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The genocide of the Pontian Greeks - Η γενοκτονία των Ελλήνων του Πόντου

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In 1994, May 19 was selected by the Greek parliament as the day to commemorate the Pontian Greek Genocide by the Turks.

 

800px-Pontus.png

 

Pontus (“sea” in Greek),is an historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sealocated in modern-day northeastern AnatoliaTurkey. The name was applied to the coastal region and its mountainous hinterland (rising to the Pontic Alps in the east) in antiquity by the Greeks who colonised the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος Εύξεινος Pontos Euxeinos (“Hospitable Sea”), or simply Pontos. Originally with no specific name, the region east of the river Halys was spoken of as the country εν Πόντοι en Pontôi, “on the [Euxeinos] Pontos”, and hence acquired the name of Pontus, which is first found in Xenophon’s Anabasis. Wikipedia

Its connections with Hellenism stretches back to prehistoric times to the legends of Jason and the Argonauts quest for the Golden Fleece and to Heracles obtaining the Amazon Queen’s girdle. Many famous churches, monasteries and schools are a testament to the resilience of Hellenism. The Pontians are a distinct Greek people with their own dialect, dances, songs and theatre.

 

It ended in tragedy in the years 1916 – 23 of the 574.000 Greeks living in Pontus in 1916, 350.000 were killed and the remainder became refugees. Three millenia of the Greek presence was wiped out by a deliberate policy of creating a Turkey for the Turks. The Pontian people were denied the right to exist, the right of respect for their national and cultural identity, the right to remain in peaceful occupation of their territory.

The turning point in the treatment of Greeks in Turkey was the alliance between Germany and the Sultan that commenced after the Treaty of Berlin 1878. Germany regarded Anglo French protection of Christians as an obstacle to its interests and convinced the Turkish authorities that the Greeks were working for the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Germany opened the Berlin Academy to Turkish officers and General Gotz was appointed to restructure the Ottoman armed forces. The successful national movements in the Balkans posed a threat that the same would occur in Asia Minor. After the Balkan Wars the Young Turks decided that Asia Minor would be a homeland for Turks alone and that the Greeks and Armenians had to be eliminated.

 

The outbreak of World War I made this possible and Germany willingly sacrificed the Christian minorities to achieve its aim in the Middle East. However, it is the German and Austrian diplomats’ reports that confirm that what took place was a systematic and deliberate extermination of the Christian population. Genocide. Not security or defence measures, not relocations of population (why forcibly relocate populations?) not war, not retaliation to the Pontian guerrillas or Russian invasion but GENOCIDE.

 

christianbodies7.jpg

Slaughtered Christians.

Terrorism, labor battalions, exiles, forced marches, rapes, hangings, fires, murders, planned, directed and executed by the Turkish authorities. This can be corroborated by the German and Austrian archives now made public:

 

24/7/1909. German Ambassador in Athens Wangenheim to Chancellor Bulow quoting Turkish Prime Minister Sefker Pasha: “The Turks have decided upon a war of extermination against their Christian subjects.”

 

26/7/1909.  Sefken Pasha visited Patriarch lokeim III and tells him: “we will cut off your heads, we will make you disappear. It is either you or us who will survive.”

 

14/5/1914.  Official document from Talaat Bey Minister of the Interior to Prefect of Smyrna:

  • The Greeks, who are Ottoman subjects, and form the majority of inhabitants in your district, take advantage of the circumstances in order to provoke a revolutionary current, favourable to the intervention of the Great Powers. Consequently, it is urgently necessary that the Greeks occupying the coastline of Asia Minor be compelled to evacuate their villages and install themselves in the vilayets of Erzerum and Chaldea. If they should refuse to be transported to the appointed places, kindly give instructions to our Moslem brothers, so that they shall induce the Greeks, through excesses of all sorts, to leave their native places of their own accord. Do not forget to obtain, in such cases, from the emigrants certificates stating that they leave their homes on their own initiative, so that we shall not have political complications ensuing from their displacement.

31/7/1915.  German priest J.Lepsius: – “The anti-Greek and anti-Armenian persecutions are two phases of one programme – the extermination of the Christian element from Turkey.”

 

16/7/1916.  German Consul Kuchhoff from Amisos to Berlin: “the entire Greek population of Sinope and the coastal region of the county of Kastanome has been exiled. Exile and extermination in Turkish are the same, for whoever is not murdered, will die from hunger or illness.”

