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The Pontian Genocide
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Introduction

Everyone knows something of the Jewish Holocaust of the 1930s-40s. Less well known is the Armenian Genocide of 1915, used by the Nazi leadership as the model for their own genocidal progamme. Practically unknown is the Hellenic Holocaust of 1915-23: the extermination of an entire civilization on a scale unknown until then. Until the outbreak of World War One, some five million Hellenes and Armenians lived throughout the territories that constitute modern-day Turkey. By 1923, 2.5 million had been massacred, with the rest fleeing for their lives to Hellas and the then USSR, or converting to Islam. The thriving Hellenic civilizations of Pontus and Asia Minor and the equally thriving Armenian civilizations of Cilicia and Turkish-held Armenia were systematically wiped out.

In January 1998, the Pontian Genocide and Asia Minor Holocaust Studies Unit began official operation, following its formal launch in November 1997. This Unit is unique in the world: it is the only research unit in a tertiary institution in the world devoted to the study of and teaching about, the Genocide of the Pontian Hellenes and the Holocaust of Asia Minor.

The Unit has already built up a sizeable archive on Pontus and Asia Minor (including hundreds of photographs, newspaper and magazine reports, reports of foreign diplomats stationed in Pontus and Asia Minor at the time, and most importantly of all, authentic documents and eyewitness accounts from survivors. The Unit aims to become a leading research centre into the Pontian Genocide and the Asia Minor Holocaust, with a library and archive to match.

One of the Unit’s medium-term aims is to establish two identical archives: at the Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and at the Pontian House in Earlwood, Sydney (this for easier access by the Hellenic community).

The Unit is currently in the process of collecting eyewitness testimony from survivors now living in Sydney and preparing this material for publication later in the year. Also, preparations are under way for expansion of the teaching programme on the Pontian Genocide by establishing an adult education course on the Hellenic Holocaust of 1916-23. Study of the Pontian Genocide is included in the Genocide Studies course offered by the Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Much of the Unit’s current work deals with the translation of the wealth of material on this subject from Hellenic to English, thus preparing it for use by predominantly English-speaking students. The Research Associate does all research and translation and is responsible for the preparation of all teaching material relating to the Hellenic Holocaust.

At present, the Studies Unit consists of one permanent part-time Research Associate, Mr. Panayiotis Diamadis. Administration is handled by the Centre.

 

Pontians Dancing

Historical Background

PONTUS” is a Hellenic word for “SEA”. It refers to the shores of the Euxinos Pontus (the Friendly Sea), or in English, the Black Sea. In particular, “Pontus” is a reference to its south-eastern shores, the Black Sea coast of Asia Minor.

Hellenic ties to this region go back to prehistoric times; to the days of Jason and the Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece. {Mountain tribes in the Caucasus have, for centuries, used sheep skins, stretched across river-beds, to catch tiny particles of alluvial gold.}

In historic times, Sinope was the first city founded by colonists from Miletus (one of the Ionian cities) in 785 BC. Later, colonists from Sinope founded Trapezous (Trapezounta/Trebizond/ Trabzon) in 756 BC and many other cities including Amissos (Sampsounta), Kotyora (Ordu), Kerasus (Giresun) and Diskourias (Sukhumi, Georgia). Hellenic cities mushroomed all around the Black and Azov Seas. After settling the coastline, the hinterland, too, became completely Hellenised, a process completed with the conquest of Asia Minor by Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BC.

Diogenes (famous for wandering the streets of Athens with his lamp, looking for an honest man) was from Sinope. Strabo, the great historian and geographer, was from Amaseia. It was at Trapezous that Xenophon and his 10 000 soldiers found safe haven in 400 BC, following their nearly eighteen-month retreat from Mesopotamia.

Following the death of Alexander the Great in June 323 BC, his generals began fighting amongst themselves over the empire he had created. Mithridates the Builder exploited this infighting to establish Pontus as an independent kingdom in 301 BC. Under the dynasty Mithridates founded, Pontus flourished as a great commercial and educational centre. Mithridates was the last Hellenic ruler to succumb to Roman rule in 1 BC.

