Commemoration of the Genocide of Hellenes from Pontos

This crime was perpetrated just over 100 years ago against the indigenous people of Pontos who inhabit the area along the southern coastline of the Black Sea. Pontian people date their Hellenism as early as the era of the Kingdom of Pontos 281 BC-61 BC.

As of April 1916 begin the mass deportations of the people from their ancestral homelands, the burning of their churches, schools and buildings. The violence intensifies all the way into 1917 with them being murdered, tortured and raped. Death marches lead them to the interior of Turkey where certain death awaits those who may have survived.

Current estimates by historians place the number of Pontians who died exceeding 353,000. Approximately 26,000 Pontians were deported from their homeland. With the end of WW1 in October 1918, ethnic cleansing practices were halted and some Pontian people were able to return home. However, this did not mean that that Turkey relaxed its tyranny directed to the Pontian people. Sure enough, by May 1922 close to 10,000 Pontian survivors, with over 4000 of them being women and children, were gathered and lead again on a Death March southward. Abruptly, in June 1922, orders came to stop the deportations of Pontian people. Many Pontian people finding themselves near Syria settled on the other side of the Turkish border, while others sought refuge in neighbouring Georgia or Thrace-Greece.

Turkey founded its state on October 29th, 1923 on the blood and souls of innocent people who were eradicated from their ancestral homelands.  Approximately, 400,000 were  part of the population exchange stipulations in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. This Genocidal Act perpetrated against the Pontian people is commemorated on May 19th of every year.

The Hellenic Genocide was perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks against other Greeks across western Turkey, as well to Armenians and other minorities.

  • May 19 is in remembrance of the Pontian Greek Genocide.
  • In 1998, the Greek Parliament voted unanimously to declare September 14 as the “National Day of Remembrance of the Genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor and Eastern Thrace by the Turkish State”.
  • Recently, U.S. has officially acknowledged the Armenian Genocide. The approved bill is declaring that the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks was, in fact, a genocide.

The Genocide Project by Hellenic Electronic Center