Harbor Style Harbor Style March 2018 : Page 66

Odette in Kindergarten (center) took two to three hours. The Sarfatis were taken to a house where the leader of the underground – the EAM (communist resistance organization) – met them. “We were surprised to learn that the leader was none other than our neighbor in Loutraki, Vangelis Tassopoulos. My mother [Ida Cohen] made friends with his wife, Francesca, who had given birth to a baby boy just six weeks before,” Port recalled. The partisans led them to a four-room house. “It was unfinished so it had no installed windows; we hung up blankets to keep out the cold.” It also had no water, electricity or even a bathroom. “We had a table and chairs, and a wood plank supported by short brick columns became the sofa. Our beds were made of wood planks and carpenter’s horses; we had no linens,” she described. They often slept The chapel the family escaped to following a German raid on Stimanga. with their clothes on because “the Germans made a habit of raiding villages in the middle of the night.” There was one other Jewish family and Francesca who lived in the other two rooms. The fourth room in the house was a common one with a hearth for cooking. As Port’s father was outside struggling to dig a hole for a toilet, a woman came along who noticed that his hoe was broken. “My Christian man, you need a better tool,” she told him. Later she returned with a good spade, and that was the beginning of a lifelong friendship, Port related. The woman, Kyra Alexana, “helped us throughout our stay there with bread when she baked, with vegetables from her garden, and washing what little clothes we had in the river, with total acceptance and affection.” Her 12-year-old daughter Chrysoula “taught me how to carry the water barrel that we filled at the village spring and how to distinguish the edible greens that grew on the mountainside, especially how to cut them without destroying the root, so we could come back later for more.” The family lived somewhat in freedom because word was given by the EAM to the villagers “that they were to protect us and that betrayal on any level was punishable by death,” Port explained. However, one day “the Germans raided the village at which time we escaped to a higher mountain.” The family, directed by local authorities, went to “live in a chapel at the top of the highest point for more safety,” she said, “but there was no water there and we ate on unwashed plates for a week to save the water for drinking.” The conditions were so harsh that the family didn’t stay for long. “There was no school except for a couple of weeks. I was 7 in 1943 and cannot remember how I learned to read, but I remember 66 | HARBOR STYLE

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