Belcho Hristo (Taki)
Hristo Belcho - Taki, as is told about him, was born on 19 October
1921 in the village of Pilkati, Kostur region to a poor and large family.
His father, chicho-Pando, an ordinary and hard working man, from his
earliest years became fully aware of the hard battle for a crust of
bread, the back breaking work of the farm worker and the timber getter.
He traveled overseas, to America, to France and Argentina so that he
could ensure that his family could eat but he returned as poor as he
was when he left.
The progressive ideas of his father who had traveled a lot and seen
many things were deeply received by then 10 year old Taki, who was hungry
to learn other histories than the stories told by his mother and his
Taki completed his primary school in 1935. His teacher was Sanida Georgo
a young man from Lamija with progressive ideas and democratic convictions.
Even though he had strict orders not to permit the children to speak
Macedonian, he learned the Macedonian language from the old grandmothers
- even better than he could from the students. Sanida planted into the
enthusiastic soul of his student a love of learning, his motherland
and the people. He liked Taki a lot for the wisdom with which he thought.
He often said to chich-Pando that he should be sent to Kostur to high
school. That was Taki's wish. However poverty forced him to enter a
different school more difficult than the ordinary schools - the school
of the harsh battle for a crust of bread to eat. His parents sent him
to Athens to work in his uncle's shop. Taki took with him a few things
and a stale loaf of bread, slung his bag over his shoulder and set off
on the big journey.
"May God and Mary, Mother of God, be with you son! Look after your
health, work honestly and be careful of bad people. Don't spend your
money because you have many sisters to be married off," said his bitter
mother with tears in her eyes, as she saw him off.
Taki worked in Athens for two years or so from 1935 to 1937 in his
uncle Sotir's shop. It was during this time that he saw how difficult
it was to earn a crust even in Athens. He met many working youth, and
became friends with them. He was amazed at the way they thought. He
walked around Athens with those youths and was not slow to learn that
in essence there were two Athens: the Athens of the rich and the Athens
of the poor. For the first time he read newspapers and magazines. For
the first time he read, in secret, a strange newspaper that his friends
gave him. It was not very big, not like the other newspapers in Athens
with large letters and eye-catching headlines, with cartoons and thousands
of photographs. It was a small newspaper with light headlines in a small
font. From the headlines and the content he learned that it was the
organ of the CPG, the voice of the worker, of the working class of Greece.
When he returned to his village, to his parents, Taki was a different
person, mature and experienced.
After the fall of the Albanian front, the great epic story of the national
struggle began. The youth of Greece answered the call to the struggle.
This was the start of the battle operations and the stirring of passion
in the youth.
In April 1943, two months later, EPON was founded. He joined its ranks
and became one of its most active members and cadres. Because of his
organizational abilities he was elected secretary of the regional committee
of EPON in the village of Gramos, Kostur region.
In October 1943 he became a member of CPG and was elected a member
of the Kostur regional committee of EPON and worked as an EPON activist.
In November 1044 he was elected the secretary of the regional committee
of CPG in Nestramsko, where he worked tirelessly until he was killed.
There is no village in the western part of Kostur that would not know
Taki, the warrior of Gramos with broad shoulders and big eyes. A popular
face, a real son of the people. He was so well liked by the people that
the grandmothers and grandfathers called him "son" while the younger
people called him "brother". Mothers would go to him to seek comfort
about when the plunderers, the fascists, those who killed the children
and destroyed the villages would be wiped out.
He was always happy, smiling and he knew how to speak to each mother
who was handing her son over to ELAS, to fathers who had heard the bitter
news of the death of a son. With simple but persuasive words he attracted
the youth to join the struggle to eliminate the conqueror.
After the Varkiza agreement a terror campaign began: arrests, exile
to the barren islands, killings. The traitors and collaborators of the
occupiers with the support of the British continued their operations,
they rained terror on the people, they burned villages to the ground,
they persecuted the honourable patriots. The reaction from Kostur was
a plan to destroy the best sons of the people. Accordingly on 14 September
1945 a police detachment arrested Taki, tortured him inhumanely and
left him half dead. However, even after that, Taki continued to work
tirelessly. He went from village to village to give courage to the people.
On 22 December 1945, in the early morning he was caught together with
the brave communist of ELAS, Pando Vlahov, who was from the same village.
About 40 gendarmes descended into Kalevishta. And after they put them
to inhuman torture, they rounded them into the village square of Kalevishta,
where, in the night, on 23 December 1945, because of the terrible torture
they had endured, the two fearless communists died.
From: For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom
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For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters