ABSTRACT

On 17 May 1946, Charles Schermerhorn arrived in Athens. His extensive memoir, here divided into 22 chapters, describes his adjustment to the city, the culture, and the position with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) that he had been called to take on. Charles also describes his travels to the Peloponnese and the steep learning curve about local challenges and regional and national administrations. He tells of his joy of being joined by his wife Wanda and their two small boys. He perceives the family's move to Thessaloniki as a major decision, which proves to be the beginning of their extended stay in Greece (until spring 1951).

Charles shares a process of gaining intimate knowledge about embattled northern Greece, focusing on social and family conditions, especially in the remote villages. He becomes an eyewitness to the worst of the Greek Civil War and details the challenges it poses to the children's hostels of the Near East Foundation, which he oversaw for as long as the political situation allowed. Charles also describes his encounters with foreign correspondents and with the photographer David Seymour. He notes the signs of renewal once the Civil War has come to an end, but he devotes altogether less attention to the final months of his stay.