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Food and TravelMemories of Greece: Dr. Ioannis Siolas of Paleopyrgos, Arcadia

Memories of Greece: Dr. Ioannis Siolas of Paleopyrgos, Arcadia

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By Catherine Tsounis

“When the root is deep there is no reason to fear the wind,” African proverb.

Paleopyrgos is outside the town of Levithi. Mass immigration took place in the late 1960s to the USA, Australia, Canada, and Germany. The lifting of immigration quota restrictions resulted in a legal immigration that emptied Greece’s villages.

Why immigrate? Intense poverty caused by World War II, and the Greek Civil War that pitted brother against brother, and a poor economy that kept people in poverty with no opportunity for advancement, resulted in this demographic change. In their diaspora, they always remembered their families they left behind. They rebuild their homes. Villas transformed the landscape. In the summer, Paleopyrgos, formerly called Bodia, fills with villagers who live overseas. They come to their “patritha”, their village, to revive their roots.

Paleopyrgos is a village in Levithi, Arcadia, in the Peloponnese Region of Greece. There is an archaeological site: the ancient city of Orchomenos.1 As a descendant of Greek refugees from the coast of Western Anatolia, I think this is wonderful. My roots were wiped out in our ancestral mini cities of Tseme and Kato Panagia in 1922.

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Dr. Ioannis Siolas and his mother, Victoria, shared their memories with us. Victoria is from the legendary Souli of Epirus, who now lives in her husband’s ancestral village of Paleopyrgos during the year.

Dr. Ioannis Siolas home. Photo by Catherine Tsounis

“No one gave me help in Germany,” said Dr. Ioannis Siolas. “I had to work 10 times harder than others. I am not involved in social media. Others put my work on the Internet. I am free-lance, not working for hospitals or insurances. I work my patient first, not money. I worked very hard, understood, and learned.” Dr. Siolas has helped many people from his village for free, who have medical problems, in memory of his late father.

He gave me an insight into Germany, saying “Germany is first in technology with exceptional scientists and geniuses. If you are a good scholar with solid character references, tough, focused and do not break, they will open doors. When the door opens, you are given the opportunity to advance and move up. The Germans have a strict system: no work, no pension. I worked very hard, understanding, and learning quickly. The Greeks overseas, in Germany, are different from the native Greeks. We hold on to the old values and customs. We say it like it is. We believe in honor, honesty, and no exploitation.”

Germany was not allowed to arm itself after WWII, because it began WWI as well. On March 4, 2022 ”Prime Minister Scholz needed a big word to justify the big spending package he was announcing a 100 billion Euro one-time subsidy intended to bring the German military up to speed, followed by a proposed increase of military funding to amount to 2% of Germany’s gross domestic product by 2024. The spending represents a new era for the Bundeswehr, which has been kept deliberately small since the Second World War. The news—which sent the stocks of defense contractors sky-rocketing—fundamentally changes the nature of the German military. “My goal, our goal is to have one of the most powerful militaries in Europe,” Finance Minister Christian Lindner told the ARD Morgenmagazin.”2

Dr. Ioannis Siolas home. Photo by Catherine Tsounis

Dr. Ioannis explained WWII village life. “My grandparents Sophia and Konstantino family were very poor. A river ran under the foundation of their home. Sophia Silvers gathered salt from the valley rivers and sold it. They had vineyards and made red wine, moscofilero. They would give grapes to the factory for processing into wine. The wine was stored in large wooden barrels and allowed to age.”

Victoria shared her memories. “It isn’t easy being an immigrant with a different religion and language. When we went to Germany, it was in ruins. Foreign workers like us rebuilt all. American Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzos, was a priest in Germany. He is a great man, who worked to bring all the Orthodox Christians together in Germany. I knew him and admired him.” A good reputation follows a person.

In a recent lecture Dr. Ioannis Siolas participated in a scientific lecture on “The Treatment of Discpathy with Percutaneous Discopathy” (treatment of back disc disease). His presentation was on “Treatment of disc disease.”3 He is an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, Associate of REA Clinic in Athens Greece.

Siolas family Moscofilero red wine from their vineyards. Photo by Catherine Tsounis

Dr. Ioannis Siolas and family built their ancestral home from scratch into a traditional villa that was part of the landscape. “The architect of our home is Kostas Papatheodorou, creator of Agia Fotini church, in Arcadia,” he explained. “It is a two-story, with a spectacular view of the Arcadian landscape. Inspiring view that helps people find inner peace with nature and God. When we planned the home, Architect Papatheodorou wanted me to put Greek columns at the entrance of our home. He is a genius.” I was very impressed with the creation of the home as a real estate professional. We had an enjoyable summer day. A Greek memory of enjoying the unspoilt land of Arcadia over a cup of coffee. Natural, mountainous beauty of Arcadia as envisioned in the 17th-century French neoclassicist Nicolas Poussin painting “Et in Arcadia Ego”4

Reference:

1. https://www.greece.com/destinations/Peloponnese/Arkadia/Village/Paleopyrgos.html

2. https://time.com/6154487/german-military-expansion-ukraine/

3. https://www.reamaternity.gr/epistimoniki-dialexi-quot-antimetopisi-diskopatheias-me-diadermiki-diskoplastiki-quot/

4. https://www.historytoday.com/archive/foundations/et-arcadia-ego

Arcadian landscape view from Dr. Ioannis Siolas’ veranda. Photo by Catherine Tsounis

 

Dr. Ioannis Siolas scientific presentation. Photo by Catherine Tsounis

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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