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‘They offered us whatever they had’

By the time Lazar returned to his homeland, he had learned quite a lot of Greek. «On those last days,» recalled Malli, «I couldn’t accept that he wouldn’t be with us anymore. I hid my tears so as not to spoil the joy of his return. His departure was the most difficult moment: I’ll always remember seeing his fingers outside the train window, becoming dots, until I couldn’t see them anymore.» After the initial separation, things changed. «We talked constantly on the telephone. We cried. He wanted to come back but he thought of his parents. Three months later, in October, we couldn’t bear it and we went to Novisad to see him. There was a great crowd – relatives, neighbors, friends – the whole village was there and they offered us everything, whatever they had (milk, cheese, embroidery), in general thanks for what we had given one of their people.»