 

30/11/1916.  Austrian consul at Amisos Kwiatkowski to Austria Foreign Minister Baron Burian: “On 26 November Rafet Bey told me: ‘we must finish off the Greeks as we did with the Armenians… on 28 November. Rafer Bey told me-, “today I sent squads to the interior to kill every Greek on sight”. I fear for the elimination of the entire Greek population and a repeat of what occurred last year”‘ (meaning the Armenian genocide).

 

13/12/1916.  German Ambassador Kuhlman to Chancellor Hollweg in Berlin:“Consuls Bergfeld in Samsun and Schede in Kerasun report of displacement of local population and murders. Prisoners are not kept. Villages reduced to ashes. Greek refugee families consisting mostly of women and children being marched from the coasts to Sebasteia. The need is great.”

 

GENOCIDE_TRAIN.jpg

 

19/12/1916.  Austrian Ambassador to Turkey Pallavicini to Vienna lists the villages in the region of Amisos that were being burnt to the ground and their inhabitants raped, murdered or dispersed.

 

20/1/1917.  Austrian Ambassador Pallavicini: “the situation for the displaced is desperate. Death awaits them all. I spoke to the Grand Vizier and told him that it would be sad if the persecution of the Greek element took the same scope and dimension as the Armenian persecution. The Grand Vizier promised that he would influence Talaat Bey and Emver Pasha.”

 

31/1/1917.  Talaat Bey to Austrian agent: “The time is near for Turkey to be finished with the Greeks as we were with the Armenians in 1915″.

 

9/2/1917.  Austrian Chancellor Hollweg’s report: “… the indications are that the Turks plan to eliminate the Creek element as enemies of the state, as they did earlier with the Armenians. The strategy implemented by the Turks is of displacing people to the interior without taking measures for their survival by exposing them to death, hunger and illness. The abandoned homes are then looted and burnt or destroyed. Whatever was done to the Armenians is being repeated with the Greeks.

Smyrna-vict-families-1922.jpg

Greek civilians mourn their dead relatives, Smyrna massacre, 1922

By government decree 350.000 Pontian Greeks were annihilated through exile, starvation, cold, illness, slaughter, murder, gallows, axe, fire. Those who survived fled never returned. The Pontians are now scattered all over the world as a result of the genocide and their unique history, language (the dialect is a valuable link between ancient and modern Greek), and culture and endangered and face extinction.

A double crime was committed – genocide and the uprooting from these peoples ancestral homelands of three millenia. The Christian nations were not only witnesses to this horrible and monstrous crime, which remains unpunished, but for reasons of political expediency and self-interest have, by their silence, pardoned the criminal. The Ottoman and Kemalist Turks were responsible for the genocide of the Pontian people, the most heinous of all crimes according to international law. The international community must recognize this crime.

 

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The Greek genocide, part of which is known as the Pontic genocide, was the systematic ethnic cleansing of the Christian Ottoman Greek population from its historic homeland in Asia Minor, central Anatolia, Pontus, and the former Russian Caucasus province of Kars Oblast during World War I and its aftermath (1914–23).  It was instigated by the government of the Ottoman Empire against the Greek population of the Empire and it included massacres, forced deportations involving death marches, summary expulsions, arbitrary executions, and destruction of Christian Orthodox cultural, historical and religious monuments. According to various sources, several hundred thousand Ottoman Greeks died during this period.  Some of the survivors and refugees, especially those in Eastern provinces, took refuge in the neighbouring Russian Empire.  After the end of the 1919–22 Greco-Turkish War, most of the Greeks remaining in the Ottoman Empire were transferred to Greece under the terms of the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey.  Other ethnic groups were similarly attacked by the Ottoman Empire during this period, including Assyrians and Armenians, and some scholars consider those events to be part of the same policy of extermination. Wikipedia

 

It’s estimated that some 1.5 million Greeks and 380,000 Pontian Greeks were murdered by the Turks, who have thus far refused to acknowledge this fact. There are various estimates of the toll. Records kept mainly by priests show a minimum 350,000 Pontian Greeks exterminated through systematic slaughter by Turkish troops and Kurdish para-militaries. Other estimates, including those of foreign missionaries, spoke of 500,000 deaths, most through deportation and forced marches into the Anatolian desert interior. Thriving Greek cities like Bafra, Samsous, Kerasous, and Trapezous, at the heart of Pontian Hellenism on the coast of the Black Sea, endured recurring massacres and deportations that eventually destroyed their Greek population.

