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Picture on the Mantelpiece

Updated on June 24, 2015

Picture on the Mantelpiece Greek Civil War behind the Iron Curtain

Picture on the Mantelpiece is an oral history about war, migration, Macedonian village life in the early and mid 20th century, and the importance of family. It is well told and easy to read. The book tells the powerful story of Stefo and Lena Duketovski from the Macedonian village of Trna in Aegean Macedonia (northern Greece).

Now known as Prasino, which is close to Florina

Married during the early days of the Second World War, Stefo is conscripted into the Greek army and later becomes a Macedonian partisan. But caught up in the Macedonian Freedom Struggle during the Greek Civil War, they become separated from each other and their young family. Stefo and Lena each find themself on Mount Gramos during the heaviest bombing of the Civil War but without knowing the other is there. After the War, with Stefo in the Republic of Macedonia and later Australia, Lena behind the Iron Curtain, and their two young boys scattered across Europe, they must begin the difficult task of finding each other and re-uniting their family.

Greek Civil War

Wiki Photo Greek Civil War
Wiki Photo Greek Civil War

German forces withdrew on 12 October 1944, and the government in exile returned to Athens. After the German withdrawal, the EAM-ELAS guerrilla army effectively controlled most of Greece, but its leaders were reluctant to take control of the country, as they knew that Soviet premier Joseph Stalin had agreed that Greece would be in the British sphere of influence after the war. Tensions between the British-backed Papandreou and EAM, especially over the issue of disarmament of the various armed groups, led to the resignation of the latter's ministers from the government.

A few days later, on 3 December 1944, a large-scale pro-EAM demonstration in Athens ended in violence and ushered an intense, house-to-house struggle with British and monarchist forces (the Dekemvriana). After three weeks, the Communists were defeated: the Varkiza agreement ended the conflict and disarmed ELAS, and an unstable coalition government was formed. The anti-EAM backlash grew into a full-scale "White Terror", which exacerbated tensions.

The Communists boycotted the March 1946 elections, and on the same day, fighting broke out again. By the end of 1946, the Communist Democratic Army of Greece had been formed, pitted against the governmental National Army, which was backed first by Britain and after 1947 by the United States.

Communist successes in 1947–1948 enabled them to move freely over much of mainland Greece, but with extensive reorganization, the deportation of rural populations and American material support, the National Army was slowly able to regain control over most of the countryside. In 1949, the insurgents suffered a major blow, as Yugoslavia closed its borders following the split between Marshal Josip Broz Tito with the Soviet Union. Finally, in August 1949, the National Army under Marshal Alexander Papagos launched an offensive that forced the remaining insurgents to surrender or flee across the northern border into the territory of Greece's northern Communist neighbors.

The civil war resulted in 100,000 killed and caused catastrophic economic disruption. In addition, at least 25,000 Greeks and an unspecified number of Macedonian Slavs were either voluntarily or forcibly evacuated to Eastern bloc countries, while 700,000 became displaced persons inside the country. Many more emigrated to Australia and other countries.

This has been taken from Wiki

Prasino 530 76, Florina, Greece

get directions

"Hundreds of other persons, not only army men but civilians, were arrested... People disappeared without a warrant having been issued, without any specific charge having been issued, and without notification to their families. The Greek military headquarters in Cairo were occupied by force. The offices of the Greek government were placed under British supervision. The editor of the newspaper Helm and the director of the Hellenic League of Liberation and the Seamen's Association of Alexandria wer

Pictures from Book - Some extra photo's from Internet

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Back Of BookAftermath of Fighting 1944Freedom Fighters
Back Of Book
Back Of Book
Aftermath of Fighting 1944
Aftermath of Fighting 1944
Freedom Fighters
Freedom Fighters

Alexander the Great

Was Alexander the Great Macedonian or Greek

See results

About book my book.

You can read about my road trip here

I turned 16 in India whilst I traveled the world by 4x4 and container ship ( Freighter ).

It was not until I was in my late 50's when I wrote my book about my Road Trip. " From Australia to Germany "

Any questions, please use guestbook to ask and I will reply.

Cheers from DOWNUNDER

Please let me know you passed by. Thanks

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    • Aladdins Cave profile imageAUTHOR

      Aladdins Cave 

      5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      @esmonaco: Thank you Esmonaco. His book is for sale on Amazon. Mine is on Ebay.Thank you for stopping by. Cheers from DOWNUNDER

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 

      5 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Sounds interesting Thanks for sharing some history :)

    • Aladdins Cave profile imageAUTHOR

      Aladdins Cave 

      5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      @favored: Not a bad Title I know. My Uncle wrote book. But my lens review of book is not so good. Thanks for leaving comment. Cheers Gus

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      5 years ago from USA

      The title sure pulls you in ... makes you want to read on.

    • Aladdins Cave profile imageAUTHOR

      Aladdins Cave 

      6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      @julieannbrady: Sorry about that. The book was written by my uncle. Unlike my own book " From Australia to Germany ". Thanks for leaving comment. Cheers from DOWNUNDER

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Oh! I thought "picture on the mantelpiece" was about a picture on the mantelpiece. Sounds like an interesting read!

    • Aladdins Cave profile imageAUTHOR

      Aladdins Cave 

      10 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      [in reply to RinchenChodron] Thank you for suggestion, I will do that. But first I need to learn how to make a good lens like yours. Cheers

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi - I suggest you join Amazon and put a link to this book. Sounds interesting.


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