Korean War Legacy Project

Georgios Hahlioutis


Georgios “George” Hahlioutis served in the Greek Army during the Korean War. He grew up in Crete during the German occupation. Living conditions were challenging during this time as he witnessed housing being destroyed and bombings on the island. He arrived in Korea near the signing of the truce in 1953. He is a proud Korean War veteran who has fond memories of the Korean people.

Video Clips

German Occupation of Crete

George Hahlioutis describes life as a child under German occupation. With the assistance of his translator, he shares how he was not allowed to attend school but was taught by a chief of Greek Army. He also shares the destruction he saw as a child during WWII.

Tags: Food,Physical destruction,Weapons

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Tears in My Eyes

George Hahlioutis describes seeing Korea for the first time. He explains he could only see the catastrophic destruction. He also shares the pain and suffering he saw of the locals, especially the hungry children.

Tags: Food,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Physical destruction,South Koreans

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Thoughts of a Soldier

George Hahlioutis describes a fighting scene where he was instructed to shoot at two figures. He explains that they could have been North Korean but he believes in his heart he didn't kill anyone. He shares how he feels regret about his actions but is glad he helped the Korean people.

Tags: Front lines,North Koreans,South Koreans,Weapons

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Video Transcript



00:00 [Beginning of Recorded Material]


ΙΝTERVIEWER::         Please introduce yourself, your name and tell me your birthday.

TRANSLATOR:           Πείτε μας το όνομα σας και πότε γεννηθήκατε. [Please say your name and when you were born].

GEORGIOS HAHLIOUTIS:     Το ‘31. [In 1931.]

TR:         Το όνομα σας; [Your name?]

GH:        Γιώργης. Γεώργιος [George. Georgios]

TR:         Όλο. Και το επώνυμο [Full name. And the surname too.]

GH:        Χαχλιούτης. [Hahlioutis.]

TR:         His name is George Hahlioutis and he was born in 1931. He doesn’t remember the date and the month.

ΙΝ:         1931, so, how old are you?

TR:         Πόσο χρονών είστε; [How old are you?]

GH:        Ογδόντα οχτώ. Ογδόντα οχτώ.


TR:         Eighty-eight.

ΙΝ:         Eighty-eight? Wow. You still very look young.

TR:         Φαίνεστε γερός και δυνατός. [You look healthy and strong.]

GH:        Δόξα τω Θεώ. Είμαι δυνατός ακόμα. [Thank God. I am still strong.]

ΙΝ:         So, where were you born?

TR:         Που γεννηθήκατε; [Where were you born?]

GH:        Στ’ Ανώγεια. [In Anogia.]

TR:         Anogia.

ΙΝ:         Here in Crete?

TR:         Yeah, yeah.

GH:        Στον πόλεμο, που είχαμε πόλεμο κι εκεί. [During the war, we had a war there too.]

TR:         During the war…

ΙΝ:         Tell me about the school you went to.


TR:         Πείτε μας για το σχολείο που…. ποια τάξη βγάλατε.. πότε..[Tell us about the school you went… which grade did you finish…when…]

GH:        Θα σας πω. Στο σχολείο εγώ δεν επήγα γιατί είχαμε πόλεμο. Ότι έμαθα εκεί, λέει τότες, όποιος δεν ξέρει γράμματα, καλή του ώρα, αυτουνού του ανθρώπου. Όποιος δεν ξέρει γράμματα, να έρθει, έχουμε σχολείο. Από εκεί έμαθα κι έγραφα στο σπίτι μας. Δεν θα το ξεχάσω ποτέ αυτό το πράγμα που μας εκάνατε. [I will tell you. I didn’t attend school because we were at war. What I learned was there. Then, whoever is illiterate, he said, bless that man, whoever is illiterate, let him come, we have a school. And that was how I learned how to write home. I will never forget this thing that you did for us.]


GH:        Ποτέ δεν θα το ξεχάσω. [I will never forget this.]

TR:         Ποιος ήταν αυτός που είχε το σχολείο; [Who was that man that had the school?]

GH:        Ο Διοικητής ήτανε. Ο Διοικητής τότες. Ο Διοικητής, ποιος ήτανε δεν θυμάμαι. [It was the Commander. The Commander then. The Commander, I can’t remember his name.]

Ο Διοικητής του Τάγματος; [The Battalion Commander?]

