Democracy Museum, Ai Stratis - Μουσείο Δημοκρατίας στον 'Aη Στράτη  
 
 
 
 
 
 
A citizen's rights should include
the right to know one's history.

Philippos Iliou

 
 
 
 
Life in Ai-Stratis: Work gangs for everyday chores
 
 
 
 
"The wind tears the tents to ribbons.... We must fight to win an increase in the subsistence allowance ..., to put an end to censorship, to break our isolation from the village and its people, to get permission for visits, ... to put an end to psychological pressure, threats and "promises".... Every year ... the Public Security Boards have their meetings and sign the standard orders for extensions to the term of exile, [which] keep being renewed....
We have to organize our "indefinite" life here.... We dig wells, and with the fresh water we try to grow a few vegetables."

Vardis Vardinoyannis, Oi misoi sta sidera, pp 209-210, Athens 1996

Organizing food supplies: Kitchen and Bakery

The minimal allowance the exiles received from the State was barely enough for one meal a day. However, by organizing their food production on a collective basis the internees managed to get some provisions for themselves by growing a few vegetables, keeping poultry, fishing and so on.

Μουσείο Δημοκρατίας στον 'Aη Στράτη - Democracy Museum, Ai Stratis

Internees working in the communal bakery. Note that they are holding the placard in their hands, as the Political Exiles' Coexistence Groups (OSPE) had been banned by this time.
Vassilis and Vyron Manikakis Papers.

Teams of cobblers, tailors, barbers, etc.

Μουσείο Δημοκρατίας στον 'Aη Στράτη - Democracy Museum, Ai Stratis

My old boots.
Watercolour by Y. Farsakidis.

Μουσείο Δημοκρατίας στον 'Aη Στράτη - Democracy Museum, Ai Stratis

Women cobblers
The team of women cobblers at Trikeri.
Oil painting by Katina Hariati-Sismani.
Sonia Tzortzaki Collection.

Μουσείο Δημοκρατίας στον 'Aη Στράτη - Democracy Museum, Ai Stratis

A pair of leather sandals belonging to Yorgos Farsakidis, made by the shoemaking team on Ai-Stratis. Where possible, the cobblers mended the few items of footwear that each exile had brought with him, or else they made new one.
Donated by Y. Farsakidis.

Tinplate workshop and Machine-shop

The tinplate workshop and machine-shop on Ai-Stratis provided the exiles with utensils, tools and other everyday articles by making clever use of everything that could possibly be reused. Exhibits donated by Vyron Manikakis.

Construction teams

Μουσείο Δημοκρατίας στον 'Aη Στράτη - Democracy Museum, Ai Stratis

A gang of lumberjacks by a felled oak tree.
Vassilis and Vyron Manikakis Papers.

Μουσείο Δημοκρατίας στον 'Aη Στράτη - Democracy Museum, Ai Stratis

Another construction gang.
Y. Farsakidis Papers.

Μουσείο Δημοκρατίας στον 'Aη Στράτη - Democracy Museum, Ai Stratis

Internees cutting mud-bricks and building.
Photo courtesy of the Contemporary Social History Archives.

Doctors on Ai-Stratis

The exiles were already in poor health when they arrived on the island. Local conditions exposed them to new illnesses. About thirty doctors and twenty medical students were exiled to Ai-Stratis up to 1954. Although even the most basic requisites for diagnosis and treatment were unavailable, many of the internees and permanent residents of the island were saved from death by the doctors' determined efforts. The doctors' assistance in chlorinating the well water was perhaps their most important public health measure, for it saved everybody from endemic typhoid. But in 1956 the last remaining doctors left the island. Last of all was Antonis Floundzis, with his wife: both were transferred to Antikythira, to continue their exile there.

