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“Dear young reader, this true story does not end here…if you want to learn what happened in 1945, what happened after the year 1945, search and find out for yourself and write what’s next. I’m not a tutor and I cannot teach it to you… Freedom is not offered, it can only be conquered”. A novel courageously unfolding “burning” issues such as freedom and justice.
George Sari was born in Athens in 1925. Her mother was French and born in Senegal, and her father was a Greek of Asia Minor from Ayvalik, Turkey. She grew up in Greece, where she attended elementary and secondary school. World War II broke out in 1940 before she could finish her schooling. During the war, George Sari joined the Resistance and fought with the United Panhellenic Organization of Youth (EPON). Looking back on that era, she herself noted that “the years during the Nazi occupation were a time of happiness and freedom. We went from being miserable to happy because we chose the road of life, even if death had a place there as well. We grieved and rejoiced all together, but we were not afraid. There was one goal: liberation.” She graduated while Greece was still under Nazi occupation and began taking acting lessons at Dimitris Rontiris’s drama school. George Sari was injured during the Greek Civil War, which followed right after WWII, suffering wounds to her hand and foot from a bomb explosion. She received treatment at Aghia Olga Hospital. Later on, in 1947, she was forced to leave for Paris in exile. She worked various jobs while living there, while also enrolling as a student at the Charles Dullin School of Dramatic Art. In Paris, she met important people like Kostas Axelos, Melina Mercouri, Adonis Kyrou, Marcel Marceau, and many others. It was there that she also met Marcel Karakosta, with whom she had two children – Alexis and Melina Karakosta – with the latter also going on to become an author. Sari returned to Greece together with her family in 1962 and continued acting in the theater until the rise of the military junta, at which point she decided along with other actor acquaintances to engage in passive resistance and no longer act in the theater. That summer, deprived as she was of any means of expression, she wrote her first novel – The Treasure of Vaghia – which started off like a game together with the children who surrounded her. After the huge success of her first book, George Sari decided to dedicate her life to writing: “In writing, I discovered all that I could not find in the theater, perhaps because I was not a leading lady or perhaps because I was not in a position to choose the roles that the producer or director would select for me. I now bear the full responsibility for my books. I do what I want; what I can.” Today, George Sari’s name has become inextricably linked to Greek literature, while the narrative technique and themes of her books have left their mark on modern Greek children’s literature. Her personal values, love for children, and “addiction” to writing best characterize her literary work, which she faithfully served until her passing in June 2012: “With regard to my own values, I place my freedom and dignity above all else, in addition to friendship. I want to feel free and remain standing.”