Ναι, ναι, ναι, όποιος δεν ξέρει γράμματα να ‘ρχεται να μάθει, γιατί μας έπιασε η γερμανική κατοχή και…. σχολείο δεν είχαμε, οι Γερμανοί μας εχτυπήσανε κι αυτοί, άσ’ το. [Yeah, yeah, yeah, whoever doesn’t now to write or read let him come and learn, because the German Occupation had come and… we didn’t have a school, the Germans have hit us too, let it go.]


TR:         Germans, as you know, there was occupation, a German occupation there, they couldn’t go to school, but the chief of the army unit here, called all the children, to learn how to read and write

GH:        Μας εβομβαρδίσανε και μας χαλάσαν τα σπίτια μας και ήμασταν σε απόγνωση. Επεινάσαμε, δεν είχαμε ψωμί να φάμε. Δεν μπορώ να τα ξεχάσω αυτά. Ποτέ. [They bombed us and destroyed our houses and we were in despair. We were hungry, had no bread to eat. I cannot forget this. Never.]


TR:         He speaks about the German occupation, the bombing of all the houses, they were destroyed, they didn’t have something to eat, a catastrophe…

IN:         Born in this island, have you ever imagined that you would go to a country called Korea and fight for their nation?

TR:         Γεννηθήκατε στην Κρήτη, εδώ στην Ελλάδα. Είχατε ποτέ φανταστεί ότι θα πάτε σε μια χώρα που δεν ξέρετε, την Κορέα, για να πάτε να πολεμήσετε για την ελευθερία της; [You were born in Crete, here in Greece. Had you ever thought that you would go to a country you don’t know, Korea, to fight for its freedom?]

GH:        Θα σας πω. [I will tell you.]


GH:        Εγώ ήμουνα φαντάρος τότες και λέω όταν καλέσουν για την Κορέα θα με έχετε. «Να πας να σκοτωθείς;» μου λέγανε. «Όχι δεν πειράζει, να πάμε να βοηθήσουμε τους ανθρώπους που είναι χτυπημένοι. Να τους βοηθήσουμε». Δηλαδή, ή θα γλυτώσουμε ή θα φύγουμε. Δυο πράγματα είναι. [I was in the army that time and I said that when they ask for Korea, let me in. They were saying to me “Do you want to go and get killed?” “No, that doesn’t matter, we should go and help these struck people. We must help them. Either we get away with this or we ‘ll depart. Only  these two things.]

TR:         He joined the army. There, he heard about the Korean War and immediately he thought that, OK, I can go there, even to lose my life, in order to save that country.


IN:         Wow. That’s very nice of you to say that.

TR:         Πολύ ωραίο αυτό να τα πούμε που είπατε. [That was very nice, what you said.]

IN:         Did you know anything about Korea before you left for Korea?

TR:         Πριν φύγετε για την Κορέα, είχατε ακούσει τίποτα γι’ αυτή τη χώρα; [Before you left for Korea, had you heard anything about that country?]

GH:        Είχαμε ακούσει ότι είχε πόλεμο. Δηλαδή τι να ακούσουμε… σε τι πράγμα δηλαδή; [We had heard that there was a war there. What do you mean we should have heard…about what?]


TR:         Επιτρέψτε μου… αν γνωρίζατε τίποτα γι’ αυτή την… προτού πάτε στον πόλεμο, είχατε ακούσει για την Κορέα; Πριν απ’ τον πόλεμο. [Allow me… if you knew anything about this… before going to the war, had you heard about Korea? Before the war.]

GH:        Είχαμε ακούσει, είχα ακούσει εγώ. Είχα ακούσει. [We had heard, I had heard. I had heard.]

TR:         He had heard about the Korea before the war.

ΙΝ:         So, when did you land in Korea?

TR:         Πότε φτάσατε στην Κορέα; [When did you arrive in Korea?]

GH:        Δεν θυμάμαι ακριβώς όμως. [I do not remember exactly.]

TR:         Πότε φτάσατε; [When did you arrive?]

GH:        Αυτό ήτανε… πριν δυο χρόνια που τελείωσε η Κορέα. [It was… two years before the end of the Korea affair.]


GH:        Που τελείωσε ο πόλεμος. [Before the war ended.]

TR:         Εσείς πότε φτάσατε στην Κορέα; Δεν θυμάστε τον χρόνο που πήγατε; [When did you arrive in Korea? Don’t you remember the year you went?]

GH:        Όχι. Όχι, όχι δεν θυμάμαι. Δεν θυμάμαι. [No. No, no, I don’t remember. I don’t remember.]

TR:         Είπατε δυο χρόνια μετά τη λήξη του πολέμου; [You said two years after the war ended?]

