Pacha Eftimija (Gusheva)

She was a young girl, thin but full of life. Here large expressive blue eyes stood out in her thin face. She experienced a lot of hardships in her childhood.

Eftimija was born in 1924 in the village of Dolno Gramatikovo, Voden region. Her father was a teacher and with a single income he managed to raise seven girls. She was attracted to the national-patriotic movement by the poverty and misery, the democratic convictions of her family and her whole village and the jackboot of the occupier, which trampled on the head of the people. From 1942 she worked in the ranks of EAM and from 1943 she was a member of the CPG and fought bravely for the liberation of our homeland.

A first glance at her would not fill your eye. However, she concealed in her a great patriotism - love of her homeland and the people. She was happy and jolly; an active girl, a girl of the people.

I recall now the first meeting of the women villagers of the Voden region, at Easter in 1946. It was the period when the blockades against the location of the democratic organisations became more and more common. In the evening of the gathering, the police blocked the relocation of EAM in the town of Voden and did not leave anything standing. But despite that, things were prepared and had to take place. The villagers started to arrive. Eftimija was a member of the Voden regional committee of AKE and was responsible for the work among the women. She, with the help of the other organisers, took care so that she managed not just to get by but to dress it up as well. Eftimija managed to achieve cooperation among the women delegates, to personally organise them, to prepare herself as well for her speech and to leave some free time to sit with the delegates too, to make jokes with them, to tell them some histories, to chat. She knew all of the women. She was closely tied to them: some from 1943, from the time of the struggle against the Nazis, with others after Varkiza, and she had much to talk about with them.

It was then that I met Eftimija for the first time. From then we saw each other frequently and exchanged correspondence. Later on she was elected a delegate for the congress of PDET (Pan Greek Federation of Women) and on that occasion we met in Athens.

I feel I can still see her before me at the tribune with her cheerful dress. Eftimija was not one of those girls who do not like to speak. Even though she was a Macedonian girl, she spoke Greek really well, and she knew how to put issues to the women and to the organisation.

At the start of 1947 I met her by chance in Solun. The prisons, the islands, and the camps were fill of fighters of the national struggle. With great surprise, I asked her "Why are you here?"

"I want to speak to you," she said, "come by the house at the following address…"

After a few days I decided to go and see her. When I got close to her house, it was blockaded. Eftimija had been arrested at dawn and taken to the state security facility… and from there to the prison "Neas Filakes." She appeared before the military court and sentenced to death.

There was nothing that could make Eftimija promise to resign - not torture in the damp cellars of the state security, nor the hardships of the prison, not the death sentence.

After a few months in DAG I met a girl who was in the prison with Eftimija. "In the evening before her execution," she told me, "we were all gathered around her and she told us histories and we laughed together. We were impressed at where she found such strength, such coolheadedness, such courage. She was passing her psychology onto us… before they executed her, her husband came to the prison and begged her to sign the declaration, to save herself. "I do not want to know you as my comrade!" was her answer to her man, about whom she had spoken to me the first time I met her with so much love and affection. "He is very good," she would say to me, "I will help him and he will become a member of the Party."

In June 1947 on a hot day in the yard of "Gedi-Kule" 20 people's fighters were executed and Eftimija was among them. Before the execution, the condemned joined together in a dance and with the last oro dance they said their good byes to life, to their close ones and their comrades, the people and the party. Eftimija led the dance.

K Halivopulu


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

© 2009

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For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters