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Issue #1727      April 20, 2016


A simple woman with universal values

Evanthia Sgouras, who passed away in Sydney, after a long illness, on April 7, 2016, was a simple woman who held high the universal values of the working class and had a deep, unshakable conviction in the cause of the liberation of humanity from the yoke of capitalist exploitation.

Vale Evanthia Sgouras.

She was born in Salonika, Northern Greece, in 1933, the youngest child of a working class family. As a young child Evanthia went through the horrors of World War II, the occupation of Greece by the Nazis, the terror and suppression unleashed upon the Greek population by the occupying forces, and the wide-spread hunger the Nazi troops enforced on the people.

She experienced the arrest of her brother-in-law, a fine man of Russian descent, who was beheaded by the Nazis and the arrest of her older sister who was thrown into jail and died there at the age of 20.

Evanthia, even though a child, was elated at the news of the foundation of the National Liberation Front (EAM) and the formation of the Peoples Liberation Army (ELAS). These two important initiatives of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) aimed at organising and developing the resistance struggle of the people for the liberation of the country from fascist tyranny, were acclaimed by the people and received the widest possible support. Within a year of its foundation EAM had the active support of 90 percent of the people and ELAS had won some important and moral-lifting military victories against the occupying forces.

Every time the news came through for a new victory of the liberation army against the forces of occupation Evanthia would dance with joy and run to her parents to announce the news full of excitement. When finally the struggle of the liberation army drove the Germans away and units of ELAS entered triumphantly in Salonika liberating the city, in October 1944, young Evanthia was one of the hundreds of thousands of people who welcomed the resistance fighters of HELAS with flowers and revolutionary songs.

At the age of 19 Evanthia married John Sgouras, a member of the KKE and a resistance fighter who had taken part in the armed struggle against the Nazis. Their life together was a constant struggle to serve their ideals, to contribute to the cause of a new society free from exploitation and suppression and to raise a family. It was a hard struggle.

Evanthia, though she never joined the Party, exhibited an extraordinary tenacity and steadfastness in the struggle of the working class, never doubting, never questioning the necessity of continuing the struggle, even under the most difficult of circumstances.

After the military junta seized power in Greece in 1967, John, her husband, went underground to avoid arrest. The family lived in conditions of illegality, in terrible deprivation for almost a year.

They managed to migrate to Australia in 1968. Melbourne became the family’s new home town and a new struggle started. The struggle for survival in a new situation with all the difficulties of migrant life, and at the same time the struggle to adapt to the conditions of the working class movement in a new, unknown environment. Both husband and wife started work in factories to earn the family’s living.

Earning a living, however, wasn’t enough for this couple. Evanthia possessed the unshakable conviction that in whatever country working people lived, they had to join the local struggle for a better life. It wasn’t long before John joined the CPA and became active in the Democritus Club, the Greek Community of Melbourne, the Committee for Democracy in Greece.

Evanthia’s daughter, Xanthoula, also joined the Party at the young age of 21 and became a leading cadre of the Greek Progressive Youth of Australia (EPNA) in Melbourne. Evanthia was always the driving force encouraging her daughter and son to participate in the working class struggle and become “better persons”.

In 1984, due to John’s serious heart condition, the family returned to Greece. He wanted to die in his native land. He died in 1994 and Evanthia was left without her lifelong comrade. She devoted her care and affection to her children and grandchildren. She never stopped teaching the grandchildren the revolutionary songs of the Liberation Army and urging them to follow the steps of their parents and grandparents, when they grew up.

In 2003, circumstances forced the family to return to Australia. By this time Evanthia was a very sick woman, in a wheel chair, almost blind. Her mind however was as alert as ever and full of conviction for the justice of the cause of the working class.

She finished her days singing the revolutionary songs of the Liberation Army. The last song she sang was “The Red Flag”. After that she didn’t utter another word. She passed way a few hours later.

Evanthia is survived by her daughter Xanthoula, her son Angelo, the grand children Joanna, John and Stelios and the great-grandchildren Evangelos and a young baby girl yet unnamed.

May her memory live for ever!

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