It was in Roman times that the Apostle Andreas (Andrew) brought Christianity to Pontus in 35 AD. With the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD, Pontus became part of the Eastern Roman Empire, later to become known as the Byzantine Empire. When Constantinople fell to the knights of the Fourth Crusade in 1204, Alexius the Great Comnenus established the Trapezounta Empire, a bastion of Hellenism that lasted for 257 years. The deposed Byzantine Imperial Court moved to Nicaea and waited for the opportunity to return to Constantinople, which they did in 1204. The dynasty Alexius founded (amongst them Manuel A’ and Anna Komneni), were great patrons of the arts and of commerce for centuries. The centre of Pontian Christianity, the Monastery of Panayia Soumela (Our Lady of Mount Melas), in the mountains of Trapezounta district. Founded in 386 AD, it reached its peak under the Komnenus Dynasty in the 1200s. The still magnificent ruins of the Monastery remain a place of pilgrimage to this day for Christian and Moslem Pontians alike.

Cardinal Bessarion (Vissarion 1403-1472), who created a scandal by defecting from the Orthodox Church to the Roman Catholic Church, also hailed from Pontus, as did the Hypsilandis family (centuries later to become rulers of the Danubian Provinces of Wallachia and Moldavia). Bessarion saw the union of the Eastern and Western churches as the only hope of preventing the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Turks. In 1439, he was made a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, abandoning the post he had held since 1437, that of Metropolitan of Nicaea. He died in Ravenna, Italy.

The Seljuk Turks attempted to invade Pontus, following their sweep through the Caucasus Mountains region, but were rebuffed in the early part of the 11th century. They proceeded into Kappadokia and, following their victory over the Byzantine Army in the Battle of Mantzikert in 1071, established the Sultanate of Iconium (modern-day Konya). This victory, plus their defeat of the Byzantine Army at Myriokephalo (outside Philadelpheia, Asia Minor) in 1176 gave the nomadic Turks control of most of the Anatolian plateau.

Pontus was the last fragment of the Byzantine Empire to fall to the Ottoman Turks. On August 15 1461, Sultan Mehmet II, conqueror of Constantinople, besieged Trapezounta. Forty days later, the city fell. This conquest did not de-Hellenise Pontus, despite regular waves of forced Islamization (using a range of measures including wholesale massacres and mass kidnappings of male children). Testimony to this fact are the numerous churches, cathedrals, monasteries and schools established between 1461 and 1914. ‘De-Hellenization’ of Pontus and Asia Minor was not accomplished until 1922-23 ...or so the ‘Young Turk’ regime thought.

More than thirty centuries of cultural and political development lay behind Pontian Hellenism in 1914. Genocide and Diaspora lay ahead. Pontian Hellenes are a distinct and unique branch of Hellenism. They today retain their own Hellenic dialect, folk-dances, folk music, literature and theatre.
Map of Pontos

The Genocide and Its Aftermath

The turning point for the Hellenes of Asia Minor was the German-Turkish alliance that arose following the signing of the Treaty of Berlin (1878). Germany regarded Anglo-French ‘protection’ of the Empire’s Christian peoples as an obstacle to its interests. Using the pretext of reform of the Ottoman military, Germany opened the doors of the Berlin Academy to Turkish officers (amongst them Mustapha Kemal Ataturk and Enver Pasha, architects of the Holocaust) and arranged the appointment of General Gφtz to restructure the Ottoman armed forces along German lines.

Germany convinced the Turkish authorities that the Hellenes were working for the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. (At this time, the Empire’s economic and political life was dominated by Hellenes, Armenians and Jews.) The successful national movements throughout the Aimos Peninsula (Balkans) posed the possibility that similar movements would appear amongst the indigenous populations of Asia Minor (Hellenes, Armenians, Lazes, Assyrians/Chaldeans).

Hence, following the heavy defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkan Wars (1912-13), the Young Turks (a military junta that seized control of the Empire in 1908), decided that Asia Minor would be a homeland for Turks alone: all others were to be eliminated. World War One gave the Young Turks the opportunity to implement their plan.

Germany willingly sacrificed the indigenous Christian peoples of Asia Minor to achieve its goals of direct access to the oil-fields of the Middle East. It is ironic, therefore, that the reports of German and Austro-Hungarian diplomats provide damning evidence that what was to take place was a meticulously-executed plan to depopulate Asia Minor of Christians: in other words, GENOCIDE.

“The Turks have decided upon a war of extermination against their Christian subjects.”

German Ambassador Wangenheim to German Chancellor von Bulow, quoting Turkish Prime Minister Sefker Pasha, July 24, 1909.

