The following testimony was submitted via our online questionnaire by a relative of the family.

 

1. From which region of the Ottoman Empire were your ancestors from?:
My father was from a place called Apess in the Sivas region.

2. How did their life change when the Neo-Turks and/or the Kemalists came to power? :
The Turks would chase them with guns. There was one notorious Turk in particular by the name of Topal Osman. They were also burning villages.

3. Were they deported during the genocide? If so, when, where to, and describe their experience:
They deported my father at a very young age along with the other men. We weren't told much, but we beleve all the males of our family died there.

4. Were they held in a concentration camp or labor camp? If so, where was it located and describe the conditions :
They were made to work in labor battalions. We don't know where that was. They would beat them so that they would work. That's what he told us.  

5. Did they lose family and friends? If so, how did they cope?:
Yes, all the men died. There were no more males left. Only women and children. The rest of the family were expelled. They boarded ships at Samsun and arrived in Greece. They carried wheat in their sacks. Only the women left. Our family was left without a father.   

6. Did anyone within Turkey including Turks try to help them during the genocide? :
Nobody helped. When they were leaving at Samsun the Turks would rob them. Turkish fishermen tried to abduct my grandfather there too.

7. How did they cope emotionally with their genocide experience? Did it affect the remainder of their life? :
They didn't talk about it. They only spoke about their homeland. They never talked about what they witnessed. They just tried to survive since they were left with nothing.

8. Did the denial of the genocide by the perpetrator (the successor state of Turkey) affect their ability to form closure?:
They never thought about it. They felt pain because they lost their homeland and the people that were lost. They felt sadness and pain.  

9. How did they feel about Turkey after the genocide? :
They felt bitterness and enmity towards Turkey and the Turks.

 

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