As stated in his obituary, “amiable, gentle in character and always helpful” to his homeland and his coreligionists, Davidjon Effendi Levis “had all the natural and acquired” advantages for the general good, serving for many years as president of the Jewish Community of Ioannina and the city’s chamber of commerce. In the professional field, he was very successful in banking and commercial activity. By 1875, he was wealthy enough to finance the first archaeological excavation at Dodoni.

Of particular importance was his election, as the representative of the vilayet of Ioannina, to the Ottoman parliament in 1877. Thus, he not only represented his homeland, but all the Jews of the Empire, along with one coreligionist from Bosnia and two from Constantinople. During the short life of the parliament, he supported the privatization of semi-public land (erazi i-miriye) and denounced the flaws of the Ottoman financial system and the tax abuses of local leaders.

Davidjon Levis also served as a council member (mejlis) of the vilayet of Ioannina, a position of particular importance as the body was dealing with major local problems and included people of great wealth and/or influence. Davidjon’s medals include the Osmanlı Devlet Nisanı, Hilal Nisanı and Nisan-i Initiya (Ottoman Empire), the Silver Cross of the Redeemer (Greece), the Légion d’honneur Chevalier (France) and the Franz-Joseph-Orden Offizier (Austria-Hungary).

With his wife, Hannoula, they created a large family, with six children and many grandchildren, who lived in prosperity in two wonderful neighbouring residences. He died after a full life in 1913. His business was continued by his sons Matathias and Avramakis. Most of his descendants were exterminated in the death camps during the Second World War. Those who evaded death, continue to excel in Greece and abroad.

Back