Asia Minor Catastrophe led to the death of thousands of people and the displacement of 1,5 million Greeks. One more crime made by Turks occurred two years later and had been unknown for years. The crime had to do with the selling of the bones of all the people who were slaughtered by Kemal’s Young Turks.
According to reports, Greeks’ bones were sold by Turks to French for industrial ‘use’! In total, 400 tons of human bones, which means the bones of 50.000 people, were transferred to the French industries in Marseilles. In 13th December 1924, the boat with the British flag arrived in Thessaloniki, Greece. When the workers in the port were informed of the bones, they didn’t allow the boat’s departure. Soon, there were demonstrations in the city from shocked refugees, who asked for the seizure of the shipment.
Finally, the English Consulate intervened, and the Greek government allowed the boat to depart so that there was no conflict with the British. The newspaper ‘Macedonia’ that was published on 14th December 1924 confirmed the arrival of the boat in Thessaloniki but didn’t mention the human bones the boat carried.
The same month, New York Times published the news with the following headline: “An unbelievable story of a shipment with human bones.” Also, the French newspaper Midi published the news, mentioning the human bones which were to be sold in Marseille.
Elias Venezis in his book Number 31328 mentions the process of collecting bones by people who were captured by Turks. When he was 18 years old, Venezis was captured with 3.000 people. He wrote the book after he returned from the East, to describe the hardships he and other captives went through after the Asia Minor Catastrophe.
In the book’s prologue, he wrote: “There’s nothing deeper and holier than a body in pain. This book is dedicated to this pain.”