Kalojani Tanas

Tanas Kalojani was born in 1918 in the village of Nestram, Kostur region to a poor labourer family. His father was a bricklayer and, as soon as Tanas completed his primary school education, Tanas followed the same path. He passed his childhood years as did all other young workers in Greece. Heavy workload and very little pay. Even as a young boy, Tanas set himself apart with his bravery, stoicism and the way he got on with the others.

He joined battle from a young age. From 1936 he was organised into the Union of Bricklayers in the town of Kavala. During the Greek-Italian war he served as a cavalry sergeant and fought bravely against the fascist aggressors. After discharge he returned to his own village and from then dedicated himself to the liberation struggle until the moment of his death.

In 1942 he was arrested by the Italian occupying forces and forced to the Kostur prison and from there to the Athens prison "Averof." In 1943, as soon as he was freed, he joined the ranks of ELAS. His war experience and his bravery, which distinguished him, led to him being promoted as captain.

After Varkisa, he was followed by the monarcho-fascist forces. In the summer of 1946 he became one of the founders of the first military groups of DAG in the region of Gramos. He served as captain in the 16th brigade of DAG and participated in many battles. He died heroically on 16 November 1947 in the battle near Kopanche near to his own village. He was promoted to Major, first hero.

Before Tanas died, his sister Polikseni Kalojani, one of the first partisan women in DAG, fell at Vich in May 1947. A short time later his nephew died. When the dreadful news reached his village, the women went to his old mother to support her when she heard the news. She did not cry. She met them with a cool gaze and said, "Yes! They were killed but we will win!" Stood as a mother and a real heroine.

H Skornu


From: For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters

© 2009

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For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters