The family of Moissis Konstantinis lived in Athens. His father, Kanaris Konstantinis was an inspector General with the PTT. The children, Moissis and David, his elder brother by three years, were at school when the war broke out. Until 1943, while Athens was still under Italian occupation, little changed for the family.
Difficulties started in September 1943. Italy capitulated and the Germans took over from the Italians in Athens. When Stroop’s order for the registration of all the city’s Jews was issued, the family went immediately into hiding. The first house they hid in, was in Nea Smyrni. An incident with a German soldier during Christmas, made them change several hideouts. At the various homes they hid in, they passed themselves off as relatives of the landlords, who had come from one of the provinces. In many places they were refused admission or were told to go when it was discovered that they were Jews. They always went on foot. A young man with a cart helped them carry their meager belongings. They ended up in a house in Promitheos street.
His father had already procured false IDs with Christian names. Moissis was now called Dimitrios Arikas and his brother Vassilis. He felt that it was very important to use his false name, that it was not a game.
They avoided going out of the house. They missed the sun. The endless hours of their confinement passed with toys of their own making. They also learned to play the piano. Ôhe ‘’Piano School Certificate’’ of Dimitrios Arikas does still exist.
The only dangerous outings of Moissis were shopping errands with his mother.
They first went by the stock market, where they changed the gold sovereigns they had into drachmas. After that they went to Evripidou Street, where they bought bread. As they had no ration coupons, they had to pay for it. The also bought olives, lentils and anything else they could find to cook. Moissis remembers witnessing battles between the Germans and the ELAS resistance fighters near Veikou Street towards the end of the Occupation. Then went running from door to door along the side streets, dodging the bullets that whizzed by. His father and elder brother almost never went out.
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