Welcome to Smyrna of Asia Minor,1922 last update: 01/06-2019
|The story Konsolidis (Consolas) Family, Gteek refugies from Kirkagats, a town close to Smyrna.|
|The story of Evaggelia Konsolidou Kouzou Mother of Nick Kouzos. The author of this site.
The story of a typical refugee family from Asia Minor that followed the retreating Greek Army during 1922.
Evaggelia Konsolidou is the youngest daughter of Ignatios Konsolidis or Konsolas as he used to be called and Anastasia Grigoriadou.
She was born in Kirkagats during1919, just three years before the defeat of the Greek Army in Asia Minor that took place in Agust 1922. Kirkagats means “the forty trees” in Turkish. It is considered sacred town by Turks, so Greeks lived there relatively in safety and propered almost as well as Greeks in Phanar of Costandinople.
Evaggelia was the 5th daughter after Olympia, Olga, Renea and Dorothea.
The retreat of the Greek Army found Anastasia Grigoriadou Konsolidou alone trying to survive and protect her five daughters and her old mother “Nene”, “Grand Mother” in Turkish.
Her husband had already passed away.
The afternoon of 27-8-1922 The “Independent Division” of the Greek Army, reached the town of Kirkagats, the centre of a wealthy area 120 kilometres north East of Smyrni (Izmir) 50km north of Magnisia a well known area, because it includes the village of Axar the birth place of Aristotle Onasis.
Kirkagats is located on the left bank of river Kaykou (Bakir-Tsai) and had A population of 20.000 of which 5.000 were Greeks and 15.000 Turks.
The Greek Division (The independent Division) under Gen Theotokis, had reached Kirkagats defeating numerous attacks from Turkish rebels.
As soon as the Turkish Mayor of Kirkagats realized that the Greek Division would enter the town, they came to an agreement with General Theotokis for the Greek Army not to enter the Turkish part, where there was a group of 800 Turkish armed rebels, (Tsettes), in exchange of various provisions that the Greek Army was in need of.
The night of the 27th of August found all the Greek Population awake preparing to depart following the retreating Greek Army, and in fear of retaliations from the Turkish rebels, (Tsettes).
Anastasia Konsolidis prepared some items for the road ahead, a few cloths, a little food, some cold chicken in a basket where she thought to hide some of her valuable.
Finaly she thought of the house. What to do with the house? To whom she could leave the keys of her house? May be they would come back. Who knows? Anastasia took the baby, Eyagelia in her arms and went to find Atif the Turkish doorman of the Municipality who used to bring her the rent each month. The building of the Municipality belong to her family.
-Atif take the keys of my house, I hope we will return when everything will be quite again…..
The total population to follow the Army was around five thousand, including one thousand Armenians.
After twelve o’clock midnight the Division together with the convoy of civilian population set out for the port of Dikeli, one hundred km north west of Kirkagats, on the Aegean coast of Asia Minor just across from the island of Lesbos.
One can imagine a convoy of five thousand civilians trying to save as much as they could carry, on foot, or with mules and horses, old men and women and children that could barely walk the distance of 100 km.
Convoy of Greek Refugees 1922.
Anastasia Konsolidou was holding baby Evaggelia on her arms. Nene, the Grand Mother managed to get on an “Araba”.
Dorothea who was nine years old was not with the family, she had left earlier with her Uncle George Grigoriadis and Aunt Vasilia Grigoriadou to goto Smyrni. Her story can be read further down .
The convoy from Kirkagats walked through the towns of Soma, Kiniki and Pergamos, an area once thriving with Greek population which was now in panic, trying to be saved by joining the convoy, but chased by the rebels who were continuously attacking the convoy all the way.
The Convoy stoped in Kiniki to get some rest.
Anastasia opened the basket to share some food, but she discovered that her valuables were not there.
She looked at Nene.
-Nene, where are the things I put here?
-My girl I hided them in the special hiding place at home…..
The Acropolis of Pergamos.
Very few people dared to stay back in Kirkagats and the ones they dared or they were convinced by their Turkish friends to do so they were all massacred. The same fate found the people who decided to stay in Pergamos.
The rest of the Journey was very tiresome. Anastasia Konsolidou was almost totally exhausted and an army officer took the baby Evaggelia on horseback. The officer could see that the family may be wouldnt be able to make it to the end and asked Anastasia whether he could keep the child and take it safely to Greece. Anastasia refused to give the child and kept going.
