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Köhle Family

This photo, which came out of the album of a family from Burgazada but the seller's note was "It may not be in Burgazada". After some investigation it was understood that the place is located in Burgazada Fisheries Cooperative on the road to A.S.S.K.



Later, Ingrid Kellermann-Schlote reported that the person standing next to the boat was her mother, Else Köhle (maiden name Kapps). The two children sitting on the end of the boat are Ingrid Kellermann-Schlote's older brothers, Erwin Köhle and Horst Köhle. The other people in the photo are their aunts Marie, Karoline, Frieda or Luise, but which still could not be determined exactly. She also sent me two more photos from their family album, Many thanks for her support.


1) His mother Else Köhle and father Heinrich Köhle 1948


2) My parents and my aunts (Marie and Karoline Köhle) around Kalpazankaya 1934. Kınalı island in the view.


From the book Canlı Bir Etnografik Müze Burgazadası by my dear friend Robert Schild, let's continue to tell the story of the Köhle family from Burgazada, known as "Bosporus Germans" (Bosporus-germanen) or, to be more gentle, "Overseas Germans" (Auslandsdeutsche).

Köhle Family Although the "Bosphorus Germans" are tried to be likened to the Levantines living in Istanbul from time to time, the basis of this comparison is different. That is, although the Levantines still speak Italian or at least French among them, the arrival date of the German-born people who have similarly remained faithful to German to Turkey is much more recent. While a significant part of the Levantines, some of whom were descendants of Venetian or Genoese, settled in the Ottoman Empire in the first centuries of the Middle Ages or the New Age, "the first arrival of Germans from abroad coincided with the middle of the 19th century. At that time, many major projects were being carried out in Dersaadet (İstanbul). In addition to various repair works, first the construction of Dolmabahçe and then Çırağan Palaces, water networks and many other infrastructure works required masters, journeymen and workers in many fields. At the same time, foreign training officers were needed for the modernization of the Ottoman army. Although Colmar von der Golz (1883-1895 in Turkey) and Liman von Sanders (1913-1918) are known as prominent German officers, hundreds of other officers and other craftsmen from Germany made valuable contributions to construction and project works. These masters, journeymen and workers were the ancestors of the "Bosphorus Germans" of the 20th century. is. As the years progressed, the Baghdad Railway line was started to be established with the efforts of the Prussian Empire, and for this purpose, many German engineers and technicians came to Dersaadet to work and settled in Anatolia... The influx of all these Germans into the Ottoman capital would also give rise to their cultural needs on a large scale. For this reason, in the last quarter of the 19th century, a German school and hospital, first Protestant and (for some reason more) Catholic Churches were established, as well as a club called "Teutonia" for their socialization. Erwin Köhle's great-grandfather, David Wilhelm, who was able to determine his genealogy down to the smallest detail from the records in the Protestant Church in Istanbul, came to Dersaadet from the city of Ulm in southern Germany in 1846. In those years, especially in the southern region of Germany, there was a great poverty due to the low harvest in agriculture, and large segments of the population migrated to the eastern countries, meanwhile, to the Ottoman Empire. It was my grandfather, who was a worker, a plumber; it was my father who first went into business." Speaking of trade, father Heinrich Köhle, born in 1905, became the Turkish representative of German factories. This profession was naturally the most common occupation of almost all Germans and Austrians in Turkey, stemming from their knowledge of German and Turkish... He placed me as a kind of apprentice in a representative firm he knew well. He did not want to start me in his own company - first of all, he wanted me to learn the profession in the factory representation of Alfred Paluka, one of the most respected institutions of those years.” Erwin Köhle would stay in this company for many more years... The Köhle Family started to take part in the social activities of the German community there shortly after they came to Dersaadet. We come across this name for the first time in our research in 1872. Anne Dietrich, who wrote a comprehensive doctoral thesis on the Germans in Istanbul, includes W. Köhle among a few names she mentioned at a meeting about the German School that year. (Dietrich, p.108)


Although a member of the Köhle family, which was quite crowded at that time, was respected during the First World War, not because of the training of the Ottoman army, but because of being German, they found themselves among the families expelled by the British after the defeat. Thus, returning to Germany, Köhleler prefers to settle in the city of Ulm, where their grandfathers came from, but they do not find any trace of the family there... The unfavorable post-war living conditions in Germany would push them to return to the young Republic of Turkey again this time... According to Erwin Köhle's testimony, his family first came to Burgaz for the summer in 1927, which coincides with the years when his father Heinrich, who was born in 1905, was newly married... His older brother Horst was born in 1933; He was brought to the island a week after he was born in August 1936. He spent the first eight summers of his life there. His friends were mostly Greek and German children, and he also learned Turkish both in Beyoğlu, where he lived, and in Burgas. In our long and detailed conversation with Erwin Köhle, we tried to make an “inventory” of 19 German-speaking Christian families from Burgazada summer houses of the 1950/1960/1970s. We can summarize our findings as follows: 1. Köhle Family: German; grandfather Wilhelm's first visit to the island was in the 1920s; Erwin Köhle (1936), who was the factory representative, has been spending the summer months in Burgaz since his birth (except for the years 1945-51) when the family was in Germany. Erwin Köhle, daughter of the Brukner family, is married to Christa, the elder sister of Erhard Brukner, also from Burgaz; They have two sons, Martin (1966) and Matthias (1968), and a daughter named Sabine (1963). He is married to sons Helena Dochoda (Polish/Russian) and Lynn Scheible (USA), so his children Michael (1992) and Franziska (1995) and Megan (1995) and Johannes (1999) can be considered "half German"; Erwin Köhle's daughter, on the other hand, must be in a position to raise her children (Julia/1992 and Maximilian/1994) closer to this mentality due to her German husband and living in Germany... Both of Erwin Köhle's sons are partners in their father's company and mother in Burgazada. - neighbors with their fathers. 2. Köhle Family: German; their first visit to the island, as above; Erwin Köhle's older brother Horst (deceased), born in 1933, was married to Erika, the daughter of the Koch family; his sons, Rolf and Peter, are married to a Muslim woman and still live on the island as summer housekeepers. 3. Köhle Family: German; their first visit to the island, as above; Erwin Köhle's father's cousin, Albert (deceased), was married to Ioanna the Greek; their son Robert is married to an Austrian and lives in Vienna; His daughter Gisela is married to a Turk and lives in Bodrum.


Robert Schild, Canlı Bir Etnografik Müze Burgazadası, Adalı Publications pp.220

*I recommend that those who are curious about the whole story of the Köhle family, the other families in the inventory and the human landscapes from the island with more than 80 interviews should buy the book and read it.


Robert Schild, Canlı Bir Etnografik Müze Burgazadası, Adalı Publications pp.45-51

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