Author - Growing Up Under The Nazi Boot"
Jul 22, 2022
George Kakridas
Author - Growing Up Under The Nazi Boot"

A Word from George Kakridas - Author of "Growing Up Under The Nazi Boot" 

I was born and raised in a small village named Vresthena, near Sparta, Greece, in a poor family with four siblings.

During the first five years of my childhood, I lived like every child in the village. I played soccer barefooted on our neighborhood's narrow dirt roads with my friends. Kicking a ball made from old rags, we called “topi”. It didn't bounce and didn’t roll too far before it got unraveled, and we had to stop playing to put it back together again.

My innocent young life suddenly ended one bright sunny morning in 1941, when I was played soccer in the “platia” square with my friends. It was a glorious warm morning. The birds were chirping and celebrating another beautiful spring day over our heads on the huge maple tree, when suddenly a loud rumble of heavy trucks full of armed soldiers rolled into our village square.

It was as though someone had turned off the sunlight, stopped the birds from chirping, and our world sank into the darkness like it was midnight. It transformed our free and innocent lives into life like in a prison camp full of despair, hopelessness, and hunger. Our precious lives were meaningless to the cruel and brutal Germans.

 

I watched the Germans executing innocent men, women, and children to avenge their soldiers' deaths by the guerrillas. The brutality and atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis on the Greek population went on for four long years, and we all had to learn how to stay alive while watching our friends, neighbors, and villagers murdered by the ruthless occupiers.

After their defeat and withdrawal from our village and country, we celebrated our freedom again, but it was short-lived when another war began, the Greek Civil War. This bloody civil war continued for five more years until they too were defeated by the Greek soldiers with the help of the Americans. Once again, we were alive but our hearts and souls were forever marred.

I was fortunate to survive through what I would describe as living in a death camp full of fear and hopelessness, until I immigrated to America and lived the American dream.