Anastasia Konsolidis Grigoriadis
The convoy set out from Pergamos at four o’clock in the morning on 29th August 1922. At eleven o’clock, after spending seven hours on the road , they saw the sea from the top of a hill .. And it was a tragic coincidence, they shouted: The sea!! The sea!! They shouted just as the Ancient Greek Army of Xenophon shouted 2300 years ago. Thalatta!! Thalatta!! The Sea!! The Sea!!
After one hour the main body of the army reached the port of Dikeli.
Only one boat was there and thousands of people were waiting to pass across. The name of the boat was “Ionia”, what an irony, the name of their homeland and The place the Greeks had lived since 2500 years ago.
Many more thousands of people, Greeks and Armenians were gathered in the port.
Three navy ships arrived and boarding started under the lights of the warship “Thetis”.
Most of the personal items that people carried all this way had to be left behind, no space!
By the morning of September 1st ,1922 the last Greek soldier was on board, the Greek inhabitants of Asia Minor were departting, leaving behind what was their homeland for 3000 years.
Links to videos from a trip back to roots made by Nick Kouzos and his wife Vanda Roubanis, during 2011
Back to roots video Nick Kouzos No 4 (Part4.1) trip to Kirkagats of Asia Minor
Back to roots No 4 (Part 4. 2) trip to Kirkagats of Asia Minor
On the top of the hill close to Aivali, the ruins of a christian Chapel, some evidence that remains to day.
Anastasia Konsolidou with the baby Evaggelia, her mother and the other two daughters, Olympia, and Renea, arrived at the island of Lesbos (Mitilini) literally barefooted.
Refugees arrive in Lesbos island in front of the high school, September 1922. Can you see Anastasia or Evaggelia?
The last person that left Kirkagats was the Priest Stylianos Kolokotronis, a descendant relative of Theodore Kolokotronis, the main hero of the Greek revolution against the Ottoman Empire that started during 1821.
At the time this document was written Evaggelia and Dorothea are alive and well in their health, they live in Athens. Dorothea has very vivid memories of the Burning of Smyrni, her story is interesting to read.
The story of Dorothea Konsolidis Geraniou, Sister of Evagelia Konsolidis Kouzos who followed a different road to escape and found herself in the middle of the fire in Smyrna at the sea front.
Back to roots video Nick Kouzos (Part 5)
Trip to SMIRNY
Dorothea Konsolidis, was born in Kirkagats 1913 so she lived and experienced the destruction and the burning of Smyrni in its full “glory”. Her painful memories and horrific experience followed her to her very old age.
Dorothea was nine years old when the retreat of the Greek Army took place in August 1922.
Her mother Anastasia Konsolidou, widow at the time, when she realized that they had to flee to be saved from certain massacre, she entrusted Dorothea, one of her four daughters, to her Brother George Grigoriadis and his wife Vasilia Grigoriadou who used to live in the outskirts of Smyrni.
So, Dorothea found her self in Smyrni in Agust 1922, exactly at the time the Greek population of Asia Minor was trying to escape from the port of Smyrni boarding to any ship available.
When the news came that the Greek Army was disintegrating, thousands, of Greeks and Armenians, started to travel towards Smyrna in long processions.
The influx of population was more than 30.000 people per day. So thousands of refugees piled up on the Sea front of Smyrna.
Dorothea with her Uncle George and Aunt Vasilia, who had her baby girl in her arms as well, joined one of the processions in an effort to reach the sea front, starting from the outskirts of Smyrna.
The group was moving with great difficulty because the roads were full of people in real panic, trying to save themselves from Turkish rebels who were attacking the groups continuously.
The adult men of the group were forming circles, holding hands surrounding the women and the children to protect them and not to lose them in the crowd.
There was also a Greek Priest who was holding a Turkish flag to avoid any attack from the Turks, but unfortunately he was grabbed away from a Turkish mob and was probably killed.
After a few days, walking thru the streets, the Group tried to hide inside a cemetery where they stayed and managed to survive eating boiled beans and drinking some water. The most terrifying thing inside this cemetery were the night attacks of Turkish rebels who were grabbing young women and children. After a few days the group managed to rent a house next to a catholic church close to the Italian consulate.
Unfortunately, very soon were spotted by some Turks, hence they had to organize their escape, thru the yard of the catholic Church that was close to the house.
They managed to reach the embankment but the area there was so crowded, full of people and full of abandoned baggage, that one couldn’t move at all.
At the same time the fire in Smyrna started and the air was filled with ashes. The baby girl in the hands of Ant Vasilia could not survive the devastating conditions and died in the middle of the road, Uncle George lifted up the baby to baptize it in the air.
After a few days in this condition they managed to embark in a ship that took them to Thessalonica.
