I am indebted to Hara Tzavella-Evjen for this story about a common acquaintance.
Chapter 1. 1963–2008: History, Microhistory, Metahistory, Ethnography
“What sort of legal innovation is the notion of indefinite detention?” asks Butler, as she contemplates the indefinite extension of sovereign power and legal jurisdiction in the United States post 9/11 (2004: 51). The legislative net that I have just described shows that indefinite detention is not a “legal innovation” that appeared with the Bush administration but has a history that reaches back to a space and place used as a laboratory for neo-colonialism at the outset of the imperial expansion of U.S. power after the Second World War: namely, Greece after the Truman Doctrine and under the Marshall Plan. This legislative net produced a system that transformed inaccessible corners of Greece into a web of fenced and strictly disciplined spaces of existence. In the early years of the twentieth century, the only securely inaccessible places were the thousands of islands strewn throughout the Greek seas.
Amorgos, Kea, Thera, Gavdos, Corfu, Folegandros, Hagios Eustratios (Ai-Stratis), Anafi, Paros, Andros, the North and South Aegean, the Ionian Sea, the Cretan Sea, the Libyan Sea, the Saronic Gulf: some of these places are now cloaked with the glamour of leisure, wealth, ostentation, and the kitsch of the nouveaux riches (Greek and non-Greek alike); some are now only an airplane or a hovercraft hop away from Athens; some are still quiet, requiring a ten- or twelve-hour ride on a thirty- or forty-year-old boat; others, in the years before the explosion of tourism that came with the junta of 1967 to 1974, could require days of travel. Some, such as Thera, Amorgos, Folegandros, Ai-Stratis, and Anafi, could be reached only once a fortnight in the summer, once a month in winter. Ships and naval vessels could not dock at their minuscule ports, which were constructed only for fishing boats. They would remain “at road” offshore, while service boats ferried supplies, people, letters, and sometimes books (which were strictly forbidden in the camps but nonetheless were regularly smuggled in).
Surveillance of the exiles by the gendarmerie on those islands exceeded the act of policing. After all, in these places no criminal act ever took place, and only the presence of the exiles made surveillance necessary. Everything considered a human and not an animal activity was forbidden: reading books or newspapers, contacting local residents, taking a stroll outside the village, staying out past sunset, listening to the radio.
In 1948, the director of one of the American schools in Greece, an American philologist, took a trip to one of those islands, Thera, to visit a newly excavated site. An old acquaintance of hers had been exiled there, an architect who had already served time on Makrónisos. She saw him sitting alone at the coffee house in the main square late in the afternoon and she went up to talk to him, since they had known each other in Athens. She had lost track of him completely, and her surprise at seeing him was immense. They sat down and started talking. After she got up to leave, on her way to the house where she was staying, a gendarme stopped her. “Why were you talking to him?” he asked. She said that she had known him as a colleague, that she was an American, and that she was surprised to see him here, so she had stopped to say hello. The gendarme said that he would have to file a report about what he had witnessed. She was a woman, talking to an exiled Communist, and there were only two categories available for a report: he could write that she was either a Communist or a prostitute. Which would she prefer? “Prostitute,” she said, and that's how he wrote his official report: so-and-so has been visited by a prostitute.
We know the terrible effects of a combination of civil war, concentration camps, and oppressive and authoritarian governments on the everyday lives of citizens. We know of the dismantled families, the maimed relationships, the broken bodies, the poverty, the devastated infrastructure. A civil war, however, has lasting effects that are not so immediately apparent. It produces psychopathologies, mistrust, and resentment in addition to economic and political devastation. There is nothing civil in a “civil war.” In such a war, siblings fight against each other, children are tortured in front of their parents, parents are killed in front of their children. When it ends, no one can get up, dust off his clothes, and shake hands. The effects are lived for generations, long after the war has ended and decades after the winners and losers have settled down (curiously comfortably) in their respective positions. The Greek paradigm acquires particular importance here, because in Greece, though the civil war ended in 1949, its effects are only now being discussed. The case of Greece gives us the texture of the longue durée of this particular historical experience, sitting, as it does, on the cusp of cultural and political memory.
