Lithri today's Ildiri. Departure hours of buses to and from Smyrna (Today’s Izmir) starting from 1 April
Από Ιλντιρί(Λυθρί) για Σμύρνη
Από Σμύρνη για Ιλντιρί (Λυθρί). From Smyrna (Izmir) to Ildiri (Lithri)
The city was one of the twelve cities of Ionia, who participated in the Common of Ionians
Upon the ruins of Erythrai was built the village of Lithri whose name is a corruption of the ancient
After the 12th century, the Greeks of Asia Minor began to thin due to massive islamization. In 18th - 19th century the Greek populations were strengthened with migrations from other parts of Greek peninsula and islands.
In 1914 were installed in the shores of Asia Minor muslims from Balkans. These people were motivated by the Turkish government against the Greeks. The imminent entry of Turkey in the First World War was a pretext to expel the Greeks in May 1914 under the guidance of the allies of Turks the Germans in order to evacuate the area near the eastern Aegean islands for military purposes. An anti-Greek campaign started in the turkish press, they increased the oppression and they forced the Greeks supposedly “voluntary” to migrate in a orgy of looting and murders. Shifts in population were from the coast to the interior of Asia Minor. One form of oppression was Amele Taburu (work orders) for men over 45 years where many died of hunger, suffering, sickness. It was in those “work orders” where hundred of thousand Greeks and 1,5 million Armenians were lost. We hade a wave of flight to Greece (first persecution). Then my grandfather and grandmother with their children fled to Piraeus . During the persecution was born my mother. Some sisters of grandmother then went to Crete and brothers of grandfather to Kiato Corinth.
In 1919 we have the landing of the Greek army for the liberation of Asia Minor and with it returned the displaced. Our family came back in Lithri during 1920 finding it ravaged (houses without doors and ceilings, ravaged farms, looted churches) and starts their life again. Men of Lithri as of other parts of Asia Minor joined and served until the collapse of the front in the Greek army. Between them two uncles. In 1922 after many errors in Greek strategy and because of the betrayal of our former allies the Anglo-Franks who abandoned us when Kemal gave them what they wanted (Petrols in Mosule etc.) , the front was collapsed .
Avoiding the persecutions greek populations run to the near islands in order to be saved and from there ware landed on the main Greece. With them my family passed first through the island of Chios and finally ended after many adventures in Crete in the province of Sitia. An adventure having as a background the flames of war, the tragedy of uprooting and a fiery fictional romance between the older sister of the family and a Cretan rank of Greek gendarmerie. Others were lost others scattered like birds and led elsewhere. A large number of Lithrians were landed in Attica and established with other refugees from the peninsula of Erythraea, in an area near Athens giving to the new settlement the name New Erythrea. There resently they built the church of St. Matrona.
In Lithri called Ildiri after 1922 were established Balkanians ancestors of Christians convertors to Islam. The churches were demolished under an organized plan by turkish government to destroy the Greek presence, and now are remaining only some ruins.
This blog is a tribute to my Ancestors who lived in Erythrai- Lithri whose bones are now scattered in this holy land, and in memory of those who suffered the tragedy of uprooting as my sweet mother.