Apostolos Koskinides, Greek Genocide survivor and humanitarian

Apostolos Koskinides

Apostolos Koskinides was born in Ikonion (Ἰκόνιον, Turkish: Konya) in 1897 to an Anatolian Greek family.

He worked as a pharmacist's apprentice to pay high school tuition at the American Missionary College. When the pharmacist was drafted into the Ottoman Army in 1914, he was left in charge of the business.

Soon, Koskinides was also drafted into the army and became an interpreter for English and French prisoners of war. This assignment likely saved his life since most Greeks and Armenians who were drafted into the Ottoman Army were later massacred.

In 1915, Koskinides returned to Konya on sick leave. He befriended the American physicians who cared for him and the doctors recruited him to help prepare vaccinations and quarantine the sick to fight outbreaks of smallpox.

He was later transferred to Kadin Han where he was "the only health man" for a population of 100,000.

After WW1, he served in the British army as an interpreter. In 1923, he joined the Refugee Resettlement Commission. The Near East Relief recruited him to be a field representative in Macedonia where he placed orphans with families or in jobs.

Through careful searching, Koskinides located close relations for more than 3,000 NER children.

With the outbreak of WWII, Koskinides joined the Macedonian Health Department and throughout the war he continued to work for the Near East Foundation and the Health Department.

In 1946, he attended the University of North Carolina and upon his return to Athens he led the Brown-Koskinides Mission, which oversaw health and sanitation for 700,000 refugees of the Greek Civil War.

In 1952, he organised the NEF Sanitation School in the village of Palasht, Iran. He created the country’s first teaching materials on the subject and trained 420 sanitary engineers.

Koskinides spent the next seven years educating extension agents and addressing sanitation problems in Iranian villages. In 1959, he relocated to Jordan as an NEF community development specialist.

Although he retired to Athens in 1960, he remained active. He was a regular correspondent with NEF leadership and acted as a liaison and ambassador for NEF.

Source: A Lasting Impact. The Near East Foundation Celebrates a Century of Service.

Greek Genocide Resource Center.

Guest Contributor

This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor