Leonidas Kalpaktsoglou in Greece in 1975.
Leonidas Kalpaktsoglou was from the Bafra region of Turkey. The following testimony was submitted by his son via our online questionnaire.
1. From which region of the Ottoman Empire were your ancestors from?:
My father was from Bafra which was in the Pontus region of Asia Minor.
2. How did their life change when the Neo-Turks and/or the Kemalists came to power? :
Even though they had friendly neighborly relations with Turks, they suddenly began to avoid them.
3. Were they deported during the genocide? If so, when, where to, and describe their experience:
My grandfather Paraskevas Kalpaktsoglou (or Kotsambasis) was deported to an unknown location in 1920 and never returned.
4. Were they held in a concentration camp or labor camp? If so, where was it located and describe the conditions :
My father Leonidas Kalpaktsoglou served in the Turkish military in a forced labor battalion (Amela taburlari) in a coal mine at an unknown location. He was called to serve in the Ottoman military in 1921 and was released from duties in 1924. In that same year he arrived in Greece where his mother Euphemia and two sisters, Polimni and Konstantina had already been transferred to.
5. Did they lose family and friends? If so, how did they cope?:
Aside from losing my grandfather Paraskevas who vanished after being deported, his two sons George and Kyriakos Kalpakstsoglou were also murdered after paying the bedel to avoid serving in the Turkish army. The bedel was paid by my grandmother. His sons were murdered during my grandfather's exile. Their murders must have occurred around 1920 or 1921. My grandfather's 16 year old daughter Despina was held in Turkey by a wealthy older Turkish widower who married her. She later became a widow herself and married again with another Turk who she had two sons with, Bulent and Fikret. Despina became a Muslim and as a result all communication with her ceased in 1960.
Leonidas Kalpaktsoglou in Yiannitsa, Greece in 1925.
6. Did anyone within Turkey including Turks try to help them during the genocide? :
7. How did they cope emotionally with their genocide experience? Did it affect the remainder of their life? :
My father completely avoided making mention of anything to do with his life in Turkey. Even the good moments. It gave us the impression that he witnessed many horrible things there.
8. Did the denial of the genocide by the perpetrator (the successor state of Turkey) affect their ability to form closure?:
In terms of work no. Psychologically yes, a lot.
9. How did they feel about Turkey after the genocide? :
My father never spoke about Turks. I tried to convince him to visit his homeland, the place where he was born and raised but he stubbornly resisted. I think he resisted because he was afraid.
Here is our last chance to convince the Ontarian Parliament in Canada to recognize ALL the victims of the Greek Genocide in Bill 97, and not just those from one region. Please cut and paste the following text in an email and send it to:
Jocelyn McCauley, the Committee Clerk of the Standing Committee on Justice Policy of the Ontario Parliament.
Subject: Bill 97.
Dear Ontario Parliament Standing Committee on Justice Policy,
Please recognize all the victims of the Greek Genocide in Bill 97. By recognising only a fraction of the Greek victims (ie. Pontian Greeks) you are not only distorting the historical record, you are also being hugely inconsiderate and extremely unkind to the descendants of Greek victims from other regions.
[Insert Your Name Here]
In 1994, the Hellenic Parliament passed Law 2193/1994 which designated May 19 as a "day of national mourning for the genocide of the Greeks of Pontus."
It's worth noting that in 1998 the Hellenic Parliament passed Law 2645/1998 which inaugurated September 14 as a day of national mourning for the genocide of all Greeks throughout the entire region of Asia Minor (including Pontus) which in effect was an amendment to the 1994 decision.
Source - Greece's Official Repository of Legislature
On the 30th of August 2019, the banner pictured above was unfurled at a UEFA sanctioned match between A.E.K Athens and Trabzonspor in Turkey. The words on the banner referenced the 1922 Smyrna Holocaust, an event which was one of the final acts of the Greek Genocide. Those who felt offended, humiliated or insulted by the banner are encouraged to read and send the protest letter below to both UEFA and FIFA using the contact information provided.
SAMPLE PROTEST LETTER
and write to FIFA via their contact form (don't forget to tick the "I'm not a robot" box)
Subject: Offensive banner at the AEK vs Trabzonspor match, 30 Aug 2019.
Dear UEFA and FIFA,
I refer to an incident at a UEFA Europa League match at Medical Park Stadium in Trabzon, Turkey on the 30th of August 2019 between A.E.K Athens and the Trabzonspor football club during which an offensive banner was unfurled by the home team spectators. The banner in question had the words 'CAN YOU SWIM?' emblazoned on it, words which were deliberately chosen to incite and mock fans of the opposing Greek team A.E.K Athens and all those affected by the 1922 Smyrna Holocaust.
