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The mentality of refugees from the vilayet of Aydin,


The first book which tries to enter the inner world of the Greek refugees from the administrative periphery of the vilayet of Aydin and understand whether and how the events of the Great Fire of Smyrna, the mass exodus and immigration as well as the settlement in the city of Thessaloniki have changed the state of mind of the Greek refugees.

About the Book

The theme of this book is the examination of the mentality of refugees from the vilayet of Aydin who, following the catastrophic defeat of the Greek army in Asia Minor in August 1922 and the Great Fire of Smyrna in September 1922, were forced to leave their historic homeland and settle in the city of Thessaloniki in Northern Greece between 1922-1930.

Despite the vast bibliography on the refugee issue, there has not been a systematic attempt to examine separately the settlement of the Greek refugee groups from the distinct provinces of Anatolia, mainly due to the fact that the refugee settlement as well as its consequences is being treated by scholars as a unity. Furthermore, the majority of the academic works focus on the impact of the refugee settlement on Greek politics, economy, society, culture, demography, music and so forth.

The book sets out the historical context of the Great Fire of Smyrna and takes into account both the former lives of the Greek communities in various cities, towns and villages of the vilayet of Aydin [Smyrna, Aydin, Magnesia, Tepepoz of Erythrae, Naktse, Balatzik, Nazli, Vourla, Salihli, Koukloutzas, Menemen, Papa-Skala, Philadelphia (Ala-Sehir), Ligda, Mouradie, Denizli, Chonai, Sarakioi, Hagios Georgios, Kula, Tsompanisia, Sevdikioi, Ali-Aga, Arap-Tsiflik, Vougioukli, Gioul-Bakse, Moldovania, Tzimovasi, Hagia Paraskevi, Karaburnu, Odemisio, Koldere, Choroskioi, Hamza-Beili, Kasaba, Mentochoria] as well as the distinct experiences of refugees including peasants, educated, skilled, and business-people in an attempt to thoroughly analyse their views, sentiments, beliefs, needs, values and principles, concerns as well as thoughts, attitudes and memories which ultimately affected their behaviour.

The book cross-examines evidence from primary and secondary sources in both English and Greek language while many of the Greek sources have been translated into English for the first time. Specifically, the book draws on memoirs, testimonies (published and unpublished), articles, archives, documents from historical conferences, journals, photographs and maps. In addition, it makes good use of information found on websites of municipalities, churches, schools, and athletic associations of Thessaloniki.

Theodora Litovoli

Historical Researcher

I graduated from Birkbeck University of London with a MA in European History. My research focuses on the investigation and understanding of the Greek Genocide and the mass expulsion of Greek communities from Anatolia, 1914-1923. For more information on my research and publications, visit my academic profile.






4 Chapters

102 Pages


Chapter 1

The Vilayet of Aydin


Chapter 2

Exile from the Vilayet of Aydin

The historical context of the Asia Minor Catastrophe

The unfolding of the exodus


Chapter 3

Migration to Thessaloniki

The context of settlement in Thessaloniki

The composition of the refugee population


Chapter 4

The mentality of refugees

West of the city centre

East of the city centre


''A descriptive and eye-opening account of refugees running from what they believed to be their homeland. Survivors' accounts of their perilous journey while fleeing ferocious persecutions of the Greek community. Well written and chilling in places. As an adopted Greek, I have heard the stories of this period handed down through generations. Theodora has encapsulated this into a well written and accurate account of historical fact. Bravo Theodora''.

Goodreads Review

''A book that seriously dives into the minds of the first generation refugees. The survivors of this tragedy finally have a voice. Highly recommend this book''.

Amazon Review

''Really well researched history book. A must have piece in library''.

Amazon Review

''Thoroughly researched and well put together! Congratulations Theodora on a thought-provoking and interesting book! Highly recommended''.

Facebook Review

This book answers all the questions I wish I had asked my grandmother before her passing. If you are a descendant of a Smyrna refugee, and even if you're not, this book offers a valuable probe and exploration into the psyches of the survivors of this horrific genocide. There is so much I didn't know, but was suspicious about, due to my grandmother's own character, behavior, etiquette, everything — she was not like other Greeks in our community. But like many traumatized and displaced people in this world, she did not talk about it. I was particularly grateful to read the detailed historical context the author provides which helps the reader understand the events that led up to this catastrophe. The author even provides census data from 1885 Ottoman Empire. Fascinating. I am so grateful to have come across this book.

Amazon Review

Thanks Theodora. I get a lot of information about the life my Greek ancestors used to live. Thanks a lot for your advice to read it. Your book allows me to understand this part of my roots

Amazon Review

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