Wednesday, September 20, 2006

WWII life-saving ship star of documentary:

WWII life-saving ship star of documentary:

ANK - Turkish Daily News

Filmmaker and author Erhan Cerrahoğlu has been working on a documentary about a ship that carried humanitarian supplies from Turkey to Greece during World War II.

The ship, Kurtuluş, sunk on its fifth trip to Greece, on Feb. 20, 1942, due to a storm.

The documentary notes that Turkey was the only country that helped Greece during the period known as the “Great Hunger,” when estimates say 70,000 people died, and iincludes interviews with Greek academics and citizens who lived through the period.

Cerrahoğlu said he was impressed about what they told him about the ship: “They were talking about a Turkish ship that sunk while taking much-needed supplies to Greece. As I was preparing it, I was shocked. Why didn't anyone know about this?”

He said as he investigated the story, he realized most of the relevant archives were destroyed and that not a single record of what happened existed even in the records of the Turkish Red Crescent, which supplied the aid.

During his trip to Athens, Cerrahoğlu realized that all those who lived through World War II remembered the Kurtuluş. “Everyone I talked to ended their interview by saying how nonsensical the tension between Turkey and Greece is. Unfortunately, not a single Turkish witness survives.”

Speaking for the documentary, Greek historian Georgeos Margaritis said: “Kurtuluş, until February 1942, was the symbol of hope for Greeks. After it sank, more ships came, but all of them were known as Kurtuluş to us. People used to say, ‘We are hungry, but Kurtuluş will come tomorrow'.”

The documentary is sponsored by Greece's Olympic Airways.

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