In Greece, the collective experience of history seems to be located in a deep-seated mistrust of the political sphere, a mistrust that can be traced by turning over the folds of recent social and cultural history when it is viewed as an anthropological problem. In the many interviews I have conducted with people who lived in the camps, their families, and their wider network of friends, this historical experience manifested itself along a double axis. One pole of this axis is factual: the reintroduction and expansion of the camps in Greece from 1947 to 1958 (or, even, 1963) and from 1967 to 1974. The second is discursive: the biomedical metaphors that pervade what is said about dangerous and suspicious persons.
In terms of public understanding, the watershed event organizing this experience of history was the Second World War. In Greece, the war segued into the period of White Terror (1945–46), in which the Resistance fighters against the German occupation (Katohé) were persecuted by paramilitary gangs, whereas the collaborators of the Germans were rewarded with promotions, positions in the much-coveted public sector, and pensions. This period of terror led Greece into its civil war (1946–49), which, in turn, led to the reopening of the concentration camps (1947–58). The effects of both the civil war and the camps were solidified by the Junta (1967–74), and were felt until the beginning of the 1980s. But if the world war publicly organized the experience of Greek history, so that, in a gesture of national and statist colonization of the experience of history (after the total defeat of the Left), the heroism of the Resistance came to be acknowledged as a collective one, the civil war was the unspoken but deeply felt trauma of Greek history. Like all civil wars, it did not just erupt one day, nor did it end on the date that the calendar says it did. The civil war has always lasted its length and a day.
I am writing this in mid-morning on August 4, 2006. Early in the morning our friend and neighbor Eleni came by. It is the anniversary of the deaths of her husband and my uncle. They died years apart, but since they were close friends we always remember the anniversaries together. Eleni joked, “All the 4th Augustans [Tetartoavgoustianoi; “followers of the ideology of August 4,” the locution that came to represent Metaxas's totalitarian ideology] die on the same day [mazi].”
Eleni's daughter and my cousin (my uncle's son) cracked the same joke as we were leaving the cemetery after my uncle's funeral. “All the juntikoi [supporters of a junta] die the same day,” they quipped about their fathers, even though the two deaths were some fifteen years apart. August 4 (Tetártē Avgoústou) is also the anniversary of the Metaxas dictatorship or, as Metaxas himself was fond of calling it, the Third Hellenic Civilization. The allusion to the Third Reich, however, is as incorrect and misguided as it is obvious . Despite the fact that Metaxas would have liked to have created a system closer to his own ideology and akin to Nazism (and we will see what steps he took toward that), as he conceded at some point, his regime was closer to Salazar's in Portugal .
Metaxas's dictatorship was not the first ever to appear in Greece (there had been Plasteras's coup in 1922, Pangalos's in 1925–26, and Kondylis's in 1926), but we can safely argue that Metaxas was the first to try to enforce totalitarian thought in Greece in the sense that he was the first dictator to understand that social change can be effected only when the totality of the sociopolitical structures manage to change the totality of the sociopolitical imaginary. Metaxas, by all accounts, was not simply interested in political power (as had been true of all previous political formations in Greece), instead, he was interested in form(ulat)ing whatever it was that he understood as “the Greek psyche” and “the Greek mind.” Metaxas held that both these entities, psyche and mind (psyche and pneuma), ought to constitute a monolithic, monadic, singular articulation of an imaginary shared by all “Greeks,” an imaginary that started in Greek antiquity, extended through Rome, and developed into the Byzantine Empire. The specter of imperialism hovering over the Metaxas project is not a rhetorical one. It underlies a certain imperialist totalitarianism in his thought, despite the fact that he never had any desires or plans for territorial expansion. His was an imperialism of the mind and the psyche, an imperialism as aggressive as it was brutal, aimed at totally annihilating the citizen by demanding his mind. A citizen could not placate this project through mere compliance. It required not only total submission but total agreement. It could not tolerate or absorb dissent and disagreement but demanded complete agreement and subscription.
Metaxas conceptualized, and tried to enact, a total reorganization of the sociopolitical and cultural landscape of Greece that would, in effect, re-educate Greek society. Education and political indoctrination, he reasoned, were the two nodal and structural points on which his project would rest. One of the first acts of the Metaxas Office of Propaganda was to invite Joseph Goebbels (the secretary of propaganda of the Nazi Party) to visit Greece in September 1936, merely a month and a half after the dictatorship had come to power.
