages and they wanted to continue and expand this trade business. So, they opened up a consulate in Izmir and he was sent over there. They had an embassy then only in Istanbul and the consulate in Izmir was the first of a kind in the empire outside of Istanbul. I don’t know much about Hermann Ambroise De Cramer’s sons. Some of them were traders, and among them, there were one banker and one famous painter called Alphonse Jean Gustave (1834-1884) who died single at the age of 50 and was buried in Italy. Some his work was auctioned at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Unfortunately we lost most of his paintings; some reappeared later in Europe though thank God -my mother, brother and myself own a few of his paintings. As a painter, he was an Orientalist. St John’s Cathedral in Izmir features a painting of St Paul made by him on the altar. I think he started studying art in Dusseldorf, Germany, with a very good instructor. He travelled back and forth in Italy, Greece and Turkey painting. The “de” (French) or “von” (German) title was given to the family after Herman Ambroise saved a Catholic church in Izmir from being burnt down by the başıbozuks (the irregulars) - segment of a book where as Consul he had to defend St. Polycarp church being sold to the Greek community by the excuse used by the local irregular troops of the defeat of Napoleon in 1799 with their unsuccessful siege of Acre - details:

I remember a Maltass in Izmir when I was a kid but I don’t know if we were relatives. We were probably distant relatives. He later left Izmir and moved to Trieste. There are Whitalls as well in our family lineage but they were distant relatives. The Whitalls were a large family like the Girauds of Bornova. In one way or another Levantine families have connection with one another. A Perkins was the English consul in Izmir. There were De Cramers who married the Perkins and vice versa, so we are related to them. Business-wise, De Cramer family was not related to any of those families. My knowledge is very limited though. In the 1800s there was a Cramer & Brothers Bank based in Izmir and its documents reflect that a family relation of ours in Bornova, Lionel Belhomme, was doctor. Trading-wise, there was not much of an intra-family cooperation -at least not that I know of. My father was the first De Cramer to get into tobacco business through my uncle from England as I have explained briefly before. My grandfather Richard De Cramer (1883-1951 -like my father and my brother, he was also called Richard) worked for the Girauds for example. He was in the textile business. They were one of the biggest employers in Izmir then. He was married to an Anatolian Greek Orthodox (Rum) called Iris who had never been to Greece or lived there until 1922. On the day the Turkish troops entered Bornova in 1922 she was alone in the house and a paid guest officer sort of took care of her saving her from being deported. Then she applied for the Turkish citizenship. In those days, unfortunately, the laws were very strict and the government was not willing to grant the foreigners the Turkish citizenship. Thus, she died with no nationality in 1973. She’s buried here in Izmir, in Bornova. My father spoke Greek because in Bornova most other people spoke Greek. The Muslim population expelled from Greece during the Exodus and settled in Izmir all spoke Greek -in fact, they couldn’t speak Turkish. We had a helper in the house; I remember as a kid, our communication language with her was Greek. Whenever you went to the baker’s, you would speak Greek. My grandmother spoke French and Greek until she died, she never spoke one word of Turkish. I think the last generation in Izmir to enjoy this cultural variety was my father’s, until the 1950s and 60s mainly. And then, as they faded out, younger generations went to Turkish schools, like I did. My father had gone to a French school and there he learned Turkish as well though -the Levantines of his generation did not go to Turkish state schools.

Levantine Way of Living in Bornova

We lived in Bornova until we sold our house in the 1970s and moved to Alsancak. The house in Bornova is destroyed now but was somewhere on the main road between the Catholic Church and the Aliberti house on once called Çiçek Sokak -No. 1. There were a few old houses spread in the area between the church and the Presidency building of the Aegean University, so everybody knew everybody. There was quite a good communication, despite the absence of telephones, and visits to each other’s houses -there was no protocol. We used to walk from one garden into the next freely. It was like paradise in Bornova throughout my childhood. We didn’t want to leave the house. Thanks to the university the population of Bornova had increased, so our house had become surrounded by the high apartments. There was too much noise and pollution around, so we had to sell it and move out -that was the main reason. Besides, they kept on widening the roads and so we lost part of our garden -that was another problem. Roads passed over many gardens in Bornova. Each house had a huge garden with old trees in it. Bornova was a summer resort after all. People from Izmir used to go to Bornova in summer. There used to be a lot of mosquitos in the downtown during summer and especially Bayraklı was a swamped area whereas Bornova had a cooler temperature and bigger gardens and so on, so that’s why people kept on coming to Bornova to their summer residences. When the railways had connected towns like Alsancak, Bornova, Karşıyaka and Buca, people started to travel back and forth by train. We lived for all seasons in Bornova. Çeşme wasn’t that big as a summer resort then. We used to go to Bayraklı for swimming. Some of our relatives lived there, so we used to go there to swim. Çeşme came to the fore much later because there was no proper road connection there in those days. Big families like the Girauds used to go to Çeşme by boat to spend a few weeks there. All my family and relatives were from Bornova and are buried there. We’re quintessentially a Bornova family in that respect. Levantine gentlemen used to commute back and forth between their workplaces in Alsancak, factories in Halkapınar and houses in Bornova or elsewhere. Since the community in Bornova was sufficiently large and happy in that they had their own theatres, gatherings, and tennis and hockey clubs and so on, they needn’t go somewhere else.