Dorothea, by this time, was really very weak, her stomach was empty for many days and could not accept any food. She was vomiting all time and long worms were coming out of her mouth.
Refugees embark in small boats in Smyrna.
Refugees aboard larger boats on the way to Thesalonica.
Thank god she was treated in Thessalonica and finally was taken to Lesbos Island and reunited with her family in Anemotia village of Lesbos island.
Smyrna was burned to ashes and thousands of Greeks and Armenians were massacred just there on the embankment, September 1922.
Around 1.500.000 Greeks arrived in the Greek mainland as refugees really barefooted.
The question remains today, why 29 war ships belonging to the “great powers” including United States, England ( The British war ship “Iron Duke” was there just a few meters from the coast overlooking the fire and the slautering of the Greek and Armenian population, the date was 14th of September 1922), Italy and France stood idly by and watched the killings of thousands of Christian. Were their… interests that important? Read the speech made by Nancy Horton daughter of George Horton the Consulate General of USA in Smyrna at the time, to the Greek American Confederation during1997.
See stories published in the British magazine “The Naval Review” (vol Xii,I 1924, page 160).
The artikles include stories narrated by many British seamen living these events with their eyes.
Πολλά στοιχεία και φωτογραφίες υπάρχουν στο περιοδικό “The Naval Review” (vol Xii,I 1924, σελιδα 160). Στο περιοδικό αυτό δημοσιεύτηκαν συνολικά τέσσερα άρθρα που πραγματεύονται την Καταστροφή της Σμύρνης, όπως τη βίωσαν οι ναύτες των Βρετανικών πλοίων (τεύχη 1923/3, 1923/4, 1924/1, και 1924/2.
NOTE MADE ON 22/4/2013
THE CONFESSION OF A TURKISH JURNALIST ON THE OCCUSION OF A PRESS RELEASE ABOUT THE MOVIE “ALOSI 1453”
Another record for the most expensive film production in Turkish film history.
Five million Turks have seen the super production “The Fall of Constantinople 1453”
…Ticket record was made by the Turkish film “fall 1453”.
By the end of the third week of projecting the film in Turkish cinemas, it is estimated that already 5,042,994 viewers have rushed to the cinema to watch the story.
More than $ 17 million was spent on the film and it took almost three years of filming and editing.
The film presents the life of Sultan Mohammed until the Ottoman invasion of Constantinople on May 29, 1453, and coincides with anniversary of the 560 years since the occupation of the city.
Turkish super production has also caused criticism from within.
Indicatively, what was written in the English-language version of Hurriet by journalist Bourake Beckley, who put the rhetorical question how about the British were celebrating the “fall of London” or the Germans the “Fall of Berlin” Do we have to wait for films such as «Fall 1974″or “1915 Disaster”?
The Turkish journalist indirectly mocked his compatriots.
Confession of a Thinking Turk journalist.
With an impressively sincere article, published in the authoritative newspaper SABAH, by Engin Ardiç, a well-known writer and journalist in Turkey, criticized the Turkish way of celebrating the fall of Istanbul on 29 May. …In this article, the author presents a series of truths for which the Kemalist regime has been trying to hide for decades.
It is worth quoting the full text translated from the specific text of the Turkish newspaper Sabah, which reads as follows:
“Turkish compatriots, stop the fagaras and festivals for the Fall, we have ccaused enough violence to the East with our actions …Just consider “”If we organized a conference in Athens on the topic:” We will take back the City “…If they made a model with the city walls and soldiers with their armor attacking the City … (like we do in Turkey every year!) If a guy dressed like the famous Greek victorious and almost mythical Digenis Akritas grabbed our own Ulubatl Hasan to cut him down …Had suddenly a certain Emperor Constantine entered the city on a white horse and next to him as Luke Notaras, as George Frantzis and entered as city representatives … (as we do in Turkey every year!) If they made a paper Hagia Sophia that had no minarets but Cross ….If they burned incense and said hymns, would we like it?
We would not have liked it, we would be stirring up the world until we would call back our ambassador from Greece.
Then why do you do this every year? Did you spend 556 years and celebrate (Fall) as if it were yesterday? Because every year of such a season, (with these feasts you do) you proclaim to all over the world that: “These parts were not ours, we came back and we got them by force.
“Why do you remember and celebrate a six centuries affair?
Does your subconscious fear that the City will one day be given back?
Do not be afraid, there is not what some Ergenekoni’s idiots say about the 1919 terms. Do not be afraid, 9 million Greeks cannot get the city of 12 million, and if they still get it they cannot live in it.
And ours who celebrate the “fall “are just a handful of fanatics but their voice sounds loud.
