THE STORY OF "THE STEAMER THAT CARRIED PEACE
In October 1940, following the attack of the Italian
Army, Greece found itself in the middle of WWII.
Greeks could resist the brutal forces of Mussolini, supported by the Germans, for six months only. On
April 27, 1941 Greece conceded defeat.The Nazis started their occupation of Greece by
confiscating all food supplies, where food supply was
short of meeting the demand even in times of peace.
Storehouses, diary farms and cottages were rapidly
plundered to supply the rations of the German army
advancing in Europe. This time spring in Greece was a
harbinger of misery and scarcity, not of happy summer
days.Within few months people started dying from hunger.
Left in want of a bite to eat, the Greek people were
in desperation. In the streets of Athens trucks were
carrying the dead to mass graves. These days of
horror would last long and in the course of the war
Greece would lose 570.000, or seven per cent of its
population, to hunger. There was scarcity in Turkey as well. The majority of
the agricultural work force was drafted when the war
broke and food supplies were reserved to feed the army
in case Turkey entered the war. Nevertheless, Turkish
peple were carefully following the news concerning the
hunger in the neighbouring country and were eager to
do something to help.Eventually Ismet Inonu, the Turkish President, signed
a decison to help the people whose army was thrown
out of the country 19 years ago. Turkey was to be the
first country to lend a helping hand to Greece; food
and medicine was to be collected and sent through a
nationwide campaign. Everybody who could would bring
whatever they could afford to collection centers and
packages of foodstuffs were sent to the port of
Istanbul. The humanitarian aid to the other side of
the Aegean Sea was to be sent from here.To carry the aid to Greece, the government hired a
2400-ton dry cargo vessel built in 1882 from Tavilzade
Co.. The ship bore the same name given to the recent
war with Greece: "Liberation"."Liberation" was prepared for her voyage with Red
Crescent amblems painted on all sides. She left the
Karakoy pier on October 6, 1941, loaded with 2000 tons
of food supplies and thousands wished her a safe
journey with tears in their eyes.
When the steamer entered the port of Piraeus it was
greeted with shouts of joy in Turkish and Greek.
Every package of food and medicine unloaded under the
hard-looking gaze of German soldiers was foretelling
the "Liberation" of the people from famine.
In the following months "Liberation" made 4 more
trips, bringing a total of 8000 tons of humanitarian
aid to the Greek people. Until that day...On the night of February 20, 1942, having sailed off
from Istanbul two days ago with 2000 of food supplies,
the steamer "Liberation" was cought in a violent storm
off the Marmara Island. The heavy snowstorm and high
waves were trashing the steamer about like a nut shell
and it was as if the old body of the ship was
screaming. The crew left the ship in tears when it
hit the rocks after four hours of inhuman effort.
When the first lights of the morning sun touched the
sea from behind the storm clouds "Liberation" sunk in
the cold waters of the Marmara Sea, along with the
hopes of thousands of Greeks awaiting her.The thirty four-member crew of the unfortunate steamer
sought refuge in the Marmara Island and so survived.
After hours of walking they reached the village of
Pulatya and were later brought to Istanbul.With the sinking of "Liberation" the humanitarian aid
to Greece suffered delay for about 6 months. However,
Turkey maintained her determination to help and so the
aid continued until 1946 using other ships: "Dumlup?nar", "Tunc", "Konya", "Guneysu" and "Aksu". Today, sixty two years after she sunk, the steamer "Liberation" lies somewhere off the Marmara Island.
WHAT WILL THE DOCUMENTARY "THE STEAMER THAT CARRIED
PEACE" BE TELLING
"The Steamer That Carried Peace" aims to contribute to
strengthening peaceful relations between Turkey and
Greece through the tragic story of the long-forgotten
In the documentary, interviews with historians,
survivors of the ship, witnesses, organizators of the
campaign and Greeks who benefitted from the aid from
Turkey will provide answers to the following
What was the situation in Greece and Turkey during the
Second World War?
How was the aid campaign to Greece organized?
What kind of a ship was "Liberation"
What did the crew of the ship witness?
Did Greeks who benefitted from the aid sent from
Turkey remember what they suffered?
How did "Liberation" sink?
What is the condition of the ship at the bottom of the
The documentary "The Steamer That Carried Peace" will be prepared using a series of interviews
conducted in Istanbul, Athens and the Marmara Island,
as well as footage taken on the sea and under water.
The ship, whose location was approximately known but
not pictured so far, will be shown for the first time
in the documentary The Steamer That Carried Peace".