GH:        Όχι, δηλαδή ήτανε να πούμε σε ανακωχή. Από στιγμή μέχρι στιγμή. [No, it was like being in an armistice. Any moment that time.]

TR:         Μάλιστα. Ήσασταν εκεί; [I see. You were there?]

GH:        Ναι, ναι, έτοιμοι. [Yes, yes, we were ready.]

TR:         Δεν είχε γίνει ανακωχή; [There wasn’t an armistice]

GH:        Έτοιμοι, έτοιμοι, έτοιμοι. [Ready, ready, ready.]

TR:         Δεν είχε γίνει ανακωχή ακόμη; [There wasn’t an armistice yet?]


GH:        Ακόμα, ανακωχή ήθελε να γίνει μετά. Μετά. [The armistice was to come later. Later.]

TR:         Μετά. Που πήγατε; [Later. When you arrived?]

GH:        Ναι, ναι. [Yes, yes.]

TR:         He had been there… he doesn’t remember exactly the month and the year, but exactly when the truce was going to be signed.

ΙΝ:         OK. So, when he saw the Korea for the first time, how did he think about Korea. What was the image in his mind when he saw the Korea for the first time in his life?


TR:         Ποια ήταν η εντύπωση σας, ποια εικόνα σας παρουσίασε η Κορέα όταν την είδατε, όταν πήγατε εκεί, για πρώτη φορά. [What was your impression, what was the picture of Korea when you saw it, when you went there for the first time?]

GH:        Να σας πω. Εγώ δεν μπορώ να τους ξεχάσω σαν άνθρωπους. Είναι ένας λαός… [Let me tell you. I can’t forget these people. They are people that…]

TR:         Την Κορέα, πως την… όταν πρωτοπήγατε, πω την είδατε την Κορέα; [Korea, how… when you went there for the first time what did you see of Korea?]

GH:        Εεε.. ερείπια, ερείπια, ερείπια. Δηλαδή έκλαιγες άμα έβλεπες την κατάσταση αυτή, έκλαιγες. [Ahh… ruins, ruins, ruins. You were crying this situation, you were crying.]


GH:        Δεν είχανε ψωμί να φάνε όμως εμάς στον πόλεμο. Ακριβώς. Αξιολύπητοι ανθρώποι. [They didn’t have any bread to eat, just like we hadn’t any during the war. Exactly. Pitiful people.]

TR:         There was a destroyed country that only tears came to your eyes seeing all these people suffering, the children and all this catastrophe over there.

IN:         So, when you saw those children and destroyed nation did you think that Korea would become like this today?


TR:         Βάλτε τώρα στο μυαλό σας την εικόνα που είδατε της καταστροφής τότε κι αυτή την Κορέα που βλέπουμε τώρα που είναι 11η οικονομία, ναι, μπορούσατε να το φανταστείτε αυτό ότι θα γίνει; [Put now in your mid the image of destruction you saw in Korea and the Korea we see today, as 11th economy, yes, could you imagine that this was going to happen?]

GH:        Καθόλου. Καθόλου. Μου φαίνεται όνειρο αυτό… τους συγχαίρουμε διότι είναι ένας λαός, πρώτο που δεν μας εξεχάσανε και δεύτερο που ανεβήκανε στο επίπεδο που ανεβήκανε. Δεν είναι δυνατόν να μου τους αγαπάς αυτούς τους ανθρώπους; Για όνομα του Θεού. [Not at all, not at all. This looks like a dream to me… we congratulate them because they are people that, first, had not forgot us and, second, they achieved this level. Is it possible not to love these people? For God’s sake.]


TR:         He couldn’t imagine what happened to your country from that country devastated to see, to see that miracle so, how can one not… can’t love that people.

IN:         When did you leave Korea?

TR:         Πότε φύγατε από την Κορέα για να επιστρέψετε Ελλάδα; [When did you left Korea to return to Greece?]

GH:        Εγώ έκαμα δύο χρόνια. [I spent two years there.]


TR:         Στην Κορέα; [In Korea?]

GH:        Ναι. Δύο χρόνια έκαμα και έφυγα μετά. [Yes. I spent two years and then left.]

TR:         Άρα φύγατε το ’55, η τελευταία αποστολή. [So, you left in 1955, the last mission.]

GH:        Ναι, ναι. [Yes, yes.]

TR:         So, he left Korea in 1955.

IN:         And after that, did he went… he didn’t go back to Korea?

TR:         Ξαναεπισκεφτήκατε μετά την Κορέα; Με το Revisit Program? [Have you ever revisited Korea? With the Revisit Program?]

GH:        Όχι. [No.]

