Georgios Chamonikolas

* 1927

  • „I arrived to the partisans’ headquarters building, I made a few nervous moves and a man noticed me and asked me: ‘Boy, what are you doing, are you looking for something, what do you want here?’ I answered: ‘I want to join the resistance.’ He laughed it off: ‘You’re small, too young, you are not strong enough to hold a weapon.’ And I replied that elsewhere, for example in Russia, they go to war against the Germans when they’re fifteen, and I was almost seventeen. And he told me to go back to mommy and daddy. ‘In a year, you will grow a bit and we’ll take you.’ And I said: ‘I have no daddy, I have no mommy and I’m not going anywhere. If you don’t let me join now, I’ll stay anyway, you won’t get me out of there even with force.’ So, he went to report it upstairs to the commander and then he returned and announced: ‘Youre lucky, you can go to the kitchen and sort the lentils.’ And I retorted: ‘I didn’t come to sort the lentils, I want to fight the fascists, I want to be a partisan.”

  • „In the dark of the night, an airplane flew over and a paratrooper with a large crate jumped out. We dampened the fire we had lit to sign the landing spot. Then we went to check the contents of the crate. There was a sign on it which read Warning! Explosives! Danger of death! It contained dynamite. We went to rest until the morning first and the next day, we made balls of dough in which we inserted the explosive and the detonating cords. At eleven in the evening, a lorry arrived, we loaded it and the Englishmen who came with the lorry drove the load to the railway past Larisa where the trains to Athens, Volos and Thessaloniki. We had to walk. Then, we laid the explosives and set them off.“

  • "It was extremely cold in the mountains and my lower jaw froze. It was hard as a bone. My mouth was open all the time and one guy had to tie my mouth with a belt. I had no strength to walk. The boys told me that if I would just sit there, I would freeze to death. They called at me: 'Pull yourself up and march!' We descended the mountains to the Vrakha village, it was close to a thermal spa. The villagers moved their pigs and mules from the stables, cleaned it up and I could finally lie down. The women would bring us food, I couldn't eat but I could lick milk from a bowl."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Brno, 26.11.2021

    duration: 01:19:21
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

In the Greek mountains, we suffered from cold and hunger. We had to cut through buttonholes with a knife

Georgios Chamonikolas (right) in Greece with another resistance fighter during the civil war in Greece
Georgios Chamonikolas (right) in Greece with another resistance fighter during the civil war in Greece
photo: archiv Georgise Chamonikolase

Georgios Chamonikolas was born on the 15th of April in 1927 near Volos in central Greece. At the age of three years, his mother succumbed to a grave illness and he was raised by his father Apostolos and his grandmother. In 1941, he lost his father who was, along with tens of other men from the Miliés village, executed by the Germans. It was supposedly a revenge for resistance fighters having had killed two German officers. As a young man, he joined the Greek People’s Liberation Army (ELAS), the partisan army led by the Communist Party of Greece. They used dynamite to blow up the main railway line to Thessaloniki. After the WWII ended, civil war erupted in Greece, with monarchists supported by Great Britain and the United States, and the communists. Georgios, as a member of the Communist Party of Greece, joined the fights on the side of Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) which was led by the Greek Communists. During the severe frost in March 1947, he suffered severe frostbite on his face; at that time, tens of people died in the mountains, including partisans’ wives and children. He got a treatment in Albania and later in Budapest, Hungary, where he underwent a mandibular surgery. In hospital, he met his future wife, Popy Mamoulaki. After graduating from a military school in Poland, he got to Czechoslovakia in 1951. He married Popy and they settled in Brno. They have one son, Apostolos, and one daughter, Kaliopi. Their son moved to Greece in 1990, Kaliopi Chamonikola is an art historian and she lives in Brno. The family regularly visits the village of Miliés and the memorial to Georgios’ father and other executed men.