“The anti-Greek and anti-Armenian persecutions are two phases of one programme - the extermination of the Christian element from Turkey.”

Father J. Lepsius, German clergyman, July 31, 1915.

“...the entire Greek population of Sinope and the coastal region of the county of Kastanome has been exiled. Exile and extermination in Turkish are the same, for whoever is not murdered, will die from hunger or illness.”

Herr Kuchhoff, German consul in Amissos in a despatch to Berlin, July 16, 1916.

“On 26 November, Rafet Bey told me: ‘We must finish off the Greeks as we did with the Armenians’...On 28 November, Rafet Bey told me: ‘Today, I sent squads to the interior to kill every Greek on sight.’ I fear for the elimination of the entire Greek population and a repeat of what occurred last year.” (referring to the Armenian Genocide)

Herr Kwiatkowski, Austro-Hungarian consul in Amissos to Baron von Burian, Foreign Minister of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, November 30, 1916

“Consuls Bergfeld in Samsun and Schede in Kerasun report of displacement of local population and murders. Prisoners are not kept. Villages reduced to ashes. Greek refugee families consisting mostly of women and children being marched from the coasts to Sebasteia. The need is great.”

German Ambassador Kuhlman to German Chancellor Hollweg, December 13, 1916.

Herr Pallavicini, Ambassador of Austria-Hungary to Turkey, writes to Vienna, listing the villages in the region of Amissos that were being burnt to the ground, their inhabitants raped and either murdered or exiled, December 19, 1916:

“The situation for the displaced is desperate. Death awaits them all. I spoke to the Grand Vizier and told him that it would be sad if the persecution of the Greek element took the same scope and dimension as the Armenian persecution. The Grand Vizier promised that he would influence Talaat Bey and Enver Pasha.”

Austro-Hungarian Ambassador Pallavicini to Vienna, January 20, 1917

“The time is near for Turkey to be finished with the Greeks as we were with the Armenians in 1915.”

Talaat Bey as quoted by an Austro-Hungarian agent, January 31, 1917

“...the indications are that the Turks plan to eliminate the Greek element as enemies of the state, as they did earlier with the Armenians. The strategy implemented by the Turks is of displacing people to the interior, without taking measures for their survival by exposing them to death, hunger and illness. The abandoned homes are then looted and burnt or destroyed. Whatever was done to the Armenians is being repeated with the Greeks.”

Chancellor Hollweg of Germany, February 9, 1917.

Thus, by official government decree, were 353 000 Pontian Hellenes slaughtered. Another 500 000 fled into exile (60% to Hellas, 40% to the Soviet Union). The Christian nations of the world were witnesses to this crime against humanity, but for reasons of political expediency and economic self-interest, by their silence, they pardoned the criminals. The Ottoman and Kemalist Turks denied the Hellenes of Pontus, of Kappadokia, of Ionia and of eastern Thrace the very right to exist.

The Kemalist Turks thought that they had rid themselves of all the Hellenes of Asia Minor. For decades, it was thought that Hellenism had died in Asia Minor. The truth is that eastern Hellenism survives. The Pontian Hellenic dialect continues to be spoken in Pontus by the Muslim inhabitants of the region. Hellenic also continues to be spoken in the Aivalik (Kydonies) region, near the ruins of Troy. Pilgrims regularly gather at the Monastery of Panayia Soumela; these include many nominally Muslim inhabitants of Pontus. They meet pilgrims from Hellas, Australia and around the world. They converse in Pontian Hellenic, dance the same folk-dances to the sounds of the same musical instruments, they worship at the same holy spring, at the heart of the Monastery’s majestic ruins. On July 20, every year, thousands of ‘Muslim’ Pontians gather at the vale of Touyia to celebrate the feast day of the Prophet Elijah (Elias). Pontian Hellenism today thrives throughout the world and survives in its home soil: PONTUS.

Survivors

 

Survivors' Testimonies of the Pontian Genocide

I was born in Mourasoul village, Sevasteia/Sivas district, on August 15 1914. I remember the deportations well. In 1918, I was about four years old, when one day I saw my father in the village square. I ran to him and asked him for the pie he brought me every day from the family-owned mill. He replied: “O my child. The Turks are going to kill me and you will not see me again.” He told me to tell my mother to prepare his clothes and some food for him. That was the last time we saw him. They killed him along with another ten men.

