Nikolaos Dumalas

* 1942  

  • "Every now and then on a Saturday we'd go to the cinema, and I remember how we really enjoyed Russian films. It was always - the Germans and our boys, the Russians. We took it really seriously in those days. A nice film was, for instance, 'She Fought for her Nation'. The story was that a German came into an occupied village and killed the woman's child. And in the end she returned in a tank with the Russian army and killed the German. I liked that a lot at the time. And I also liked 'The Fall of Berlin'. That was such a nice film, it was from the Russians' viewpoint. And various other films, war films mostly. That's what we lived for. At the time we [children] thought that when we grew up, we'd go back to Greece to fight for freedom. And that was how we learned how things were done."

  • "Father had joined the partisans, and this one time he came to tell Mother that our enemies, Fascists he called them, were coming for us. That it would be good if she hid somewhere. So Mother decided she'd join the partisans as well. She told me later how we had gone with a whole group of people. She was leading me on a donkey with straps. I was hanging from the one side, and a basket from the other, as a counter-weight to stop me falling. We stayed with the partisans for about a month or two, then we crossed the borders. The last thing I remember from Greece is from when we were in a village somewhere near the borders. The only thing I remember is hiding in the trenches with planes bombing us."

  • "Our cousin used to visit us when we werein Těchonín in 1954 or '55. He was three years older and he was studying at the technical school in Česká Třebová. One time when he came to visit, he had these trousers, drainpipes they called them. It was all the rage at the time. Mother was angry at him for dancing the 'boogie-woogie'. She called it 'buti-buti' in Greek. She was mad at him for dancing an American dance like that. When we were living in Jeseník, later on, my brother came to visit us from Hranice, where he was studying, and he had jeans on. Father [presumably his step-father - transl.] was a Communist through and through, and so he took the trousers and an axe, and on a stump in the garden he hacked my brother's jeans to pieces. So we were brought up not to look Westward much. Russia was preferred."

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    Řecká ambasáda v Praze, 13.05.2010

    duration: 01:39:50
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“The heart lies in Greece, but the brain and the reason are here, in the Czech Republic.”

Leaving high school
Leaving high school
photo: Archiv pamětníka

Nikolaos Dumalas was born on the 6th of August 1942 in the village of Andro, in northwestern Greece. In 1947, he fled with his mother to Bulkes in Yugoslavia. A year later he was placed on a transport with other children, headed to Czechoslovakia. His father died during the civil war and his mother travelled after her son in 1949. Nikolaos Dumalas grew up in several children’s homes until he started attending an agricultural school in Kadaň in 1956. He went on to the Agricultural University in Prague, graduating in 1965. During his lifetime, he worked at JZD Štědrá (an agricultural co-op) and at the Prague State Estate. In 1969, he married a Czech and took up permanent residence in Prague. He currently works for the Greek Embassy. In the past twenty years, he has visited Greece several times. When he was younger, he did consider returning for good, but now that is out of the question. Only his brother repatriated. For Nikolaos Dumalas, his home is in Prague with his wife, his children and grandchildren. Despite this, he has never given up his Greek citizenship and is not considering doing so. As he puts it, he feels like a foreigner in Greece, but his heart remains there nonetheless.