1984. Yioúra: Hypomnema Kratoumenon Pros ton Hypourgo Dikaiosynes tes Kyverneseos Plastera. (Yioúra: Memorandum of the Detainees to the Minister of Justice of the Plasteras Government)., ed. Yiorgos Petris Athens: Ekdoseis Gnosi.
Each of the five coves accessible by sea was set up as a camp, under the jurisdiction of the general director. Dimitris Manousos, who was detained in Yioúra from 1947 to 1950 and again in 1967, gives a fairly clear account of the distribution of the prisoners and the coves (2005). The first cove contained the main camp, with five thousand prisoners, mainly political prisoners but also a small number of prisoners of common law, and the underaged. This is where the kitchens and various shops were positioned. At the same cove was the house of the director and all offices, along with the penitentiary and the infamous fig tree. The second cove contained two thousand prisoners, the bulk of the civil-law prisoners and civilians who had signed declarations of repentance prior to their arrival on Yioúra. The second cove also had the infirmary, the ill, the disabled, and the aged. Cove three, with one thousand prisoners, was the camp of the intellectuals and party cadres. The fourth cove had two thousand prisoners and was the camp where torture and forced labor primarily took place. The fifth cove was the area of solitary confinement and hardest torture, little more than an annex of the fourth, with five hundred prisoners. Manousos says that the camps also contained two tents for priests who had been assigned to the island and two tents for Jehovah's Witnesses who had refused to carry arms during the emphýlios. There was also one shipowner among the detainees (2005: 24). Eventually Yioúra acquired a cemetery for those who died under torture. There are twenty-two graves on the island marked with iron crosses with no names. There are also two graves with cement crosses, belonging to warders who died on the island. Within the conceptual space of the camp but not belonging to any one of the coves was set up a place of total abjection, which was named by the detainees Ntámpa and on Makrónisos was called Syrma (“wire”). Not solitary confinement but a space of extreme punishment, Ntámpa was an open cage surrounded by three barbed-wire fences. There incorrigibles were sent, after torture had not extracted dêlosē. The “Memorandum of Detainees to the Minister of Justice of the Plasteras Government” describes Ntámpa as:
“El-Tampa,” an open-air cage made of wire, where the patient [sic] is enclosed in order to be literally murdered by the hot spears of the sun. Given the current physical condition of the detainees, the use of this exhausting stockade indicates a clear intent of murder. Even a healthy person, if placed in it, could not avoid fainting or suffering damage from the effect of the solar rays, or at the least suffering sunstroke. One is punished and tortured inhumanly because one submitted a request to be seen by the director, or because one announced to the office the case of someone febrile and in need of immediate transport to the infirmary, or because one appeared in front of the director to complain after having been cruelly removed from the infirmary. Thousands more prisoners have been punished for other reasons. (Petris 1984: 86b )
The first boats to carry humans to the island in the early spring of 1947 were fishing boats. They had to battle waves that were sometimes six to seven meters tall and were packed with vomiting, shitting men, already wasted from previous imprisonment. Nikos Oikonomakos, one of the prisoners to have been imprisoned both in Yáros and Makrónisos, was transported in April 1949 to Yáros, after having been sent from Makrónisos to the Tzaneio Hospital in Piraeus with a fractured wrist. From the hospital he was transported, along with other prisoners, to the transport station in Syros (Tmêma Metagōgôn). The night before their transport to Yáros, they were fed garbanzo beans, and Oikonomakos reports that they ate them without realizing that they were spoiled. Diarrhea and vomiting started almost immediately and lasted through the night. The next morning, soiled and still sick, the prisoners were piled into the caïque to be transported to Yioúra.
Approaching the island. The prison building. Note the precipice. To the left of the building is a watch tower. Photograph and caption by Apostolos Papageorgiou; reproduced with permission.
A ferryboat with visitors approaching the Fourth Cove for disembarkment. The prison building was designed by the engineer Metaxas and built by the prisoners between 1948 and 1951. To the left is the Fifth Cove. An old prisoner is looking at the dry island with obvious emotion. Photograph and caption by Apostolos Papageorgiou; reproduced with permission.
Giorgos Christodoulakis, the baker of the Fourth Cove, shows the base where his tent was, fifty years ago. Photograph and caption by Apostolos Papageorgiou; reproduced with permission.
The southern slope of the Fifth Cove. The watchtower guards the southern flank of the prison. Terraces are visible on the slope, which has some soil on top of the rock. They are probably remnants from the time of Sulla's Roman exiles, when the exiles were left without any help from the outside. They had to cultivate both for themselves and for the garrisons. Photograph and caption by Apostolos Papageorgiou; reproduced with permission.
The prisoners' cemetery on Yáros, with the Aegean and Tenos in the distance. Photograph and caption by Apostolos Papageorgiou; reproduced with permission.??The cemetery was created by the prisoners themselves. After intense torture, to which the prisoners did not give in, the administration allowed them to create the cemetery so that they could bury their comrades who had been tortured to death.
The small cemetery, with twenty graves. The relatives and friends or fellow prisoners of the interred tend the graves and try to find which one belongs to whom. The salty air of the Aegean has eaten away the iron, and the crosses have been destroyed. It is difficult to identify the graves now. The pieces are all mixed up (also by visitors, who have moved them out of curiosity). Only two or three graves have been positively identified. Photograph and caption by Apostolos Papageorgiou; reproduced with permission.
The fig tree of Glastras. One of the first directors of the camp on Yáros, named Glastras (which, curiously, means “flowerpot”), introduced this particular torture. He would hang prisoners from the tree by their shoulders and subject them to beatings. He would let them hang there for days, adding the insult that they could come down only after they had ripened (they had signed ). The tree does not really exist any longer, as most of it has been destroyed by the rain runoff during the winter. This and the following drawings from Yáros are from . They were done by artists who had been interned at Yioúra. In those that follow, the captions were given by the artists.
Humiliation at the stone torture.
Solar discipline—the “El-Tampa.”
El-Ntampa,” the solar discipline of Yioúra. In the most horrific ravine of the island, the sun burns you all day long and the cold cuts through you at night. Hundreds are giving their lives still locked up in “El-Ntampa.”