Number 31328

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Number 31328 is a historical novel by Elias Venezis, subtitled the "book of slavery".


The story starts in Ayvali (Κυδωνίες), the home town of the author. It deals with the capture and enslavement of the author - 18 years old at this time - as well as other ethnic Greeks of Asia Minor, after the defeat of the Greek Army in 1922 during the Greco-Turkish war.

Those lucky enough not to be killed from the start are marched through the Turkish hinterland to various destinations where they are forced into slave labour.

The slaves are stripped of their clothes and shoes, having to walk bare-footed or tie rags to their feet. They are provided very little food and almost no water. Their women are repeatedly raped.

Many die from disease or are executed by the Turkish soldiers escorting them or by the local villagers.

They are given numbers, like prison inmates, hence the title "number 31328" - the author's number.

Eventually, the population exchange is agreed upon by Greece and Turkey and the prisoners are released.

The story ends as the author and a companion are sailing to the Greek islands. The author exclaims "the sun will come up".