“The Exodus of the Thracians” - Wishevoke

“The Exodus of the Thracians”

Konstantinos A. Triantafyllakis’ new book entitled “The Exodus of Thrace”, published by IANOS Publications, is a historical novel “homage” to the centenary of the brutal expulsion of the Greeks from Eastern Thrace.It is a life’s work of the author, a “debt” to the memory of his grandparents, who never stopped looking with nostalgia and deep pain at the land of their ancestors over there, on the other side of the Evros. He respects historical events and brings to light stories that took place throughout Eastern Thrace and are a legacy for future generations. At the same time, the social and family relationships, economy, culture, customs and traditions of the Thracians are analyzed. So that historical continuity and memory are not lost.

Through the book, the passions of the Thracians, the unprecedented brutality of the Turks, the dirty role of the “Allies” and the devastating consequences of the “national division” are illuminated.

THE “Exodus of the Thracians”, from their ancestral homes, is one of the most dramatic events in world history that is unfortunately forgotten. It is a genocide that requires recognition and justice.

The book

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Thracians thrived in business, education and trade, despite Hamit’s repressive regime. Constantinople, Adrianople, the Forty Churches, Philippoupolis, Raidestos, the Gallipoli Peninsula and Dedeagats prove to be important centers of Hellenism.

After the failures in the Balkan Wars, the Young Turks entrusted the German General Saunders with reorganizing the army. Sanders makes eradicating Hellenism a priority because “Turkey will not be safe as long as the Greeks remain in Eastern Thrace.”

The persecutions reached their peak in April 1914 “The Black Easter of the Thracians”. Property is confiscated, men are sent to the infamous “Amele Tambourou” of which only a few survive, girls and women are raped, underage boys are confiscated, old men are tortured, “ridden” and slaughtered. Endless processions of ragged unfortunates flock to the coastal towns in search of a lifeboat for Greece. The Turks transport Muslim settlers to turquoise Thrace. In the summer of 1920, Eastern Thrace is liberated after six centuries of slavery! The uprooted return, rebuild and hope that their suffering will end. For the first time they will live as free people. But the joy is only short-lived. In August 1922 the front in Asia Minor collapsed. Smyrna is burning…

Under the weight of the catastrophe, the government of Athens gives in to Kemal’s demands and the coercive pressure of the Allies and leaves Eastern Thrace to Turkey. The question remains unanswered and tormenting: “Could Eastern Thrace be saved?” This is how General Mazarakis-Ainian, who refused to sign the concession for Eastern Thrace after being blackmailed, replies: “There is therefore reasonable hope that if we prolong the impasse and do not accept the evacuation of Thrace, in the meantime If the armed forces were strengthened and organized there at the same time, Europe would not be united to intervene and the Turks would have no weapon in their hand to blackmail both us and Europe. For a prize as great as Thrace, it was worth it for Greece to use all means to keep it… Therefore, I think that both Venizelos in Paris and the revolution in Athens were too hasty and lost all hope from the start “Accept the evacuation of Eastern Thrace.”

The Greeks of Eastern Thrace only had 15 days to take everything they could fit in a cart and leave their ancestral homes! What should you put in a shopping cart and what should you leave? Here is how Ernest Hemingway described the dramatic exodus: “The main part of the procession, crossing the river Evros in Adrianople, reaches a length of thirty kilometers.” Thirty kilometers with carts drawn by oxen, bulls and muddy buffaloes, with exhausted, exhausted Men, women and children walking blind… A man covers his pregnant wife with a blanket on the araba to protect her from the rain. She is the only person who makes any noises (of contractions). Her little daughter looks at her in horror and starts to cry. And the procession marches on… The terrible, brutal march of a people uprooted from their land will continue to stagger along the endless, muddy road…

excerpt from the book

“You dropped a black stone behind you, Captain! Welcome to you!” said the despot loudly. The old man laughed bitterly. Then he answered with all the strength that was in his old soul and showed with his hand:

“My home lies beyond, Master! Over and beyond! Eastern Thrace. Everything is here; Fathers, mothers, brothers, children, friends, houses, fields… our soul! They took everything from us, they left us nothing; just a few roots… Here I am a musafir, a host, a refugee; you could say a stranger!”

There was absolute silence. The old man took another deep breath and continued:

“Today is October 19th. It has been thirty years, Master, since the day we left our homes and crossed the river! I still think it’s a lie. It was today, October 19, 1922…”

The old man collapsed on the cold pavement and looked out over Eastern Thrace. The blackbirds flew low, took his little soul and went forever… to the only country he loved all his life.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top