I remember another time when a Turk warned our village, saying that all the young men should leave. This because the next day, Topal Osman would be coming. Indeed, those that left, were saved. They still killed fifteen men, including the teacher, the village president and the priest. Topal Osman had caught three hundred and fifty men from neighbouring villages. He had them bound, murdered and thrown into the river that ran through our village. I still remember the echo of the shots. They were hauling the bodies by ox-cart for nine days to bury them. Most of them were unrecognizable, as their heads had been cut off.

In 1920, around Easter, the Turkish Army came and told us to take with us everything we could. We loaded up the animals, but the saddle-bags tore open and most of us were left without food. On the deportation march, the Turkish guards would rape the women; one of whom fell pregnant. In the Teloukta area, about half our group was lost in a snow storm. From there, they took us to a place without water, Sous-Yiazousou; many died of thirst. Soon afterwards, as we passed a river, all of us threw ourselves at the water; people fell over each other in the rush; many drowned. We reached Phiratrima, which was a Kurdish area and they left us at a village near a bridge. It was here that the pregnant girl gave birth, to twins. The Turks cut the newborns in two and tossed them in the river. On the riverbank, they killed many more of the group.

The killings ended only with the agreement for the Exchange of Populations (1923). This is how we were saved. I came to Hellas in 1923. As I was an orphan, I arrived with the American Mission, at Volos (Thessaly). From there, we went to Aedipsos, to Larissa and finally to Aetorrahi village, Elassona district, where I settled. I migrated to Australia in 1968, to be with my sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren.

{Mrs Katsidou-Symeonidou passed away in November 1997.}

I was born in Kaesareia/Kayseri district, Kappadokia, in 1912, but grew up in Ak Dagh Maden, Pontus. I remember Aristotle Onassis’ father, a friend of my father’s, warning him to leave Asia Minor before war broke out. My father, however, could not leave as he had a family to look after. In 1916, when I was three or four years old, they took my parents into exile. My elder brother took me by the hand to a field where hay was grown. We cut some and ate it to satisfy our hunger. We collected wild grasses, ground them into flour, baked them like flat bread and ate. I remember searching ant nests for kernels of wheat, which we would eat.

When the Turks hit Pelemet, attacking the French, the Hellenes and especially those who worked on the railways, that is when they took us into exile, the men separate from the women, separate from the children. The children were taken to Zougoultah. Next to us was a camp for Hellene POWs, all but one of whom died as slave labourers. The sole survivor was Dimitrios Pairahtaroglou. The soldiers gave us some of their meagre food rations, so that we would not starve to death.

When the Red Cross was notified about us (about our captivity) and came looking for us, the Turks would move us around by night. One Christian prisoner, serving as a guard, told the Red Cross where we were hidden, on condition that they free him also. That is how one hundred and fifty children were saved.

I came to Hellas in 1924, with the Exchange of Populations. We went firstly to Kythera, where we stayed for about two months, and then to Larissa. There they offered my grandfather the local disused Turkish mosque as a home, since he was a craftsman (and craftsmen were highly valued), but he refused to live there because he did not want the building to remind him of the Turks, from whom he had suffered so much.

{Mr Anastasiades passed away in 1994.}

I was born in the village of Tsegeri, Thermi/Thermohonta district, Pontus, in 1910. The deportations, the privations, the hardships, began in 1915-16. From that time on, we lived in the forests. I remember my mother telling me, as we hid in the woods: “You are young and without sin. Say your prayers for God’s help.”

I remember in the district of Goulouts-Teresi, where the Turkish Army had encircled us, our guerilla fighters, after battling all day and seeing that the Turks were very numerous, saw that the women and children had to be moved to a safer location. Before we left, however, our leaders agreed to smother the very young, as they feared that the cries of the babes-in-arms would betray us all and none of us would survive. One of those smothered was the child of my brother, Chrysostomos Kyriakides. The father of one little girl, Konstantinos Toutsoglides, could not bring himself to smother her, so he left her behind. A few days later, we found her alive and she was eventually brought to Hellas with us, to Oinoe village, Kastoria.

The group was moved to a large forest, near the village of Ayios Ioannis, Keris district. The Turks froze in fear when they found our smothered children. They realised our guerilla fighters were determined to do whatever it took.

