The civil war drove them out of their homes
Fotis Bulguris was born on 7 December 1935 in the village of Chiliodendro (Želin in Macedonian) in the district of Kastoria in northern Greece. He is a Slavic Macedonian, and his native tongue is Macedonian, not Greek. His father fought in the Democratic Army of Greece during the civil war. After sustaining a heavy injury, his arm was amputated about the elbow. Fotis‘s mother was nearly beaten to death by government troops, and so she fled to Yugoslavia, where she was followed by the witness and his two siblings. Whereas the family ended up in Czechoslovakia, Fotis Bulguris lived in various children‘s homes throughout Yugoslavia. In August 1952 he and some friends secretly crossed Lake Ohrid to Albania in a stolen boat; in 1958 he managed was finally reunited with his family in Czechoslovakia with the help of the Red Cross. He then lived and worked in Javorník. In April 1960 he married Irina Tcapas. His wife came from the town of Maniaki (Kolarica in Macedonian), just five kilometres from the witness‘s native village. Her family also belonged to the Slavic Macedonians living in Greece, and they also had to flee the country under dramatic circumstances during the civil war.