Antonis Arabadzis

* 1936

  • “Or a plane flew over and they started dropping things. And you didn’t know if it was a bomb, or what. Those might have been parcels, boxes, and they could’ve contained only left shoes. UNRRA, as they said at the time, only left shoes, and a hundred kilometres away they dropped the right ones. That’s supposed to be the help from the Americans and the English? Fat lot of good that help did, it was really awful. And such nonsense here and there - some chewing gums or biscuits and stuff like that. But that was the UNRRA. Pretty much nobody was helping us then, we didn’t have any weapons, we didn’t have anything and we were hungry.”

  • “Otherwise, I’m a Russophile. That is, where hockey is concerned I’ve always been a Russophile.” (Wife: “Yes! Sure he is.”) “When there’s a hockey match between Czechs and Russians, I cheer for the Russians.” (Wife: “Yeah, but then he tells me: But I’m glad the Czechs won.”) “No, I was glad the Czechs won it this time, because the Russians made me angry. They keep winning and winning, and in the end they lose their breath. And if you’d ask me why I was glad that the Czechs won... because those twenty-five best hockey players didn’t go, but the young boys went, and it looked like they’d drop way out, and in the end they win the championship. I respect that!”

  • “They wanted to cut my leg off, I didn’t. I didn’t even know Czech, didn’t speak it, right. And there was a Greek lying opposite me in a body cast. He had the cast all the way down, just his arms were free. He had something with his spine, but he’d been here, in Czechoslovakia, for some time. I know his name was Spyros. And he told me they wanted to cut my leg off and that someone has to sign it. I didn’t have any parents, my mother died when I was six, and my father died in 1949.”

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    Praha, 21.06.2010

    duration: 01:26:43
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When everyone was sleeping, I secretly put on my prosthetic and started to learn to walk.

Arabadzis Antonis
Arabadzis Antonis

Antonis Arabadzis was born in 1936 in northern Greece. He was wounded by a bomb shell in Buljkes, Yugoslavia, during the civil war (1944-1949). He was eleven years at the time. He arrived in the Czechoslovak Republic in January 1950 with an injured leg and blood poisoning. His leg was amputated soon after. He had arrived alone, with no family, as he had lost his father a year earlier and his mother had died during World War II. He spent his childhood in a children’s home in Šilhéřovice. He had three brothers and a sister. He learned Czech very quickly. During the Fifties he trained to become a bandager. In the years 1963 to 2006 he worked as a projectionist in Cinema Ponrepo. He married in the Czech Republic and started a family there. He does not want to move back to Greece, but he visits often.