Lazarus Filipu

* 1927

  • “In those days I distributed anti-German posters with Stalin. I was in the organisation with my mother. By chance they caught three of us boys, not because of the posters, but for some reason. It’s interesting, I’m telling you about it but I can’t even believe it, they beat us, flogged us bloody, but - would you believe it - we didn’t feel any pain. It was incredible. They could inflame a man so, they beat us bloody, we felt such heat, but we held on.”

  • “Then we arrived in Mikulov in Moravia. There was a lovely old empty barracks there, that’s where they put us in quarantine. They said: ‘Okay, but you can’t live here.’ We had old people with us, everyone, it was terrible. They said: ‘The healthier people will go into various villages and districts.’ Those were villages which had been abandoned by Germans. ‘You’ll have a look at them and prepare them so that the old people can be moved there.’ ”

  • “Young boys, eighteen nineteen years old, they didn’t know how to shoot one bit. We gave them English rifles, all sorts, and sent them to fight. They lost their weapon, their wretched gun, and we killed them because of it. Can you imagine? I stood up against it repeatedly, that it’s wrong, on the contrary, someone should punish us. I can’t remember how many times they locked me up because of it, only to release me again later.”

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    Východní Čechy, 21.04.2013

    duration: 02:38:38
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Civil war - that’s the worst kind of fighting. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

Lazarus Filipu in the uniform of the partisan army DSE
Lazarus Filipu in the uniform of the partisan army DSE
photo: Archiv Lazaruse Filipu

Lazarus Filipu was born on 19 December 1927 in Florina, northern Greece, into a Slavic-Macedonian family. When Greece was occupied during World War 2, he distributed anti-German pamphlets, for which he was arrested, imprisoned and interrogated by the Gestapo. After his release he joined the Greek People’s Liberation Army (ELAS), a partisan military led by Greek communists. He served as a courier, carrying messages and orders from one partisan group to the other. When World War 2 ended, however, the country plunged into a civil war between the communists and the monarchists, who were supported by Great Britain and the United States of America. Lazarus fought for the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE), led by the communist party. He served as a scout and observer and reached the rank of captain. In 1949, when the civil war came to an end, he left through Yugoslavia and Hungary to Czechoslovakia. He settled down in northern Moravia, he worked as a weaver in Letohrad and Rychnov nad Kněžnou; he also graduated from an evening technical school. He married twice. He visited his homeland for the first time in the 1970s, but he never moved back out of consideration for his children.