Vacation photos featuring refugees

Click here to view it larger.

What it is:

Five photos, each measuring 2.75 x 4.5 inches.

What I know about it:

Each photo has captions written on the back in pencil.  Two different hands captioned these, both hard to read.  In several cases, a third hand wrote the same captions again in black fountain pen using neater handwriting.  Top left:  Two refugees on Winona.  Bottom left:  Greeks in Smyrnia [sic] before Turks came in.  Top right:  Refugees in Smyrna.  Middle right:  Greeks retreating.  Bottom right:  penciled writing, illegible except for the word refugees.


These are from among what I believe to be photos of a vacation to Greece, with men posing at the Parthenon and other cultural tourist spots.  The five pictures shown here appear to just be more of the same, with shots of their crowded boat, busy ethnic street scenes, and even a couple of pretty girls on the boat.  But then I read the captions on the back and was startled by the drama being depicted.  These photos aren’t dated, but the Greeks occupied Smyrna (present-day Izmir, Turkey) from 1919 to 1922, when they were rousted by the Turks.  Since the captions indicate the photos were from just before and just after the Turkish army entered Smyrna and took back control of the city, these photos can apparently be dated to early September 1922.

2 comments on “Vacation photos featuring refugees”

  1. What a bizarre juxtaposition of events. Fascinating piece of history

    • I knew nothing about it and had to look it up when I read the captions. Talk about being in the right place at the right time (or wrong time, depending on your perspective)!

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