Die Flucht (Ende des 5. Kapitels)

Ich wollte allen LeserInnen Ante Cilgas Buch in den letzten Wochen die Gelegenheit geben, dass bisher auf deutsch unveröffentlichte Kapitel direkt als ersten Beitrag zu finden. Ferner möchte ich darauf hinweisen, dass in der Weltrevolution 163 ein ausführlicher Artikel erschienen ist (mehr). Nach dieser längeren Pause, werde ich nun weiterschreiten mit der Veröffentlichung von Agis Stinas Biografie.

Endlich die Flucht, während viele Genossen erschossen wurden. Mit diesem Absatz endet der letzte Abschnitt des 5. Kapitels.

In mid-October, after two and a half months of staying in Konistres, I decide to escape. I made it known to my friends and to the bishop. He suggested that I travel to the Middle East and hide myself in a secure place and wait. I refused, but without revealing my disagreements with the patriots. He gave me sufficient beans that I could set out with a full stomach. Apart from that, after having stabbed my leg with a needle so that you could believe it was a dog bite, this generous priest signed and sealed a letter in which it was written: “I have been bitten by a rabid dog and I must immediately be presented at the anti-rabies centre”. “You will show this document in case of a raid” he told me “I have predated it so as to make the danger more pressing and therefore the treatment more urgent”. He hugged me and wished me bon voyage and good luck. It wasn’t necessary to show the paper. But I was profoundly moved by the ingenuity and audaciousness of this bishop.

I sent a note to Voursoukis, Makris and Krokkos telling them in advance of my decision, according to the agreed manner and calling on them to do the same. Voursoukis escaped the same day as me. Makris and Krokkos, I don’t know why, didn’t escape. Two days afterwards they were transferred, like all those who didn’t escape, to Larissa, and were later executed: Makris at Kournovo on 22 June 1943 and Krokkos on 1 May 1944 at Kaisariani. Soulas, Xypolytos and Mitsis, members of the Unified ICO, didn’t escape either. They met the same fate. Xypolytos was executed at Kournovo, and Mitsis and Soulas at Kaisariani.

It has been said enough times that comrades in Athens provided us with money and false papers. This is a lie as far as we are concerned. Not only did we not receive them, but those who did receive them did not even feel obliged to inform us that a collective escape was prepared. It is entirely by chance that our own escape happened at the same time.

I took to the road later, after midnight. After two and a half days walking with bare feet I arrived in Thiva. The whole time I only fed myself with a half eaten quince and the skin of a watermelon. I scanned the already picked vines in the hope of finding just one bunch of grapes. But in vain. Who knows how many had already been there before me. The journey from Halkida to Thiva was more tiring than that from Konistres to Halkida. A little after Halkida, the Thiva road is straight and interminable, for kilometres and kilometres, without a single tree by the side or even a telegraph pole for shade to rest under. I suffered terribly from the sun and from thirst, my tongue stuck and my breathing short. This agony lasted for hours. It is a miracle that I didn’t collapse from sunstroke on the way.

I had not foreseen this danger when I left, otherwise I would have taken a bottle of water and something to protect my head from the sun. From Konistres to Halkida, the road had been pleasant and I had always been able to rest in the shade, in that tropical vegetation in the south and centre of Evia. Water was always abundant. But there was nothing to eat. The only thing that I feared when I set out was crossing the Halkida bridge. I knew that the carabinieri carried out checks very strictly, and I supposed that this would be reinforced even more, in one way or another, when the exiles’ collective escape had become known. On the dawn of the third day of my escape, arriving in view of the carabinieri post, I prepared the paper which the bishop had given me. But no one stopped me or asked for anything. I greeted them and they greeted me. “Bongiorno Siniori, bongiorno Siniore”, and I passed.

At the road blocks, the Italians, like the Germans, only checked the buses and lorries and those on board. They didn’t pay any attention to pedestrians, particularly pedestrians like me who had bear feet and were dressed only in ragged trousers. At Thiva, I drank my fill of water and never has any drink seemed to me to be so sweet and delicious. Midday was long gone when I climbed into an old lorry which was going to Athens. Arriving at Dafni, where there was a German check point, I got off and set out on foot for Piraeus. I hoped to go to the house of the barber I had known in Konistres. We had talked about my escape and he had given me the address of his house. He had left Konistres a few days before and was in Piraeus.

It began to get dark. The road seemed interminable to me. I walked for hours, without knowing how to get my bearings, with the impression of being completely lost, in the total darkness imposed by the black-out, at an hour when it was strictly forbidden by the occupation authorities to be out of doors. I groped my way from wall to wall, avoiding even the back roads for fear of falling upon a German or a police patrol. I stopped at each instant and put my ear to the ground to listen for possible foot steps, remembering that they had told me to do that in the army. It must have been well past midnight when, without having met a living soul, I finally arrived in Kastella, at the address that I had been given by my friend from Konistres.

Even today I still can’t explain how I managed, in that darkness, to go from Dafni to Kastella. I had never made that journey before. I advanced like a sleep-walker, without trying to orient myself consciously. Did instinct guide me? There are such aspects of ourselves that we can’t explain. I knocked. A man appeared at the window, I told him who I was looking for and, to my misfortune, he told me that the barber had moved house a few days before. I thought for a moment to tell him who I was and ask him for asylum for one evening. But I was too late. Terrorised, he had already shut the window.

In despair I headed towards Faliro. On the way I saw a rather large isolated house, surrounded by a low wall. I climbed over it and jumped inside. An enormous dog ran to me, but without even opening its mouth. I stroked it and a little later my eyes closed with the dog in my arms. I woke up early in the morning and set out on foot for Athens. The only address which I remembered after so many years was that of a comrade who kept a cake shop in Kypseli. I found her and she led me to another friend’s house where, for the first time in months, I ate a well cooked meal in someone’s home. There they gave me socks, shoes and a jacket and they told me where I could find Tamtakos and the other comrades, and I went to find them.

Then began a life and an action which belonged to history and which will remain immortal, despite all those who try to cover them up or discredit them.