TR:         Με το Revisit Program? [With the Revisit Program?]

GH:        Όχι. Μία φορά κάναμε βολή. Εγώ ήμουνα στα ελαφρά αντιαρματικά. Εκεί ήρθαν τα βαριά. [No. Once we were having a firing drill. I was in light anti-tank. There came the heavy ones.]


GH:        Και μου λέει ο Κορεάτης «Κατευθείαν εμπρός, δύο δάκτυλα αριστερά». Και πέφτει το βλήμα και πάει στη σπηλιά, το βλήμα. Μόλις επήγε στη σπηλιά το βλήμα, με φιλινε αυτός ο άνθρωπος και μου πήρε ένα δίκανο, ένα κυνηγετικό τουφέκι και μου λέει «Θα σε στείλω και στο Τόκιο», μου λέει «γιατί αξίζεις πολλά». «Είσαι» μου λέει «εκπαιδευμένος σε μεγάλο βαθμό». Εν πάσει περιπτώσει… [And the Korean says “Dead ahead, two inches left.” And the round, the projectile goes straight in the cave. When the round entered the cave, this guy kissed me and he brought me a double barreled hunting rifle and said to me “I will sent you in Tokyo, because you are worth a lot”. He said, “You are highly trained.”]

TR:         Ήσασταν πυροβολητής; [Were you a gunner?]


GH:        Όχι, όχι. Τι πυροβολητής εννοείς; [No, no. What do you mean “a gunner”?]

TR:         Το βλήμα είπατε… [You said about the projectile…]

GH:        Ναι. [Yes.]

TR:         Ότι το στείλατε το βλήμα… [That you sent the projectile…]

GH:        Ναι, ναι, ναι, αμέ, αμέ. Ήμουνα σκοπευτής δυνατός. Εδώ πέρα ήμουνε… [Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure, sure. I was a good marksman. I was there…]

TR:         Τυφέκιο; [A rifle.]

GH:        Βέβαια. [Of course.]

TR:         He describes a scene, a polemic scene, a fighting scene you see…

IN:         Yeah.

TR:         …that a Korean person, maybe an officer, told him “shoot that direction two fingers on the left”


TR:         …and he found exactly the cave where maybe the North Koreans were there and they maybe destroyed them.

IN:         Did you kill any enemies?

TR:         Σκοτώσατε κανέναν εχθρό; [Did you kill any enemies?]

GH:        Όχι, όχι, δεν εσκότωσα, δεν εσκότωσα… [No, no, I didn’t kill, I didn’t kill…]

TR:         Νο.

IN:         Νο? Hey you are a soldier there, to kill the enemy!

GH:        Δεν ξέρω τώρα στη σπηλιά μέσα αν ήταν κανείς… [Of course I don’t know if there was anyone in the cave…]

TR:         He doesn’t..

GH:        Αν ήταν στη σπηλιά μέσα κανείς δεν ξέρω. [I don’t know if there was anyone in the cave.]


GH:        Κάνω το σταυρό μου και λέω ίσως να σκότωσα έτσι και κανά ανθρώπους. Αλλά, ακόμα το χω στο μυαλό μου πολλές φορές το βάζω στο μυαλό μου, γιατί αυτή που μου ‘καμε ο αξιωματικός, βλέπω κάτι εσυμβήκε αλλά…. εν πάσει περιπτώσει. [I make the sign of cross and I say that I might have killed a man this way. But I still have this in my mind and many time I think about it, because what the officer did shows that something had happened but…. Never mind.]

TR:         He doesn’t know exactly that bullet, that shot that hit the cave, if there anyone who would be killed. So he thinks all this scene from that time, all this is in his mind


IN:         So, you feel sad, did you feel regret? Regret. Regret. Did you feel regret that you fired…

TR:         Ah, I see… Νιώθετε κάποια… [Do you feel any…]

GH:        Τύψεις εννοείς; [Guilt, you mean?]

TR:         Ναι, τύψεις, τίποτα για το… [Yeah, guilt, about the…]

GH:        Ε, νιώθω, νιώθω, κάπου κάπου νιώθω κάποια τύψη…νιώθω. [I do, I do, sometimes I feel some guilt.. I do feel.]

TR:         Yes, he feels sometimes…

GH:        Νιώθω, δεν μπορώ να μην το πω… [I do feel, I cannot dare not say it…]


TR:         …some regrets.

IN:         So, did you went back to Korea?

TR:         Δεν ξαναπήγατε μετά με το Revisit Program? [Haven’t you went back with the Revisit Program?]

