Survivor Testimonies From the Nicomedia (Izmit) Massacres of 1920-21 by Kostas Faltaits
Translated and Edited by Ellene S. Phufas-Jousma and Aris Tsilfidis
With a Prologue by Tessa Hoffman
Kostas Faltaits was a Greek Journalist for the Newspaper Embros and covered the Greek Struggle in Nicomedia (Izmit) in 1921. What Mr. Faltaits reported on was the systematic extermination of the Greek population by the Kemalist armies under General Mustafa Kemal. Indeed, surviving witnesses to the slaughter of civilians in Greek villages stated that Kemal himself presided over some of the massacres.
As with any text that deals with the horror of genocide, it is not easy to read and I found myself stunned by the various eyewitness accounts documented by Mr. Faltaits. Mothers killing their own children to spare them from the Kemalist horrors. The raping of Greek women. In one particular case, a Greek Priest named Father
Phillipos Kalokidis was humiliated and degraded before being murdered in cold blood.
This is a historically important work that was originally translated into French. This book was widely distributed in Greece at the time and was cited as documentary evidence by the Greek Foreign Ministry in making the case for Greece’s rights in Asia Minor at the time. The book included horrifying details of massacres in Greek villages throughout Nicomedia. The original title of the book at the time of publication according to the editors was “These are the Turks”.
This is an important document about the Greek genocide and deserves to be placed alongside other works of the 1920’s such as the Black Book of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, George Horton’s the Blight of Asia, and Edward
Hale Bierstadt’s the Great Betrayal. The book has introduced me to a Greek hero that I knew nothing about.
Mr. Faltaits was a superb journalist who bravely went about reporting on the horrors undertaken by the Kemalist forces and during a period when Greece was being actively betrayed by alleged western “allies”.
There is a heartbreaking chapter on the genocide of the Armenians where Mr. Faltaits spoke with the local Bishop of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
The Bishop said that out of the 80,000 Armenians in his flock, 70,000 were slaughtered. The Bishop provides graphic details of the torture, rape, and murders of the Armenian people. A common theme in all the chapters of this book is the sadistic pleasure of the Turks in raping, torturing, and slaughtering defenseless Armenian and Greek civilians.
A century later, Turkey has still not been punished for its crimes against humanity. A few years ago, when resolution for the genocide of the Armenians was introduced in Congress, the Bush administration lobbied against it.
In addition, eight living past and present Secretaries of State actively lobbied to block recognition of the genocide of the Armenians .
The pro Turkish policies that enabled the rise of Mustafa Kemal to complete the work begun by the Young Turks remain in effect up to the present day.
Mention is made in the prologue by Tessa Hoffman of Arnold Toynbee. Toynbee was a parodoxical figure. During the First World War, Toynbee worked for British intelligence and unequivocally condemned the genocide of the Armenians and had published a book “Armenian Atrocities The Murder of a Nation”. Toynbee subsequently turned into a supporter of the Turks and proceeded to accuse Greece of atrocities while ignoring or diminishing the horrors of the Kemalists.
This is an excellent historical work on the genocide of the Kemalists. It is also an excellent example of principled journalism.
Mr. Faltaits has done a great service to history and helped to ensure that the victims of Turkish genocide would not be forgotten.
Recall that by the Council of People’s Commissars of Soviet Union December 29, 1917 decree proclaimed the rights of Armenians of the occupied territories of “Turkish Armenia” (Western Armenia) and the freedom of self-determination up to full independence.
And on January 19, 1920 the Allied Supreme Council at Paris Conference de facto and on May 11, 1920 at San Remo Conference de jure recognized the Armenian state in Western Armenia as an independent and sovereign state which boundary with Turkey was the subject of an arbitral award by the United States President Woodrow Wilson on November 22, 1920
Note, that the State of Western Armenia is not recognized by UN authorities because it is occupied by Turkey.
As a reminder, in the occupied territories of Western Armenia from 1894 to 1923 the Armenian indigenous population was subjected to Genocide by three Turkish governments.