The Levantine children in Bornova used to take private lessons. Mary Whitall’s daughter Estelle was one of those instructors; she taught English at her house. Most of the children used to attend her lessons. There was a Madame Marika Topuz who used to give French lessons. And then we had catechism given by another lady whose name I can’t recall. So we used to go from door to door to those private lessons every day. Such lessons indeed had a serious atmosphere like a typical school, taking place in a room full of desks by taking notes and everything. My brother’s generation and the older ones went to these ladies for further education. I and younger generations, however, went mainly to Turkish public schools. What we used to do as schoolchildren was to go half a day to the Turkish school and in the other half of the day take lessons from these instructors, besides, catechism once a week where we used to call Vatican. Some used to take piano lessons too and we used to gather in each other’s gardens and play. I had a very good and comfortable childhood. Summers were great when we were young because we would all go to Çesme and rent homes there. That was our thing for three months: swimming and fishing. My closest friends were an Aliberti, Frederic Giraud (Hervé Giraud’s son), Edwin Charnaud, Patrizio Solari. We’re still in touch and see each other on a yearly basis. The Mannusos, Pagys, D’Andrias -there was a D’Andria family living in Bornova who had no children but rest of the family resided in Alsancak, Solaris, Winterhalters -of Swiss origin… Birthday parties, gatherings, Christmases, weekly walks we used to go on weekends, hiking in winter -some we hated, some we liked. There was a golf course in Bornova; my parents used to play there. The English Club in Bornova was not active anymore in my day. People used to play cards, bridge, billiard, tennis and dart. My aunt graduated from the French girl’s school in Bornova. Easter was a big thing for all of us. Easter Sundays were spent with families at home, mainly having lunch: lamb or game meat and çörekia. We used to go to Easter Monday picnic altogether.

My mother, being Dutch, she, of course, spoke Dutch, German and some English. She mainly communicated in English with my father because my father, to an extent my grandfather too, had lost their Austrian identity. They were not in contact with Austria anymore. They spoke English, French, Turkish and Greek. My grandmother spoke French and Greek. At home we spoke all these languages: Turkish with the cleaning lady, French with the grandmother and father, English with my mother but mainly English when we spoke to one another. The first language we encountered at home was English. I learned German later at a German institute here in Turkey and then in Germany. There was a lot of switching between languages at home, and “kitchen English” -or “Bornova language” or better “Levantine language” which a lot of people still make fun of. My mother of course learned Turkish and French in Izmir. It was quite puzzling for the strangers to see us speak three or four languages all at the same time. Turkish, until the Republic was founded, was not an official language, so no one among us spoke Ottoman Turkish properly and everybody spoke French. Turkish came much later. My father learned Turkish of course at school. Most of his peers that did not go to school and especially the ladies kept with the language courses in English, French and Greek. Language education was limited in Izmir, so some of the Levantines went abroad and continued their education there. Some went to Istanbul: to Dame de Sion or the other French-teaching schools. They thought “why should I learn Turkish?” I guess. Greek was spoken around them until the 1940s and 50s. Greek was spoken very often in our community. Muslim immigrants around us spoke Greek as well. They were like second class citizens; they were ashamed of speaking Greek, so their children spoke only Turkish.

Life as a “Different” Levantine

I went to the elementary school 9 Eylül İlkokulu in Bornova. After that, I attended St Joseph school. After spending 4 years there, I was hoping to go to Istanbul but unfortunately my father did not let me go, so I ended up at Atatürk High School. In the early 1980s the situation in Turkey was very intense. Although I was accepted by the Aegean University, I did not continue my studies there, and went to Germany instead where I studied Business Administration. I improved my German and found a job there.

