Sunday, October 13, 2019

"We will never forget you": Greek communists paid tribute to the exiled heroes of Gyaros

"We never forget you. Glory and honor to the heroes of Gyaros". This was the major slogan of an extroardinary event that took place on Saturday 12 October in Gyaros, an unpopulated small Greek island in the Aegean Sea. 

The event, which was organized by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), included speeches as well as the unveiling of a monument, dedicated to the thousands of communists and leftist political dissidents who were exiled or imprisoned in Gyaros from 1948 until 1974. 

The monument called "Rogmi" (Fracture) was designed by the sculptor Manolis Myrodias. A greeting message was delivered by Dimitris Gontikas, member of the CC of the KKE while the event's major speaker was the General Secretary of the KKE Dimitris Koutsoumbas

Gyaros, also known as Gioura (Yura), covers an area of 17 square kilometres is an arid, deserted island in the northern Cyclades, situated 9 nautical miles from the closest island of Syros. It is not accidental that Gyaros has been named the "Island of the Devil". 

For 21 years, this small island became the place of exile, imprisonment and inhumane torture for approximately 20,000 communists and leftist political dissidents during the period 1947-1952, 1955-1961, 1967-1974. The first 551 prisoners arrived in Gyaros on July 11, 1947 and until September, there were more than 7,000 inmates. It is characteristic that in the first years of the island's operation as a prison, there was no infrastructure at all, with the exiled prisoners living in tents, under severly miserable conditions. 

Dimitris Koutsoumbas during his speech in Gyaros (Photo:
Singing the "Internationale" (Photo:  
Aerial photo of the prison in Gyaros, a place of exile and torture from 1947 to 1974.

The communists and those leftist dissidents who remained imprisoned in Giaros were subject to severe, sadistic torture methods in order to sign declarations of remorse and renounce the KKE. Thousands are those prisoners who remained unbending despite their great suffering. Their stance, without doubt, consists an inestimable legacy in the struggle for socialism-communism. 

Glory and eternal honor to the heroes of Gyaros!