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Remember the Greek Holocausts


A hundred years ago, our ancestors were forced to endure the 20th century’s first Holocaust, alongside Ottoman Armenians and Assyrians. Masterminded by Otto Liman Von Sanders and the Ittihadist Ottoman Government, the Ottoman Greek Genocide saw the extermination of Thracians, Bithynians, Ionians, Cappadocians and Pontians. April 6th, or as it was referred to in 1914 “Black Easter” commemorates the deportations and massacres that initiated in Thrace, and later spread to Asia Minor and Pontos. This often forgotten phase of the Ottoman Greek Genocide is commonly referred to by Thracians as “the Genocide of Thracian Hellenism”.

Today, we remember and commemorate not only the Genocide of Thracian Hellenism, but the beginning of the Ottoman Greek Genocide, as a whole. We honor the victims, from all effected regions, more than 1.4 million men, women, and children, who were brutally exterminated at the hands of the Young Turks. On this day of remembrance, in honor of those who were massacred in Rodosto, Adrianople and throughout Thrace, we urge all Thracian Associations, world-wide, to unite and launch a coordinated effort to force the all G20 Countries to fully recognize April 6th, with the same respect as May 19th.

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Εκατό χρόνια πριν, οι πρόγονοί μας αναγκάστηκαν να υπομείνουν το πρώτο ολοκαύτωμα του 20ου αιώνα μαζί με τους Αρμένιους και Ασσύριους της Οθωμανικής Επικράτειας. Ενορχηστρωμένη από τον Otto Liman Von Sanders και την τζιχαντιστική Οθωμανική Αυτοκρατορία, η Ελληνική Γενοκτονία είδε την εξόντωση των Θρακιωτών, Βιθυνών, Ιώνων, Καππαδόκων και Ποντίων. Η 6η Απριλίου, ή όπως αναφέρθηκε το 1914,  “Μαύρο Πάσχα” τιμά τη μνήμη των εκτοπισμών και των σφαγών που ξεκίνησαν στη Θράκη και αργότερα εξαπλώθηκαν στη Μικρά Ασία και τον Πόντο. Αυτή η ξεχασμένη περίοδος της Ελληνικής Γενοκτονίας ονομάζεται από τους Θρακιώτες “Γενοκτονία του Θρακικού Ελληνισμού”.

Σήμερα, θυμόμαστε και τιμούμε τη μνήμη όχι μόνο της Γενοκτονίας του Θρακικού Ελληνισμού αλλά και την αρχή της Ελληνικής Γενοκτονίας από τους Οθωμανούς στο σύνολό της. Τιμούμε τα θύματα από όλες τις περιοχές, τους πάνω από 1.4 εκατομμύριο άνδρες, γυναίκες και παιδιά οι οποίοι εξοντώθηκαν βάναυσα από τα χέρια Νεαρών Τούρκων. Αυτή τη μέρα μνήμης τιμούμε όλους όσους σφαγιάστηκαν στη Ραιδεστό, στην Ανδριανούπολη και σε όλη τη Θράκη και καλούμε τις Θρακικές Οργανώσεις από όλο τον κόσμο να ενωθούν και να ξεκινήσουν μια συντονισμένη προσπάθεια να αναγκάσουν όλες τις χώρες της G20 να αναγνωρίσoυν πλήρως την 6η Απριλίου με τον ίδιο σεβασμό όπως την 19η Μαΐου.

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A little background information:

In 1994, May 19 was selected by the Greek parliament as the day to commemorate the Pontian Greek Genocide by the Turks. The Pontic Genocide is one of the darkest moments in history not only for Greeks, but also for mankind. The Genocide vanished from its ancestral and historic homeland in Pontus a culturally vibrant and unique part of the Greek population that had been fighting for its survival for about 3,000 years.

The Ottoman regime feared the Pontiac population not only because of their rapidly growing numbers that had reached 700,000 by the early 20th century, but also because of the cultural and economic growth of the minority. Cities like Samsous, Trapezous and Kerasous displayed a remarkable growth with dozens of schools, newspapers, theaters and other amenities. The rise of the Young Turks movement, however, would put a brutal end to the thriving Greek community of the area. While the Greek state was busy solving out the Crete problem and in no position to open new fronts with Turkey, the Pontians and many other Greeks across Asia Minor were dislocated and systematically exterminated.

The Pontians tried to fight back and resist the new politics, so they fled high to the mountains and organized themselves in small guerrilla groups. By 1921 historical records show that Pontian fighters numbered some 12,000, a force that was unwisely never deployed by the Greek army. The Greek politics of the time that failed to focus on the issue and the lost hopes of the establishment of a joint Ponto-Armenian country allowed Kemal Ataturk to proceed with the final phase of his plan.

The rise of the Bolsheviks in neighboring Russia deprived the Greek Pontians of the help they received against the Ottomans. The new Russian regime and Germany helped Turkey in all ways possible. While the Greek army was marching in the wilderness of Anatolia, Kemal kept the Greeks busy with guerrilla attacks and simultaneously carried on the massacres in Pontus. By the time of the Asia Minor catastrophe more than 300,000 Pontian Greeks had already lost their lives.

The survivors of the extended slaughters migrated to nearby Russian grounds or were included in the population exchanges that followed the end of the Greco-Turkish war (1919- 22). The Pontians that moved into Greece brought with them their surviving culture, language, customs and traditions, and enriched the social structures of the country by adding their own characteristic features.

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