ACHERITOU: "I lost one of my children, I did not know where he was… After months I found out where he was"

What Mrs. Eleftheria from Acheritou experienced during the Turkish invasion of 1974

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Turkish Invasion 1974. Stories and images that marked our souls, that changed our lives and history…

Eleftheria Komodromou from Vrysoules, interviews her grandmother, Eleftheria Georgiou from Acheritou and learns everything that her grandmother experienced in 1974.

Mrs. Eleftheria states:

"I was born and raised in Acheritou, a village in the province of Famagusta. I am the seventh and youngest child in the family. My parents were simple and honest people. He was engaged in agriculture. They taught us love for family, religion and homeland.
My father fought in World War II. As the youngest child in the family I had the care and protection of my other six siblings. I managed to finish primary school and then I helped my parents in the fields. I did not have the opportunity to continue my studies at the High School in Famagusta. To this day, however, I enjoy reading books.
I lived a difficult childhood with deprivation and poverty since my parents were farmers but full of love.

At around sixteen I got married and opened my own home. I started my own family and had three children with my husband. Giannos, Maro and Giota. Married, I now took care of the house, the children and helped my husband on the farm. We had sheep. At the same time I was making halloumi and selling, I was helping in my own way at home.

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The Turkish Invasion found me in my village, Acheritou.

We learned it from the radio…

There was concern, people did not know what to do. We remained in our village until the Second Phase of the Turkish Invasion. Many of our fellow villagers enlisted in the army among them relatives who have been missing since then and others fell heroically fighting and were identified by the DNA method.
At my house we hosted my sister and other relatives who lived in Famagusta and left due to the occupation of the city. We all stayed together until August 30, when we left our village to be saved.

I remember that morning the United Nations shouted to the people to run to be saved and how the Turkish tanks were approaching the village. We left the house with the clothes we were wearing.
Planes were flying over us. The children were crying there was panic and upset. I remember running barefoot to save myself holding one of my children. In the confusion that existed the people did not know what to do. I lost one of my children, I did not know where he was. After months I learned that it was Xylotympou with my sister.

I lived through tragic moments of pain and agony. We left our possessions, our homes and our lives and our dreams…

The first days were the most difficult…

My family was separated as I told you, my youngest child I did not know where he was. Initially we lived in the pergolas with little food and little water. Then we found shelter in the potato packer. Almost the whole village lived there. We did not even have the necessities.
We waited for the Red Cross to bring us food. The days passed and from what we saw in our village there was no mobility on the part of Turks. So, we organized in groups of several fellow villagers and decided in the evenings with the risk of our lives to go to our village and to our homes to get the necessary clothes and food to be able to survive.

For the first few days, my husband and I used to go to the village by tractor to bring wheat to feed our sheep.

My husband managed to bring the sheep to the free area days before, like other villagers. The moment that remained forever in my memory was when after days I managed to enter my house. Entering the house I saw my daughter's doll broken and its pieces inside the house. As if the Turkish soldiers were leaving us a message that we would suffer the same if they found us. I was frozen, trembling with fear. I found our clothes thrown away and hung from the lights. They had stolen our jewelry and our money.
Outside the yard of my house I found my pig tearing from the pain after the Turkish soldiers scratched his back with their bayonet. It was a heinous act.

We did the same thing for several days…

But the last day came and we women were organized to go to the village to bake to bring bread so that the children could eat. We kneaded and put the bread in the oven before it was baked, we heard the voices of the UN again. "Quick out!" Turks enter the village. Run! ” This was also the last day I went to the village.

These images come to my mind again from the kick that we ran to save once again. I can still hear our own voices of panic and fear.
Although I was operated on, I did not feel the pain, I saw the blood coming out of my wound. My mind was on my children. To run to be saved. Fortunately, we were saved! "

Grandma, what do you wish to all the refugees in our country?

In 1974 I experienced moments of agony, pain and terror. I hope no one ever lives in these moments again. I saw people being tortured. I felt the loss of loved ones and the uprooting…

I wish release and all the refugees to return to their homes, to their place ". 

By Christiana Dionysiou