We came to Hellas with the Exchange of Populations in 1923, via Romania, to Thessaloniki. After a few days there, we were sent to the village of Neo Petritsi (Serres prefecture, eastern Macedonia), about Christmas 1923. We spent a few days in the village school, and were then taken, in the depths of winter, to the Bulgarian border, to the village of Mesaia. In 1957, we moved to Hrani village, Katerini district (Pieria prefecture, southern Macedonia).
 
The Pontian Eagle

The Republic of Turkey and its

Official Denial of the Hellenic Holocaust

The Republic of Turkey has never acknowledged its responsibility for the Hellenic Holocaust, despite the fact that the architect of the Genocide is now worshipped as the founding father of modern Turkey: Mustapha Kemal Ataturk (which means Father of the Turks).

The Republic of Turkey maintains to this day an official policy of denial, a policy vigorously pursued around the world. Terms such as “national security measures”, “relocation of people from war zones”, “a consequence of the war with Czarist Russia”, “retaliation for the activities of the Pontian guerillas and the Royal Hellenic Army” are used to excuse the Genocide, despite the volumes of German, Austro-Hungarian, English and American documents testifying to the pre-planned nature of the Hellenic Holocaust by the Ottoman and Kemalist Turks.

“Did We Slaughter The Armenians?” by Fehmi Koru. May 6, 1997

{Translation from the Turkish newspaper GUNDEM}{Source: http://www.euroway.com/hyetoon/News/grn687.html}

“Our media are fuming with anger because the Tehran Times wrote that ‘On its present course, Turkey will become another Libya’. Milliyet (newspaper) used the headline ‘Veiled Warning from Iran’; Sabah (newspaper) wrote ’ The Mullahs Crossed the Line Again’. Other newspapers also carried this news piece with an angry attitude towards it. Once again, we learn that the Turkish press is closely following the media of other countries and that it is sensitive to discordant voices coming from the neighbours.

However, what is puzzling is that the same sensitivity is not shown to a country that can be regarded as a neighbour in terms of the intimacy of its relationship. It is strange that neither the media nor the official circles have reacted to a program aired on the state television of Israel that detailed the ‘Armenian Genocide’ claims for several hours and demanded that Turkey apologize.

This strangeness has also attracted the attention of Jerusalem Post columnist Yosef Goell. In his column on May 4, ‘What has changed?’ Goell asks, ‘so that the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Turkish government, who over-reacted vigorously and stopped the dissemination even, of a programme on the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem; and now the fact that the same Turkey stays silent in the face of such explicit ‘Genocide’ claims is indeed very remarkable.

Since this is an important topic, we present an excerpt from the column:

“The producer of the programme, Ya’acov Ahimeir, mentioned that he previously made a very short news story on the same subject in Washington, where he used to work. A few weeks later, Yossi Belin, who was the under-secretary of Foreign Affairs at the time, sent him a file filled with the reactions of the Jewish community in Turkey. The Turkish Embassy also formally protested that short piece. Ahimeir says, that this time, not even the slightest reaction came to this programme, that studied the Armenian tragedy of 1915 in detail.” The writer is of the opinion that it is time for Turkey to admit its role in that tragedy. Yosef Goell also adds that “Israel’s Yad Vashem organization, which ignored the Armenian claims with the concern that ‘if we accept the occurrence of another genocide, our Holocaust would lose significance’, has recently changed its attitude on the matter.

“Now, can you help but ask ‘What’s happening?’

“As Turkey increases its intimacy with Israel, everyone is rushing to handle their Turkish-related plans throughout this country. It appears that the latest cost of this intimacy will be the official recognition of the claim of the ‘Armenian Genocide’, against which Turkey has spent billions of dollars and persistently and stubbornly tried to popularize its own thesis. We find it difficult to find an alternative interpretation for the fact that the Israeli state television brought these claims to public attention right when the (Turkish) Minister of Defence, Turhan Tayan, was visiting Israel, and right before the visit of the second chief-of-staff of the (Turkish) Armed Forces, (General) Cevik Bir.

“A review of the programme was published in the Jerusalem Post on Sunday ( May 4). Also in that piece, all of the claims which Turkey has rejected so far, are presented without any apparent concern, with the excuse of reviewing the programme. In all probability, no official response to that article has been provided either.

“We should loudly repeat the question that the Israeli journalist is asking: ‘Have some things changed?’ Have the centres of power that have charted the course of Turkish foreign policy changed their position of ‘There was no Armenian Genocide’? If they have, why? The column advances a thesis:

“Admitting the truth of the claims would prove that Turkey is ‘European’, and would facilitate its entry into the European Union.”

