The soldier, Antoine Köpe, left behind a memoir and a remarkable collection of letters, photographs, drawings, sound recordings and home movies that have never before been published. Given that his brother Taib was the Palace photographer, the memoirs contain hundreds of never before seen photographs.

The documentary film “The Memoirs of Antoine Köpe” will draw from a carefully blended balance of contemporary footage of historical sites in Turkey and the Middle East, archival photographs and moving images, home videos, newsreels, and images of important artifacts. Animation and graphic effects will be deployed thoughtfully to enhance narrative impact and to help maintain a sense of intimacy in relation to Köpe’s life experience.

The Western Front is too often the focus of World War I-related discussion and depiction. It is nevertheless essential that WWI and the last years of the Ottoman Empire be told from a different perspective, as they still impact contemporary politics. Antoine's war narrative is humanistic, personal, and far from any heroic discourse or official statement. Through his vivid and sometimes humoristic descriptions of many key historical events, Antoine gives us a nuanced portrait of life in the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East during the War. Telling the complex history of the War in the Middle East, and its enormous impact on the lives of ordinary civilians will simplify and enrich an otherwise unexplored subject while simultaneously engaging and enthralling the audience.

Who is Antoine Köpe?

Antoine Köpe was born in Istanbul in 1897 to French and Hungarian parents. French was his mother tongue, but he grew up in the cosmopolitan Ottoman capital, where Turkish, Greek, Armenian and many other European languages were routinely spoken. Antoine’s father worked for the Ottoman Bank and the family was based in Istanbul when the war broke out. Antoine Köpe witnessed the Ottoman declaration of Holy War in 1914. He enlisted to the Austro-Hungarian army in 1916 and was later sent to Palestine. There he witnessed the battles against the British and the Arab revolt. After the defeat he came back to Istanbul via Damascus and experienced first hand the post-war ethnic upheavals of the times during which it was almost impossible for a “Kraut,” as the occupation forces called him, to find work in Istanbul. Nevertheless, he built a career in the Black Sea mining industry and later in the banking industry. He married a Greek woman from Istanbul, Emily, and they had three children, Karoly, Sandor and Elizabeth.

He witnessed the establishment of the Turkish Republic while working in Anatolia. He lived a prosperous life in Turkey but in his sixties decided to immigrate to the United States, where his children had since already emigrated. Antoine Köpe's life story relates paradigmatic experiences of ordinary people whose lives were upended by the Great War. In his memoirs we see how a war veteran’s personal fate was dictated by shifting geopolitical events and alliances.

Antoine’s memoirs were handed down to his grandson and translated from French into English. The memoirs give the reader the feeling that Antoine Köpe wrote them with the hope of conveying his feelings and his adventures to a larger audience. 100 years after the Great War, this documentary film will allow him to do exactly that.



Nefin Dinç has produced six documentary films. "Through My Lens" is both her latest documentary and her first feature length film. She is currently working on "The Memoirs of Antoine Köpe", a new film that traces a young Austro-Hungarian soldier’s captivating journey through the Middle East during World War 1.

Nefin Dinç was also the Project Director of Youth Filmmaking Project, teaching young Turkish students how to make short films. She has a MFA degree in documentary filmmaking from the University of North Texas. She also taught documentary filmmaking at the State University of New York at Fredonia from 2005 to 2013.


Produced by


0 212 278 36 11

Atlantik Film
Üst Zeren Sok. No:2
1. Levent, Istanbul

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