Irini Bulgurisová

* 1943  

  • “The pressure they put on our family in order to catch our father was growing more and more. They arrested my mother while she was still pregnant. They actually took all the people from the village, put them in chains, and took them to a prison in Kastoria. They took me at a very young age, my mother with her belly, and my grandfather because he was a sort of a main actor in the village. As the most successful farm owner, a well-read person who read a lot during his stay in America. He read Marx, Lenin, so he longed for freedom. And that’s why he’d been kind of putting the nation together in the village, which is why our village was burnt down house by house and the people murdered, locked up, and tortured.”

  • “It was very cold. We walked along this kind of an animal trail. Steep slope below us, stone hills above us. I remember that we walked one behind the other. Our grandfather made us take turns on the donkey. My cousins were walking with us too. We still have a good relationship with one of them in Kopřivná. At one point the donkey misplaced his foot, slipped, and fell down the slope to his death. He fell down with all our clothing and we were left with nothing and we got to Albania only with the things we were wearing.”

  • “My mother ran home because my grandmother and I were inside the house. The field was definitely not far away because she would not leave us alone for too long. When she got home the burning house was surrounded by the monarchist fascists. My mother insisted on pulling us out of the house but they forbade it. They expected my father to be inside and to catch him as soon as he got out of the house. My mother told them that they can shoot her if they want but that she would go inside to get her child. Fortunately there was an Italian who told them to let my mum go. So my mother dragged me and my grandmother out and the house burnt down. And so we ended up without any shelter.”

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    Javorník, 05.04.2017

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    duration: 02:02:39
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Despite being threatened with being shot dead, her mother pulled her out of a house on fire

Irini Tcapas (Bulgurisová) -1958
Irini Tcapas (Bulgurisová) -1958
photo: archiv pamětnice

Irini Bulgurisová, née Tcapas, was born on the 10th of February 1943 in the town of Maniaki (Kolorica in Macedonian) located near the lake Kastoria in northern Greece. Her family was one of the Slavic Macedonian ethnic groups living in Greece who spoke various Macedonian dialects among themselves. During the civil war in Greece her father fought for the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE). In 1945 their family home was set on fire by men from an armed militant right-wing group. They were looking for Irini’s father who was hiding in the mountains at the time. The flames trapped the disabled grandmother and just two years old Irini. Despite threats of being shot to death, Irini’s heavily pregnant mother dragged them out of the house. Around the end of autumn 1948 the mother along with five year old Irini, her two year old daughter Vasiliki, and the grandfather escaped across the border to Albania. The family then separated. Five year old Irini spent several months in an orphanage in the Albanian town of Elbasan and then five years in an orphanage in Fehérvárcsurgó in Hungary. After spending several years away from her family, little Irini almost forgot her parents and the orphanage became her world. Only eight years after the war the whole family finally reunited in Vrbna pod Pradědem. Irini married before reaching the age of 18 to Fotis Bulguris who was from a town called Chiliodendro (Želin in Macedonian) and whose dramatic escape from Greece is also recorded in the Memory of Nations archive. The couple later lived together in the town of Javorník, located on the north-eastern side of Rychlebské mountains, and still lived there as of 2017.