GH:        Όχι, δεν ξαναπήγα. [No, I didn’t.]

TR:         He hasn’t been…

IN:         So, do you know that Korean economy now, how Korean economy is doing?

TR:         Γνωρίζετε τίποτα για την σύγχρονη οικονομία της Κορέας; [Do you know anything about modern Korean economy?]

GH:        Εγώ τους θαυμάζω. Πρώτο, πρώτο που τους θαυμάζω για την οικονομία και δεύτερο που σταματάν σαν στρατιώτες και χαιρετούν τον άνθρωπο. [I admire them. First I admire them for the economy and second that they halt like soldiers and greet people.]


GH:        Δηλαδή δεν μας εξεχάσανε αυτοί οι ανθρώποι. Είναι δυνατόν να φύγουν απ’ το μυαλό μου; Είναι δυνατό; Εμάς εκάνανε τραπέζι και πήγαμε κι εβαλε ο Βορειο… ο Κορεάτης ο αξιωματικός και μίλησα και μου λέει «σήκω να ‘ρθεις εδώ». Και πάω μαζί του. Κι έντον’ με τη γυναίκα του. Και μου λέει «πως μας εβλέπεις» και λέω του διερμηνέα «πες του», του Καράτζη, «ότι είναι ένας λαός που δεν μας ξεχνούνε. Δεν μας εξεχάσανε, είναι δυνατόν» λέω, «να μην τους αγαπούμε;» [I mean, these people didn’t forget us. Is it possible to send them off my mind? We were given a luncheon and we went there and the North…. the Korean officer made me deliver a speech and he says “stand up and come here”. And I followed him. And his was with his wife. And he said to me “what do you think of us?” And I told Karatzis, the interpreter, “Tell him that they are people that do not forget about us. They didn’t forget us, is it possible that we don’t love them?”]


GH:        Και σηκώνεται ο αξιωματικός τότε με τη γυναίκα του και με φιλήσανε και  μου λέει ο Κορεάτης τότε, λέει, στα ελλ.. λέει «έχεις εγγόνια;» λέω «έχω». Λέει «δωρεά στην Κορέα να πάρεις και τη γυναίκα σου να ‘ρθεις.» μου λέει. Κι βγάλαμε και τη φωτογραφία και φύγαμε. Δηλαδή υπερευχαριστημένος ημουν μαζί τονε. [And the officer stood up with his wife and they kissed me and the Korean said then in gr.. he said “Do you have any grandchildren?”. I told him “I do.” And he said to me “A present from Korea to get your wife and come”, he said. And we took a photo and we left. I was exceptionally pleased with them.]

TR:         Πότε έγινε αυτό; Εδώ; [Where did this happen? Here?]

GH:        Εδώ, εδώ, εδώ, ναι, εδώ, εδώ, εδώ. [Here, here, here, yes, here, here, here.]


TR:         He describes a scene that a Korean official had come here, to Heraklion, and saw the kindness they showed to him, they showed to him that they respect him because he went to Korea, so how we can forget that kind of people you are. Mr Han.


GH:        Λοιπόν, εγώ να πω άλλο ένα. Κι είναι και ανθρώποι ομοιόμορφοι, με καλή καρδιά. Θα σου μιλήσουνε, θα σε χαιρετήσουνε. Δεν έχουν εγωισμό αυτοί οι ανθρώποι και αυτό με συγκινεί εμένα. Ενώ άλλοι, έχουν εγωισμό, έχουν αυτό, έχουνε αυτά, κατάλαβες… [Well, I would like to say another one. They are people universally kind-hearted. They will speak to  you, they will greet you. These people do not have selfishness and this moves me. Others, on the other side, have selfishness, they have this and these, you get the point…]

TR:         He speaks about the Korean people who has met, how kind you are, how well-hearted. You praise and you show your gratitude for what they have done.


IN:         Can you believe that is already been 70 years since he went to Korea, and now we talk about 70th anniversary, can you believe it?

TR:         Μπορείτε να πιστέψετε τώρα που μιλάμε εδώ πέρα ότι σε λίγο, το 2020, θα είναι 70 χρόνια από τον Κορεατικό Πόλεμο; Πως σας φαίνονται αυτά τα χρόνια που έχουν περάσει; [Can you believe now that we are talking, that in a while, in 2020, it is going to be 70 years from the Korean War? How do these years passed seem to you.]

GH:        Όνειρο, όνειρο. [A dream, a dream.]

TR:         It’s a dream.


