Rifat Bali

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The Chief Dentist of the Seraglio and of the Republic: Sami Gunzberg Print E-mail
Sarayın ve Cumhuriyetin Dişçibaşısı: Sami Günzberg

Dentist, confidante of Sultans and founders of the Turkish Republic, unofficial diplomat, the acting representative of the heirs of Sultan Abdulhamid II, inheritors of an immense and diverse fortune, from countless properties in Istanbul to shares in oil investments in Mosul and lands in Palestine, an antique collector, and a conduit for assistance to Jewish refugees from the Nazi genocide in Europe... Sami Gunzberg was all of these things and more.  Sultans Abdulhamid II and Vahideddin, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Ismet Inonu, Celâl Bayar, Adnan Menderes, Refik Koraltan: these are just a few of the high level Turkish men of state whose trust and confidence Sami Gunzberg earned. Although he witnessed the collapse of the empire, the Turkish War for Independence and was, in many ways, "there at the creation" of the subsequent Turkish Republic, Sami Gunzberg was resolved never to write his memoirs. As a result, it is only as the result of prolonged labors in various Turkish and world archives that the author has succeeded to piece together the illustrious and mysterious life of the person known to so many in Turkey as simply "Sami Bey, the dentist" (Discibasi Sami Bey).