Agni Koliadimou

Waiting for the Ships of Salvation: Scenes from the Abandonment of the Fatherland of Anatolian Hellenism



This paper concerns the parameters of the agonizing effort of the Greek Orthodox inhabitants of Anatolia and Eastern Thrace who had been trying to move to Greece after the Asia Minor Catastrophe and the difficult conditions of their resettlement. The time period the paper is focused on is from August 1922 to the end of 1923 and concerns the refugee groups first from Western Asia Minor and Eastern Thrace who sought refuge in Greece immediately after the defeat of the Greek army in Anatolia in August / September 1922 and second the populations, mainly from Pontos, who were forced to move to Greece in 1922 – 1923. The aftermath of the defeat was the extortion of the Greek Orthodox populations, who were exposed to the barbaric and brutal behavior of the Turkish troops and the non militarized Tsetes as well as the local Muslims. Meanwhile the Turkish authorities pushed them to the ports where, they were waiting in miserable conditions, even for months, for the salvation ships.

The evidence provided in the paper is based on diplomatic documents, recordings and oral testimonies. It also testifies the inconvenience and persecution the displaced populations suffered and the efforts of the Greek diplomatic authorities in Greece, Istanbul and the established committees to carry out the difficult project of transportation οf the refugees to Greece. The archive material used in the research was provided by the following sources: the Diplomatic and Historical Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece, the Centre for Asia Minor Studies in Athens, the Digital Archive of the National Research Foundation “Eleftherios K. Venizelos”, oral testimonies from the Historical Archive of the Refugees of Kalamaria municipality, from the Association of Asian Minor Refugees of Pella “Biga” and from my personal archive of oral testimonies.