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Kapio melos egrapse sto Hellenism.net ti lexei LAZOAMERIKANOS as mathei prota tin istoria ton PONTION ,kai NA MATHEI pei einai oi PONTIOI .Den epitrepontai apo ATOMA idika ELLINIDES na krinoun ena VASANISMENO lao,as krinoun ton eafto tous prota,pou houn katalixei na einai I teleftaia tripa tou ZOURNA.Pws exeigisai ti lexei LAZOAMERIKANOS SE ALLO ATOMO kapios pou einai HAZOSAMERIKANOS ,eno enwouse tous PONTIOUS

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Οι Ποντιοι ειναι ζωντανο κομματι της ιστοριας του Ελληνισμου. Οταν αναγκαστηκαν να φυγουν απο τα μερη τους, απο τον Ποντο, και να ερθουν σαν προσφυγες στην Ελλαδα εγιναν αναποσπαστο κομματι του νεου Ελληνικου κρατους. Ειναι αμετρητοι οι Ποντιοι που εγιναν στη συνεχεια γνωστοι πολιτικοι, ανθρωποι του θεαματος, αθλητες κλπ. Οποιος δεν το αναγνωριζει αυτο ειναι απλα ηλιθιος.

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Guest daman

and now there is a whole new kind of genocide for greeks not only in greece but around the world. It's called debt and unemployment 

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Οι Ποντιοι ειναι ζωντανο κομματι της ιστοριας του Ελληνισμου. Οταν αναγκαστηκαν να φυγουν απο τα μερη τους, απο τον Ποντο, και να ερθουν σαν προσφυγες στην Ελλαδα εγιναν αναποσπαστο κομματι του νεου Ελληνικου κρατους. Ειναι αμετρητοι οι Ποντιοι που εγιναν στη συνεχεια γνωστοι πολιτικοι, ανθρωποι του θεαματος, αθλητες κλπ. Οποιος δεν το αναγνωριζει αυτο ειναι απλα ηλιθιος.

Το 1994 μας ανακάλυψε η "Πατριωτική" πτέρυγα του ΠΑΣΟΚ και μας έκανε όλους, εμάς τους Πόντιους, "Έλληνες". Πριν από αυτό ήμασταν Αουτηδες, Τουρκόσποροι, Ανατολίτες.

 

http://www.efsyn.gr/arthro/mia-amygdaleza-gia-toys-pontioys

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Δεν ειναι ακριβως ετσι. Ειναι αληθεια οτι αρχικα ολοι οι προσφυγες της Μικρας Ασιας, οχι μονο οι Ποντιοι, ειχαν παρομοια κακη υποδοχη απο τους "ντοπιους" Ελληνες. Αλλα δε μπορεις να πεις οτι οι προσφυγες "αναγνωριστηκαν" σαν Ελληνες το 1994. Αυτο ειναι απλα μια επισημη αναγνωριση για τη συγκεκριμενη ημερα τιμης απο το Ελληνικο κρατος. Δε σημαινει τιποτα επι της ουσιας.

 

Η ουσια ειναι οτι παρ'οτι οι προσφυγες τραβηξαν πολλα, με τον καιρο εγιναν οχι μονο αναποσπαστο αλλά επισης και σημαντικοτατο κομματι της Ελλαδας. Κοιτα γυρω σου πόσοι Ποντιοι και Μικρασιατες γενικως ειναι πλεον πασιγνωστοι πολιτικοι, ηθοποιοι, αθλητες κλπ. Αυτα που περασαν οι παπουδες μας το 1920-22 οταν ηρθαν στην Ελλαδα σαν προσφυγες δεν ειναι και πολυ διαφορετικα απο αυτα που περασαν οσοι πηγαν σε οποιοδηποτε αλλο κρατος την ιδια εποχη. Νομιζεις οτι η Αμερικη ή ακομα κι ο Καναδας ηταν παραδεισος για τους προσφυγες την ιδια εποχη?