In November of the same year, Metaxas, following Hitler's example, auspiciously after Goebbels's visit, was the first Greek politician to create a youth organization, the EON (National Organization of Youth). The organization was divided into two groups, the skapaneis (literally, the “toilers,” those who work the land with an axe, skapánē), comprising children from six to thirteen years old, and the phalangites, adolescents and young adults from fourteen to twenty-five. By October 1939, through the systematic coercion and terrorization of the country, EON numbered seven hundred and fifty thousand members. Their uniform was distinctive, with blue shirt and riding trousers, white tie, white gaiters and belt, and a little two-pointed hat. The EON absorbed, forcibly, the Greek Boy Scouts, one of the acts that brought Metaxas to a point of friction with young Prince Paul, whose pet project was the Boy Scouts. In the end the prince became the head of EON, just as his young bride, Frederica, had been a member of Hitler's Youth. The stated objective of EON was the patriotic education of Greek youth, so EON administratively belonged to the Ministry of Education. Metaxas himself took charge of the Ministry of Education in order to oversee the project of re-educating the youth, a youth that he called his “pride [to kamari mou].” As in Hitler's Nazism, belonging to EON was not a matter of choice, or, rather, it was not altogether a matter of choice (indeed, in the end it was not a matter of choice at all). As Manolis Anagnostakis, the famous Greek poet of the Left, has noted, he joined EON, against strong objections from his family, who were all Centrists, because in the beginning EON gave away free tickets to movies and football matches. But his case was not unusual—most children and adolescents were required to join.
There is hardly a bourgeois family in Greece that does not have a photograph of one of their (then) young members in the EON uniform, often giving the Nazi salute. As a friend, now in her eighties, said: “It was almost impossible to avoid it. If you were not already organized in one of the movements of the Left [thus, already old enough to have been marked by the Special Security Police and already otherwise preoccupied through imprisonment, torture, and or exile], then there was no getting away from them.”
I had the same conversation with another friend of my parents, Mimis. “We were spared all that,” Mimis said, “because our father was a moderate.” He baffled me.
His wife, much younger than him, who was also present at the discussion, asked, “So, were you ever drafted into it or not?”
“We were spared all that,” he repeated.
I said that I knew from my mother (who was old enough at the time to be forced to join, whereas my father, who was seven years her junior, was barely old enough to be starting school) that the leadership of EON would go through school registers and systematically force children to join, although some, maybe a lot, joined of their own volition.
I mentioned the Anagnostakis story about free tickets for movies and football matches. “Oh, tickets, schmickets, they would come to pick you up and you had no choice but to join them,” he said.
“So, you did join,” his wife said.
“Yes, but only very briefly,” he replied.
This is exactly what Anagnostakis testified: EON would conscript youth forcibly, but because it lacked deep structure, after a while it lost track of its members, although its ranks were forcibly replenished with new conscripts, to the extent that in 1940, when EON was dissolved after the Italian invasion, it numbered close to one million youths.
Metaxas also authorized the publication of an anonymous pamphlet distributed free to the members of EON and entitled Ho Kommounismos sten Hellada (Communism in Greece), published by a “National Society” in 1937. The pamphlet had a motto by Metaxas, a foreword by his undersecretary of public security, Konstantinos Maniadákis, and an introduction by the editors of the National Society. In this pamphlet Maniadákis and the National Society expose the rationale behind the need for a thorough knowledge of “the enemy”: “We first need to see and understand and then we must strike the enemy,” the editors wrote (Anonymous 1937: 7). They continued: “The first is called enlightening. The second, unified institution of all National forces, regardless of social class, gender, intellectual or other differences.… But there is no hope of a successful outcome to this struggle if we do not, all of us, first get to know the enemy in depth, meaning how he thinks, how he acts, and through what satanic methods he tricks the populace so that he can win them over for his revolutionary plans.” The National Society undertook to “expose the whole conspiratorial revolutionary plan,” on the basis of the confiscation of the archives of the Communist Party by the undersecretary of public security. This pamphlet, said Undersecretary of Public Security Maniadákis, in his foreword, constituted “the safest means of self defense” for those who had been blinded-sided and had not realized how “satanic and dangerous the enemy is” (4). The pamphlet was, indeed, invaluable in teaching everyone the structure of the Communist Party and the elements of Marxism, and not only those whom it hoped to influence. A number of people have noted to me, both in interviews or informal discussions and in writing—notably Manolis Anagnostakis—that this pamphlet was their introduction to Marxism, Communism, and (most important for their survival at times of crisis and persecution) their template for existing underground. As might be expected, nowhere in its pages could one find any hint concerning the means, contexts, and circumstances under which the Leftist was produced as dangerous and as the enemy, even as a means of mapping a relationship between the state and its dangerous elements.
