What could it have been like growing up in Nazi-occupied Greece?
East Molesey resident and author, Evangelos 'Van' Louizos, knows first hand and has written about it in his autobiographical book, “My Father had this Luger… A true story of Hitler’s Greece”.
It's a chronicle of his childhood in Greece during the Second World War and is the first book of a multimedia project, “The Sword of Zeus”, which Van will be speaking about when he visits Molesey Library at 7.30pm on Tuesday 22nd November, as our final guest author of 2016. Tickets are on sale at the Library now.
Nicholas J Slabbert, previously editor of Readers’ Digest and the producer of the project states. “The book provides a useful window on what Greece endured during WWII. It is not a textbook or a heavy-handed treatise on history or economics. It’s simply a true and vivid account of what the war and Germany’s occupation inflicted on Greeks. It is a human document and it provides the human background without which it’s not really possible to grasp the real nature of the relationship between Greece and Germany today.
The book achieves this without demonizing anyone, least of all Germans, who, as a people, are presented with a compassion and respect that some people may find surprising in a book presenting the Greek side of the story. But that is one of the points of the book as well as of the current European situation: namely, the fact that unless you pay people the respect to which they’re entitled, you won’t get far in solving the problems in which they’re involved.”
MY FATHER HAD THIS LUGER…”conveys the drama of the events through which Mr Louizos lived, in those years when the Italians invaded Greece, and then the Germans, and finally the British forces intervened in ways the Greeks hadn’t really expected.
It is a poignant story as well an exciting one, and as we worked on it, it was difficult, even as an editor, not to be swept up by the characters and what became of them. It is hard to read this and not be unmoved.”
Mr. Louizos was born in Kallithea, in the Greater Athens area, in 1933. After graduating from high school he joined the Greek merchant navy. He later obtained American citizenship and worked his way through university in the United States and Mexico becoming a teacher in California. In 1979 he relocated his family to Surrey, where he founded and headed the Department of English as a Second Language at the American Community School in Cobham. He taught there for 18 years until his retirement in 1997.
Mr Louizos has lived in East Molesey for the last 35 years and has delivered talks about his book both Greece and the UK. He will be preparing some historical material for distribution before the talk.