Sofie Cakirpaloglu

* 1939  

  • "We got only one bowl of soup. Spinach or something like this. Soup for three. For my brother, for me and for my sister, we got a plate of soup and one slice of bread. One slice, they divided it in three pieces. And so we lived."

  • "It was terrible. Terrible. We starved. Misery. We had nothing to eat. We would go and gather corn and wheat, things like this, under the trains, so that we would have something to do. Poverty there was."

  • " They just gathered us. From all the families. I was not alone, they took children from the whole village. They led us on the donkeys. Sister was sat on a donkey and I was older, I walked. My brother walked, too. We held that donkey, it was carrying a sack. I held sister's feet and so we walked. Horses carried our caretakers. Who were taking us away."

  • "We were in a children's home. Some Hungarians did not have children on their own and they wanted to adopt us. It was terrible, I'm telling you. I was in Balatonalmádi in Hungary, there, they wanted to take me and my sister and raise us as theirs. I didn't want to. No way. I said: 'I have my parents, my own family. I don't want to.' I didn't leave my sister there either. This is how we could have stayed together. But then in Hungary, my brother was older, he was 14, so they sent him to an apprenticeship and I and sister ended up in the orphanage. He left to apprentice in some craft."

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    Olomouc, 12.02.2021

    (audio)
    duration: 38:01
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - STM REG ED
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Mom was a homemaker, dad was a resistance fighter

Sofie Cakirpaloglu. The portrait shows her in her early twenties.
Sofie Cakirpaloglu. The portrait shows her in her early twenties.
photo: Archiv pamětnice

Sofie Cakirpaloglu was born on the 16th of November in 1939 in the community of Thiriopetra in Northern Greece. Her father, Iordanis Cakirpaloglu, was a member of the Communist resistance and fought in the Greek civil war. Sofie and her two siblings, Tonda and Eliška, were taken away from the family one night in 1947, this way, the Greek communists tried to protect their children from the vicissitudes of war. Sofie spent a month in a refugee camp in Yugoslavia from where she, her siblings and other children from Thiriopetra were moved to a children’s home in Hungary. She spent seven years there without having any clue about the whereabouts of her Greek family. In 1954, the Red Cross managed to find her mother Eleni who had been living in Jindřichov in Czechoslovakia. After mother and daughter met, they realised that during the long separation, they got estranged. Eleni was remarried and she had two children with her Czech husband. Before she was eighteen, Sofie had to marry a Greek her family chose for her. They had three children together. Sofie only saw her father once when she travelled to Yugoslavia to see him.