Doctors exiled to Ai-Stratis

  1. Anestis, Stathis, lung specialist, Volos/Athens
  2. Angelopoulos, Grigoris, neurologist, Athens
  3. Arapis, Telis, radiologist, Piraeus
  4. Arsenis, Thanassis, physician, Athens
  5. Athanassiadis, tuberculosis specialist, Thessaloniki
  6. Flessas, Kostas, cardiologist, Athens
  7. Floundzis, Antonis, general practitioner, Athens
  8. Grigoropoulos, Dinos, physician, Nemea
  9. Hiotakis, Kostas, physician, Hania
  10. Kavadellas, Yorgos, radiologist, Athens
  11. Manoussakis, Vassilis, physician
  12. Mavriyannakis, Sifis, physician, Hania
  13. Mezilis, Achilleas, cardiologist, Athens
  14. Mirtsos, Antonis, surgeon, Thessaloniki
  15. Niforos, Mitsos, obstetrician, Agrinio
  16. Panopoulos, Mitsos, obstetrician, Agrinio
  17. Papayannopoulos, Kostas, physician
  18. Rakopoulos, Vassilis, physician, Yannina
  19. Serafimakis, Kyriakos, surgeon, Athens
  20. Skopoulis, Nikos, paediatrician, Athens
  21. Skyftoulis, Mitsos, physician, Athens
  22. Spyridis, Dimitris, physician, Serres
  23. Tsingas, Nikos, physician, Didymoticho
  24. Yannopoulos, Mitsos, physician, Athens
  25. Zografos, Kostas, surgeon, Athens
  26. Levendis, Thodoros, dental surgeon, Athens
  27. Tragos, Chrysanthos, dental surgeon, Athens

Medical students:

  1. Albanopoulos, Marios, neurology, Athens\
  2. Babalitis, Takis (dropped out), Thessaloniki
  3. Dimitrakakis, Yannis
  4. Dragoumis, Markos, pathology, Athens
  5. Drossos, Nikos, surgery, Athens
  6. Frangou, Christos, obstetrics, Thessaloniki
  7. Grigorakis, Vassilis, pathology, Piraeus
  8. Iliopoulos, Thodoros, Corinth
  9. Kakaletsis, Kyriakos (dropped out), Thessaloniki
  10. Kapoyannakis, Michalis, pathology, Yannina
  11. Kouyangas, Thomas, pathology, Athens
  12. Papadakis, Manolis, microbiology, Athens
  13. Papaioannou, Michalis, cardiology, Athens
  14. Samaras, Argyris
  15. Triandafyllou, Adonis, pulmonary medicine, Athens
  16. Yannopoulos, Aris, cardiology, Athens
  17. Yannopoulos, Yorgos, paediatrics, Kiato
  18. Savvidou-Nassi, Hariklia, paediatrics, Athens
  19. Karzi, Kassiani, dental surgery, Athens

Data taken from Antonis Floundzis, To stratopedo tou Ai-Strati, 1950-1962, Athens 1986.

Μουσείο Δημοκρατίας στον 'Aη Στράτη - Democracy Museum, Ai Stratis

Inhabitants of Ai-Stratis demanding the appointment of a doctor in the island. The placard reads: "We want a doctor".
Vassilis and Vyron Manikakis Papers.

Μουσείο Δημοκρατίας στον 'Aη Στράτη - Democracy Museum, Ai Stratis

In the infirmary.
Printed card by Yorgos Farsakidis.

Μουσείο Δημοκρατίας στον 'Aη Στράτη - Democracy Museum, Ai Stratis

Μουσείο Δημοκρατίας στον 'Aη Στράτη - Democracy Museum, Ai Stratis

Documents relating to medical training that dr Antonis Mirtsos received under the supervision of dr Petros Kokkalis, at Aretaion Hospital in Athens and to his deportation to Ai-Stratis. Dr. Mirtsos was originally deported to Lemnos in 1947 and following to Ai-Stratis, Makronisos and back to Ai-Stratis again in 1950. He was released in 1952.
Donation: Eleni Mirstou.

Μουσείο Δημοκρατίας στον 'Aη Στράτη - Democracy Museum, Ai Stratis

Kitchenware
Watercolour by Y. Farsakidis