Accepted paper:

Refugees' homecoming: the end of an odyssey or a new beginning? Greek political refugees return home


Georgia Sarikoudi (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

Paper short abstract:

The available studies on the repatriation has shown that returning home is a more complicated and stressful process than adjusting to a “host” country. The longer the time of exile, the more fraught with difficulties is the return home.

Paper long abstract:

During the final phase and the aftermath of the Greek civil war (1946- 49) about 50.000 thousands of Greek men and women fled for Eastern Europe. The complex conditions of this massive exit and its consequences have been the subject documented and discussed by historians, social scientists and some of the people directly involved. However, much less is known about the conditions under which a large number of political refugees eventually returned to Greece. The work I propose to present concerns the repatriation of Greeks from (former) Czechoslovakia, a procedure more complicated and stressful than simply adjusting to the host country. I attend to meanings as well as hopes and fears attached to the notion of "home" as a place of origin to which one yearns to return to and to the problems that these political refugees had to confront with after their repatriation. For better or worse, the past cannot come to life through memory. Therefore, refugees came to Greece, but they did not actually return. As repatriates, they found it hard to reconcile with new state policies and with social changes that had accumulated during their absence.

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Narratives/counter-narratives of homecoming