Press "Enter" to skip to content

‘We’ve N’t forgotten’: Families of Greek refugees who fled Turkey in 1922 tell their Tales

Greece was the entrance point for thousands and thousands of migrants in the summit of Europe’s refugee crisis five decades back.

And, almost 100 decades back, it had been in the middle of another massive influx.

They built an identity based on their roots, which can be passed down from generation to production to the day.

Although nearly 100 years have passed since everything Greeks call”that the fantastic disaster”, several descendants of those Greeks who fled from Asia Minor — yet another title for Anatolia — continue to assemble in relationships, with one recognized in virtually every area in Athens.

The organizations set on occasions, in addition to dancing, cooking, and Turkish language classes.

“Listening to several Erdogan’s quotations is painful, such as when (in a 2019 summit in Izmir, a city on Turkey’s Aegean coast) he explained:’I shall throw the Greeks to the sea’, quoting a verse by a Turkish tune,” he further added.

“My family said for the first couple of decades, each day, my great-grandfather shut off himself and went quiet. He considered when, in the moment of this day, he’d sit in the tables at the vent to remark on the afternoon along with his friends, whom he’s never seen again,” remembers the archaeologist.

“He was able to consider the right time of day, while he was in Asia Minor when he’d sit in a little table at the harbor and talk with his friends, whom he never watched,” the archaeologist recalls.

The Treaty of Lausanne supposed Greece and Turkey agreed to dissuade any taxpayers the states considered no more welcome.

Greece, which in the point had a population of about five thousand, took back over a million”Turkish artifacts”, as they were occasionally known in away.

The newly established Republic of Turkey did the same with 356,000 Turks that had been residing in Greece.

‘We have to avoid trivializing the background of Greek identity’

“For decades we’ve been collecting the testimonies of both refugees and their descendants and we’ve organized trips to Asia Minor,” Koutoulias stated of his institution.

“During these excursions, a girl visiting her grandfather’s home, that had remained undamaged, was given the key from the present Turkish proprietor,” explained Koutoulias.

Georgios Archontakis, president of the Union of Smyrneans, told Euronews”we should avoid trivializing the background of Greek identity, simply because we believe it’d make it a lot easier to take care of our current”.

“The Greeks who came from Asia Minor were wealthy and educated individuals,” he explained.

In Izmir before the expulsion, there were two educational institutions for girls, which hadn’t been opened from Greece,” Archontakis added.

“With their birth, the Mikroasiates revolutionized Greek civilization, such as music, food, and commerce,” he explained. “All this can’t be forgotten”.

‘She never ceased talking about the property she was made to leave.’

Archontakis’ parents advised him about the problems their exile made: “My dad returned from Izmir in age nine, becoming on a fishing vessel in the port of Izmir together with his mum, while the town was burning. His brothers and father didn’t make it were murdered,” he informed Euronews.

Archontakis’ mom, on the other hand, Produced from Izmir at only nine weeks old.

“I grew up in the district of Nikaia, constructed by refugees who’d lost everything once they came to Athens.

“My instructor was a girl who’d escaped out of Asia Minor: she constantly functioned as a teacher at the area, even if the school hadn’t yet been constructed, she was able to call the pupils by ringing the bell.

“For so long as she worked, she never ceased talking about the property she was made to depart to her pupils,” Archontakis explained.

‘The foundation of the refugees is our background ‘

Many district titles show a hyperlink into Asia Minor, including Nea Smyrni, which translates into New Smyrna (Smyrna is now Izmir in Turkey) — now Nea Smyrni is currently a residential district with big sculptures and square dedicated to this”great disaster”.

Additional north of Nea Smyrni is Kaisariani, yet another suburb constructed entirely by refugees who arrived from Asia Minor.

The municipality’s site shows a picture of those tents pitched by Greek refugees from the district when it hadn’t yet been assembled.

“The background of the refugees is our background, but surely today, Kaisariani cannot be described as the Asia Minor refugees’ suburb,” mayor Christos Voskopoulos informed Euronews.

“Kaisariani also played an important part throughout the resistance to the German job: now we’re conscious of our history, but we can not forget that we must manage the issues of everyday management to manage.”

Based on Giorgos Strato, vice-president in the Centre for Asia Minor Culture at Kaisariani: “The men and women who assembled this neighborhood won’t ever forget their narrative until the end of the days: they lived by doing exactly what they needed to perform, getting building employees, harbor employees, fishmongers.

“The battle to live and solidarity will be the glue that holds this community together”

For Strato” what occurred nearly 100 years ago should remind us how near Turkey and Greece have been with every other.”

“The Greeks have dwelt together with the Turks for countless years: it is a favorable foundation, made not just of clashes but also coexistence and mutual enrichment,” he added.

Mimis Christofilakis, a historic researcher at Keisariani, told Euronews: “Our area has retained the customs of refugees from Asia Minor living thanks to patriotism, but not in an anti-Turkish manner”

Walking through the streets of Kaisariani, the neighborhood’s Asian origins remain evident, by the stores named”Bosporus” (such as the waterway situated in northwestern Turkey) into the design of the roads reminiscent of those in Asia Minor, using their little homes that endure just two meters large set between buildings of assembled more recently.

These homes were constructed by refugees, and aren’t just recognizable because of their size but also because of their inner courtyards — a classic of Asia Minor culture.

The very first thing refugees failed when they came to Athens was construct homes very similar to those they had been made to leave.