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April 6, 2021

Black Easter of Thrace (April 6, 1914)

Beginnings in 1906

The beginnings of the persecutions of Thracian Hellenism can be found in the area of the North Thrace in 1906, when the Bulgarians with their nationalist rage organized the massacres and persecutions in Anchialos and other cities at the expense of the Greek element that forced many Greeks to flee to Turkish-occupied Eastern and Western Thrace and most in free Greece.

The Greek Genocide from 1913-1917

By violent means, by commercial blockade, by heavy taxation, looting of property, terrorist and murderous attacks, conscription, dishonors, massacres, deportations, forced labor (labor battalions) they forced the Thracians to leave Eastern Thrace.

Thus, in the period 1913-1917, 232,000 Thracians were forced to leave the ancient ancestral homes and take refuge in free Greece and abroad. Another 96,000 were forced to work in Central Asia. Entire villages were relocated to other parts of Thrace for Neo-Turkish Muslim refugees from Bosnia.

Of the 96,000 displaced in Asia Minor, only 50,000 returned to their homes, living ghosts, at the end of World War I. The other 46,000 East Thracians died in Central Asia from work, disease, malnutrition and hardship.

If we take into account that Eastern Thrace in 1910 numbered 360,000-370,000 Greeks, it is easy to conclude that in the region of Eastern Thrace there remained in the deserted Greek land only 30,000-40,000 Greeks, most of them old, helpless and defenseless.

Black Easter of Thrace in 1914

The culmination of the persecutions against the Greek element was the Black Easter of 1914.

On April 6, 1914, the Black Easter for the Thracians, the Neo-Turks expelled the Greeks from many villages in the province of Arkadioupolis, Vizy and other areas of Thrace. In the same year, persecutions, murders, deportations, robberies, arsons and looting took place against the Greeks in the areas of Heraklion, Malgara and Kessani.

Then the Ecumenical Patriarchate (the only protector of Hellenism) was forced, after previous protests, to close schools and churches, to declare general mourning and the Great Church of Christ in persecution and to raise a voice of strong protest to the Sublime Porte and high rulers of the Great Powers.

From April of 1915 150,000 Thracians from Makra Gefyra, Madyto, Gallipoli, Saranta Ekklisies, Redestos, Skopos and other areas of Eastern Thrace were displaced by the Neo-Turks in Asia Minor and few of them survived the marches, like thousands of our other Asia Minor and Pontian brethren.

The total population of exiled Greeks in Eastern Thrace who were displaced until the end of World War I eventually reached 220,000 souls, according to data from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Details about this Genocide of Thracian Hellenism are given to us by the reports to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the local Metropolitans, as well as the book titled "Black Book" published by the Patriarchate in 1919.

Despite these persecutions, Eastern Thrace was liberated by the Greek Army in August 1920 and remained free until October 1922, when the Greek soldiers withdrew and with them many Thracians to avoid the retaliation of the Turks. The uprooting of the Greeks of Eastern Thrace was completed in 1923 with the Exchange of Populations.

It is necessary to emphasize that the Thracian Genocide is historically proven and scientifically substantiated, although silenced and little mentioned by Greek historiography.