 

Αλλες εποχες, αλλα ηθη. Το να κρινει κανεις εκεινες τις εποχες με σημερινα κριτηρια ειναι εντελως λαθος.

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Εγώ ήμουνα στο δημοτικό την δεκαετία του 70. Εκεί μου δίδαξαν την "ευγενή" τσακωνική διάλεκτο με της σφαλιάρες και έγινα Έλληνας. Όπως έγιναν και οι Βλάχοι, οι Αρβανίτες, οι Βούλγαροι και οι Γύφτοι.

 

Κάλπικος λαός με κάλπικη ιστορία και κάλπικη συνείδηση με μόνο κοινό τα ήθη και έθιμα του οθωμανικού μεσαίωνα.

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Φαινεται οτι ειχες ασχημες εμπειριες. Εγω μεγαλωσα στον Πειραια σε γειτονια που ηταν γεματη προσφυγες. Δημοτικο ημουν τελη δεκαετιας 70 - αρχες 80. Δεν ειδα ποτε τετοια συμπεριφορα σε κανεναν.

Δε ξερω γιατι συνεχιζεις να θεωρεις τους Ποντιους ή τους Μικρασιατες ή τους Αρβανιτες κατι διαφορετικο από Ελληνες. Οι γονεις σου κι οι παπουδες σου δεν εβλεπαν τον εαυτο τους σαν Ελληνα? Τον εβλεπαν σαν Ποντιο?

Γιατι οι δικοι μου οι παπουδες και γιαγιαδες εβλεπαν παντα τον εαυτο τους σαν Ελληνα. Στη Μικρα Ασια ηταν Ελληνες κι οταν ηρθαν στην Ελλαδα δεν αλλαξε κατι. Παλι Ελληνες ηταν.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9C_neF5tOFY

 

whoever cares to see the whole movie, all well and good, - i thought it was fairlly insightful, in many a way, movie, about the times  -

But relating to the above, of about that period, ie. late 60's early 70's we get a small indight of mentalities of that time ...and yes its a movie, and yes its ...well ... all the rest ... but many i have spoken to say its pretty close to the mark .... at least in the more "polite" circles of those times ...but yes, often was more harsh, always depending on who one had to deal with , from the "authority's " side - point is there is never a case of black & white .... just shades of grey

 

fastforward to a little after 59:00 minutes

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Guest eyoismos

Οι Ποντιοι ειναι ζωντανο κομματι της ιστοριας του Ελληνισμου. Οταν αναγκαστηκαν να φυγουν απο τα μερη τους, απο τον Ποντο, και να ερθουν σαν προσφυγες στην Ελλαδα εγιναν αναποσπαστο κομματι του νεου Ελληνικου κρατους. Ειναι αμετρητοι οι Ποντιοι που εγιναν στη συνεχεια γνωστοι πολιτικοι, ανθρωποι του θεαματος, αθλητες κλπ. Οποιος δεν το αναγνωριζει αυτο ειναι απλα ηλιθιος.

 

tsoliades_pontioi.jpg

 

άνδρες ντυμένοι με παραδοσιακές ποντιακές φορεσιές γίνονται για λίγο φρουροί στον Άγνωστο Στρατιώτη. Μια κίνηση φόρος τιμής στους Πόντιους θύματα της γενοκτονίας από τους Τούρκους

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Εγώ ήμουνα στο δημοτικό την δεκαετία του 70. Εκεί μου δίδαξαν την "ευγενή" τσακωνική διάλεκτο με της σφαλιάρες και έγινα Έλληνας. Όπως έγιναν και οι Βλάχοι, οι Αρβανίτες, οι Βούλγαροι και οι Γύφτοι.

 

Κάλπικος λαός με κάλπικη ιστορία και κάλπικη συνείδηση με μόνο κοινό τα ήθη και έθιμα του οθωμανικού μεσαίωνα.

