THE EMIGRATION OF GREEKS FROM EGYPT DURING THE EARLY POST-WAR YEARS
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THE EMIGRATION OF GREEKS FROM EGYPT
DURING THE EARLY POST-WAR YEARS
by Angelos Ntalachanis
Excerpt from article:
The historiography of the Greek exodus from Egypt refers to the post-war emigration with a single term: “outflow.” Considered to presage the mass exodus that took place at the beginning of the 1960s, the phenomenon has never been analyzed in detail. By the 1930s an important number of Greeks had left Egypt for Greece. One of the reasons for this early departure was unemployment, which resulted from economic and social changes in Egypt that occurred after independence, in 1922, and the abolition of the Capitulations, in 1937. The situation in Greece in the interwar period was favorable to “repatriation”. In this period, however the main concern of the Greek diplomatic authorities in Egypt was to promote self-control in order to prevent the mass “repatriation” of Greeks from Egypt.
The ensuing World War II blocked the “outflow” as Egypt became the main front in the Middle East. As a result of the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936, the country was placed under the British military and political control. The presence of significant numbers of allied forces boosted Egyptian economic development, from which not only the Egyptian population but also the foreign citizens and the Greek community in particular profited. New employment opportunities arose, especially in Alexandria, in the area of military services, in the production of supplies for the Allies, and in the bar and restaurants sector. The latter situation was mainly exploited by Greeks and the majority of the employees in these services were of the same origin.