Greece The Refugee Crisis
Source: The Library of Congress Country Studies
Even before 1923, a torrent of refugees was making its way to Greece. After the ethnic exchange, Greece's poor fiscal situation was strained past its limits by the refugees' need for food and shelter. Tent cities sprang up around Athens and Thessaloniki. Most refugees had fled with only the few items that they could carry; many had nothing at all. A disproportionate number of them were women, children, and elderly men because the Turks had detained young Greek men in labor camps. Massive foreign aid organized by the League of Nations was a major contribution toward alleviating the most immediate needs of the refugees. Eventually, refugee neighborhoods developed around Athens and its port city of Piraeus. Many of these enclaves still retain a distinctive identity today. Other refugees were settled in areas of Macedonia and Crete from which Muslims had departed. The hellenization of these regions included the introduction by new Greek settlers of tobacco farming, which became an important factor in Macedonia's agricultural economy. Many of the newcomers who settled in the cities were professionals or entrepreneurs, who helped to invigorate the industrial sector of Greece. The manufacture of cigarettes, cigars, carpets, and textiles grew dramatically, primarily because of the Asia Minor Greeks. Nevertheless, for many years the general economic condition of the refugee population was grim, and many suffered from discrimination and cultural isolation after leaving Asia Minor.
Data as of December 1994
NOTE: The information regarding Greece on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Greece The Refugee Crisis information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Greece The Refugee Crisis should be addressed to the Library of Congress.