Alfred E. Brady (1885-1929) from Texas, USA was part of the disaster relief effort which provided assistance to genocide survivors following the Smyrna holocaust. According to one unconfirmed report, he was in charge of relief stations along the Mediterranean.1
In a letter published in The Cameron Herald in December 1922, Brady describes how the Turks fired at ships that were trying to evacuate Greek refugees. He also said that the Turks hid refugees and hindered efforts to provide them relief. Brady said:
Leaving Chios in afternoon on my “special' we passed a large ship loaded down (about 6,000) with refugees who had left Mitylene bound for Crete Island. I was on the 'bridge' with the captain, and hearing them cheering, waving hats, bonnets, handkerchiefs and tin cups. I asked the captain what it was all about. About that time I noticed their ship dipping their flag in salute, my ship answering in return. Our ships were quite close, both captains conversed through megaphones, and I learned most of these people were refugees whom I had been instrumental in helping get away from Tchesme, Aivali Bay, Alatzata and other places. The last I heard was thousands shouting “Zeto Americano” [Long live the American] as our ships steamed apart, one going north to certain safety and where bread could be found in abundance, and the other with six thousand souls, headed south, but to an uncertain fate. The waving, cheering mass of humanity on this ship, as they slowly passed from view and the sound of their voices died away in the distance, put me in a brown study, and I awoke to the fact that I had spent my birthday on the Island of Chios without breakfast, dinner or supper. But could not help but feel that they had given me by far the best birthday present I had for many years, and so was completely satisfied as to that part of it.2
Excerpts of Alfred Brady's testimony were also published in The New Zealand Herald in December 1922:
Although the majority of Greek and Armenian civilian men in Asia Minor have been deported to Angora [Ankara], into what is tantamount to slavery, and the majority of women and children exiled, the Turks' campaign of massacre and terror continues as the last surviving Christian communities are being wiped out one by one.
I made my headquarters at Mitylene, while a fleet of 17 vessels flying British and American flags took off the refugees from the coast villages. On October 2, I was informed that 10,000 refugees, women and children, had been concentrated by the Turks at Aivali Bay. I proceeded there on an American destroyer. Arriving outside the port, we went to the beach in a shore boat flying the Stars and Stripes. Turkish troops turned a machine-gun on the boat, and bullets snapped off the flagstaff from which the flag was floating. When we landed Turks denied there were any refugees there. Later we found higher officers, who treated us courteously, and told us we could take of refugees. No apology was made for firing on the American flag, beyond saying, “Our men misunderstood their orders.”
Before the refugees were put into the small craft, all were passed through lines of Turkish troops in the city customs house. These troops supposedly searched them for arms and ammunition, but in reality systematically looted them of every bit of money and jewellery the old men or women possessed. In hundreds of cases women who came aboard the refugee ships reported that they had been beaten and mistreated by the Turks, but personally I saw no actual mistreatment of women.
Brutality marked the treatment of men of military age, however. Who were lined up and separated from their wives and families to be marched into the interior. When one man, aged 30, tried to break through the lines to join his wife a Turkish soldier smashed him in the chest with a rifle butt with such force that the man was hurled backwards 10 ft. into the sea. One young man, a young Greek aged 25, attempted to escape by wearing a fez and pretending to be a Turk going aboard the relief ships on business. When he had crossed the gang way he thought he was safe in the protection of a foreign flag. I saw him tear the red fez from his head, rip it in half, and spit on it, meanwhile shouting frenzied curses at the Turks. A file of Turkish soldiers immediately boarded the ship, dragged him ashore, and shot him.
Hospitals on the Greek islands are crowded with people who have been beaten and attacked by the Turks. In the hospital at Chios I saw a child who still lived, although shot through the face by a Turkish soldier who had killed his father and violated his mother. In the same hospital there was a family of six orphan Armenians. The father, knowing the Turks were invading the district, collected his savings and sewed the money into the children's garment. The Turkish troops, after killing the parent, found the money and the clothes, but being unable to find any on the four year-old baby beat the child with rifle butts. A sudden noise - slamming of a door - now sends that four year old baby into shrieks of fear.
Hearing there were refugees on the beaches at Foujes, Asia Minor, I went there aboard the British steamer Pavia. The Turks opened fire with machine-guns from two sides of the quay when we attempted to land, despite the fact that the ship was flying the British flag at the stern and I had hoisted an American flag on the fore part. The ship made six attempts to enter the harbour, being turned back by machine-gun fire each time. The seventh attempt we landed. Here the Turks said, “There are no refugees here. Further, you are not wanted.”
The refugees had obviously just been herded out of sight, for the deserted streets were full of refugee baggage. Soldiers with fixed bayonets prevented us from entering the town to investigate. When I asked the Turkish officers why they had fired on British and American flags they repeated, “You have got no business here,” adding a later explanation that their men did not know what nations the flags belonged to. I left them a number of small silk American flags I had in order to aid instruction of their soldiers.3
1. Alfred E. Brady Buried in Cameron Today, The Cameron Herald, 25 July 1929, p3.
2. Turks Massacre of Christians Indescribably Brutal, The Cameron Herald, 21 December 1922, p2.
3. The Greek Flight: Asia Minor Horrors, The New Zealand Herald, December 12, 1922.