Book review My father had this Luger
My father had this Luger is captivating, with a cinematic feel, and moments that are truly haunting and memorable
My father had this Luger is a new book that sheds light on the importance Greece played during WWII, a subject matter that has been overlooked historically. It tells the story of the six-year-old Evangelos Louizos - the voice of the novel - who finds himself caught up in the German occupation of Greece.
The book educates the reader, but also engages them, taking them back in time, opening an unseen window into our nation's past.
"Initially it wasn't meant to be a book at all," says the author.
"The scenes were planned a few decades back as a personal catharsis because I wanted to leave my memories as a legacy to my children. I started writing down a few notes; the paragraphs became pages and the pages chapters," Evangelos Louizos explained to Neos Kosmos.
A year ago - after Mr Loizos published his autobiography in Greece - he was approached by the editors of The Zeus Project as they were especially impressed by his work and thought it would be a great idea to use in their campaign.
The Sword of Zeus Project is a multimedia history-as-literature program, dedicated to Greece's role in WWII, concerning the cultural and historical factors surrounding that role.
The story centres around the author's father who came into possession of a Luger (a German semi-automatic pistol) from a German pilot. Later, he has to hand it over to the Germans when Athens is occupied by the Axis forces.
Louizos said to Neos Kosmos he has been blessed with a great memory and he can recall intricate incidents that happened 75 years ago, even insignificant ones, like a name or what his mother gave him to drink when he was a child.
"Most people are unaware that the Greeks fought alone against the Axis powers.
"In October of 1940, most of Europe was defeated, but it was the Greeks who fought and defeated the enemy. Greece not only gave the world's first victory against the Axis powers, but also managed to delay Hitler's plans for one month. Greece gave hope to people around Europe.
They realised that if little Greece could do it, so could they," said Louizos.
Born in Kallithea in 1933. Louizo joined the navy and then moved to the US where he later down the track received an American citizenship and studied social sciences, history, Spanish and linguistics.
In 1980 he moved to England, where he founded and headed the Department of English as a Second Language at the American Community School in Cobham for 18 years.
When I asked him what troubled him most about making this book; he answered that it was mostly the editing.
"We had to be selective with the material as the amount of writing was beyond the limits of publishing. What I wrote was a synopsis, a 'thimble' of the experiences I had witnessed. We tried to condense it as much as possible".
What is truly noteworthy about this book is the fact that it remains neutral towards the Germans soldiers who took control of Greece.
"When you get older, you stand back and see these events from a very different perspective. They are human beings caught in a warzone, some of them unwillingly. With age, you start to realise the humanity. We are all human beings."
There is a very haunting scene in the novel where little Evangelos disobeys the curfew and turns the lights on for a few seconds during the night. The German soldiers mistake this as the signal of some rebel organisation and hurry into the house carrying guns. A scared Evangelos remains under the sheets shaking with fear, when the German soldiers entered the room.
One German soldier lifts the sheet and points his gun towards little Evangelos's head. A few seconds later - after the German soldier realises that the cause of the trouble is just a small child - he simply puts the sheet back on top of him the way that he had found him; he switches off the lights and leaves the room. The only thing that little Evangelos can hear is the sound of the man's big German boots, each step slowly fading away.
Louizos realized later on that the German soldier might have been just as frightened as he was, and may not have known what was hiding underneath the sheet. As far as he may have known, it might have been a gun aimed towards him. War can create monsters out of us all.
This engrossing work, My father had this Luger is described by one very acute witness. Certain passages are thought provoking while some are downright bone chilling, yet all unforgettable. The engaging, youthful spirit of Evangelos Louizos is seen throughout his writing, keeping readers captivated by his every word. He is a remarkable writer with the natural talent of story-telling.
"He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster," wrote the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in his book Beyond Good and Evil, and with this said, it fits the theme of the book perfectly.
For more details about the Zeus Project you can www.theswordofzeus.info You can also order your copy of 'My Father had this Luger' from Amazon's website on: www.amazon.com by entering the title of the book into the search engine on the site.
- Register Now
- Turkey condemns NSW's genocide recognition
- Mykonos: Something to 'Crowe' about
- Greek community pays tribute to Hazel Hawke
- Recognising genocide
- Fitch upgrades Greece's credit rating
- Angelopoulos' Greek drama
- Melbourne Heart signs Massimo Murdocca
- Greek men affected by crisis
- Greece honours Australian WWII veterans
- New rules for reverse mortgages
- 8 May 2013 | 13 Votes
- 8 May 2013 | 9 Votes
- 3 May 2013 | 9 Votes
- 15 May 2013 | 9 Votes
- 22 May 2013 | 8 Votes
- 13 May 2013 | 8 Votes
More from this Section
- Heristanidis shortlisted for NSW Premier's Literary Award
- A tale of superstition, family myths and denial
- High Heels for Six available on Amazon
- Muslim-Christian coexistence, before the nation
- Christos Tsiolkas, back at uni
- Το βιβλίο της εβδομάδας
- Don't judge this book by its cover
- Literary comp open
- Spyros' memoirs
- Book review: Travels with Epicurus
Two remaining Australian players in the English Premier League could be ditched by their teams
The ring is said to have transported hundreds of kilos of cannabis from Albania to Western Europe
The 4.2-billion-euro installment is expected on Friday
On top of the $26 million allocated for the 2013-14 budget, the Vic government will include an extra $1.86 million over two years for multiculturalism
Week-long commemorations were marked to honour Pontian Greeks who lost their lives
The conclusion of the A1 basketball league’s regular season saw the relegation of Peristeri to the A2 after a dramatic battle with Ilisiakos
A Greek Australian part of the trucking company at the centre of the alleged fraud, Viking Group, was involved in the 'severe bashing'.
Miron Bleiberg steps in as interim coach, following the departure of the 'club boy' Bill Theodoropoulos
49 and his first trip to the Greek islands, Australian actor Russell Crowe is living it up in Mykonos
An anti-racism bill aimed at reining in the ultra-right Golden Dawn party by imposing tougher penalties on the incitement of racist violence has caused a major rift
Greek Australian artist Anna Pappas took part in 2013 Art-Athina, determined to aid long-term Greek Australian cooperation in art
The 2013-14 program provides 128,550 places for skilled migrants; 60,885 places for family migration and 565 places for special cases
The Victorian Premier League returns this weekend with Round Five, and South Melbourne welcome Richmond Eagles, and their new coach, in their first home game this season
The party had consistently spent 30 per cent more than it earned over its time in power
Open to the general public, the lecture by professor Vrasidas Karalis is a highlight in the Brisbane lecture series
After a five-men walkout from the club Sydney Olypmic rose to a magnificent win against undefeated Bonnyrigg White Eagles
Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey has mounted a passionate defence of Tony Abbott's paid parental leave scheme and branded dissident Liberal backbencher Alex Hawke
Celebrating Greece in the World Barista Championship, here's a coffee recipe everyone should try at home