GH:        Όνειρο, γιατί έζησα και στον Γερμανικό Πόλεμο και είναι όνειρο. Τι να σου πω, τι να σου πω, δεν είχα ψωμί να φάω καθόλου. Έκλαιγα, έλεγα τση μανας μου δώσε μου ψωμί – που να βρώ; [A dream, because I lived during the German War and it’s a dream. What can I say, what can I say to you, I didn’t have any bread at all to eat. I was crying, I was asking my mother to give me some bread and she was answering “Where can I find it?”

TR:         Στη κατοχή λέτε, ε; [You are talking about the occupation, right?]

GH:        Ναι, χαλάσαν τα σπίτια μας, εκάμανε καταστροφές… επήγα βέβαια στη Γερμανία εγώ μετά και δούλεψα. Η αλήθεια του Θεού: μου φερθήκαν τόσο όσο δεν πρέπει. Τι να φανταστείς; Είναι πολύ έντιμοι. Εδούλευα σε ένα εργοστάσιο που έβγαζε υγρό σίδηρο. [Yes, they destroyed our houses, turned everything to ruin… of course later I went to Germany and worked there. God’s truth is that their attitude to me was more than I could ask. What can you imagine? They are very honest. I was working in a factory producing liquid iron.]


GH:        Τ’ αφεντικό επαινούσε και σου ‘κανε παράκληση. Τ’ αφεντικό. Και μου λέει, «πως πας, καλά;» Λέω «καλά». «Καλά λεφτά παίρνετε;» Λέω «αν μπορέσεις να δώσεις κάτι» λέει «θα σου δώσω». «Γάλα πίνεις;» Άκου να δεις τ’ αφεντικό τώρα. Κι έχω πάει πέρα ένα σαν τη βελονίτσα και με παίρνει η νοσοκόμα και με πάει στους γιατρούς και λέω «δεν έχω τίποτα». Λέει «τρελός είσαι;» [The boss was praising you and was asking you. The boss. And he said to me “How are you doing, well?”. I say “Good”. I say to him “I you can give me a little more” and he said “I will. Are you drinking milk?” Think about what the boss had said. And I have taken something like a tiny needle and the nurse took me to the doctors and I say “I am ll right.”. He says “Are you crazy?”


GH:        Όταν επήγα στον γιατρό, ο γιατρός λέει «πότε ήρθε» λέει, «που δούλευε;» «Στο σίδερο». «Πότε ήρθες;» λέει. «Δυο χρόνια». Και παίζει μια και χορεύαν τα ποτήρια. Και σηκώνομαι απάνω και του δίνω την κάρτα. Και σηκώνεται απάνω και με φιλεί και μου λέει «Δύο χιλιάρικα. Ούτε κοπανατζής…» λέει, «…είσαι, ούτε τίποτα. Εδώ πέρα πρέπει να πάρεις λεφτά.» Ήθελε να ‘μαι σωστός. Κατάλαβες. [When I went to the doctor, the doctor said “When did he came here”, he said “Where was he working?” “In the ironworks.” “When did you came?” he said. “Two years ago.” And he stroke the table, rocking the glasses. And I stood up and gave him the card. And he stood up and kissed me and he said “Two thousand. You are not a shirker, nothing of this. You should be paid properly.” He wanted me to be honest. You understand, don’t you?.]

TR:         He describes a scene when he worked in Germany.


IN:         OK, that’s it now. So, is it… do you remember any Korean people that he saw or worked with.

TR:         Θυμάστε κάποιο πρόσωπο κορεατικό με τον οποίο συζητήσατε ή εργαστήκατε ποτέ μαζί του; [Do you remember any Korean person that you ever talked to or worked with?]

GH:        Με την Κορέα; [In Korea?]

TR:         Ναι. [Yes.]

GH:        Να σας πω. Εγώ ήμουνα και λίγο έτσι, ζωηρός. Μια δόση λέω κάποιου φαντάρου «άιντε να περπατήσουμε λίγο, στα χωριά». [I will tell you. I was like a bit sparky. At a certain time I tell another soldier “Let’s go for a walk at the villages”.]


GH:        Έρχεται του Διοικητή το αμάξι και λέει ο Διοικητής, κατεβαίνουν και με γράφουν. Μας εγράψανε. Πάμε την επάυριο και μου λέει «που πηγαίνατε, Χαχλιούτη;» Λέω «Πηγαίναμε κύριε Διοικητά και μεις να κάνουμε μια βόλτα να ξεσκάσουμε λίγο.» «Μπράβο» μου λέει «καλά το λες». Και λέει «παίξε μια κουτουλιά ο ένας του αλλουνού». Επαίξαμε μια κουτουλιά, να δεις τι άνθρωπος ήτανε. [There comes the commander’s car and on his command, they get off and took my name. They took our names. Next morning we go to him and he says “Where were you going Hahlioutis?” I say “We were also going for a walk Sir, to relax a bit.” “Well done”, he said “well said.” And he said “Head-butt each other”. We head-butted each other, that kind of man he was.]