The words on the banner referenced the final phase of the genocide of non-Turkish civilians in Turkey - Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians and others who were forced to frantically swim for their lives into the Smyrna (today İzmir) harbor in Turkey to avoid being killed by marauding Kemalist forces in September 1922. For at least two weeks during that fateful month, non-Turkish civilians living in Smyrna were subjected to rape, massacre and humiliation by nationalist Turkish forces. These acts coincided with the burning of the city of Smyrna to ashes, a city which prior to its destruction had a majority Greek population. Some sources cite the death toll at 100,000, mainly Greeks and Armenians. The 1922 Smyrna Holocaust is an event that Greeks commemorate each September with remembrance ceremonies worldwide. In 1998, the Greek Parliament assigned September 14 as a day of national mourning for the Greek Genocide and in particular for the loss of lives during the Smyrna Holocaust and throughout Turkey during the period 1914-1923. It is no coincidence, that the opposing Greek football team in the above-mentioned match, A.E.K (translated: Athletic Union of Constantinople) has its origins in Constantinople (today Istanbul, Turkey) and was formed in Greece in 1924 following the genocide.
The banner was a clear contravention of the following UEFA rules as stated in UEFA's Disciplinary Regulations (2017 Edition):
Article 16: ORDER AND SECURITY AT UEFA COMPETITION MATCHES, which explicitly states that national associations and clubs are liable for the inappropriate behavior on the part of their supporters. The article clearly prohibits: "the use of gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit a provocative message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly provocative messages that are of a political, ideological, religious or offensive nature."
Article 11: GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF CONDUCT, which refers to "ethical conduct, loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship" of the sport and in particular states that disciplinary measures will be taken for those "whose conduct is insulting or otherwise violates the basic rules of decent conduct" and will discipline anyone "who uses sporting events for manifestations of a non-sporting nature."
Article 14: RACISM, OTHER DISCIPLINARY CONDUCT AND PROPAGANDA, which states that UEFA will discipline any person "who insults the human dignity of a person or group of persons on whatever grounds."
I also refer to FIFA's CODE OF ETHICS (2018 Edition) and clauses 22 and 23 in particular, which mentions the sanction of those who "offend the dignity or integrity of a country, private person or group of people through contemptuous, discriminatory or denigratory words or actions" and prohibits people to "not use offensive gestures and language in order to insult someone in any way or to incite others to hatred or violence."
I urge UEFA and FIFA to enforce these rules and to take immediate disciplinary action against the club in question and its national association. Sporting stadiums should not be venues for people to openly and freely insult others with impunity. This instance in particular, where descendants and victims of a genocide were mocked and insulted should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Disciplinary measures including an apology by the offending team must be strongly considered.
Your in trust,
The New York Herald, 29 August 1921, p.3.
For the Associated Press.
AIDIN, Asia Minor, Aug. 10 (Delayed).
-One of the saddest and most tragic of all war memorials in the Near East is the ruined city of Aidin, sixty miles southeast of Smyrna. It is literally a vast sepulchre of the dead. Here hundreds of innocent Greek and Armenian women, children and priests lie in nameless graves, victims of massacres by Turks in the summer of 1919.
The broken columns of a thousand shattered homes are the mute witnesses of the martyrdom of the population. Although two years have passed since they were sacrificed, no tombstone, no cross, no wreath marks the place where they fell. Their whitening bones form a part of the crumbling masonry and earth. The silence of the place is oppressive.
The town presents an appalling spectacle of desolation and destruction, which has its counterpart only in the ruined cities of France. However, the people of Aidin were vouchsafed no chance of escape. They were brutally slain by the Turks when the Greek army had withdrawn. Many of the victims were burned to death.
Through the dark and debris-strewn alleys sombre women and girls in mourning move like spectres. All have lost relatives in the fearful massacre. Their faces tell a story of poignant suffering and anguish. Some of them have lost their reason.
A comprehensive study of the victim toll of Greeks during the Greek Genocide has never been conducted. However, based on a prewar population of 2.5 - 3 million Ottoman Greeks and taking into account the 1.2 million Ottoman Greeks that arrived in Greece after 1922, it is likely that the victim toll of the Greek Genocide was somewhere in the vicinity of 1 - 1.5 million.
