I was born in 1940. The year the Second World War was declared. And I remember it lasted for about five years. The war did. So I remember quite a few things from it like the Italian occupation. The Italians were in Greece for about four years before the Germans came. The Germans came and chased them out and any Italians they found, they killed them. So sometimes the Greeks were hiding them because they had made friends with them. The local soldiers that are there, you would see them every day. Like when my mom was holding my hand one time, I remember that. We were walking somewhere and one of the Italian guys said, “Oh I have a little child like this back home.” In the every day life of the village they were not killing women and children. If you were fighting against them and had a gun, they would kill you. If you didn’t, they didn’t bother you. If you did something that was against them, sometimes they would go and kill all the males from a whole village. This kind of a thing. But as an ordinary civilian and children, they didn’t bother you.

1942 Poster Published by the U.S. Government

My parents made sure I did not have much fear even though they did. Going back now looking at it, sometimes at night we would have to put curtains on the windows so the light wouldn’t show because the Italians would come and bomb the place. I remember how they bombed and destroyed almost everything- like any kind of industry and electrical plants. Sometimes, during the day they would take us and go out in the country and just stay by the bushes because they would come and bomb, but they would not bother the small villages. They were bombing the bigger cities where there were offices and industry and whatever they had in those years. In the bigger cities they bombed everything. They destroyed. They leveled everything. But even then, I wasn’t that scared, I was little.

I remember how the people suffered during the war. At the time, our food was very very limited because the Italians took almost all the food we had. They took the olive oil and they took flour and any dry crops you may have, so the people started hiding those things. They would open holes in the ground and put in big containers and hide their food.

As a child, I did not notice any hunger because we had some chickens. We had eggs, and I think we had one goat, so we had milk and cheese. My parents tried to feed us the best of food. Meat was very scarce unless you had chickens and stuff, hardly anything in the market. But we had a lot of legumes and whole wheat bread. I hate whole wheat bread. I like white bread because of it.

Greek Civil War