Ioannis Nitsios

* 1929  

  • "The wounded. Our wounded. As soon as the soldiers found them, they shot them. Straight away. When we got hold of wounded soldiers, we put them in Albania, in a hospital. Such were the times. When we caught ordinary soldiers, they stayed in Albania. And in the '52, they returned to Greece."

  • "We bathed there. Cleaned everything. We were still lice-ridden from the war. They gave us food. The soldiers waited on us. Greeks. They spoke normal Greek. And we watched also, some three hundred of us, we watched a film. They showed the civil war, the one that was in Russia, with Chapayev [a legendary Red Army commander during the Russian Civil War - ed.], that one. And in the afternoon we boarded a freight train."

  • (Q: "The main fighting was up north?") "It was all over Greece. But the main thing was for us to have open borders, so we could take the wounded to Albania or Bulgaria. To have those borders open. Some said: 'We shouldn't have opened the borders.' But where would the wounded go? Or the children, the old people? Because we were fighting to keep the borders open. And people were fighting down below as well. Close to Athens. There was an army. In the whole of Greece, on the Peloponnese, on Crete, on the islands - fighting everywhere."

  • (Q: "How was it actually, living in Uzbekistan those eight years?") "Good, good. We worked in a factory, and always in autumn, Uzbekistan mostly grew melons, kind of bigger ones, vegetables and cotton. So they sent us out on to the fields for a month to gather cotton. What we earned there, we got paid for the work, and the factory paid the month as well, so we got double wages."

  • "Seventy kilometres it was, for the soldiers to reach the borders. Nearly three months. We had bunkers. Twenty thousand soldiers died there. Our men died mostly from artillery fire and air strikes."

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    Krnov, 26.11.2009

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    duration: 02:02:34
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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It was a catastrophe, the civil war

Ioanis Nitsios in Tashkent  1949
Ioanis Nitsios in Tashkent 1949
photo: archiv pamětníka

Ioannis Nitsios was born on the 27th of January 1929 in the village of Langadia, in the poverty-ridden region of Macedonia in northern Greece. He went to school for only two years, before the local teacher was arrested and the school closed. During the Greek Civil War waged from 1946 to 1949, he took to the hills and joined the leftist Democratic Army of Greece. He took part in many bloody battles, living in the mountains for two years. When the ceasefire came, he left for the USSR with other partisans and travelled to Tashkent, as per the invitation of the Soviet government. He spent a very pleasant eight years there. His family was scattered all over Europe - his brother lived in Kiev, part of his family remained in Greece, his father with his second brother and his sister were in Czechoslovakia - in 1958 he joined them in Staré Purkartice by Krnov. He had always wanted to return to Greece, but his situation did not allow it. He now lives in Krnov.