|WELCOME TO NICK KOUZOS HOME PAGE.
A trip “back to roots” and “back to history” of Asia Minor.
This is an introduction to Kouzos family history and “tree” traced back to the end of 19th century. The “site” goes beyond the interest of a family genealogy investigation, as it explores the historical events of a period that reshaped the world in South Eastern Europe and Middle East. This is also taking particular interest for the more contemporary developments which seem to resemble and reproduce similar geopolitical situations.
The story of the family is typical and very similar to the stories of millions of Greeks and Armenians and other minority nationalities, which experienced the tragedy of expulsion and de-rooting of the total Christian population from their homes in Asia Minor, at the beginning of the 20th century. The “curtain” of this tragedy “fell” after a disastrous campaign of the Greek Army, that took place, with the encouragement of the “Great Powers” ( Great Britain, France and Italy and to some degree United States) after the defeat of Germany and its ally, Turkey, in the First World War. These events lead to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and subsequently to the creation of modern Turkey as we know it to day.
The defeat of the Greek Army and the tragic consequences which followed were mainly due to the sudden change of policies of the same powers that, truly, abandoned their ally, at the time, in order to protect and best serve their evolving new interests in the area. These events are affecting the relationship between Greece and its western allies even today. Further, they are affecting the relationship with Turkey and leave open old wounds, such as the “Cyprus issue” and the …”gray” areas of Agean sea.
An inspiration for me to build this “site” has been created during a trip to Peramos of “Asia Minor” in Turkey, that I made together with my wife Vanda Roubanis, back in 1997. The place is now named “Karsiyaka”. Peramos was a small Greek town on the Kapidag Peninsula\
on the north coast of Asia on the sea of Marmara. This was the birthplace of my Grand Father Nick Kouzos and my Father Antony Nick Kouzos.
Nick Antony Kouzos
My desire was to write about the sufferings of my Parents, my Grand parents and their relatives from both branches of my family, who derive their origin from Asia Minor in order to help keep their memory alive but most of all to make a mark of the unique culture they belonged to, which unfortunately was so brutally and unjustly destroyed at the beginning of the 20th century. This destruction gave birth to the Modern Turkish State.
“It is very important to mention at this stage that 50% of the capital invested in industry belonged to Greeks of Asia Minor.
Also, out of the 18.063 trading companies in Turkey 46% belonged to Greeks, 23% to Armenians and 15% to Muslims, 46% of the Banking sector belonged to Greeks, as well as 52% of the doctors were Greeks, 49% of the pharmacists, 52% of the Architects 37% of the engineers and 29% of the solicitors.
Further 528 from a total of 654 wholesale companies belonged to Greeks”.
Finally, I wanted to write the story of Asia Minor in such a way that would help people, who share their origins from both sides of the Ageon Sea, Greeks and Turks, who have either similar or even conflicting stories and experiences to declare, to speak up, exchange their views, brake the ice and throw light on the “shadow” of preoccupation created by nationalists, extremists as well as from National propaganda that is generated from both sides. I believe that a major benefit could come out of this, because only in this way and if the truth is fully exposed, real understanding and even, possibly, friendship may develop between two people’s that have lived through enormous sufferings for many generations due to historical circumstances that made them share as well as fight over the same home land.
The interested reader is invited to navigate among the various pages and enter his comments or even contribute with information, which will be logged in the “Guest-Log” page. I will be even happier if I receive messages from the Turkish side that could enrich the pages of this site with personal stories or historic references from their side and point of view. Most of all I would enjoy receiving stories of Greek Turkish friendships that undoubtedly had been developed and were lost in the turmoil of war and destruction. You can sent your message if you visit my contact page at http://nickkouzos.com/el/contact-me/?lang=en
Finally I would like to apologise to my Turkish friends if some of this information appears to be biased, my intention is not to offend the Turkish Nation or the Turkish people and culture, which I truly appreciate, in spite of all biter family experiences. I do also appreciate that the period I deal with is a period, which reshaped the world and one cannot be expected to judge all events with today’s moral or cultural standards.
On the other hand drawing historical parallels and comparing historical experiences are very educational and valuable and one can derive wisdom and draw conclusions from a much deeper understanding on current events and options presented to all of us that will influence our lives and the lives of our children.
After all the Modern Turkish Nation was created out of the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the destruction of Greeks and other minorities in the area, nobody can forget that.
I wonder why this part of the history is not strictly mentioned in any historical book in high schools of western powers, including UK, France, Italy, Germany and USA.
THE TWO BRANCHES OF THE FAMILY, PERAMOS OF KYZIKOS AND SMYRNA.
The Greeks favour the use the name “Asia Minor” which is the Western part of Turkey, because it associates with their own lost homeland.
The other branch of the family is from a different area of Asia Minor.
In both cases, their towns and Christian communities were totally destroyed and all friends and relatives were either massacred or dispersed around the world as refugees. The survivors, around 1.6 million, came to Greece as refugees, but quite a big number was scattered around the world, to the States, France, Australia and many other places. (The total Greek population in Asia Minor was close to 2.5 Million during 1900)
“It is very important to mention that 50% of the capital invested in industry of the Ottoman Empire, belonged to Greeks of Asia Minor.