See Mazower 1997, which traces the engagement with anticommunism and the specter of fear that Kondylis and Pangalos created in Greece prior to the Metaxas dictatorship. See also Marketos 2006.
Lefort reminds us that: “at the foundation of totalitarianism lies the representation of the People-as-One. It is denied that division as constitutive of society” (1986: 297).
Anonymous. 1937. Ho Kommounismos sten Hellada (Communism in Greece). Athens: Ekdoseis “Ethnikēs Hetaireias.”.
Greece marks the beginning of the cold war. As Michael McClintock notes, quoting Lt. Col. Robert Selton of the U.S. Army, the Greek Civil War constitutes “the formal declaration of the cold war” between the “Free World… and the forces of communism” (McClintock 1992: 11). It was on the occasion of the beginning of the civil war in Greece that President Truman articulated his famous (or infamous) doctrine about the necessity for intervention on behalf of other countries to prevent infiltration by ideologies originating elsewhere. As McClintock notes, as of November 1961, starting with an initial allotment in 1947 of $400 million through the Marshall Plan, Greece was granted $3.4 billion for postwar reconstruction, out of which only $1.2 billion went to economic aid. The rest was used for military aid and defense support, including the establishment and maintenance of the concentration camps and the containment of Communism. (See Selton 1966: 68; McClintock 1992: 466n.31.) James Becket notes about the Truman Doctrine that “Greece was the first country of the Old World to experience the full impact of Pax Americana. Aid and advisors of every kind arrived: agronomists, soldiers, teachers, spies, businessmen, diplomats” (Becket 1970: 12). For an incisive analysis of the beginnings of the cold war in reference to the civil war, see Gerolymatos 2004.
Venko Markovski, interned at Goli Otok in Yugoslavia between 1956 and 1961, mentions similar conditions of everyday existence: “Everything is forbidden at Goli Otok. It is forbidden to look around, to listen, and, of course, to speak. Even sighing is forbidden us” (1984: 47).
In Greece, the side that lost the civil war, the Left, has engaged in a prolific production of meanings and symbolic constellations concerning the “generation of the defeat” (as it has come to be known), from literature to historiography. Nothing is monolithic, and the “defeat,” as a locus of symbolic subjectivity, is not felt by the Left in its entirety. Rather, it tends to characterize (again, not collectively) the political subjectivities of what is known in Greece as the Revitalized Left, or what we would generally call Eurocommunism (namely, Communism with a decidedly European orientation, deeply critical of Stalinism and Sovietism and adhering to the “historical compromise” between the Communist and the bourgeois political parties that had been developed by Enrico Berlinguer in Italy as the new strategy for the preservation of Communist ideology and the possibility of participation in government).
Collaborators denotes people who collaborated with the occupying forces against the occupied country. The Greek term is synergates, which after the war ended and synergates were tried in courts of law changed to dosilogoi, meaning those who had to give an account of themselves and their actions.
Certainly we can say that the effects are still being felt today, if not on the level of the experience of history by its actors, then at the level of historical, anthropological, and political epistemologies that are currently being debated. The debates among a number of researchers who are trying to rehabilitate the Right and apologize for its actions during the occupation and the civil war, a number of aging Leftists who are attempting to assume a critical positionality toward the period, and a newer hermeneutical approach that attempts to dispel the attempts of the former and contextualize those of the latter is instructive here. For a whole year this debate raged publicly through inserts in the three major dailies in Greece (To Vema, Eleutherotypia, Ta Nea), and in the end the exchanges were published separately.
Dionyssis Savvópoulos has marked the difference between the two periods as lived historical experience in his sad, introspective, but ultimately conciliatory verses about Greece:
ki an ston emfýlio
sernótan san tsoúla
êtan lyménē psychoúla
even if during the civil war
she was dragging herself
like a whore
during the occupation
her little psyche was unleashed
The first historical accounts of the dictatorship of August 4 are Spyros Linardatos, How We Arrived at August 4, published in 1965, and his August 4, published in 1966, both in Athens. These publications mark the beginning of serious historical analysis of the circumstances that made the transgressions and excesses of the political system in Greece possible, by exposing the myth that the liberal democratic parties had maintained up to that point, namely, that they had opposed the Metaxas dictatorship. Linardatos showed, through meticulous, impassioned research, the complicity of liberal democracy with the structures of the state involved in constructing the Left as its enemy a priori and the processes through which the democratic parties sustained and even aided the persecution of the Left by the dictatorship. The Metaxas dictatorship, because it was construed as having resisted the Italian invasion, avoided the scrutiny of historical research (which, after the occupation and the civil war was taken up exclusively by the winners—the Right and the Center—and was preoccupied with those two events) until the relatively calm period of the early 1960s, when the exiled and interned Leftists started coming back. Even now, scholarship on the dictatorship is limited and usually falls under the wider context of research on political exclusion.
