Witnesses of the 2nd world war WWII in Greece - Page 23

WAR MEMORIES What to remember, my little child from those dark days of war. I believe that war makes people mature more quickly. We were in my village in Kokkinoplo, at the end of summer in 1940s.We were getting ready to get back to Elassona when suddenly my father came shouting “We are leaving now, Italians are coming”. We packed our belongings in mules, and walked to Elassona. The next day I remember seeing the first Italian soldiers. From that day our life was to change. In 1941 the little bread left was given to us a bit at a time and we kept asking for more. But seeing the sadness on my parents’ face we stopped asking for more food. Our goods for dinner were…What should I remember? The bream soup, the batter, or the groat? Trahanas was a luxury. And all those, cooked with little or no oil. To swallow a groat, you should drink two glasses of water. They were bad days but fortunately none died from hunger. Italians went but their place was taken by the Germans. Those days my father was working in the fields. The men of the resistance movement had blown up the bridge of Pinious and they suffered a lot in retaliation for this action. As they were coming from Tsaritsani to Elassona, everyone who was in their way not able to hide in time, was taken to the garrison Commander’s office. My father with 15 others were some of them. When we were told the news, my mother and I rushed to the headquarters to see what was going to follow. After three days he was executed in the cemetery. This day suddenly from a little boy I turned into a man. We spent the days out of the garrison headquarters. I could hear the German soldiers talking and I was trying to understand their language. Without realizing I started to understand what they were saying and after a while I could speak german myself. I couldn’t start a conversation with them but at least I could understand what they were saying and they could understand what I was saying. Without noticing at the age of 12 I became their translator. I remember when the Italians left the country they left their belongings behind. The Italian garrison commander gathered all the citizens and distributed them. You could find canned food, jams, blankets and the most important of all medicines. The diseases that time, my child, gave a terrible pain and many of the medicines were sent to the mountains where children of the antirevolution were. One morning I was called to go to the garrison because there were 10 people for retaliation. As I said, I was the only one who could communicate with them. They tortured them very much to make them reveal who participated in the blowing of the phalange moving to Deskati. They said nothing, real heroes. The penalty was death. Among them there was a 16- year-old boy, Stefan from Drimos, and a priest. With tears in my eyes I begged the soldiers to let them free. “How can a 16-year-old child harm you, he doesn’t know anything” I said to them. After many entreaties and 100 pound given by his parents he got free. The next day was the day of the execution. I can’t say for sure if the route seemed like an eternity to them or just a few minutes, I will never know.