Anastasis Haranis (p.2)
–Good morning, my aghas. What’s going on? What is it you want?
A man from Illıpınar, the head of the village, tells my father.
–Harani effendi, there’s going to be a persecution in your village tonight and we called you to tell you to push your animals our way, so we can save them.
–I’ll send you the animals, says my father, but what about my family, what about the other families?
–We have no responsibility over the lives of people.
–If you can’t save the people, what do you want the animals for?
He gets up, says goodbye and leaves.
In the meantime, the people back in the village were anxious to find out what had happened. My father broke the news and told them to be ready for everything.
At 11pm that night, the priest and I, tethered on the horses and left for Smyrna. When we arrived in Baniza, the people came out to see what was happening. We told them what was going on and urged them to leave. An Albanian başıbozuk tried to stop them, but they hopped on their carts and left for Menemen.
We left Baniza and drove to Seyreköy, to the church commissioner’s home. Throughout the night, başıbozuk from all over the place –Phocaea, Menemen, Bergama– were shooting at us. The people of Seyreköy were courageous, and angry. The village stoop up to the attacks, for that reason they called it later New Souli.
The very next day we saw the people from Gerenköy arriving.
By Prophet Elias’ day, the vineyards around Gerenköy were filled with Turks who came down to loot. In the meantime, the Turks of Illıpınar had rounded up all the Gerenköy animals = grazing in the fields and were taking them to their village. When my father saw that he said to the rest of Gerenköy residents, “come on, let’s go”. Who ever managed to flee on time and cross the river, came to Seyreköy. My father, my brother, my mother and our apprentices were the last ones to cross. As they were crossing, the Turks saw them and stopped the raft. My family had to turn back and fled to Old Phocaea. When the Phocaeans saw them, they too understood what was about to befall them.
There were two Frenchmen in Old Phocaea at the time, they were excavating. My father contacted them and they decided to put all Gerenköy people in a couple of strong, safe houses and hoist the French flag up front. The Frenchmen went to the kaymakam and told him that he would be personally responsible if anything befell those houses. He got scared and sent an armed guard to keep the houses safe.