The following testimony was submitted via our online questionnaire by a relative of the family. The name of the family has been wittheld for privacy reasons.
1. From which region of the Ottoman Empire were your ancestors from?:
My ancestors were from Didim, or Geronta as it was called then.
2. How did their life change when the Neo-Turks and/or the Kemalists came to power? :
In 1922 my great grandfather was burnt to death in his textile factory. His factory was set alight by Turkish soldiers and Turks whom my father employed. His wife along with their five children and her unmarried sister fled to Samos. The oldest child was 14. All boys. There was one set of twins. They lived in Samos for a short time and then moved to Athens. They went from a comfortable life to substandard rental accommodation, and no bread winner. My great grandmother worked as a kitchen-hand in Athens for a rich family. She wouldn't scrape the dough off her hands after making bread for her employers so that she could make small bread balls to feed her children.
3. Were they deported during the genocide? If so, when, where to, and describe their experience:
4. Were they held in a concentration camp or labor camp? If so, where was it located and describe the conditions :
5. Did they lose family and friends? If so, how did they cope?:
Yes. As mentioned, my great grandfather was killed. From my maternal side, only my great grandmother and her sister survived.
6. Did anyone within Turkey including Turks try to help them during the genocide? :
Not that I am aware of.
7. How did they cope emotionally with their genocide experience? Did it affect the remainder of their life? :
My great grandmother never really talked about it much. She spoke of what happened, but not about how she felt.
8. Did the denial of the genocide by the perpetrator (the successor state of Turkey) affect their ability to form closure?:
9. How did they feel about Turkey after the genocide? :
She thought of the good old days but was bitter and I would say depressed at her change of fortune. My ancestors employed many Turks and treated them as friends and family. They would even invite them to have meals with them. But in the end they turned on them.