Ourania Zografos and her husband Antoine Sigalas at their wedding in France (c. 1934).
The following testimony relating to Ourania Zografos (1913-2014) of Smyrna (today İzmir) was submitted through our online questionnaire by her granddaughter.
1. From which region of the Ottoman Empire were your ancestors from?:
My paternal grandmother was from Smyrna (today İzmir)
2. How did their life change when the Neo-Turks and/or the Kemalists came to power? :
My grandmother fled Smyrna in 1922 after seeing soldiers killing all the men. My grandmother was 9 years of age at the time. She saw her father being taken as a prisoner. She never saw him again. Her mother, sisters and brother boarded a boat with her to safety.
3. Were they deported during the genocide? If so, when, where to, and describe their experience:
No. They boarded a ship and arrived in Pireaus, Athens. They all worked. The children did housework for the rich to survive.
4. Were they held in a concentration camp or labor camp? If so, where was it located and describe the conditions :
5. Did they lose family and friends? If so, how did they cope?:
Yes. They lost friends and their father in front of their own eyes.
6. Did anyone within Turkey including Turks try to help them during the genocide? :
No idea. But they had many Turks as friends before all this happened.
7. How did they cope emotionally with their genocide experience? Did it affect the remainder of their life? :
Yes of course. My grandmother talked about it all the time. She wanted us to know what happened. Her story was not in books. She wanted us to be proud of being Greek. She also told us how they left Greece and went to France due to experiencing discrimination from the Greek people.
8. Did the denial of the genocide by the perpetrator (the successor state of Turkey) affect their ability to form closure?:
No, they didn’t care as they went to Athens. They then moved to France.
9. How did they feel about Turkey after the genocide? :
No hatred. Just sadness.