Memories of Asia Minor Catastrophe Digitized by University of Florida

University Florida Digital series Asia Minor Catastrophe
Great Fire of Smyrna as seen from an Italian ship. Credit: Wikipedia/Public domain.

The 100 year anniversary of the Asia Minor catastrophe will be marked in a digital series prepared at the University of Florida’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.

The series titled “Remembering 1922”, includes twelve memories of migration from the late Ottoman Empire to the US between 1907-1924.

It was during that period when the Ottoman Empire launched a campaign of extermination of Greeks, Armenians, and other Christian minorities, that a wave of Ottoman Greek migrants arrived in the US.

Each carried a unique set of experiences from their respective communities and gained new ones at their points of departure and arrival, during their journey, at their new settlements throughout the US, and in some cases during their return migration.

Through transgenerational memory transfer and archival research, the migrants’ descendants preserved these experiences.

Remembering Asia Minor Catastrophe through 12 memories

Over the next twelve months, researchers of the Ottoman Greeks of the United States Digital History Project will present these experiences in a series of online videos entitled, Remembering 1922: Twelve Memories of Migration from the Late Ottoman Empire to the US.

Each video will feature one of twelve communities from the late Ottoman Empire’s regions that overlap with contemporary Turkey.

In addition, the videos will present a variety of migration experiences between 1907-1924, from economic migration during periods of relative peace and stability, to refugeedom, to transnational migration and return migration.

Finally, as this year marks the hundred-year commemoration of the destruction of Smyrna, many of the presentations will emphasize the resulting refugee wave from first-hand accounts provided by descendants of Ottoman Greek immigrants and refugees to the US.

Through this online series, researchers at the University of Florida’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program who maintain the Ottoman Greeks of the United States Digital History Project, join the hundreds of thousands of descendants of Ottoman Greeks in Turkey, Greece, and throughout the diaspora who raise their voices this and every year in commemoration of their ancestors.

All episodes will be uploaded to this link.

Greece to mark centenary of Asia Minor catastrophe

The Ministry of Culture in Greece announced late in December that it will dedicate 2022 to the anniversary of the Asia Minor Catastrophe and to the promotion of the memory and identity of the refugee communities.

Under the “All Greece one Culture 2022” program refugee associations and unions are invited to propose actions and events dedicated to the centennial of the disaster for Hellenism.

The destruction of the great cosmopolitan metropolis of the Mediterranean sea, Smyrna in September 1922 and the beginning of the end of the 3,000-year-long presence of Greeks in Asia Minor.


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