Istanbul mansion of Jewish architect

Istanbul mansion of Jew who fled Nazi Germany for sale

Bruno Taut was one of the thousands of Jews who, during World War II, took refuge in Turkey to flee from Nazi Germany.

The Istanbul mansion of the well-known German Jewish architect Bruno Taut, who took refuge in Turkey in the 1930s to flee Nazi Germany, has been put up for sale for 95 million liras, about 11 million euros.

The mansion, overlooking the Bosphorus Strait, is located in one of the most expensive areas of the Turkish metropolis and was designed by Taut himself, who was inspired to create it by Japanese architecture. However, it is unknown who is the current owner of the property, which also has a plot of 2,000 square metres.

Bruno Julius Florian Taut, the greatest exponent of the Expressionist movement and whose best known work is the dome of the Cologne Glass Pavilion, left Germany in 1932 after the Nazi party came to power. Although he initially fled to Switzerland and later to Japan, he finally settled in 1936 in Turkey, where he was offered a job as a professor of architecture at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul, today the Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts.

Before his sudden death in 1938, Taut designed several buildings in Ankara and Trabzon, his last work being the design of the altar that was used at the state funeral held in Istanbul in honor of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on November 21, 1938. Today the remains of Taut continue to rest in the Edirnekapı Martyrs Cemetery in Istanbul.

Tens of thousands of Jews took shelter in Turkey

The case of Taut is far from being the only one. Turkey, which remained neutral during World War II, was a safe haven for many Jews and Atatürk himself invited numerous Jewish scientists and academics to settle and work in universities and other institutions in the country, in order to flee Germany.

During the 1930s, it is estimated that more than 130 Jewish scholars who fled Nazi Germany settled in Turkey, which also had its own Schindler’s List: dozens of Turkish ambassadors and diplomats in Europe did everything they could to save Jews during the Nazi occupation; tenths of thousands of them saved their lives by receiving fake Turkish passports in order to find shelter in Turkey.