Do you tell us, if we were plundering the City three days and three nights constantly what would we answer?
Will we defend ourselves, at the European Court of Human Rights. or will we leave the issue to the historians?
Instead of boasting with the cities we have conquered, let’s take pride in what we found and preserved, if any. But they do not exist.
The whole East is a region conquered by force and violence …Even the name of Anatolia is not what they believe (ana = mana, dolu = full) but comes from the Greek word the East.
Even the name of Istanbul is not, as Ebliya Celebi tells us “where Islam prevails” by dragging the word out of the hair but coming from “to Poli”.
Okay then, we acquired a permanent settlement, this was the end of our nomadic life and that is why the people buy in numbers five or more apartments. Nobody can move us out, calm down …Our peasants are content to assassinate old Constantinople without much fanfare …
See below a video with the sisters Dorothea Geraniou and Evaggelia Kouzou alive during. 2004. Their memories were Video recorded., you can see this video on the link below: (copy and paste on your browser)
The sisters Dorothea Geraniou and Evaggelia Kouzou alive during. 2004. Their memories were Video recorded., you can see this video on the link below: (copy and paste on your browser)
Both Consoilidis sisters have passed away, Evaggelia during 2009 and Dorothea during 2010
|The Town of Kirkagats, and its Christian community.The town of Kirkagats was the centre of administration (Kaimakamlik) of 80 villages and belonged to the Municipality of Sarouchan of the wider area of AREA OF Smyrna in Asia Minor Turkey. Kirkagats was the centre of a wealthy area 120 kilometres north East of Smyrni (Izmir) 50km north of Magnisia, a well known city, because it was close to the village of Axar (Theiatera) the birth place of Aristotle Onasis , that was 26 Kilometres away.
Kirkagats is located on the left bank of river Kaykou (Bakir-Tsai) and before 1922 had population of 20.000 of which 4000 Greeks 1000 Armenians, four Jewish families and 15000 Turks.
Kirkagats always had a Turkish Mayor who was reporting to the Area Administrator, “ Kaimakamis”.
The Christian minority, mainly Greek community, was self administered from a locally elected group of members of the community. The Turks were not involved, at all, in these local elections.
The community had its own Hospital, its own School for boys and School for Girls (see picture below), one Kindergarten and of course its own Church (The Church of the Sleeping Mary) which was built in the beginning of the 20th century to replace the one that was burned during the great fire of 1860 when most of Kirkagats was ruined to be rebuilt later.
Greek School for Girls of Kirkagats
The Mayor’s office in Kirkagats surprisingly belonged to the Greek family of Anastasia Konsolidou mother of Evangelia Kouzou. It is interesting to mention that the Turkish state was paying rent to Konsolidis family up to 1924, even after the destruction of the Greek Army and the fleeing of the Konsolidis family to Mitilini island. This stoped after the official exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey.
The Mayor’s building in Kirkagats. It was the property of Anastasia Konsolidis Grigoriadou.
The house of Ignatios Consolidis (Consolas) The Grand Father of Nick Kouzos
A map of the houses in Kirkagats with numbers for most families including the house of Consolidis family.
A video of Kirkagats today with the house of Consolidis family.
The town had its own railway station connecting to Soma, connections for Smyrni and Panormos (Bandirma) on the Asian coast of the sea of Marmara .
Many Greeks arrived and inhabited Kirkagats from , the Greek islands and mainland, relatively late just before 1821.
One third of the population in Kirkagats came from Lesbos island ( Mitilini).
One other Town, close by, is the Ancient Greek city of Pergamos with the magnificent Acropolis on the hill dominating the town.
Kirkagats itself is not an ancient Greek City like Pergamos and like most cities on the Aegean Coast of Asia Minor.
The town was originally inhabited 400 years ago by a team of Turkish Clergy men (Hotza) who built a “Menttrese”, Monastery of Islam.
Many Greeks came from Epirus (North West Greece), Thrace, Thessaly, but quite a few were Peloponnesians and Cretans.
It is interesting to mention that one Peloponnesian who came to Kirkagats soon after the uprising of Greeks (1821) against the Turkish occupation in the mainland, Demitrios Kolokotronis was the Brother of the Greek Hero and Chief of the Greek Army Theodore Kolocotronis.
Demitrios was married and had relatives that include the Priest Stelios Kolokotronis the last Priest in Kirkagats and the well known Meimarides family, the founders of one of first retail chains of department stores AKRON ILION KRYSTAL in Athens.
Vladimiros Kolokotronis a relative of Theodore Kolokotronis came to Kirkagats during 1920, as an officer of the Greek army looking for his relatives.
