The Asia Minor Catastrophe and the Ottoman Greek Genocide

A New Book Edited by George Shirinian of the Zoryan Institute

Published by AMPHRC

The Asia Minor CatastropheThe Asia Minor Catastrophe and the Ottoman Greek Genocide: Essays on Asia Minor, Pontos, and Eastern Thrace, 1913–1923 edited by George N. Shirinian, Executive Director of the Zoryan Institute, is a compilation of innovative papers given by distinguished scholars at two academic conferences organized by the Pontian Greek Society of Chicago and published  by The Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center in Chicago.

“…our knowledge of the catastrophic events affecting millions of people caught up in the huge political and social transformation connected with the dissolution of the Ottoman empire and the rise of the Turkish Republic has not received the scholarly attention it deserves. Even the best studied of these tragic events, ‘The Armenian Genocide,’ has been deprived of a certain panoramic contextualization of a tragedy which touched profoundly the lives of several other religious and ethnic groups, such as the Greeks and Assyrians,” observed Theofanis G. Stavrou, Professor of History at the University of Minnesota.

This book and its careful treatment of the Greek experience within the broader genocide of the Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire aims to fill a gap in the scholarly literature on the Greek Genocide and is one of the first to treat the genocidal experiences of the Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks as an integrated history.

The studies presented in this groundbreaking book are thoroughly documented and include revealing and previously unpublished American diplomatic reports on the destruction of Smyrna. In addition to the historical chapters, essays explore such subjects as the multigenerational effects of the Greek Genocide and the difficulties of Asia Minor refugee identity in Greece, Turkey’s present day obligations under the Treaty of Lausanne, and the challenges of obtaining recognition for the Ottoman genocides. A list of the contents is given below.

Professor Vahakn N. Dadrian, Zoryan’s Director of Genocide Research, writes, “This book makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the Greek experience of genocide during the early part of the twentieth century and its aftermath. It shows how interrelated were the experiences of the Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks during the end of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the Turkish Republic.”

The contributors to the book are:

  • George N. Shirinian: Introduction
  • Tessa Hofmann : The Genocide against the Christians in the Late Ottoman Period, 1912–1922
  • Taner Akçam: The Greek Deportations and Massacres of 1913–1914: A Trial Run for the Armenian Genocide
  • Matthias Bjørnlund: The Persecution of Greeks and Armenians in Smyrna, 1914–1916: A Special Case in the Course of the Late Ottoman Genocides
  • Harry J. Psomiades: Greece in Asia Minor: The Greek Naval Bombardment of Samsun [Amisos], June 7, 1922
  • Constantine G. Hatzidimitriou: The Destruction of Smyrna in 1922: American Sources and Turkish Responsibility
  • Alexander Kitroeff: Asia Minor Refugees in Greece: A History of Identity and Memory, 1920s–1980s
  • Van Coufoudakis: From Lausanne (1923) to Cyprus (2009): Turkey’s Violations of International Law and the Destruction of Historic Hellenic Communities
  • Robert J. Pranger:S. Policy Obstacles in Recognizing the Genocides of Christian Minorities in the Late Ottoman Empire: Challenges and Opportunities

George N. Shirinian, editor of the book, commented, “The contributors to this volume and the Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center hope that this wide-ranging collection of studies helps bring a measure of understanding and openness to the discussion of the Greek Genocide. This is a story of great human tragedy and suffering, of great power politics and miscalculation. By promoting awareness of this history, we hope to prevent the recurrence of another, ‘Great Catastrophe.’”

George Mavropoulos, Founder of the Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center, remarked, “We felt for a long time that the Greek Genocide is a large and important subject, but there is very little available in English about it. We hope that our conferences and this publication will raise awareness of the Great Catastrophe outside the Greek community and provide authoritative information for those wishing to know more about it.”


This book adds important new historical infor­mation and theoretical analysis to our understanding of both the specific fate of Greeks in the late Ottoman Empire and the overarching geno­cide of Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians from 1914 to the 1920s. Especially impressive is the mix of established scholars whose work represents decades of incisive and groundbreaking research on various aspects of the Ottoman Turkish genocidal process that is at the foundation of our  understanding of that process with emerging scholars whose innovative work is opening up crucial new lines of inquiry. This book fills a significant gap in the literature and is likely to be a central text in teaching on its topic, advance awareness of the issue globally, and spur a major expansion of research on the genocide of Greeks and the broader genocide.

—Henry Theriault, Professor of Philosophy at Worcester State College, and Co-editor of


Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal

This book makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the Greek experience of geno­cide during the early part of the twentieth century and its aftermath. It shows how interrelated were the experiences of the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks during the end of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the Turkish Republic.

—Vahakn N. Dadrian, Director of Genocide Research, Zoryan Institute


Studying the inhuman political acts of the ravaged twentieth century has contributed much to our knowledge and understanding of crimes against humanity and the need for championing the cause of human rights in word and deed. Yet our knowledge of the catastrophic events affecting millions of people caught up in the huge political and social transformation connected with the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of the Turkish Republic has not received the scholarly attention it deserves. Even the best studied of these tragic events, the “Armenian Genocide”, has been deprived of a certain panoramic contextualization of a tragedy which touched profoundly the lives of several other religious and ethnic groups, such as the Greeks and the Assyrians. This collection of essays by a group of established and younger international scholars of the Mediterranean world is a huge step in the direction of rectifying this oversight. By focusing on the fate of the Asia Minor Greeks during a decade of relentless persecution, one gains a greater appreciation of the comprehensive nature of the catastrophe and of its interconnected tragic parts. The result is a worthy polyphonic statement, which has the potential of raising appreciably our sensibility about shameful acts of the twentieth century if such acts are to be avoided, at any cost, in the twenty first century. Arguably, then, this volume is indispensable reading for individuals concerned with the promotion of human rights and democratic values in our time. The volume deserves an honorable and accessible place in both research and public libraries. Its contents have much to offer the educated public as well as the scholar interested in such issues.

—Theofanis G. Stavrou Professor of History University of Minnesota


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