Objects in Motion

What objects did the refugees who came to Greece after August 1922 bring with them?

Refugee women from Asia Minor arriving in Piraeus on a boat / Petros Poulidis Collection, ERT Photographic Archive

The Papagiovanoglou household items

At the outbreak of the Asia Minor conflict, Giorgos Papagiovanoglou found refuge in Constantinople, leaving his two sons behind, in Sungurlu, to reunite with the rest of the family later. After selling their entire wool stock, they arrived in Thessaloniki carrying a great amount of household effects and relying on their savings in English banks to rebuild their life. They resettled in a large Turkish house in Terpsithea Square in Ano Poli which they eventually bought.


The tapestry from Sungurlu

Odysseas Papaioannou, one of the twin grandsons of Giorgos Papagiovanoglou, grew up in Ano Poli in the house of Terpsithea Square. He grew up rich surrounded by great poverty and the resulting tension profoundly shaped his personality. He left the family home for a few years, but returned to it, restored it and preserved a number of the household items brought to Greece by his grandfather’s family. Among them, this tapestry with an oriental theme.


The carpet of the Papadopoulou family

The objects the refugees brought with them from their homelands remained in use for years. A carpet from Sourmena in Pontus was first used as intended and now, 100 years later, it has been turned into a decorative tapestry.


The samovar from Sourmena, Pontus

The objects the refugees brought with them from their homelands remained in use for years and later were often repurposed and given new life. The Papadopoulou family from Sourmena, Pontus, brought with them a samovar which they used as a ‘mouslouki’ (a tin water pitcher).