The work of Nicos Poulantzas stands out here, as he was able to show that, despite the fact that the dictatorship has been recorded in local and collective memory as a “fascist” formulation that had close ties with Nazi Germany, in actuality its political affinities were with Franco's Spain and particularly Salazar's Portugal. Thanassis Sfikas mentions that, during an interview with a French newspaper in September 1936, Metaxas “willingly accepted a favorable comparison of his regime with that of Salazar in Portugal. Later on, in private, he agreed that the similarities between the two regimes were greater than with any other” (Sfikas 2006: 21).
Spyros Marketos has successfully shown how the Metaxas dictatorship falls within a wider context of bourgeois totalitarian imaginary (Marketos 2006). Marketos argues that the international financial collapse of the late 1920s led the bourgeois classes to seek calmness and security, which they perceived as being available in the totalitarian ideologies of the time. He further argues that part of the seductiveness of the Metaxas regime for the Greek bourgeoisie was aesthetic. His argument highlights the delicate relationship between liberal democracy and “mild” authoritarian regimes, on the one hand, and the explosiveness of the relationship between liberalism and the Left, on the other. Metaxas's fascism (which fell within the scope of a European bourgeois aesthetic that defined manners and savoir faire as politics), Marketos argues, provided the country—ravaged by war, the Asia Minor expedition of 1919 to 1922, the subsequent exchange of populations following the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, and the subsequent economic crash—with a seductive aesthetics that blotted the misery of the country out of the bourgeois imaginary.
The Metaxas regime has been described, formulaically, as a junta or as a dictatorship. Strictly speaking, it was neither a junta nor a dictatorship, since it did not come to power as the result of a military coup-d'état, nor did it seize power at the end of a war. In April 1936, Metaxas was given the premiership by the king, George II, with the consent of the political parties in Parliament, for a period of five months. The two political parties of the Right (Laiko Komma) and the Center (Komma Phileleutheron) could not form a government on their own, and it became clear that the vote of the Communist Party was necessary for the formation of a coalition government. The Communist Party came to agreement with the other two parties on electing the president of Parliament, with the understanding that Metaxas (whose own political party, the Kómma Eleutherophrónōn had received 3.4 percent of the popular vote at the general elections in January 1936) would not be supported by the king past his five-month mandate. Political unrest did not cease, and, especially after the massacre of May 9 in Thessaloniki, a number of strikes by different sectors took place. A general strike was announced for August 5. On August 4, Metaxas visited the Palace with a plan detailing the suspension of a number of articles of the Constitution and the dissolution of Parliament, a plan that the king approved. Metaxas moved on both points of his plan, and his dictatorship was thus established. The Metaxas regime, however, had all the characteristics of a dictatorship: the complete militarization of the state, brutal suppression and persecution of the opposition, a populist labor project, and the shameless appropriation of plans made by previous governments as actions of the dictatorship (such as the claim to have established the Social Security Fund, a project that had been initiated about a year prior to Metaxas).
Both Hannah Arendt and Cornelius Castoriadis succumbed to the seduction of the cold war imaginary in their disappointment at what became of the “True Existing Socialism” of the Soviet Union under Stalin and, eventually, in all of Eastern Europe.
I use the Greek term psyche instead of its common translation “soul” in order to avoid the temptation to read into it any Christian meanings. Psyche, in Greek, predates Christianity by many centuries. It has been picked up by Christianity (without linguistic change, nevertheless) in a (failed, I would say) act of appropriation and has been the object of serious theologico-philosophical debate in Greece for the past twenty years. The failure of Christianity to fully appropriate the meaning of psyche is nowhere more evident than in the Greek expression ki auta psyche ehoun (“even animals have a psyche”).
