Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Turkish Government Sanctioned Thrace Pogroms, Report Hints

July 24, 1934
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The pogroms and the reign of terror experienced by the Turkish Jews in Thrace were vividly described here today for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by a Turkish Jewish refugee who succeeded in escaping from Adrianople with his family.

For some weeks rumors had been current in Adrianople that attacks were being prepared against the Jews. The Jewish community paid no attention to the rumors, the refugee declared.

On July 2 a mob of Turkish nationalists descended on the Jewish quarter in Adrianople, attacking the inhabitants, pillaging, burning and murdering the helpless Jews of the district. The attack had evidently been well prepared for it took the Jews by surprise.


An indescribable panic reigned in the Jewish quarter, with the moans of the dying mingled with yells of the nationalist Turks as they looted the Jewish shops and homes. For days the district was in the hands of the pogrom bands, who combed the town looking for Jewish survivors.

The Jews fled from Adrianople as best they could. Those who had money were permitted to take trains to Istanbul, while the vast mass of poverty-stricken Jews were compelled to camp in the open fields and make their way towards Istanbul and the Greek frontier.

Similar scenes of murder and looting took place in every town in Thrace with Jewish communities. At Kirklisse the barbarism of the nationalist pogrom bands surpassed anything that took place elsewhere. Jewish women and young girls were violated by the pogromists. Young girls were forcibly separated from their parents. Indescribable scenes of horror were enacted. Within a few hours not a single Jew remained in Kirklisse.

The few Jews who remained in Adrianople hid where they could and lived in a state of continual terror. Food dealers of all kinds received orders from the nationalist pogrom bands not to sell food to the Jews under pain of severe reprisals. Bakers refused to sell bread to Jews. Some Jewish families were able to procure bread only by paying five Turkish pounds for a loaf.


Many days later orders arrived from Premier Ismet Pasha to halt the persecutions, but the frightened Jews continued to leave Thrace. The Turkish government sent troops into Thrace and halted the pogroms, but the panic-stricken Jews continued to leave, on foot and in carts, traveling secretly at night to avoid the pogrom bands.

A detailed account of the pogroms in Thrace was published by the Salonica newspaper, Action. The story, which was written by a special correspondent, ended with the following declaration: “It is generally believed that these attacks were carried out with the full knowledge of the Turkish government, otherwise how was it possible for Turkish soldiers from so many surrounding villages to arrive in Adrianople to participate in the pogroms?

“The order issued by the Turkish government at Angora to halt the attacks came when everything was over, and though the aggressions, the violations and the looting have ceased, fear is so deep in the hearts of the Jews who remain in Thrace that no one wishes to expose his life or the honor of his wife and daughters.”

Recommended from JTA