If one wants to find more information about the lost Greek community of Kirkagats, the names of many of the people, their culture and their traditions can ask and look up the Book “Kirkagats” written by Panou Evagg. Meimaridis, published during 1973.
Address of the author 49, Serron str. Thessaloniki 33 tel : 914-220
Family Pictures Section C
(Smyrna of Asia Minor the “refugees of Kirkagats”)
Convoy of Greek refuges in their way from Kirkagats to Dikeli. Among the people are Anastasia Konsolidou Mother of Evaggelia Kouzou, Nene, the Grand Grand Mother, Olympia and Renea, sisters of the two year old Evaggelia, who was also together.
An objective Analysis of the Greek -Turkish confrontation. The expulsion of Christian population from Asia Minor at the begining of the 20th century.
The reference to these tragic events includes a speach made, during1997, by Nancy Horton the daugter of George Horton who was the USA General Consulate to Turkey based in Smyrna at the time. The speech of Nancy Horton
|Greek prisoners after their release from the Turkish Army in devastating condition. 1922||The road the Kirkagats refugees followed on foot.||The Mayor’s building in Kirkagats.It was the property of Anastasia Konsolidis Grigoriadou.|
|The Greek School for girls in Kirkagats before 1922.||Cotton factory belonging to Greek family in Kirkagats||Greek Houses still remaining in Kirkagats today|
|Smyrna before 1922||A draft map pointing the location of Kirkagats.||The Greek University in Smyrna.|
|Smyrna (kordelio) before 1922||The map showing the long road to Dikeli that the refugees walked in three days.||Smyrna, Agia Fotini|
|Smyrna a street behind the front.||Boarding of Refugees in Smyrna.||The sea front as it used to be.|
|Refugees in the boats trying to Board on allied ships.||The Archibishope of Smyrna Chrisostomos who was massacred by Turkish mob during 1922||On the Smyrna sea front, Greek refugees trying to save themselves. An American flug was used by George Horton to save some of them.|
|Pictures from key historic events|
|The Turkish Army gathering for the “Grand offensive” that lead to the defeat of the Greek Army, 26th of August 1922||The signing of the Treaty of Serves. 10th of Agust 1920||The committee of Progress and Union. The “New Turks” 1902|
|The fleet of Allied forces 1915.||Constandinouple under occupation of Allied forces.||Kemal joins “New Turks” 1907|
|Kemal just before the Great Asault||The Turkish Army marching in Smyrna during 1922||Smyrna in Flames.|
|Kemal saluting the Turkish army 1922||The Turkish army 1922||The statue of Kemal in Izmir today. He ponts west, to Greece|
|The statue of Kemal Atatourk||The sea front in “Pounta” today.||Greek house serviving today|
|The Greek Army in Smyrna 1919||The Greek Army in Eskir Sehir1921||The Greek Army in Almyra dessert|
|Prince George of Greece with General Papoulias in Asia Minor. September 1921.||The comander of the Greek Army in parade in Smyrna.||The Greek Army in Smyrna 1919|
|The Greek Battleship Averof.||Stergiadis the Greek Commisioner of Smyrna.||In Battle.11th August 1921.|
|Greek Army in Afion Karahisar spring 1921.|
|PICTURES FROM SMYRNA TRAGEDY|
|Turks screening refugees to take as labor prisoners of war.|
|The Turks are fishing dead bodies from the sea .||Oh My God. How to recognise my relatives?||Refugees are crossing river Evros passing from East to West Thrace|
|FAMILY PICTURES FROM KIRKAGATS|
|Grand Mother Anastasia Consolidis Grigoriadis Wife of Ignatios Konsolidis (Consolas) Saved and passed accross to Mitilini (Lesbos Island)||Grand Mother Anastasia Consolidis Grigoriadou with her grand son Ignatios Karekos||Grand Grand Mother “Nene”|
|Dorothea Grigoriadou Daughtar of Vasilia Grigoriadou saved and passed accross to Samos||Evaggelia Consolidis Kouzos Mother of Nick Kouzos saved and passed accross to Mitilini (Lesbos Island)||Elias Konsolidis brother of Ignatios Consolidis.|
|Celebration of Clean Monday in Kirkagats||Greek and Armenian community leaders in Kirkagats with a Greek Army General. In the centre G Meimaridis the founder of Akron Ilion chain of shops established in Athens.||Aristotel Onassis with friends from Smyrna.|
|Refugees arrive in Thesalonika||Refugees arrive in Lesbos, infront of Mytilini high school.|
Link for Panos Meimaridis Book about Kirkagats, with contact names of survivors.