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The Burning of Smyrna - September 1922

The first 2 photos portray a peaceful waterfront marketplace in the Greek port city of Smyrna, Asia Minor during the waning days of August 1922-- exactly 94 years ago today.

During the next few days the local Greek magistrate (a coward) abandoned the city and fled for Romania.

Meanwhile Mounted Turkish troops marched (or transported in cattle cars) 100s of 1,000s of ethnic Greeks from great distances inland, westward towards the Smyrna harbor. These people (including my grandparents) were forced to flee their homes with very little notice.

Random executions and rapes of men/women/children) were commonplace during this exodus. Turks torched homes and businesses along the way until most of the city and suburbs were ablaze.

It burned for weeks as anxious refugees awaited boats to transport them across the Aegean to mainland Greece or even just to nearby Greek Islands. I wasn't until late October that most of those still alive made it out.

Eventually, 1.1 million ethnic Greeks were repatriated to the mainland, while an estimated 300,000 - 600,000 were slaughtered. In the prior 8 years, 1.5 to 3 million Armenians, 500,000 Pontic Greeks and 200,000 Assyrians were also butchered.

To this day, Turkey still refuses to acknowledge their forefathers' perpetration of any of these Genocides. Their success in avoiding prosecution for these events actually emboldened Hitler to exterminate Jews. His reasoning: "If the Turks could get away with it, so can we. "

Categories: Greek History

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