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To you, who laid out your loving hand
Sunday, 31 March 2019

The woodwork “Mother with child” is by the engraver Tassos Alevizos and was used as a poster with her kind permission

Society of Visual Arts A. TASSOS

“To you, who laid out your loving hand to embrace my little stranger”

Kalamaria honored the villages of Macedonia that rescued her children in the German Occupation, in a moving event, on Sunday, March 31st at 6.00 pm. at Melina Merkouri Municipal Theatre (Transformation and Argyroupolis corner).

During the German occupation, the difficult winter of 1941-42 raised the issue of survival in Thessaloniki, Kalamaria, Athens, more for young orphans and children of needy families. In Kalamaria and Thessaloniki, the Greek Red Cross, in collaboration with the Pontian association “Black Sea Club” and personalities dealing with public issues (e.g. in Kalamaria, Michalis Metalides and Sofia Aslanidou), sent about 1000 children to villages in Central and Western Macedonia. Since March 1942, the shipments of children by bus, trucks and trains began, accompanied by the chief volunteer of the Red Cross, Eliza Kydonakis and other volunteers. The children were of refugee origin, from 5 to 15 years old.
In several villages, the inhabitants did not hesitate for a moment to respond to the call for the salvation of the children. Boys and girls were accommodated, fed and raised, for a year or more, mainly by refugee rural families. Thanks to the self-pity and solidarity of these people, hundreds of children were saved from the hunger and disease brought about by the harsh German occupation.

The Municipality of Kalamaria, the Historical Archive of Refugee Hellenism and the Pontian Studies Headquarters of AUTh organized this honorary event during which the villages and families that hosted them, as well as the bodies and pioneers of this action, were honored as an expression of gratitude for the solidarity and salvation of the children.

The event was the first publication of the findings of a research project of the Historical Archive of Refugee Hellenism and the Seat of Pontian Studies, after visits to the villages and a collection of archival documents and oral testimonies from the elderly inhabitants of the villages and from people who had the experience of this hosting as children at that time.

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