September 20, 1922: It was on this day in 1922 that a single person — an American named Asa Jennings — set in motion a series of astonishing events that would lead to one of the most dramatic rescues in all of history.
He boarded an Italian freighter named the Constantinopli which had once carried immigrants from Italy to the United States but now was employed in the Mediterranean cargo and passenger trade.
Jennings, a Methodist minister who was doing missionary work in Smyrna, bribed the ship’s captain to remove 2,000 refugees from the city — and he traveled with them in the middle of the night to Lesvos, thus starting one of the largest humanitarian evacuations in history.
The complete story of Asa Jennings and how he single-handedly saved thousands of Greek refugees is told masterfully in Lou Ureneck’s book The Great Fire. Get the book here.