Portrait of the Orientalist Friedrich Schrader

One of Turkey's Germans

The orientalist and journalist Friedrich Schrader was one of the first and most active cultural mediators between Germany and Turkey. Today, the founder of the "Osmanischer Lloyd" has been largely forgotten. By Ceyda Nurtsch

Constantinople, 19th November 1918: fat-bellied ships move through the cold fog that lies over the Bosphorus. Their Union Jacks make it abundantly clear to the world that "the sick man of the Bosphorus" has been vanquished, along with his allies, the German Empire and Austria-Hungary. The new masters of the mouldering Ottoman empire are England, France and Italy.

The population of Constantinople, as Europeans still called Istanbul in the 19th century, had come out into the streets to celebrate Turkeyʹs entry into the war, euphoric and waving brightly-coloured flags. But for many of them war and defeat ultimately meant only suffering, displacement, expulsion and even annihilation. It also meant the first death of Constantinopleʹs unusual cosmopolitan society and the legendarily vibrant quarter of Pera.

The end of the war also brought a fateful change for the many thousands of Germans who had made their home in the colourful mix of nationalities on the banks of the Bosphorus. When the victorious British feared that Germany might exert its influence there, they ordered the expatsʹ deportation. The Germans were forced to leave their "Kospoli", as some of them affectionately called their new home city. It was the end of the first chapter of the German presence on the Bosphorus. 

Bebek, these days a suburb of Istanbul, where Schrader taught at the American Robert College (photo: Jochen Schrader)
Forced to leave their idyllic "Kospoli": founder and editor of the "Osmanischer Lloyd" newspaper, Friedrich Schrader, was one of the many thousands of German expats expelled from Istanbul by the British after the First World War. In 1919 he fled from Istanbul to Berlin via the Ukraine, and died in 1922, the year the Ottoman Empire fell

Schrader, the "Turkeideutscher"

One of these "Turkeideutschen" (Turkey Germans), as they called themselves, was the Orientalist and journalist Friedrich Schrader. Born in 1865 in Sachsen-Anhalt, he studied philology, oriental studies and art history before taking a doctorate in Indology.

He moved to Istanbul in 1892 to teach German language and literature at the American Robert College. There, he lived in Bebek, at the time a neighbourhood with hardly any development on the European side of the Bosphorus, with his first wife, Pauline and his son, Wolfgang. After Paulineʹs death in 1902, she was buried in the Protestant cemetery in Ferikoy and Schrader married Fannitsa, a Bulgarian Jew by birth.

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