Ioannis and Vasiliki Nikolaidis in Serres, Greece, circa 1970's.
Ioannis Nicolaidis, formerly Portouloglou (1910-1978) and Vasiliki Georgiadou (1912-1985) were from Bafra in the Pontus region. The following testimony was submitted by their grandson via our online questionnaire.
1. From which region of the Ottoman Empire were your ancestors from?:
My grandparents were from Bafra. My grandfather was from Üçpınar and my grandmother was from Sikhloukh.
2. How did their life change when the Neo-Turks and/or the Kemalists came to power? :
They couldn't cope with the oppression so they left for the mountains. They were both Turkish-speaking because they had banned the use of the Pontic language. My grandmother used to say that whoever spoke Greek they cut off their tongue.
3. Were they deported during the genocide? If so, when, where to, and describe their experience:
4. Were they held in a concentration camp or labor camp? If so, where was it located and describe the conditions :
5. Did they lose family and friends? If so, how did they cope?:
My grandmother's family was slaughtered. My grandmother went to Greece with only one of her sisters out of 6 siblings and her parents. My grandfather told me that they came to the village at night and would slaughter them while they were asleep. His mother was pregnant and they firstly cut open her stomach and then her neck. His father threw him out of the window to survive. My grandfather survived along with one of his brothers out of 6 siblings and his parents originally. He reunited with his brother through the Red Cross after quite some time. They were both unaware of each other's existence. Before they departed, my grandfather and one of his aunts were in the forest. During the day they hid and at night they would go looking for leafy vegetables to eat. They did this for months. They were afraid of going to the port to leave. He told my father that the Turks were hunting them right up until they boarded the ship to leave. I know that they came to Thessaloniki and from there they went to the prefecture of Serres. After arriving in Greece he changed his surname to Nicolaidis.
6. Did anyone within Turkey including Turks try to help them during the genocide? :
They didn't mention anything like that. They just said that there was a lot of slaughtering.
7. How did they cope emotionally with their genocide experience? Did it affect the remainder of their life? :
They would both tremble in fear whenever they reminisced the events. My grandmother avoided talking about it and would cry. She wore black permanently and never removed her headscarf.
8. Did the denial of the genocide by the perpetrator (the successor state of Turkey) affect their ability to form closure?:
Yes. They both felt cheated right up until they died.
9. How did they feel about Turkey after the genocide? :
I can say they felt disgust and hatred. My grandfather told my father to become an officer in the military so that if war broke he could wreak his revenge.