Refugee telegrams

Refugee telegrams

This category contains 993 artefacts and covers the time period from 1914 to 1955. Some of them are connected to the events of the Asia Minor Campaign. The telegrams, which reproduce news reports of the time, describe the dramatic moments of the departure of the Greek army in August 1922.

However, the majority of the collection consists of refugee telegrams. They are mainly sent by Asia Minor Catastrophe refugees who settled in rural areas in Greece or by local populations, and they are addressed to the Ministry of Agriculture and the president of the Government.
Following the Balkan Wars, World War I, and mainly after the Asia Minor Campaign, more than 1.2 million refugees came to Greece from Asia Minor, Pontus, and Eastern Thrace. The Greek government chose to settle most refugees in rural Macedonia and Thrace and to provide them with land allotments. This would achieve an increase in agricultural production, the ethnological and political homogenisation of the New Countries and the creation of a class of small landowners through the expropriation of large estates. Local populations reacted to the settlement of refugees in rural areas. The reason for the friction and tension between the two groups, which even led to bloodshed, was claims to contested allotments of farmland. The telegrams depict this exact aspect of the settlement of refugees in rural Greece. The messages in the telegrams, filled with complaints, protests, and threats, come from both groups of Greeks, the refugees and the locals, reflecting in the most vivid way the clear division of Greek society during the interwar period.


See the Telegrams Archive of the OTE Group Telecommunications Museum

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19/09/1921. The sender informs the recipient of the condition of his health and the region in which is located (Eskişehir). (MT-021807)

13/09/1922. The governor of Heraklion sends out a news report. The Press highlights the need to restore order and peace in the country. To deal with the critical situation, citizens must be disciplined and respect the law. The government sent a démarche asking that foreign ships be chartered to transport refugees from Asia Minor. The III Army Corps is transferred to Thrace. The telegram refutes the news that the army of Thrace is being reduced in size. The Thrace front is being reinforced. Lastly, the Turks are to blame for the unrest in Istanbul. (ΜΤ-021819)

05/09/2022. The governor of Heraklion, Michail Sgouros, forwards a news report to the Justices of the Peace and the Rural Courts of the prefecture, pertaining to the Asia Minor campaign. According to the announcement, the retreat of the south sector army corps continues, while the forces of Dorylaion (Eskişehir) are merging to the east of Bursa. (ΜΤ-021866)

01/11/1925. Telegram from Edessa that mentions the transfer of refugees to Giannitsa. (MT-023680)

05/10/1926. Telegram from the locals of Rosilovo (Xanthogia) warning of clashes with the refugees due to the farmlands not having been counted and their property being taken over. (MT-023692)

14/11/1924. An Army captain in Florina protests to the Ministry of Agriculture regarding the concession of his agricultural property to refugees. (MT-023696)

12/10/1924. The associations of the Greeks of Asia Minor, Thrace, and Pontus of the region of Edessa protest to the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Agriculture regarding the problems the refugees are facing in cultivating the land because of the local population, and they ask that measures be taken to avoid clashes. (MT-023698)

10/11/1924. Telegram from the Edessa fighters association with a complaint regarding the settling of refugees. (MT-023702)

10/11/1924. Telegram from the Edessa fighters association with a complaint regarding the settling of refugees. (MT-023702)

24/09/1923. The governor of Drama to the Ministry of Agriculture, Welfare, and the Interior in Athens, notifying that the Asia Minor refugees, following a general meeting, unanimously removed the president of their Association, Mr Apostolidis, and stated that they are on the side of the Government and its representative. (MT-023878)

14/12/1924. The associations of refugees of Limnos request that the sending of more refugees be postponed due to the difficult conditions on the island, such as the lack of homes and fuel, and because of the cold. (MT-023909)

16/09/1924. The head of the settlement committee on Limnos requests the immediate approval of the request of the dispatch of seed. (MT-023910)

03/07/1924. The refugees of Lesvos protest the concession of the Muslim farms to locals, despite the explicit promises of the government that they would be distributed to the refugees who are suffering through an “unbearable and tragic life”. (MT-023921)

30/11/1924. The refugees of the village of Domeniko in Elassona write to the Ministry of Agriculture that the president of Domeniko’s cooperative is organising the violent persecution of the refugees. (MT-023822)

12/06/1919. Telegram to Liberal Party MP Konstantinos Pasaretzos, regarding the expropriation of farms in Giannitsa. (MT-100168)

11/04/1918. The president of the Farmers’ Association of Feres informs the Ministry of Agriculture that landowner Nikolaos Papos is obstructing the tenants from farming the lands and asks for the protection of the competent authorities. (MT-100231)

1924. The refugees from Flogita in Cappadocia ask that the Government not suspend their settlement on a monastery dependency in Halkidiki, because they are in a pitiful state. (MT-100475)

23/09/1924. Decrypted telegram from Karyes in Mount Athos to Athens. The monasteries decided that the dependencies in Halkidiki intended for the settlement of refugees cannot be expropriated. (MT-100480a)

24/08/1925. The Association of Constantinopolites of Kavala protest the attitude of the locals towards them. (MT-100518)

01/08/1925. The president of the Topsin refugee association protests to prime minister Pangalos regarding the decision of the Ministry of Agriculture not to expropriate the chiflik of Topsin. (MT-100522)

25/09/1925. Refugees from Stenimachos in Eastern Rumelia ask to settle in the Topsin chiflik and that the decision that the chiflik be used for beet farming be cancelled, since, as they say, “if the Serbs invade, we will line up our chests, not sugar beets”. (MT-100532)

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