Underway at sea

The Catastrophe of Smyrna through a cadet ensign’s diary.

Introduction – Historical editing:
Kostas Katsapis, KYPSELI Publications

Although 101 years
have already gone by since the Asia Minor Catastrophe, its memory still lingers on indelibly in the consciousness of modern Greeks –the descendants of the protagonists of the historical events and the Greek society as a whole. It is impossible to gain any insight into present-day, modern Greece when ignoring the 1922 events.

For the reader who is somehow related to Paros, the book is particularly compelling as the author of the diary, Athanasios Papavasileiou, is a young naval officer cadet from Paros who documents what he saw and heard, everything he experienced between July 28 and September 11 onboard the Elli battle-cruiser sailing off the coasts of Asia Minor. The text, written as an epistle, is addressed to his fiancée, Maria Krispi, with whom he cannot wait to reunite on Paros, and who was later to become his life partner.

“Greek Smyrna exists no more!” With these five words, the young cadet captures the tragic 1922 events that shake his young soul. The extensive introduction, written by Kostas Katsapis, professor of History at Panteio University and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, is highly engaging, while the edition released in November 2022, in the context of the 100th anniversary of the Asia Minor Catastrophe, is tastefully designed and studiously edited.