Stanley E. Hopkins (Near East Relief)

Stanley E. Hopkins was born in Pittston, Pennsylvania on 14 July 1895.  During the Greek Genocide, Hopkins joined the New York branch of the Near East Relief and was sent to Turkey to work in automobile transportation for the relief organization.  The nature of his work meant he traveled extensively throughout the country and witnessed the sufferings of the Greeks in various regions.  He left Turkey by ship from Constantinople on 12 October 1921 and reached New York on 11 November. Five days after his return, 16 November 1921, in the New York offices of the Near East Relief, Hopkins produced a statement titled “Report on Conditions in the Interior of Anatolia under the Turkish Nationalist Government”, his eye-witness account of the Greek Genocide. The report was promptly forwarded to the US Secretary of State by Charles W. Fowle, the foreign secretary of the Near East Relief. Copies of his testimony are housed in both British and American archives.

I have been in the interior of Anatolia in the employ of the Near East Relief for about a year.  My work has been automobile transportation which has carried me many times over the road from Samsoun to Marsovan, Sivas, Caesarea, Oulou Kichla and Harpoot.  During the winter of 1920-21, I was a member of the Harpoot Unit of the Near East Relief and did industrial and transportation work there in connection with the large orphanages maintained by the Near East Relief.

About September 1st 1921 I started on a trip by automobile from Harpoot to Samsoun.  On the roads between Harpoot and Malatia I passed a large number of Greeks being deported from the south coast region of the Black Sea to the east. I estimated them to be about twelve thousand persons.  They consisted of entire families and villages that have been uprooted and started on the road with whatever property they could carry on their backs and ox-carts.  They were guarded by Turkish gendarmes, and they were moved slowly so that they would be unable to reach any point where they could settle before the winter snow would come.  As regards health, clothing and food, the gendarmes and Turks along the way took every possible advantage of them.  One man sold a cow for one hundred silver piasters, the equivalent of about $3.00, in order to obtain food.

After leaving Samsoun on my return to Harpoot I passed the old men of Samsoun, Greeks, who were being deported.  Many of these men were feeble with age, but in spite of that fact they were being pressed forward at the rate of thirty miles a day and there was no transport available for those who were weak or ill.  There was no food allowance for them, and any food that they could obtain had to be procured by money or sale of small articles that they could carry with them.  On the trip I passed many corpses of Greeks lying by the road side where they had died from exposure.  Many of these were the corpses of women and girls with their faces toward the sky, covered with flies.

About October 1st I started from Harpoot toward Samsoun being accompanied by Miss. Bailey and McClellan, all of us planning to return to America.  On this trip we passed what I estimated to be about ten thousand Greeks.  I remember one group of about two thousand, being women alone, most of them with no shoes, many of them carrying babies on their backs and in their arms.  A driving cold rain was falling at the time I passed them and they had no protection whatsoever and their only place to sleep was the wet ground.  These women were on the road within a day's automobile journey of Harpoot.

On this, our last trip out from Harpoot, we passed similar groups all along the way.

Harpoot seems to be a gathering and forwarding center for these Greek refugees.  There are between fifteen and twenty thousand Greeks in Harpoot from all regions to the west and north. They are absolutely without help, and in the nature of the case large numbers of them are dying.  They are allowed to stay in Harpoot a short time and are then sent forward to the east where their fate is not known.  The Near East Relief is not allowed by the Turkish Government in any of its centers in Anatolia, so far as I know, either to hire Greeks or to help them by giving food, clothing or money. In Sivas the Americans of the Near East Relief were not even allowed to go and see the conditions in which the Greek refugees were.

I was given an account by someone in Samsoun of the way in which a large number of Samsoun men, said to be fifteen hundred, were treated near Kavak.  Kavak is about half way between Samsoun and Marsovan on the main road.  The road out of the town toward the south descends a valley, crosses a bridge, and ascends the hill on the other side.  The valley is that of a stream which flows down from the west.  These fifteen hundred men were marched out of Samsoun on August 15th, and as they left Kavak were diverted up the valley and shot down by fire of Turkish troops.  It was stated that of the fifteen hundred, thirteen hundred were killed in two and a half hours.

These are conditions and incidents all of which except the last I witnessed.  They seem to indicate that the Greeks of Anatolia are suffering the same or a worse fate than did the Armenians in the massacres of the Great War.  The deportation of the Greeks is not limited to the Black Sea Coast but is being carried out throughout the whole country governed by the Nationalists.  Greek villages are deported entire, the few Turkish or Armenian inhabitants are forced to leave, and the villages are burned.  The purpose is unquestionably to destroy all Greeks in that territory and to leave Turkey for the Turks.  These deportations are, of course, accompanied by cruelties of every form, just as was true in the case of the Armenian deportations five and six years ago.

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