Below are figures published in various sources at the time of the genocide as well as estimates by scholars. It’s worth noting that there is no generally agreed definition of a victim when it comes to genocide. While some only include death from massacres and other atrocities in estimates others may include death from other methods such as death marches, famine, starvation and epidemics which Greeks were deliberately exposed to. In regards to death resulting from deportation it is worth considering a report by the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief dated June 8, 1918 which stated that half of the deportees perished from torture and illness.1
- In 1917, the Evening Independent reported on a declaration made by Frank W. Jackson, chairman of the Relief Committee for the Greeks of Asia Minor. Jackson stated that there were some 2-3 million Greeks living under Turkish rule at the outset of WW1, and that by October 1917, “...some seven to eight hundred thousand have been deported, mainly from the coast regions into the interior of Asia Minor.”2
- On November 4, 1918 the Deputy of Aydin who was also a Member of the Ottoman Parliament, Emmanuel Emmanuelidis stated that 550,000 Greeks, “...were killed in the coastal regions of the Black Sea, Canakalle, Marmara and the Aegean Islands and other areas, and their property was seized and looted.”3
- According to estimates made by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “...1,500,000 Greeks of the Turkish Empire have been deported from their homes, usually under conditions which made probable death from starvation, disease, or exposure. Hundreds of thousands have died thus or have been massacred by Turkish soldier...”4
- The Ecumenical Patriarchate based in Constantinople estimated that between 1913-1918, 774,235 Greeks were deported from Thrace and Asia Minor including Pontus.5
- In a memorandum dated March 20, 1922 British diplomat George W. Rendel stated that during the course of WW1, “...over 500,000 Greeks were deported, of whom comparatively few survived.”6
- On December 1, 1922, Britain's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs stated that between 1914-1922: "...a million Greeks have been killed, deported or have died."7
- According to genocide scholar and author Adam Jones; “...for all the Greeks of the Ottoman realm taken together, the toll surely exceeded half a million, and may approach the 900,000 that a team of US researchers found in the early postwar period.”8
- According to Professor Hatzidimitriou who holds a Ph.D. in Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek history, based on Greek Patriarchate figures of 1910-1912 and Greek census figures of 1928, “the loss of life among Anatolian Greeks during the WW1 period and its aftermath was approximately 735,370.”9
- According to author and former military Attaché at the Greek Embassy in France HarryTsirkinidis, the death toll of Greeks was 1,574,235 based on Ecumenical Patriarchate figures and his own estimates. However Tsirkinidis argues that the death toll is probably higher if one takes into account the population of Greeks in the Ottoman Empire prior to the genocide which he estimates to be 3 million, and subtracts the figure of 1,221,000 which is the total number of Greeks that arrived in Greece post-genocide. In other words, a death toll of 1,779,000 or more.10
1. Tessa Hofmann, “Γενοκτονία εν Ροή – Cumulative Genocide,” in The Genocide of the Ottoman Greeks: Studies on the State-Sponsored Campaign of Extermination of the Christians of Asia Minor (1912-1922) and Its Aftermath: History, Law, Memory,” ed Tessa Hofmann et al. (Caratzas, 2011), 102.
2. “Turks Turned Against Greek: 700,000 Suffer.” The Evening Independent, October 17, 1917, 6.
3. Taner Akcam. A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (Henry Holt and Company, 2006), 107.
4. “Turkish Cruelty Bred by Greeks.” New York Times, June 16, 1918, 42.
5. Ecumenical Patriarchate, Mavri Vivlos, Diogmon ke Martirion tou en Turkia Ellinismou: 1914-1918, (Constantinople, 1919), 409-413.
6. George William Rendel, "Memorandum by Mr. Rendel on Turkish Massacres and Persecutions of Minorities Since the Armistice," in British Documents on Foreign Affairs: Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print, Part II, Series B, Turkey, Iran and the Middle East, 1918-1939, Volume 3, The Turkish Revival 1921-1923, ed. Kenneth Bourne et al. (University Publications of America, 1985), 54.
7. “Turks Proclaim Banishment Edict to 1,00,000 Greeks,” New York Times, December 2, 1922, 1.
8. Adam Jones, Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, 2nd ed. (Routledge, 2006), 166.
9. Constantine G. Hatzidimitriou ed, American Accounts Documenting the Destruction of Smyrna by the Kemalist Turkish Forces, September 1922, (Caratzas, 2005), 3.
10. Harry Tsirkinidis, A Synoptic History of the Genocide of the Greeks of the East: Documents of Foreign Diplomatic Archives, (Kyriakidis, 2009), 198-199.
The perpetrators of the Greek Genocide were responsible for planning and executing the destruction of Greek communities during the genocide. They include members of the Committee of Union and Progress Party, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his nationalist supporters (Kemalists) as well as German military personnel.
A focus on some of the regions affected and other documentary evidence.
8,000 Greek refugees from Anatolia sheltered in caves near Aleppo, Syria.
Greek civilians mourn their dead. Smyrna 1922.
A woman and 3 children gaze at the camera as they are taken away in a train carriage with a soldier above them. Asia Minor 1922
Greek refugees at Aleppo, Syria.
Massacred Greeks in western Anatolia laid out on stretchers.
Anatolian refugees at Aleppo, Syria, circa 1915-1916.
Nearly a thousand children in Constantinople found in cellars and hovels in a doped condition, having been given native narcotics to keep them quiet.
Turkish troups standing beside their hanged victim, a decapitated and mutilated body of a Greek woman in Nazilli, Aydin province.
Refugees after the Smyrna fire, 1922.
A group of Greek children who had dropped out exhausted from the weary lines of deportees were picked up by the NER from the Harput region and taken to Beirut some 750 miles away.