Also, out of the 18.063 trading companies in Turkey 46% belonged to Greeks, 23% to Armenians and 15% to Muslims, 46% of the Banking sector belonged to Greeks.
In high professional individuals Greeks in percentage terms were: 52% of the doctors , 49% of the pharmacists, 52% of the Architects, 37% of the engineers and 29% of the solicitors.
Further 528 from a total of 654 companies involved in wholesale trade belonged to Greeks.”
In relative terms, the number of people expelled or killed was huge for the period, as it represented a considerable percentage of the total population of mainland Greece at the time, which bearly reached 4.500.000
The distraction of any people’s homeland and culture has always been a painful and a dramatic experience. This is why we can see that in many cases around the world, this painful memory is maintained for many generations and a desire always exists to preserve as much of the culture and information about these lost communities. So, the drive to go “back to roots”, in these cases, is more than curiosity or an interesting “hobby”, it covers a deeper human need due to which, complete societies, even whole nations have survived in centuries.
This page is the smallest contribution I could make to the memory of my Grand Parents who participated in the creation of a culture, ahead of their time, which unfortunately was destroyed in the name of the conflicting interests of the “Great Powers” at the beginning of the 20th century.
In spite of it’s destruction the survivors of this culture influenced the evolution of Modern Greece. It is really a great pity that that this culture did not survive for the benefit of mankind including the Turkish Nation with which, for centuries, Greeks managed to coexist in many areas of Asia Minor. Today all this has been forgotten and all any one could expect, is to defend the “right of remembrance”.
THE ASIA MINOR HOLOCAUST OF 1922
LAUSANNE, Dec. 1.–A black page of modern history was written here today. Ismet Pasha stood before the statesmen of the civilized world and admitted that the banishment from Turkish territory of nearly a million Christian Greeks, who were two million only a few short years ago had been decreed. The Turkish Government graciously allows two more weeks for the great exodus.
The statesmen of the civilized powers accepted the Turkish dictum and set about ways to get those thousands of Greeks out of harm’s way before they should meet the fate of 800,000 Armenians who were massacred in Anatolia in 1910 and 1917.
The stories of both branches of the family are described in two different pages of this site, one page deals with Kirkagats, the birth place of my mother, closely related to Smyrna the largest and richest city with large Greek Population that was burned down to ashes, which is more well known, and the second page that refers to Peramos
a smaller town with 5.000 pure Greek inhabitants. In both pages I input comments and pictures when available, but the general historic background is common for both and could be of interest to many people who would like to obtain deeper knowledge of this tragic period. A short comprehensive account on the historic events that lead to the defeat of the Greek Army in Turkey, during 1922, is given in a speech made by Nancy Horton the daughter of George Horton the Consulate General of USA in Smyrna during the period of the conflict and specifically during 1922. See special page with extracts from the speech in English. A full version of the speech in Greek can be found in the relevant Greek section of this site.
The general background about the long standing conflict between Greece and Turkey is given in page “Historic Confrontation” and and in page “Chronological Events”, which gives the historical events in a chronological order. Other relevant information is shared in various “pages” linked with this document, indexed in the left of this page.
INDEX OF LINKS.
To navigate, please look at the list of pages and links provided with short description in the column left of the present page.
INDEX OF LINKS TO VIDEOS FROM TRAVELS “BACK TO ROOTS”
Back to root videos travels to find the roots of my family in Constantinople, Peramos, Kirkagats, Smyrni,
Back to the roots Nick Kouzos (Part.1) The first attempt to find traces of family roots, starting the story from Istanbul (Constantinople) where Kouzos family together with thousands of Greeks who tried to hide in the years 1915 to 1924.
Back to the roots Nick Kouzos (Part.2) Arriving to Peramos
Back to roots no 4 trip to Kirkagats of Asia Minor Traveling from Lesbos island (Mitilini) across to Asia Minor coast and traveling further deeper up to Kirkagats town, home of the other branch of the family, (Konsolidis branch)
SMYRNI @ KIRKAGATS A trip Back to roots of Asia Minor and the tragic story of a Greek family among 1.5 million Greek Nationals who were expelled after the defeat of the Greek Army during 1922.
Note inserted on the 31st of year 2019:
The relationships between Greece and Turkey have been deteriorating during the recent years after the change of direction that both EU and Turkey have taken as regards Turkey’s application for full membership in EU that both parties have come to realize that such an integration is not possible and is not desired for reasons that is not openly disclosed. Turkey has come to believe that West has gone back to the position prevailing during the first World War. Turkey believes that they deserve a better position in the international scene as they represent the leading power of the Islamic world.
As a consequence they want to take a re -visionary position on most treaties including the treaty of Lauzanne questioning which defines the state of the Aegean islands, frontiers with Syria and the share of Mediterranean Sea. On top of that Turkey has not signed the international law for the rights of the islands to have their own EEZ ect.
This may result to a serious conflict with Greece.