Hellenic Communication Service is pleased to announce the release of a series of articles, reviews and photos, commemorating Smyrna and her destruction in 1922. A pivotal period in modern Greek history, the mass murders and final torching of one of the East's most beautiful and cosmopolitan cities remains a black mark upon the history of humanity. Turkish Muslims led by Mustapha Kemal (Ataturk), the victorious revolutionary leader of Turkey, committed atrocities against the city's Christian majority -- predominantly Greeks and Armenians -- as they retook the city and finally purged it of any Christian character.

Although thousands of Greek and Armenian refugees were transported to safety by American and British ships in the last hours, hundreds of thousands perished in the slaughter and the conflagration. Those who survived began their lives in other lands -- Greece, Europe, and America -- and kept alive their heritage and sorrows through oral and written testimonies.

For a number of reasons, however, western historians have largely ignored the tragedy of Smyrna. This is unsurprising, since coverage of Balkan history and the Middle East has traditionally been minimal, even in introductory college-level courses. Yet, some scholars like Dobkin assert a more deliberate attempt to omit Smyrniot history, arguing convincingly that Western Allies, anxious to protect potential oil interests, refused to intervene in the massacre and later engaged in a massive cover-up. Supporting this position are the repeated -- and some would argue, systematic -- attempts by some governments today to revise the historical record and to refute the clear testimony of so many credible witnesses, from survivors, to diplomats and Christian missionaries.

NY Governor Pataki Issues Proclamation

But the tragedy of Smyrna must be retold, regardless of the difficulty. A city almost ageless in her beauty and urbanity, Smyrna came to represent the best of the East. She was a hub for education and culture, and a bustling, wealthy trading center. And she was Greek in character, language, and culture. Not Turkish. Greek-Americans, particularly those with roots in that legendary city, should have an understanding of her beauty and vibrancy, and an opportunity to comprehend the enormity of the crimes committed 80 years ago. In memory of all those who have perished, Hellenic Communication Service will present its "Smyrna Commemorative Series."

Learn more about Smyrna and other areas of Asia Minor, view remainder of commemorative series items, as well as HCS archives of relevant releases and articles.

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