I am married and my wife and I have two daughters. One of them is in London, she works for the Monocle magazine and the younger one studies pre-school teaching again in England. My wife is half Turkish, half German -her mother is German. I am a Turkish subject, due to several reasons: first, we lost our Austrian citizenship during the World War I, because my grandfather was called to do his military service in Austria and he had rejected that. So they expelled him and he lost his citizenship. When my father was born, he had no nationality. They gave him a laissez-passer of the UN which was not much valid then, because having that you could not ask for a refugee status. In the meantime, he applied for the Turkish citizenship having been born here, working here and his family residing here. The citizenship was granted to him in the mid-1950s. So he had to use that UN passport until the age of 45. He needed a visa for each country he had to travel to. Some people in those countries he visited feared that he would ask for political asylum. When we were born, we were automatically Turkish citizens. My mother could not give her Dutch citizenship to us; the law had not permitted that. I went to Germany as a Turkish citizen and had to get all kinds of visas for studying and everything. So it was quite a complicated situation. When I was working for a German company in Hamburg I applied for the German citizenship. I was a resident there for five years including 4 years of education and one year of working at the time. So they said “OK”. Meantime I met my future wife who was German and a Turkish citizen too, and when I married her, I was automatically granted the German citizenship. I went through the interview procedure too, of course. Both my children were born in Germany. So we’re all dual citizens now. But I had no contact whatsoever with Germany except having studied there. So, I got it through my wife.

In our community most people were not Turkish citizens. Italians had the Italian citizenship; British had the British citizenship and so on. People did not take the Turkish citizenship because one reason for that was that the military service was a big issue. Conditions were very tough: it was two years long, and besides, it used to take place in a very tough environment. But thanks to citizenship, you could get a living and working permit in Turkey. My mother is still a Dutch national, she never thought of becoming a Turkish citizen. There were some advantages of being Turkish, like you could own your own property, buy and sell easily and those kinds of things. A foreigner, however, had to go to Ankara to get special permissions. So, the advantages surpassed the disadvantages. Our generation was the first to find that becoming a Turkish citizen was actually a good decision. And given the fact that you could get two citizenships at the same time, we said to ourselves: “why not?”

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My aunt Marielouise Peartree (top 2nd from right).
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My father & mum (Dicko & Gerda 1955).
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My father (Dicko) at tobacco inspection 1968.

The fact that we were Catholics and Turkish citizens too at the same time has always caused complications. Once you are Turkish, people expect you to have a Turkish name. So, that was always a problem. When I was in the army for example, for short term service in Burdur, people asked me “Why are you here?” and I would say “hey, I am a Turkish citizen”. Then they’d say “You can’t do military service, you have a foreign name” and I would say “No, I’m a Turkish national, look I have the nüfus TC (Turkish ID)”. “Oh yes, you are right”. The guy did not know what to do -he was completely lost. So, there were quite a few incidents like that. People could not understand how I had a foreign name and still was a Turkish citizen. It did not make sense to many of them.

My brother had even harder time than I did. He had gone to a technical school in England, he was an engineer. And when he returned to Turkey, the school he went to back in England was not accepted as a regular university, so they forced him to do the 18-month-long service which was the service the non-university graduate Turkish citizens had to do at the time. So, they gave him a really terrible position and for he was a non-Muslim, they told him that he could not take up certain strategic positions in the army. He worked as a telephone operator -haberci which was a strategic job to do if you ask me, at Sarıkamış. After that, he told me when I was in Germany: “Fred, if you can’t do short-term, then never come back!” It was very tough times, believe me, he would have told you a lot of stories if he was here.

The Scattering of the Levantines

Family members did not leave the country because of political reasons but mainly due to marriage. My cousin -my aunt’s daughter, for instance, she married an American and they moved to the States. She still lives there. My aunt moved to Greece before the 1980s because of the social unrest here. Every other day there were strikes and burning -what is happening now in Greece we had here in those days. So they did not feel comfortable and moved there. They used to come back in the summertime. My brother still lives in Turkey. There are not many members though; we are quite a small family.

We always felt like an outsider. As a kid I never knew which category I should put myself into. At the state school that I went to all the other kids were Muslims. I was the only outsider there. I never had any major issues with the other pupils there or never felt really uncomfortable but whenever you went to a government official, you would always have some issues, because as I said before, you, being a Turkish citizen with a non-Muslim name, were always a complication yourself. There would always be some funny or unpleasant remarks when they heard my name but it was something you got used to after a while.

We did not use the term “Levantine” too often in the house. I mean, of course it was mentioned but it was not very common for all of us. We were of the Austrian origin but did not have Austrian citizenships, so we did not call ourselves Austrians. We were in a more awkward position in the community than anyone else in that sense. When I was little kid, I had thought firstly that I was English because we spoke English at home. It took a while for me to figure out the overall story behind why we were not Austrian citizens. So, identity-wise, we were always in this difficult position to place ourselves.

