We often thought about coming back. Sometimes we even cried.
Ilias Cumaropulos was born on 8 September, 1933 in a small village of Velos, fifteen kilometres in Soutthern direction from the regional city of Kastoria in the Northern Greece. His father fell in the Greek civil war fighting for the guerrilla of the Democratic army of Greece (DSE). In 1948 Ilias, who was fifteen years old and his seven years old brother Tomas, were taken by the guerrilla across the borders to Albania. Later both the brothers got to Czechoslovakia. The witness volunteered to join an army training at the age of sixteen, which he undergone in the barracks of Petržalka. Then he was meant to go fighting to Greece for DSE. Finally the original plan changed and all the children were sent to study crafts. Ilias Cumaropulos was trained by a mechanical locksmith. He first lived in Krnov and from 1967 he lived in Jeseník, where he also assisted at the founding of the local Greek community and for more than ten years he was its chairman. His mother with his three-year-old brother Lazaros and little sister Irini, who was only three-month old, did not flee from Greece in 1948. The witness met his mother almost twenty years later, when she came to visit Czechoslovakia. He met his siblings only in 1975. Greece was dominated by a strongly right-wing military junta that did not allow fugitive fellow citizens to return. When after the rule ceased, he finally could visit his birthplace after twenty-seven years and visited his loved ones.