Children of the Greek Civil WarRefugees and the Politics of Memory

Children of the Greek Civil WarRefugees and the Politics of Memory

Loring M. Danforth and Riki Van Boeschoten

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226135984

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


At the height of the Greek Civil War in 1948, thirty-eight thousand children were evacuated from their homes in the mountains of northern Greece. The Greek Communist Party relocated half of them to orphanages in Eastern Europe, while their adversaries in the national government placed the rest in children’s homes elsewhere in Greece. A point of contention during the Cold War, this controversial episode continues to fuel tensions between Greeks and Macedonians and within Greek society itself. The authors present here a comprehensive study of the two evacuation programs and the lives of the children they forever transformed. Marshalling archival records, oral histories, and ethnographic fieldwork, they analyze the evacuation process, the political conflict surrounding it, the children’s upbringing, and their fates as adults cut off from their parents and their homeland. The authors also give voice to seven refugee children who poignantly recount their childhood experiences and heroic efforts to construct new lives in diaspora communities throughout the world. A corrective to previous historical accounts, the book is also a searching examination of the enduring effects of displacement on the lives of refugee children.