The Jewish, Armenian, and Greek Communities of Western Pennsylvania are holding a historic first meeting to commemorate the genocide of Christians in Anatolia, the Pontus, and Asia Minor in general.
This is the first time ever that the three communities have come together. The events taking place between September 11th to September 25th are all virtual due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
September 2022 marks one hundred years since the Turkish burning of the Greek cosmopolitan city of Smyrna on Ionia, the western coast of Asia Minor, and the genocide of the Christian population of Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks by the Turks.
The three communities of Western Pennsylvania are coming together in a broad educational outreach in art, music, literature, and history, to first commemorate those who perished brutally and inhumanely at the hands of savage murderers, and secondly, to use this milestone in their histories to show that in the face of despair and death, creation and inspiration for a better and tolerant world was fostered and nurtured.
Common memorial of the genocide
The three communities are dedicating the month of September to a common memorial of the genocides of their people through historic reminders but also through the music, literature, and artwork that was created by those who either perished in or survived the genocide of Christians and Jews in Anatolia, the Pontus, and Asia Minor between 1915 to 1923 as well as by those who perished in or survived the brutal concentration camps of the Holocaust during World War II.
The program of events can be accessed here.
Sadly, when Smyrna was being burned and tens of thousands of people were being murdered by the Turks, the “Allies” were observing from their naval ships in the harbor.
Organizers of the meeting say there were only three exceptions. These included a Japanese captain, Tokei Maru, who emptied his cargo in the sea to make room and save over 825 Christians.
Furthermore, the American Asa K. Jennings, disobeyed US government orders and bribed and threatened the Turks to save tens of thousands of refugees by organizing for transport for victims to the nearby Greek islands.
Lastly, the Australian George Device Treloar managed the provision of food, shelter, and medical care for the refugees, thus saving tens of thousands of lives.