Faces of the Chios Diaspora Families
C18th, C19th & C20th Portraits: Vlasto, Zarifi, Rodocanachi, Ralli, etc.
In 1822 a terrible disaster took place on the small, peaceful and extremely prosperous island of Chios, in the Aegean. As a consequence of the Greek War of Independence, tens of thousands were massacred by the Turks and by rampaging Greek 'revolutionaries' during the Massacres of Chios.
Forty-seven members of the island's aristocracy were publicly hanged and thousands of others died of starvation and exposure. Still more were sold into slavery throughout the Ottoman Empire. The survivors of the island's leading families fled as best they could, forming a Diaspora around the Mediterranean and throughout Europe. For three generations these families maintained a close-knit and impenetrable 'community' based on dynastic marriages and business interests. But for 150 years the horrors the massacres were scarcely ever mentioned.
Only in the 1980s did the author and his mother, Helen Long (née Vlasto), begin to publish accounts of these events for the benefit of a growing number of the fourth and fifth generations of the Chios Diaspora who wanted to know more about their origins.
This fairly random collection of thumbnails of 'family faces' link either to larger images or to pages devoted to the person concerned. They are arranged by generations or in relation to major historical events.
Owing to the complexity of relationships in these much intermarried dynastic families, the name in (brackets) is a patronym to make identification easier.
An asterisk indicates that they are or were known to the author, their kinsman.
In some browsers, placing the cursor over a face should reveal brief details.
By Christopher Long
Below are faces from the Fourth Generation of the Chios Diaspora. They were born between 1920 and 1939 and their lives were dominated by World War ll. Few of them now married their cousins and within their dynastic 'community'. Late in their lives, in the 1980s and 1990s, some became curious about their origins in Chios and Constantinople and sought to discover more about their Hellenic origins and the grim experiences of their great-grandparents 150 years earlier. Many of these were astonished that none of this had been discussed during their childhoods.
In the pictures above are the grandchildren of Hélène Vlasto (née Zarifi) (1860-1946), who were born soon after World War l and who served in World War ll. They include:
Helen Croil Vlasto * (1920-2001), Christian Fanny Croil Vlasto * (1921-), Michael 'Pogy' Vlasto * (1923-1971) and Nancy Lorna Mary Croil Vlasto * (1926-).
Below are faces from the Third Generation of the Chios Diaspora. They were born between 1880 and 1915 and their lives were dominated by the World War l and World War ll. It is unclear whether any of them had any clear appreciation of their origins in Chios and Constantinople, nor of the traumas experienced by their grandparents. They certainly never referred to them. As a consequence of World War l many married outside their 'community'.
In the pictures above are those children (plus spouses) and grandchildren of Hélène Vlasto (née Zarifi) (1860-1946) born before or during World War l. Also included are the children and grandchildren of her sister Calliope 'Opie' Ionides * (née Zarifi) (1865-1952) Some of these served in World War l and many of them played significant roles in France and Britain during World War ll. They include:
Fanette Marie Nathalie 'Fanny' Rodocanachi * (née Vlasto) (1884-1959), her husband George (Constantine) Rodocanachi (1875-1944) and their son Constantine 'Kostia' Rodocanachi * (1908-1981);
Marie-Antoinette 'Netta' Zarifi * (née Vlasto) (1886-1989) and her children Fanny (Théodore) Zarifi * (1909-), Hélène (Théodore) Zarifi * (1911-1988) and George Michel (Théodore) Zarifi * ((1916-1998).
Michel Ernest Théodore Dimitri Vlasto * (1888-1979);
Nellie (Alexander) Demitriadi * (née Ionides) (1887-1974) and her children Constantine (George) Demitriadi (1909-1936), George (George) Demitriadi (1912-1991) and Theodore (George) Demitriadi * (1915-1980).
Below are faces from the Second Generation of the Chios Diaspora. They were born in exile between 1822 and 1890 and their lives were dominated by re-establishing and rebuilding lives and lost fortunes in western Europe. They appear to look to the future rather than dwell of the devastation their parents experienced. Their marriages were made almost exclusively with their cousins and within their dynastic 'community'.
Below, meanwhile, other members of the Vlasto family were involved in a separate struggle leading the revolt on Crete against the Ottoman Empire...
Below are faces from the First Generation of the Chios Diaspora which followed the Massacres of Chios. In 1822 they witnessed the public hangings of their relatives, the slaughter of tens of thousands and the rape, abduction and enslavement of untold thousands of others. These survivors became refugees around the Mediterranean and in the trading capitals of western Europe but prospered phenomenally. Their marriages were made exclusively with their cousins and within their dynastic 'community'.
These are faces from the pre-Diaspora generation. They were born and they died on the Island of Chios before the massacres of 1822...
© (2002) Christopher Long. Copyright, Syndication & All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
The text and graphical content of this and linked documents are the copyright of their author and or creator and site designer, Christopher Long, unless otherwise stated. No publication, reproduction or exploitation of this material may be made in any form prior to clear written agreement of terms with the author or his agents.