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George Agathonikiadis (1947) - Biography

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We closed the door and we were in Greece. When the door opened, we were in Czechoslovakia.

George Agathonikiadis was born on the 10th of August 1947 in the village of Megali Sterna in the Greek part of Macedonia. At the same time, his father was fighting on the side of the partisan army, the DSE (Democratic Army of Greece). He was named George after his uncle who had died fighting alongside the partisans. In 1948 his mother, older sister and grandparents had to flee in secret to the "Greek" Buljkes in Yugoslavian Vojvodina. A few months later however, his mother was also called upon to fight in the DSE. In September 1949, George, his grandparents and his sister arrived in Czechoslovakia. George spent several years in a children's home in Veselíčko. He later left the home to live with his grandparents in Brno - his parents lived in the Uzbekistani capital of Tashkent. He first met with his parents and his second sister in 1965. After completing nine years of primary school, he trained as a lathe worker. Having extraordinary musical talent, he founded a Greek orchestra in Brno and came in contact with important personalities of the city's spiritual and theatrical sphere (Skácel, Mikulášek, Donutil, Polívka). He returned to studying at secondary school at the age of 21 (design and costume art, Brno), and between 1973 and 1977 he studied directing at FAMU (Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague). He started working in the Brno studio of the Czechoslovak Television. He returned to Greece with his family in 1983, where he became Director of Drama Productions for the Greek television ET-1. In 1991 he directed the feature film Podzimní návrat (Autumn Return), a co-production of Czech and Greek Television, and in 2009 the film Hořký sníh (Bitter Snow). He is the author of several other documentary films about the lives of Greek emigrants in Czechoslovakia and about the relationship between Greece and the Czech Republic.

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