Myth and Memory: My Childhood in WWII Greece
Copyright 2020 by Katerina Katsarka WhitleyKaterina Katsarka Whitley, acclaimed religion author and speaker, recounts the dramatic days leading up to--and following--the Nazi occupation of Greece during World War II. She paints a colorful portrait of the small but thriving evangelical community in Thessaloniki, the Greek city Paul addresses in his New Testament epistle, and follows on the daily life of a prominent religious family as they navigate their way through the war and its aftermath. Against this backdrop, the book examines the meaning of faith and documents the journey of the author to an expanded understanding of Christianity. Illustrated with photographs, maps, and excerpts from the journals of her father, who served in the Greek army.
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Katerina Whitley’s Myth and Memory is an achingly beautiful memoir of war, occupation and resistance in World War II Greece. It is at once passionate, tender and unflinching: Whitley has given us an unforgettable child’s-eye view of her homeland during and just after the war. She has the soul of a poet: through her words, we see the slant of the light, smell the aroma of the almond blossoms, feel the terror, hunger and cold in the streets. Anamnesis is an extraordinary achievement.
In Myth and Memory Katerina Katsarka Whitley not only creates a memoir of intense emotional power, drawing on deep memories that well up from her earliest childhood in Thessaloniki, Greece during the Nazi occupation up to her first year of college in North Carolina, but also performs an act of filial piety, creating portraits of her parents (and grandparents) that testify to her love of family, and of her home country. She sees and records for us the torturous political history of Greece in the WWII war years, and presents her slow blossoming as a girl and then young woman in a prose that is lean, precise, evocative and lyrical.
“Whitley’s Myth and Memory is a poignant portrayal of the undeserved sufferings visited on the people of Greece by the fascist regimes of Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany. It’s not told from the view point of an historian whose account is distilled from a range of external sources, but rather from the vantage point of a little girl who herself had to grow up amidst the deprivations imposed by the conquerors and occupiers. Her vivid descriptions both bring to life the agonies experienced by ordinary Greek people and they illumine the wrenching conflicts that emerged for Greece after the Second World War. Whitley’s memoir could serve as a cautionary warning against every racist, political, or religious ideology which seeks to impose itself on unwilling recipients.”