 

στο σχολείο που πήγα. όταν ήμουν έφηβος, ανάμεσα στους πολλούς και δίαφορους χαρακτήρες, υπήρχαν και μερικά ας πούμα ζιζάνια που πουλούσανε πολυ τασμουκαλίκι ...στους συμμαθητές, στους δασκάλους, στους πάντες. Τώρα γιατί θα αναρωτιόταν κανείς ... ε! ...ή ήταν κομπλεξικοί, και προσπαθούσαν να το κρύψουν, ή ήταν εκ φύσεως έναντι οποιονδήποτε αρχών, δίκαια ή άδικα, και στις περισσότερες φορες λίγο απ΄ όλα, ή μέσα τους ήταν εκ φύσεως επαναστάτες, αλλά σε τέτοια ηλικία δεν είχαν ιδέα γιατι επαναστατούσαν, αλλά απλώς γουστάρανε την ιδέα, ή θέλανε να δώσουν εντυπώσεις για να προσελκύσουν τις ομήλικες κοπέλλες , διότι ακόμα και τότε οι γκόμενες γουστάρανε τα bad boys, ή μέσα τους καιγόταν μιά κακία για οποιονδήποτε λόγο ...ή ...ή ...ή ...

 

και φυσικά τίς έτρωγαν τακτικά ... αυτό που λεγόταν τότε 6 of the best... άσε που και η σφαλίαρες πέφτανε αβέρτα

 

και αναρωτιέμαι τώρα .... :) ;)

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Εγώ άρχισα το δημοτικό πριν την μεταπολίτευση και άμα μου ξέφευγε κάνα ποντιακό μου έριχνε ο δάσκαλος την σφαλιάρα. Η κατάσταση άλλαξε σταδιακά μετά την πτώση της δικτατορίας οπότε άλλαξαν οι οδηγίες προς τους εκπαιδευτικούς και η σφαλιάρα έγινε παρατήρηση.

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Αν θυμαμαι καλα εισαι απο τη Θεσσαλονικη (ή καπου εξω απο τη Θεσσαλονικη?). Αυτη η περιοχη ειναι γεματη προσφυγες και Ποντιους, οπως ειναι κι ο Πειραιας και πολλες γειτονιες της Αθηνας.

Εαν δεν ηταν οι προσφυγες δε θα υπηρχε η Ελλαδα που ξερουμε σημερα (με ολα τα καλα και τα κακα της).

 

Στις γειτονιες που μεγαλωσα εγω οι Μικρασιατες ηταν η πλειοψηφια. Υποθετω και στις περισσοτερες γειτονιες της Θεσσαλονικης θα ηταν το ιδιο.

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Guest eyoismos

 

A Pontian friend relates a remarkable story whereby she once employed the assistance of a Turkish hairdresser in suburban north-west Melbourne for the purpose of taming her unruly tresses. Peering through the mirror, my friend noticed that her hairdresser had, pinned to her undershirt, a familiar triangular piece of cloth.

"Do you know what that is?" my friend asked.

After a slight hesitation, the hairdresser replied: "It's a fylakto," stressing the first syllable in such a way as to indicate that she was not familiar with the term.

"Where did you get it from?" my friend continued.

"My grandmother gave it to me before she died," came the response. "She always kept it hidden under her shirt and I was the only one who knew she had it. For some reason, it was her big secret. She took it out, gave it to me and told me to keep it secret and safe. I've always worn it because it makes me feel close to her."

This chance enquiry and the discovery of the fylakto led the hairdresser on a voyage of discovery where she discovered that her grandmother, also hailing from the Pontic region on the southern shores of the Black Sea, was in fact not Turkish but Greek and that she had been left behind during the genocide of the Pontic Greeks and brought up as a Turk by a Muslim family. While conforming outwardly to her adopted family's culture, religion and language, it appears that she never forgot who she truly was, her fylakto truly living up to its purpose, watching over her to make sure that she never forgot who she was.

Given the secrecy in which she not only maintained her fylakto but also passed it on to her granddaughter, it is evident that she would have felt, if not fear, then substantial enough pressure from the society in which she lived not to be able to speak freely about her ethnic origins. This fylakto then, bequeathed in secret, was, more than a symbol, a veritable ark of truth and identity.

http://neoskosmos.com/news/en/Waiting-for-the-clouds

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Nice story.

 

A few years back I read a great book called "Not even my name", written by Thea Halo. It's the story of a young Greek-Pontian girl - Sano Halo - who very much lost her cultural identity over the years, only to re-discover it with the help of her daughter many years later.

 

It's really worth a read: http://www.amazon.com/Not-Even-My-Name-Story/dp/0312277016

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Guest eyoismos

thanks for the pointer admin

 

i think i will try and get my hands on a copy

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