The “Greeks” of Metaxas were a rather nebulous and forced category of persons who resided within the geographical parameters of Greece and subscribed to a common imaginary that had as its points of orientation classical antiquity (curiously enough, including both ancient Greece and ancient Rome) and Byzantium. From such a scheme, obvious and natural exclusions were readily constructed: the ethnic minorities, primarily in the newly acquired territories in the north, in Macedonia and Thrace, to the extent that the use of local languages and idioms was strictly prohibited even within the private sphere (see Karakasidou 1997). Curiously enough, given his hellenocentric and christianocentric ideology, Metaxas never developed (nor did he ever express) a racist or anti-Semitic discourse.
This matter resurfaced during the junta. At some point the junta established its own youth organization, the Alkimoi (literally, “those at the height of their youth”). At a large party given by my parents, I once overheard my mother (the eldest of all present and the only one who had experienced EON) telling the guests (all of whom had children the same age as my sister and myself) that maybe they should all register us with the Scouts so that we would not be conscripted into the Alkimoi. Such conscription never took place during the junta, since the junta was never the totalitarian regime that the Metaxas dictatorship was, but rather a brutal, authoritarian stratocracy haphazardly constituted of colonels interested in the exercise of power. Their lack of a project (in the sense that Metaxas had one) did not go unnoticed by the old Metaxians. “Those were shadow puppets [karaghiozides, meaning literally the figures of the shadow puppet theater in Greece and metaphorically inept, uneducated, but cunning],” one of my interlocutors said. (He had been a Chites himself during the German occupation). A more self-reflexive and self-critical appraisal of the junta was the common saying “Everyone has the junta that befits them.” On EON, see Liakos 1988, Balta 1989, Varon 2003. Of great importance is also the self-representation of latter-day followers of Metaxas as it is performed on their Web site, www.themetaxas project.com.
Manolis Anagnostakis (1925–2005) was a poet of “the generation of the defeat,” although he called himself a poet of silence. Born in Thessaloniki and educated as a physician in Greece and in Vienna, Anagnostakis gave up writing altogether when he decided that he had written enough. He was particularly disenchanted by the ways in which the Left kept destroying itself in vortices of paranoia and self-immolation, and most of his poetry deals with that disenchantment. The last poem in this book, entitled “Epitymvion” (“Epitaph”) was written for an old Leftist friend of his. On Anagnostakis see Calotychos 2003, also Lambropoulos 2006, Gourgouris 2006, Theodoratou 2006, the last three papers delivered at a conference in Anagnostakis's honor at Columbia University.
As Metaxas himself said at the First Congress of Regional Commanders of EON: “The schools, at the outset, were hesitant. Only the primary schools joined with a great, a magnificent enthusiasm. The secondary schools hesitated at first to aid us. …The reason for this is that at the national ministry of education there was originally a defiance, which gradually disappeared, but the tone was set. But the youth, little by little, without threats or violence, and only by persuasion, managed to win over and conquer the secondary schools almost entirely, teachers and pupils alike. …In the universities we encountered at the outset much resistance… as much from students as from a large proportion of the teaching personnel. Did you know this? Of all those who fought and who gave us our liberty in 1821, not one was an intellectual leader. I do not wish by this to belittle the value of intellectual work. But allow me to say that I consider it a secondary question in comparison to the importance of character. (Applause.) As for the teaching personnel, I admit that I found a certain resistance, not on the part of all, but of some. But since I assumed the portfolio of public instruction, I have found a greater comprehension and conviction, and even enthusiasm, so that I am certain all will go well” (“Metaxas on EON,” from the Metaxas Project, www.themetaxasproject .com, edited for grammar and spelling). The means of producing compliance in adults (and older adolescents) included beatings, torture, confinement, and exile.
Dated November 28, 1939, Thessaloniki. My interlocutor, his younger brother, and their father. On the back, the photograph is inscribed to the children's grandmother, who lived in Athens: “To our beloved grandmother Julia, to see us in our first caps. With kisses, your grandchildren.” Until the 1950s caps were an obligatory part of school boys' uniforms and a marker of passage from early childhood to school age. Disciplinary action was taken against children not wearing their caps, although rules were less strictly enforced in major urban centers beginning in the 1950s. Private collection.
Undated, but temporally very close to . My interlocutor with his two younger brothers and their father. The children are dressed in the EON uniform. The youngest of the boys is not included in because he was not old enough to wear a schoolboy's cap, but he was old enough to be drafted to the EON. Private collection.