Information on the Feriköy cemetery - Mr Stier: The cultural Attaché, German Consulate, Taksim, Istanbul, 1999
a limited number of documents on the Feriköy cemetery are preserved
in the archives of the former German
Embassy in Constantinople (now the consulate in Istanbul). The reports
of the embassy indicate that the transfer of the cemetery grounds was
mainly a friendly gesture of the sultan to the Prussian king. The documents
still available today are particularly concentrating on a major report
intended for governmental use and dated 19-Oct-1858, which had been
written by Ludwig V. Wildenbruch, the Prussian envoy to Constantinople.
The notes summarise in detail the events preceding the property gift,
leading to the statute. The documents comprise ‘Noten der Pforte’,
dated 12-3-1853, 2-7-1855 and 29-4-1857, which confirm the donation
of the property. Furthermore they contain an extract from a report dated
12-10-1857 which informed the government of the actual release of the
property. On those very grounds the cemetery was founded and jointly
administered by the Protestant missions.
Note: It seems likely this act
led the way for the clearance of the Christian cemeteries around Taksim,
allowing the spread of the city from Pera. The head-stones aligned along
the perimeter wall are all transfers from these former cemeteries. It
is also probable the neighbouring Catholic cemetery was roughly contemporaneous
and it is clear in those days this area was out of town. The present
name for the quarter attests to its Levantine past, as it was the land
on which the French Levantine Ferry
family had a farm, (köy means village).
The 1857 sultan’s decree is non-existing, not even in the Prussian secret
federal archives in Berlin. Its regretful absence was already discovered
during a meeting of the administrative council on 24-10-1924.
The ancient cemetery regulations and a few amendments to the statute
dating from a later time do however exist. According to the statutes
the Prussian mission was the first to administer the cemetery in 1858.
It designated Mr Pischon, the mission preacher, as superintendent/inspector
and Mr Contius, a junior barrister assigned to the mission, as treasurer.
At the end of their first year in office both presented a detailed management
Since then the administrative duties were subject to a rotative system.
Records, financial documents and funds were transmitted on an annual
basis among the countries concerned (Britain, Germany, Holland, Switzerland,
Hungary and U.S.). In the following years the missions’ preacher regularly
held the position of superintendent/inspector. The procedure obviously
went of smoothly until the outbreak of World War I. During the years
of war Germany headed the administration, during the following occupation
Great Britain. In 1924 the annual rotation was reintroduced until 1927
when the Dutch Consul General retained the administration with a greater
or lesser silent approval of all parties concerned.
Note: This was possibly the time
when the map of the cemetery was
produced, annotated in the lingua franca of the time French, and still
retained in the Dutch consulate. Tentative surname links to Buca cemetery
families, are discernable in the handwriting, Ede, Wilkinson and Hanson.
Currently the rotation system operates on a biannual basis, with the
American board acting as executors for the American Consul.
Note: The cemetery recently (1999)
received a substantial donation following the death of an American resident,
Ms Emma ‘Charlie’ Ehermann. Under the terms of the will, the cemetery
received a facelift and the American board were controllers of the funds.
However one of the terms, the marking of all burials, was not undertaken
as the cemetery contains close to 1000 tombs but 5000 burials, as many
plots were reused. The Board is currently performing the laborious task
of compiling a database listing, from a variety of sources (chiefly
Berlin). Further details on this cemetery, the benefactor and the compiler's,
Brian Johnson's, observations click here.
The German merchant presence was never substantial and currently much
altered. However the community supports ministers both in the Protestant
and Catholic creeds. The German Protestant church is in the unlikely
location outside old Pera, in the rundown neighbourhood of Kasımpaşa.
According to the (former - 2000) Evangelical pastor, Fr Gruber, 11 of
the old families help with the stipend. There is also a local German
Roman Catholic congregation.
1- For a photo views of the Ferikoy Protestant cemetery, click here.
2 - A private researcher, Barbara Dobbins, (background)
compiled a listing in the 80s of the burials in the American section
of this cemetery, details of which can be viewed here:
3- The German archeaological institute is still very much active in
Turkey, and their library next to the consulate is open to the public,
and one of the best sources of historic information in Turkey.
4- A site dedicated to a prominent mathematician from Smyrna who moved
to Germany, Alexander
Dinghas and an article on the late (1997) German emigree in Istanbul,
Traugott Fuchs, buried in the Protestant
cemetery. More on the history of the German political exiles in Turkey
can be read in the culture magazine Cornucopia issue
interview date 1999