Thursday, October 27, 2011

October 28 1940, OCHI : The Story of Lazarus

Lazarus was born to Konstantinos and Euterpe in a town near Smyrna Asia Minor, what is now Turkey some time in the early 1900s.

Lazarus remembers running with his parents for the nearest ship during the Greek genocide of 1922; he remembers holding his mother’s hand while his mother’s other hand was wrapped around his yet unbaptized baby sister.

The next thing Lazarus knew was that he was in a warehouse in Piraeus with 40 degree Celsius fever; his mother, little sister and father never made it aboard the ships that carried the Greek genocide survivors to Greece; or they boarded one of those French ships that tossed Greeks and Armenians to the sea to drown, or even worse, to face the hungry Turkish and Kurdish hoards that were dipping their bayonets into pregnant women and unborn children.

Lazarus was taken home by an Armenian family, who lived in Drougouti on the outskirts of Athens, and the patriarch of the family raised Lazarus and gave Lazarus work in his butcher shop. Lazarus was then forced to marry one of the family’s daughters, Maria who was in love with another man, a man the family objected to.

The marriage didn’t go to well ; at one time Maria smashed a pan on Lazarus’ bald head and told him that he wasn’t fit enough to even buy her cigarettes. So you see the Greco Italian war was salvation for Lazarus, and he quickly enlisted and headed for the front.

The Greek army did extremely well having decimated the Italian advance and having pushed the Italians to the Albanian Adriatic cost.  But then the Yugoslavian front collapsed and the Wehrmacht  sped through Yugoslavia forcing the Hellenic Armed forced to retreat back to the original Macedonian positions. Lazarus was the trumpeter who ordered the retreat; the problem was that his lips were frozen due to the Northern Epirus frost, so he ran around his regiment screaming “Theodora…Theodora” which was the vocal equivalent of the trumpet signal.

Lazarus found himself the Thessaloniki in Macedonia hiding in an abandoned railway carriage with an army comrade, hiding from the now German conquerors. There wasn’t too much space in the carriage so Lazarus was squatted down and his comrade was nestled above him with his legs on Lazarus’ shoulders. Lazarus felt warm liquid running down his shoulders and he angrily whispered to his comrade to stop pissing on him: the problem was that his comrade wasn’t pissing but rather his comrade was dead and what Lazarus was feeling was the hemorrhaging of the would that drained his army comrade of his life essence.

Lazarus joined the resistance, fought with EAM-ELLAS and then nestled up with a girlfriend in Thessaloniki Macedonia; he refused however for one reason or another to give his former wife Maria a divorce. It could have been of course to maintain hold on his beloved daughter Zoe, the result of Lazarus’ marriage with Maria.

After the war, Lazarus returned to Athens married a new girlfriend named Vasso and started working in Karaiskakis stadium in Athens; Lazarus was a devout Olympiakos fan ‘till the end.

Not a very intelligent man but a levendi and a brave man, as well as an admirer of the fair sex.

At one time Lazarus was dragged to court because he was involved in an embezzlement that he had no connection with; he had signed a document he didn’t understand and the result was that every felony was blamed on him and not on the actuators. The judge having understood the situation granted Lazarus innocence due to “malakia” or stupidity or idiocy depending on which word you prefer.

Lazarus lived  well the his remaining years in Agios Ierotheos Peristeri and was a favorite in the local taverns. A devout favorer of ouzo, Lazarus died of Alzheimer’s disease in 1994 about 9 years after the death of his daughter Zoe….

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