GH:        «Καλά το κάνετε, είστε πολύ ζωηρός, μπράβο σου», μου λέει, μου λέει ο Διοικητής. Αυτός… μα τι να σου πω τώρα, τι να σου πω. Ήμουνα ανοιχτός πάντα εγώ, δεν  έκρυβα τίποτα. Λέω τι να μου κάνει… [“You are doing it right, you are very energetic, well done”, the Commander said. He… what can I say to you now, what can I say. I was always open, I wasn’t hiding anything.]

TR:         He describes himself as an alive person. Once he went with a friend of his to a village and they strove over there, when the jeep of the commander approached them and told them “what are you doing here?” “We wemt for a strove, for a walk.” “All right”.


IN:         So, special message to Korean people that you remember and the nation that you fought for. An special message for them?

TR:         Θα θέλατε να δώσετε ένα ιδιαίτερο μήνυμα σ’ αυτόν τον λαό για τον οποίο πολεμήσατε λόγω των 70 χρόνων που θα γιορτάσουμε την έναρξη του Κορεατικού Πολέμου; [Would you like to give a special message to these people for who you fought, on the occasion of the anniversary of the 70 years since the beginning of the Korean War?]


GH:       Είπα σας και θα πεθάνω και μπορεί να τους βλέπω και όνειρο. Αυτό τον ωραίο λαό, αυτή τη διάθεση που εκάμανε, αυτή που εκάμανε, δεν την έχω δει οπουδήποτε έχω πάει, σ’ αυτά. Αυτός ο λαός είναι αξιοπρεπής. Πολύ αξιοπρεπής ήταν. [I told you that I am going to die and I may continue to see them in my drem. These beautiful people, this mood they showed, that they showed, I have never seen it wherever I have been. These people are very decent. They were very decent.]

TR:        He admires the Korean people, so I can’t forget that people and will remember ‘til he last  hour of my life.


GH:        Λοιπόν, θα σου πω κάτι. Σ’ ένα σημείο, ήταν ένας Κορεάτης έτσι, για να μη χτυπήσουμε στην πόρτα. Στο καράβι μέσα. Και λέω «κοίτα επαέ έναν λαό, πως προσέχει τον άνθρωπο να μην πέσει». [Well, I am going to tell you something. At a certain point, there was a Korean like this, so that we don’t hit the door. On the ship. And I say “Look at people that care for other people not to fall.]

TR:         Ήτανε στην πόρτα; [He was on the door?]

GH:        Στην πόρτα, και ήταν έτσι, κοιτάξτε μόνο εδώ να μην χτυπήσετε. Πράγματα είναι φανταστικά. [On the door and he was like this, look out not to hurt yourselves. These things are fantastic.]

TR:         He describes a scene…σε πλοίο; ..on a ship?


GH:        Ναι, στο πλοίο. [Yeah, on a ship.]

TR:         …that it was a Korean person there help another not to be overrun by the step, you know, in the ship.

IN:         Any other message?

TR:         Κάποιο μήνυμα, άλλο, τι θα λέγατε στον Κορεατικό λαό; [Any other message, what would you say to the Korean people.]

GH:        Δεν μπορώ να τους ξεχάσω. Αυτό είναι το μήνυμά μου εμένα. Εγώ, μόνο όταν πεθάνω, να φύγω, θα φύγουν απ’ το μυαλό μου. [I can’t forget them. This is my message. Only when I die, when I depart, will these people leave from my mind.]


GH:        Το ‘χω πει στη γυναίκα μου, το ‘χω πει σε πολλούς, τι να σου πω δηλαδή. Είμαι αισιόδοξος γι’ αυτό το λαό. Πολύ αισιόδοξος. Εταλαιπωρηθήκαν κι αυτοί όπως εμάς. Επεινάσανε, εκάμανε, δείξανε, εσηκώσανε όμως το κεφάλι των επάνω και είναι ένας λαός που… κατάλαβες; Αυτό είναι. [I have told my wife, I have told many, what can I say. I am optimistic about these people. Very optimistic. They went through harsh times like we did. They starved, they did, they showed, but they raised their head and they are people that…did you understand?]

TR:         He admires….

