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Boston Globe 12/03/1922

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Mrs. Anna Harlow Birge, wife of

Prof. Birge of the International College

at Smyrna, tells of an incident when

Smyrna was being burned. The desper-

ate refugees were crowding each other

off the wharves, and the harbor was

full of men and women swimming

around in the hope of rescue until they

drowned. In the harbor at that time

was a Japanese freighter, which had

just arrived loaded to the decks with a

very valuable cargo of silks, laces

and china, representing many thousands

of dollars.

The Japanese captain, when he real-

ized the situation, did not hesitate. The

whole cargo went overboard into the

dirty waters of the harbor, and the

freighter was loaded with several

hundred refugees, who were taken to

the Piraeus and landed in safety to

Greek shores.


Transcribed for educational, archival and "fair use" purposes only. (SKK)

Comments of the researcher Sofia Kostos

The Japanese ship was the ONLY known ship that did NOT follow orders to remain neutral. On behalf of the victims of Smyrna-Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians and Others, we owe the Japanese Government a show of appreciation for their compassionate intervention.

I knew a Greek woman who told me that she was nine years old when she and her family were rescued by "a Japanese ship." She also told me that some of the escapees died before they reached Piraeus. She recalled seeing their bodies thrown into the sea.

To date: the name of the Japanese merchant ship is unknown. (SKK)



Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 February 2010 15:42  
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