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History > Oral History > Viron Dapontes and the handgrenade

History > Oral History

submitted by Spyro Calocerinos on 19.10.2004

Viron Dapontes and the handgrenade

Viron, was well known in Hora for his many fearless acts and this is one of them, but it turned out to be very costly.

On the night of the 31st of August 1944, the Germans set fire to their ammunition on their Headquarters of Trahilas (near Kapsali) and the explosions and display of "fireworks", was by far the best we had seen. Obviously, the Germans didn't want their ammunition in the hands of their enemy. They went to Kapsali and left Kythera on the 4th of September.

Some Kytherians, knowing that everything was blown up at the German headquarters (Trahilas) felt that it was safe to visit the secure site. We were amazed at what they had built in secrecy.

A friend - Viron Dapontes - found an intact hand grenade. When he returned to Hora, he started dismantling it and when he got to the inner part where the explosive capsule was, he thought that the bootmaker's shop would be the best place to investigate the grenade further. After all he had a bench to work on as well as a file,that was needed to file the capsule. There were others there, as well as his uncle, Antonis Dapontes who tried unsuccesfully to stop Viron from filing the capsule. All of a sudden, there was an explosion and everyone was certain that they had been injured, including Viron's uncle, who was certain that he lost his eye sight of one eye. In Hora's plateia (square) was a pharmacist, the late Emmanuel Kondoleon. Everyone that felt injured ran to the chemist shop for any assistance they could get. I was in plateia and was told what had eventuated. Viron appeared with his fingers on one hand hanging from the skin and very calmly asked the chemist to "cut them off, they are in the way". He also asked Mr. Kondoleon to dress his wounds. While the chemist was attending to Viron, his uncle came in the shop still holding the palm of his hand over his eye and according to his painful cries, he was in a lot of pain. The chemist forced his palm off his eye and the nail of one of Viron's fingers fell on the ground.

Mr.Antonis Dapontes could see from both eyes, Viron lost three fingers and everyone else was OK.
Today, Viron owns the Kafeneion in Hora's plateia. He doesn't like talking very much about the incident, but if you are visiting Kythera, go and have a cup of coffee and he may tell you the story himself, or if he is in the mood, he has plenty more to tell you.

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