September 15, 2022: The great city of Smyrna, located on what is today Turkey’s Aegean Coast, was known for thousands of years as one of the world’s wealthiest and diverse metropolises. This changed, however, just over 100 years ago today, on September 13th, 1922, when the Turkish government set fire to the Christian quarters of the city in a deliberate attempt to destroy or expel Armenians, Greeks, and other Christian populations. It is estimated that the fire, combined with mass violence against these populations, claimed tens of thousands of lives, and displaced millions more. Many individuals were transported to Greece on military ships as refugees, while thousands of Armenian and Greek men were deported into Anatolia where they died of exposure to brutal weather conditions.
In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of this atrocity, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and the Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center will be hosting a discussion on this event with renowned scholars and educators on Sunday, September 18, 2022 at 2:00PM CDT. Included in the panel is Zoryan Institute’s Executive Director, George Shirinian. George will be speaking about the special nature of Smyrna as a cosmopolitan city renowned for ethnic and religious tolerance, as well as providing context for understanding why the city was burned, and giving some details about the violence against Armenians and Greeks and the overall humanitarian crisis that resulted from this horrific event.
Registration is required for Sunday’s discussion, which will be taking place both in-person and online. Visit this page to register today.