The chilling tale of a massive rescue mission to save hundreds of thousands of people from impending genocide on the docks in Smyrna in 1922 is now available in a stunning new audio version, told by actor David de Vries.
Lou Ureneck’s well-known book “Smyrna, September 1922: The American Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Century’s First Genocide” has been released in audio format.
The year was 1922: World War I had just come to a close, the Ottoman Empire was in decline, and Asa Jennings, a YMCA worker from upstate New York, had just arrived in the quiet coastal city of Smyrna to teach sports to boys. Several hundred miles to the east in Turkey’s interior, tensions between Greeks and Turks had boiled over into deadly violence.
Mustapha Kemal, now known as Ataturk, and his Muslim army soon advanced into Smyrna, a Christian city, where a half a million terrified Greek and Armenian refugees had fled in a desperate attempt to escape his troops. Turkish soldiers proceeded to burn the city and rape and kill countless Christian refugees.
Unwilling to leave with the other American civilians and determined to get Armenians and Greeks out of the doomed city, Jennings worked tirelessly to feed and transport the thousands of people gathered at the city’s quay.
With the help of the brilliant naval officer and Kentucky gentleman Halsey Powell, and a handful of others, Jennings commandeered a fleet of unoccupied Greek ships and was able to evacuate a quarter million innocent people — an amazing humanitarian act that has been lost to history, until now. Before the horrible events in Turkey were complete, Jennings had helped rescue a million people.
About the narrator
David de Vries can be seen in a number of feature films, including “The Founder,” “The Accountant,” Captain “America: Civil War” and “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.” On television, his credits include “House of Cards,” “Nashville,” “Halt and Catch Fire,” the National Geographic film “Killing Reagan” and “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” for HBO. As a veteran stage actor, David appeared as Lumiere in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” on Broadway, as Dr. Dillamond in the Los Angeles and Chicago companies of “Wicked” and in hundreds of shows in regional theaters throughout the country. He is an Audie and Odyssey Award–winning narrator for his performance in Pam Munõz Ryan’s “Echo” and has voiced more than 100 titles in every genre, including his Audie Award–nominated performance of the 2011 Caldecott winner “A Sick Day for Amos McGee.”
Click below to hear a sample and purchase the audio version of “Smyrna: September 1922”
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