Fabricated charges

Valia Mouratidou was 15 when the police arrested her father Dimitris, a relatively well-to-do Greek, a metalworker by trade, in Batum. «It was Monday. December 19, 1937, and that morning my father and I left our village to got to Batum; he went to work and I went to school. Two hours later, an uncle of mine came and told me that they had taken him from the foundry. That was the beginning of our ordeal,» says Mouratidou, now 84, who lives in Thessaloniki and has written a book about the experiences of the Greeks of the Soviet Union, «A Hundred-Year Odyssey.» «They held him for a year in Batum prison with other Greeks. All of them were taken in on the false charge of state sabotage and spying. The conditions in the prison were inhuman and torture was a regular occurrence. Many could not endure it and signed confessions and were sent to labor camps. My father didn’t sign, but they exiled him anyway. The last time I saw him they were being put on the train at Tbilisi for Siberia. We never heard from him again. Because of the situation, we had to leave for Greece, and in early 1947 a cousin wrote to say that he heard from a survivor that his Uncle Dimitris had died of an intestinal hemorrhage.»