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Konstantinos Faltaits (1891-1944)

Κωνσταντίνος Φαλτάϊτς (1891-1944)

Konstantinos Faltaits, the father of the founder of Faltaits museum, was a prominent journalist, writer and pioneer researcher of the mid-war period (1913 - 1944). He was one of the first members of Journalist's Union of Athens Daily Newspapers and a war correspondent during the Balkan wars and the Asia Minor Campaign and Catastrophe. He is considered a pioneer researcher of Rebetiko and of Roma. He has also contributed for the salvation of Papadiamantis' work - some of whose manuscripts are exhibited in the museum.

Konstantinos Faltaits, the father of the founder of Faltaits museum, was a prominent journalist, writer and pioneer researcher of the mid-war period (1913 - 1944).

He was born in Smyrni (Ismir) in 1891 and was raised in Skyros. He finished the Varvakeios school in Athens and he continued studying Law and Literature at the University of Athens.

He was proclaimed to Doctor of Philosophy in Law, without ever exercising it since it was journalism that attracted him from a very early age.

He begun his career in journalism in 1910 - at the age of 19 - and continued thid profession until the end of his life in 1944.

He worked in a number of newspapers and magazines like 'Acropolis','Empros','Eleftheros Logos','Athenaiki', 'Parnassos', 'Eleftheros Anthropos', 'Bouketo', 'Naftiki Ellada' et al, publishing articles, folklore, historical and ethnological essays, fiction, novels, poems, translations etc. He signed his works under the names F., K.F., Kostas Faltaits, Danaos, Kostas Markellos, A Hellene.

First and Second Balkan Wars

During the Balkan Wars (1912 and 1913) while serving in the Greek Navy, on various destroyers and the battleship 'Averof', he took part in the naval battles of Ellis and Lemnos as well as the battles at the Hellespont Straits (Dardenelles) and the Aegean Islands.

He was already an editor and reporter for the 'Acropolis' newspaper, published by Vlasis Gabreilidis, where he published his reports on the Greek Navy, thus contributing in building up our Navy's myth.

These reports were published in the form of letters, that he signed as F., K.F., Danaos and were reprinted in 1915 in the 'Acropolis' newspaper.

At the same time he co-operated in the edition of a series of war related books that were published by the 'Acropolis' war library': 'The Anectodes of King George I', 'The Anecdotes of admiral Kountouriotis', 'The Anecdotes of the Greco-Bulgarian War' and 'The Anecdotes of Ioannis Velissariou'.

In 1919 he published the chronicle of the sea battle of Elli, in a book titled "I Navmahia tis Ellis" (The Sea Battle of Elli), for which he was nominated for the Literature Excellence award. Several excerpts of this book where published in many educational books, while the 'Naftiki Ellada' magazine published it sequentially in its entirety.

The Asia Minor campaign

Kostas Faltaits took part in the Asia Minor campaign from April 1921, as a war correspondent for the newspaper 'Embros'. He followed and reported on the battles of the Greek Army in Avgin, Nicomedeia (Ismit), Proussa (Bursa), Ouzak, Ada Pazar, Eski-Sehyr, Karamousal, Kiutahya and elsewhere.

In August of that same year, while reporting the battle of Sagarios, he was injured during an air strike.

His last correspondence on the Asia Minor campaign came in 1921 from Kiopru Hisar.

Right after his return from the front, in November 1921, he wrote and published the book 'These are the Turks - Narratives from the massacres of Nicomedeia'. That book was translated by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs in French the following year (1922) and was used by the Greek government to advocate Greece's  possition at international summits.

Kostas Faltaits and Alexandros Papadiamantis

Although he hadn't met him personally, Kostas Faltaits played a crucial role in Alexandros Papadiamantis' post euphemism, which had almost diminished after his death in 1921.

A random acquaintance with Papadiamantis' sisters almost 10 years after his death, started a series of initiatives from his behalf in order to honor that great writer and to virtually save his three single sisters. After a number of articles Faltaits managed to focus the attention of both journalists and the Greek State, in order to salvage Papadiamantis' works.

It was because of his initiatives that Papadiamantis' bust was erected in Skiathos. An artistic memorial service was held and a large number of Papadiamantis unpublished work was made available. Through his articles, Kostas Faltaits also managed to salvage Papadiamantis' home and transform it in to a museum.

The ...'other' world

Kostas Faltaits is considered a pioneer researcher of Rebetiko and of Roma (Gypsies at that period).

His involvement with Rebetiko started in 1915, when he published his novel 'The other world', which is considerdd the first published record of the word of the Rebetes. Faltaits journalistic research work continued with a multitude of articles concerning the Rebetiko culture. Later on Kostas Faltaits became a composer of Rebetika songs himself -he was self-taught. He wrote lyrics and music that were performed by Stellakis Perpiniadis, Roza Eskenazy, Yiannis Papasideris among others. He signed his musical compositions as either Kostas Faltaits or under the alias of Kostas Roumeliotis.

In 1929 in an article in the 'Bouketo' magazine, he recorded a number of Rebetika couplets, sorting them by subject. This particular article is considered the first systematic recording of Rebetika songs

Faltaits was also one of the first Greek researchers to engage himself with Gypsies, recording among others their relation with folk songs, their geographical distribution in Greece and the names of their various races.

Kostas Faltaits and Skyros

His contribution in the development of his home country, the island of Skyros, was of major importance. As the founder and president of the Skyrian Association (founded in 1922), he contributed in a defining way :
- In the construction of the road from Skyros (the island's capital) to Linaria (today's port) and from Skyros to Treis Boukes, in the connection via sea with Piraeus adn Kimi, and also to the telecommunication linkage of Skyros with Athens and Chalkis.
-In the deployment of a State anti-malaria team in a period when Skyros had already suffered great casualties due to a spanish flu epidemic in 1919,
-In the construction of a new school, the construction of a gym, the founding of the school of herbal dyes and in the attempt to establish a school of Crafts.
- In the re-publishing of the 'Skyros' newspaper
- In the touristic development of the island, by organizing excursions in Skyros and a number of artistic exhibitions in Athens.
- In the establishment of an archaeological and folklore museum in 1930 (it was the first one that was established in Skyros and it was housed where the city hall stands today) and the creation of a historical register but also in the attempts for performing archaeological excavations.
-In organizing a memorial for the British poet Rupert Brooke, who died in Skyros in 1915.