Asa Jennings

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Asa Jenings
Asa Kent Jennings

c. 1877
c. 1933
Known forCommanding the evacuation of 350,000 refugees during the Great Fire of Smyrna
AwardsOrder of the Redeemer Ribbon bar.svg Order of the Redeemer
Greek Medal of Military merit ribbon.png Medal of Military Merit

Asa Kent Jennings (1877–1933) was a Methodist pastor from upstate New York and a member of the YMCA.[1] In 1904, while in his twenties, Jennings was struck down by Pott's disease, a type of tuberculosis which affects the spine. As a result of his tuberculosis, he stood not much taller than 5 foot and with a noticeable hunch back.[2] In 1922, he commanded the evacuation of 350,000 helpless refugees from the shores of Smyrna (today İzmir) in Turkey following the Great Fire of Smyrna.[3][4] For his work, Greece awarded Jennings its highest civilian honour, the Order of the Redeemer, and the highest war honour, the medal of Military Merit.[5]

In 1945, MGM Studios made a 10-minute short film based on the life of Asa Jennings.[6]

In 2022, a documentary featuring Asa K. Jennings and his heroic efforts was produced by Mike Damergis. Smyrna - Paradise is Burning, The Asa K. Jennings story, was awarded Best Historical Film by Cannes World Film Festival (May).


  1. ^ "Stitzer YMCA Center at Springfield College". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  2. ^ Lou Ureneck, The Great Fire: One man's mission to rescue victims of the 20th century's first genocide. Ecco, 2015. p18
  3. ^ "How Jennings rescued the Christians of Smyrna". Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Jennings - One Man Changed Greece and Turkey Forever". Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  5. ^ Doubly honored by Greece The New York Times, December 28, 1922.
  6. ^ "Strange Destiny (1945)". IMDb. Retrieved 27 March 2015.

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