“We ask a more important question: Intimacy with Israel is causing Turkey to fulfil all the wishes of its Jewish friends; what is the reason for such expensive intimacy?

“It is interesting that our media, which displayed oversensitivity to an Iranian newspaper’s evaluation of Turkey, remained silent in response to the programme shown on Israeli state television that depicted all of Turkey as ‘a bloody-handed pack of murderers’ and the column in the Jerusalem Post.

“Let’s see what happens.”

For a number of years now, Turkey has been actively funding tertiary studies in the United States and western Europe, aimed at promoting Turkey’s official line in international affairs and history. The Internet home page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey has page after page of denialist material. {http://www.mfa.gov.tr}

“Foreign Gifts With Strings Have U.S. Colleges Fretting.”, Los Angeles Times, Sunday, November 30, 1997.

“America’s universities have long been a global drawing card, with governments and wealthy families alike sending their brightest students to U.S. schools. Since the late 1980s, top universities have also attracted something more from abroad: grants establishing professorships and research programs on issues vital to donors’ interests.

“Some American academics worry that donors, merely with the decision to give or withhold funds, are influencing the nature of the research. And when the Turkish government recently offered UCLA [University of California-Los Angeles] a million-dollar grant that contained some subtle wording, the controversy spilled far outside the academy.

“The Turkish government publicized its offer of US$1 million to endow a chair in Turkish and Ottoman history for a professor who would ‘maintain close and cordial relations with academic circles in Turkey.’ UC rules do not allow donors to impose such stipulations and, beyond that, Armenian interest groups protested. UCLA finally tabled the offer. There are plenty of other cases.”

“...”

“Few schools let donors explicitly dictate the nature or tenor of research. Still, foreign as well as domestic donors have been able to wield influence because of two loopholes that the university trade group, the American Council on Education, should work on tightening.

“ *Inadequate disclosure. While federal law requires universities to disclose any donation over US$250 000, disclosure of information regarding the provisions of the grant is not specified. Thus, if UCLA’s Academic Senate were to agree to the Turkish government’s requirement that a professor ‘maintain close and cordial relations’ with Turkish academics, it would not have to reveal such a requirement.”

The Pontian Genocide Studies Unit will combat official and unofficial Turkish denialism. With survivor testimony. With eyewitness accounts from non-combatants. With official documents from around the world. With original media reports.

Germany has confronted its genocidal past and apologised to its victims for the crimes of World War Two. Turkey continues to refuse to follow the example of its traditional ally, preferring to deny any responsibility for the suffering and deaths of so many innocent people.
 

Pontian Eagle

Media Releases

The Hellenic Republic officially commemorates the Pontian Genocide.

LAW No. 2193

The 19th of May is consecrated as the Day of Remembrance of the Genocide of the Hellenes of Pontos.

THE PRESIDENT OF THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC

issues the following law passed by Parliament:

Article 1

The 19th of May is determined as the Day of Remembrance of the Genocide of the Hellenes of Pontos.

Article 2

The character, the content, the agency and the method of organisation of commemorative events are defined by Presidential decree, issued on the proposal of the Minister of the Interior, following the opinion of the recognised Pontian associations.

Article 3

This legislation comes into effect upon its publication in the Bulletin of the Government.

We order publication of this legislation in the Bulletin of the Government and its implementation as a Law of the State.

Athens, 7 March 1994

THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
CONSTANTINE G. KARAMANLES

THE MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR
AP. ATH. TSOHATZOPOULOS

Inspected and affixed with

The National Congress of the 43rd National Convention of the Order of AHEPA of Australasia, held in Canberra from 20 to 27 September 1997,

(1) pledges its support for the Pontian Hellenic community at large in Australia in its endeavour to achieve recognition of the Pontian Genocide at the hands of the Turkish Government 1916-1923 and to preserve its culture, history and heritage;
(2) offers its support and assistance, where possible, in the establishment of a library at such places as may be determined by the Australian National Body representative of Pontians in Australia;
(3) conveys this support to the national and state bodies for Pontians in Australia.

Moved by Sister Melpo Kaimasidou of Chapter Arete (Sydney, NSW).

Passed unanimously.

Special thanks to: "The Pontian Genocide and Asia Minor Holocaust Research Unit" for the above information!