Anatolia College in Merzifon and the Greek Genocide

Footballers from the Greek Club 'Pontos' (Anatolia College, Merzifon 1910-1911)

Anatolia College was located in the city of Merzifon, Turkey. The college was founded in 1886 and chartered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The College was closed by the Ottoman government in 1916 and the campus was requisitioned to be used as a military hospital. It remained closed until 1919. When it reopened, it housed 600 Greek and Armenian war orphans.

In late July 1921, Merzifon was the scene of a four day massacre of Greeks and Armenians that was perpetrated by Kemalist brigand Topal Osman and his soldiers. Carl Crompton, who was in charge of the college at the time, witnessed the massacre and wrote:

"We had just gone to bed when we heard in the street below us the shattering of glass, the crashing of doors being broken open, and piercing screams.

"We dressed in great haste, and I ran to the college gate, outside of which was a crowd of crying women and children. We threw open the gate, and they came rushing in. A few minutes later we saw soldiers coming up the street, and we slammed the gate shut just in time.

"They pounded on the gate, demanding that it be opened, but I slipped out through a little side door and told them that this was American property. To my astonishment and relief, they saluted and said they had been given orders to stay out of American property.

"For the next four days and nights, we lived in constant fear. The days were fairly quiet, but the nights were filled with terror. All night long, we could hear the sound of running feet, the breaking open of doors, the screams, and occasional gun-fire." [...]

"In the city, the killing, raping, and looting continued. The Greek and Armenian men and older boys were dragged from their homes and marched away, never to be seen again."

On the fourth day of the massacre the Christian section of Merzifon was set on fire.

In November 1921, the US State Department received a telegram in which it was notified that 1,200 Greeks and Armenians were slaughtered at Merzifon in July 1921 and were buried in mass graves just outside the city.

In 1921, the Kemalist government ordered the permanent closure of the College. It reopened in Thessaloniki in 1924 and still operates today.

Greek Genocide Resource Center


Guest Contributor

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