Andreas Deligiannis and his wife Angella in the US (c. 1928-1929)
The following testimony relating to Andreas Deligiannis - who changed his surname to Frangos in the US - and Angella Deligiannis (nee Savoglu or Savopoulos) was submitted through our online questionnaire by their grandson Jim Franko.
1. From which region of the Ottoman Empire were your ancestors from?:
My ancestors were from Phocaea (today Foça) in Asia Minor.
2. How did their life change when the Neo-Turks and/or the Kemalists came to power? :
My grandparents and their siblings fled from Phocaea around 1914 or 1915 and immigrated to the US. My grandfather was assaulted and seriously cut by sword at the hands of a Turkish nationalist during the massacre at Phocaea in June 1914. It is a miracle that he survived.
3. Were they deported during the genocide? If so, when, where to, and describe their experience:
No they weren't. They were very early in recognizing the forthcoming danger and left before any further suffering.
4. Were they held in a concentration camp or labor camp? If so, where was it located and describe the conditions :
5. Did they lose family and friends? If so, how did they cope?:
I am unsure about family who were left behind and I have no information about what happened to my relatives that chose to stay in Phocaea.
6. Did anyone within Turkey including Turks try to help them during the genocide? :
No, in fact I was told it was actually one of my grandfather's friends who struck him with the sword. I have seen the huge scar he had across his back.
7. How did they cope emotionally with their genocide experience? Did it affect the remainder of their life? :
Absolutely, I cannot fathom what courage it took to leave everything they knew and believed, to go to a completely foreign place (US) and then to never see their loved ones again. My grandfather was about 40 years old when he left Phocaea.
8. Did the denial of the genocide by the perpetrator (the successor state of Turkey) affect their ability to form closure?:
I don't really know. My grandfather passed away when I was a child as did my aunts and uncles. I did not speak with them about it so I never really had the opportunity to understand from an adult perspective what happened.
9. How did they feel about Turkey after the genocide? :
They despised anything to do with Turkey.
The Deligiannis family with their 6 children in the US (c. 1928-29).