Whenever I go, say, to England, there I call my Levantine friends from Turkey and we come together for dinner or anything. At weddings and hopefully not at funerals, I do get together with the other Levantines. Almost all my Levantine friends from the childhood are overseas now.

Personally I never considered immigrating to another country. Our roots are here. A lot of families did that due to several reasons but we also know that it is not that easy. Wherever you go you are always a foreigner. I was considered a foreigner in Germany. There were two foreigners in the entire school and I was one of them, and always considered a Turk. So you always feel yourself somewhere in the middle wherever you go. You’re always in a limbo situation. But you get used to that after a while and I think it is an advantage because in that way you become a real global citizen. You see, there are no boundaries: you can go to, live or work wherever you want and do whatever you want. Being a Levantine, you feel much more flexible and adapting in a different country I think. It’s an advantage.

The majority of people in Turkey are Muslim, and don’t forget, in the 1950s and also in the 1970s there was this pressure from the then governments to nationalize and make everything Turkish which gave the Turkish identity the power to destroy this mosaic between the Turks, Greeks, Armenians and the Levantines. A lot of them lost their properties, their belongings were expropriated; they lost their businesses and there were a lot of bad feelings especially in the 1950s. So, those families had to leave. They were obliged to leave, because there was no other choice for them. In the 1970s, because of the Cyprus issue, a large portion of them were forced to leave. Today there is such a small group left in Turkey that it’s not considered a “threat” anymore and the pressure on them has weakened. Back then much of the trade was operated and controlled by those families who had been in Turkey for generations thanks to the export business which especially brought huge revenue into Turkey. I think that is why they tried to nationalize the economy: to make sure that that kind of business was not left to the hands of the Europeans anymore which I understand, because at the end of the day there were involved the risks and benefits of things for those countries (France, England, etc.) The government wanted to make sure that it was controlled by the Muslim Turks.

As an old lady my grandmother was quite cautious because all her family had left Turkey and she was the only one in the family who could stay. Her sisters lived in Greece. Along the next 50 years following 1922 they came here only once or twice to see their sister. There was always a tension in the air. I remember when the Cyprus issue broke out, we were small kids and didn’t know what was going on, but some people around us were closing their window blinds and taking all kinds of precautions. She, too, had really gone into a panic and because of the past history that she knew well she was worried that the same things would happen all over again. She feared that she’d be deported but thank God nothing like that happened.

Last Remarks…

If we look at what’s happening in the world, Europe and the Middle East, and all the economical struggles; Turkey, in one way or another, is still quite a stable and safe area. So, I think there is a potential to invest here. Some of my friends who worked overseas have very close ties with Turkey because of their past relations in this country and the fact that the companies they represent invest in Turkey. So I think there is a big plus point. I would definitely recommend them to come and invest in Turkey if they have the opportunity. Why not? But moving back to Turkey is a very difficult decision to make. For most families which have settled in overseas environments, I see it from my cousin; it is very difficult to come back. After a certain age especially, you would not want to do that - young people maybe can, especially if they speak the language. There are a few young people I know who are testing it and seeing it for themselves.

I think my grandchildren will keep calling themselves Levantines as long as they have that connection with Turkey or Izmir, because they have both cultures in their lives.

Segment of Frederick de Cramer being interviewed by Görkem Daşkan, June 2012

Note: 1- To view a collection of images from the album of Mr De Cramer’s grand-uncle, Frederick de Cramer, click here:
2- In July 2014 contact was made with Noel William Cramer of Switzerland, a cousin of Frederick de Cramer. To view an account written by Noel Cramer’s father William of his first encounter with an “honorable” brigand in the 1920s when he was working for a mining company close to Milas. Also view a technical account of William Cramer, ‘Construction and Maintenance of the Trebizond-Iran Transit Road’ on which he was chief engineer. For background information on that region at the time, refer to the account by Sir Dennis Wright who spent some time at the Trabzon British Consulate before leaving as ambassador to Persia. He became a good friend of my William Cramer.
In addition an informal account penned by Mr Noel Cramer of the first 10 years in Turkey that he wrote for his family and friends (in French).
3- To view the family tree of the de Cramer family compiled by Mr Noel Cramer and a family tree including side branches compiled by Marie Anne Marandet click here:
4- In May 2014 a painting surfaced on sale in an auction website, depicting possibly the first house in the area of the de Cramer family.



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