GH:        Λοιπόν, έχω να σου πω άλλο ένα. [Well, I ‘ll tell you one more thing.]


GH:        Οι Βόρειοι, εβάζαν του ποντικού ψύλλους στα πακετάκια και τα πετούσαν από εκεί που ήμασταν εμείς. Κακώς βέβαια. Κακώς. Και φέραμε και νεκρό. Ένα, φέραμε νεκρό από κει, από κείνο το πράμα. Κακά πράματα, πολύ κακά πράματα. [North Koreans were putting mouse fleas in packages and they were throwing them on our side. A bad thing indeed. A bad thing. From this thing, we brought home one dead. Bad thing, very bad thing.]

TR:         He describes a scene that North Koreans caught rats and put them… I am sorry…


IN:         It’s OK, it’s ok.

TR:         Allow me to tell about the Korean people. He admires again, he will never forget it, as said before, the image of that kind people will be with him up to the last time of his life.

GH:        Ένα σκοτωμένο, σου λέω, ένα πεθαμένο εφέραμε στον..  όταν ερχόμαστε. [A killed guy, a dead one, we brought with us when we came home.]


TR:         They brought…

IN:         What?

TR:         Όλοι οι νεκροί ήταν θαμμένοι στην Κορέα όμως… [But all dead were buried in Korea…]

GH:        Πως; [What?]

TR:         Στην Κορέα ήταν θαμμένοι οι νεκροί. Όλοι οι Έλληνες δηλαδή. [All dead were buried in Korea. I mean all Greeks.] OK.

IN:         That’s it?

TR:         That’s all.

IN:         Sir, your story moved me, my heart and I know why I am here.


IN:         I never been to Greece, thanks to Demetrios’ help and I came to Crete, the island, for the first time in my life. Now I know why I am here. I met the Greek people, genuine people who came to Korea, never knew about us, but fought for us, so that we become. I born after the war, I was born after the war and  without your sacrifice and your fight, I am not here.


IN:         That’s why we want to preserve your memory and keep it forever, so that we can tell our future generations about your honorable service and sacrifice. Thank you so much.

TR:         Δεν είχε έρθει ποτέ στη ζωή του στην Ελλάδα. Του δόθηκε η ευκαιρία, με την ευκαιρία αυτή να πάρει συνεντεύξεις από τόσο γενναίους ανθρώπους σαν κι εσάς. Και ακριβώς έχει τα ίδια αισθήματα που έχετε εσείς για τον Κορεατικό λαό… [He has never come to Greece. He was given the chance, this chance to interview such brave men like you. And he has exactly the same feelings you have about the Korean people…]


GH:        Ναι; [He has?]

TR:         …συναισθήματα για τον ελληνικό λαό, ότι είμαστε ευγενείς, παρά το ότι έχει μέρες, από την Παρασκευή που έχει έρθει εδώ, γνώρισε λοιπόν ανθρώπους ως τώρα, τόσο ωραίους, όπως εσείς που περιγράψατε ότι είναι καλός… […these feelings about Greek people, that we are kind, although it has been only a few days since he arrived on Friday, so until now he has met people that nice like you, who said that they are good…]

GH:        Αν είναι δυνατόν να μην περιγράψεις τέτοιο λαό. Αν είναι δυνατό. Εγώ το μεταδίδω όπου και να πάω. [It is impossible not to describe people like these. It is impossible. I convey this everywhere I go.]


GH:        Λέω «αυτοί οι ανθρώποι, ότι και να κάμαμε γι αυτούς και θυσιαστήκαμε γι’ αυτούς, χαλάλι τους χίλιες φορές» τους λέω. Μου λέγανε «θα πας στην Κορέα να σκοτωθείς» «Δεν πειράζει» τους λέω. «Πάμε να λευτερώσουμε τους ανθρώπους, ότι μπορούμε.» Γιατί επέρασα κι εγώ μια κατάσταση τέτοια, και γι’ αυτό το λέω. Όλα αυτά σου μένουν στη ζωή. [I say “These people, whatever we had done about them or sacrificed for them, a thousand time well-deserved”. They were saying to me “You will go to Korea to get killed”. “Never mind” I said to them. “We are going there to free these people, whatever we can do.” Because I went through a situation like this, this is why I am saying this. This is what remains for the rest of your life.

TR:         He describes also… before going to Korea, they told him that “You will go to Korea and have your… lose your life”. “I will go there”.


TR:         He wanted very much to fight the communists in order to save your country. So, he’s very happy to do… to have done it..

IN:         Thank you.


22:48 [End of recorded material]