To talk about it, even now, is the most exquisite of tortures. Yet I know it must be told. I must spare neither you nor myself any of the horrors. Only in that way will you know what has happened to the young people, the freedom loving people of my stricken land. There is no other way.
I must tell you of the falanga and the electric shocks and the terrible enemas with powerful detergents. You must be made to feel everything I felt. If I fail in doing this, I betray my countrymen. I would much rather be dead
Yes, I am a member of Rigas Ferraios. And that fact alone makes me a hunted criminal. The colonels know they must crush us. If they don't, they can never rest secure.
Yes, I did have clandestine material in my flat when I was arrested. I don't deny it. Dimitrios had asked me to keep it for him. I would have done it even if Dimitrios had not been my lover. And even as the police began questioning me in my apartment, I told myself that I would die rather than betray Dimitrios. I did not know that to die would have been much easier than to have lived through the hell that awaited me.
Kalyas, the officer in charge of the investigation, ordered me taken to the General Security in Athens. My wrists were chained behind my back and I was placed in a limousine between two policemen. On the short ride to the prison they gave me a small sample of the type of treatment I could expect from them.
One of them put his hand under my blouse and began pinching my breast. He squeezed so hard that I doubled up screaming in pain.
"Save your strength," Kalyas told me. "Before we are done with you, you will have had much to scream about. This I promise you."
My first impression of the Security of Athens was a sensation of having walked through the very jaws of hell. I was led down the length of long halls that smelled of pine disinfectant and vomit. I tried to hold back but the two police, one on each side tightly gripping my arms, pulled me along easily. Hideous sounds came from behind locked doors. Screaming, groans, mewling, mindless sobbing. One could not tell whether the victims were men or women. I had lost my shoes in the car and every few steps my bare feet stepped on a wet sticky substance. I did not look down.
I was conducted to a cell deep in the building's basement and my handcuffs removed. Before I could react in any way, heavy shackles were locked around my wrists and secured to rings imbedded in the stone wall. My arms were stretched high above me so that I was forced to stand on the tips of my toes. The police officers left me in this position for many hours.
At first I found my position terribly uncomfortable. Gradually it became intolerable. My muscles became strained with fatigue. I slumped in the chains to rest my legs. But this brought excruciating pain to my shoulders which had to bear the full weight of my body and my wrists where the irons abraded my flesh.
I heard the rats scurrying around me. I lashed out at them with my bare feet. Their stiff hair was obscene against my flesh. I fought the hysteria which threatened to explode within me. The stench was nauseating. And all the time I heard the sounds the shrieks of pain, the pleas for mercy of people being tortured filtering through the small grill in the cell door.
I cannot say how long I was left chained to the wall. All I know is that some time later Kalyas and the other officers came for me. Kalyas asked many questions. I refused to answer any of them.
"You really wish to suffer, don't you?" Kalyas sneered. "Believe me, I have my ways of making a woman suffer. If that's the way you want it, I will be only too happy to accommodate you."
He nodded to one of his assistants. The man unfastened my chains from the wall. I was then dragged to a large room and ordered to undress. Seeing the expression of sexual lust in my captors' eyes, I refused.
"Have it your own way," Kalyas said. "It will be more interesting for us."
One of the officers seized my arms and held them tightly while the others began to strip me. I cried out and struggled wildly in his grasp, but to no avail. The men's hands were all over me, plucking away my dress, unfastening my bra, ripping away my panties. In a matter of moments I was completely nude and exposed to their view.
The officers began doing terrible things to my body, probing into every crevice, brutalizing, doing disgusting things that are designed to destroy a woman's sense of human decency. My struggles became weaker. There were too many of them. I could no longer fight. When they tired of their sport they lifted me onto a wooden table.
Heavy splintery ropes were bound around me. They held my arms stretched to the table top. They crisscrossed my breasts and belly, they circled my thighs and ankles. Each rope was pulled painfully tight, holding me totally immobile.
For a just a moment there was silence in the room except for my quiet sobbing. In those few seconds I had a sort of out of body experience. I could see myself naked and helpless, my arms pulled tight over my head, my body stretched out open and defenseless, as I writhed pitifully in the web of ropes that bound me to the table.
Then Kalyas picked up a thick length of iron pipe. He stood at the foot of the table, savoring my struggles against my bonds. I wept and he smiled. We had spoken much in Rigas Ferreios about how we might react to the dread falanga. Now I was about to find out firsthand.
The first blow of the pipe across the soles of my bare feet brought shock waves of agony coursing through me. Never had I experienced anything which could have prepared for such torture. I convulsed against the ropes with such force that they seemed to disappear inside my flesh. In my struggles I slammed the back of my head against the table. The sounds of my shrieking exploded inside my skull. One of the guards stuffed a filthy rag into my mouth to muffle my screams.
Kalyas hit me again and again with the iron pipe. The others stood around the table, punching me in the belly, twisting my breasts, putting their hands between my thighs where they could do other things to me, pulling and pinching my clitoris and labia, thrusting a whole fist into my vagina.. All the time Kalyas kept shouting questions at me.
The room swam before my eyes. There was nothing but the agony and the faces of my torturers. I could hardly breathe. My lungs were on fire. Sweat bathed my entire body. At last I fainted.
But the relief of unconsciousness was all too brief. A pail of cold water was thrown in my face to revive me. I awoke to find Kalyas bending over me. He was clipping a small wire electrode to the nipple of my left breast. He grinned at me wickedly. I turned away from him and saw that another wire had been similarly attached to my right breast. I managed to lift my head a few inches and looked down the column of my body, still nude, still bound. In horror I saw my legs had been spread wide and retied. Two thin copper wires ran between them into my vagina.
It was hard to believe that anyone could be that vile, that evil, that obscene, to torture a woman like that. Now I could feel it, even above the thousand other pains that racked my body. In shock I realized one wire had been clipped to my clitoris, the other pushed against my cervix. With terror I understood that Kalyas knew a woman's body intimately, and he could use his knowledge to hurt me in unimaginable ways. Just the thought of him touching me there, of his fingers inside my sex fastening that ghastly instrument of torture while I lay unconscious, filled me with revulsion.
"You will talk or you will suffer," Kalyas said. He ran his hands up and down my nakedness. I couldn't stifle a groan. "You will suffer until you go quite mad. There is nothing in your future but pain and more pain. Perhaps you think you will escape me by dying. Disabuse yourself of any such thought. I am quite an expert in these matters. I have no intention of killing you. Not for a long, long time."
I thought of Dimitrios and the others. I needed those thoughts to give me the strength to endure. I thought of how it had been between Dimitrios and myself. The tenderness and the passion of his love-making came back to me. I remembered the gentleness with which he had taken me the first time. How he had made a ritual of even removing my clothing.
I recalled how I had cupped his face in my hands and drawn him to the nakedness of my breasts. I remembered how light but strong his fingers had been as the traveled over my nudity, how it had been when he lifted me in his arms and carried me to his bed.
I recalled the scent of him, the little shudder when my hands moved over his spine, his flanks. There had been the roaring crescendo, the sense of total oneness as my body had risen up to match Dimitrios' final surge with my own.
"Do you hear what I say?" Kalyas demanded. His voice brought me back to my own bed of pain. I heard a low humming in the background. Then it became louder. I was conscious of the stench of burning flesh.
Pain, such as I had never imagined possible, ran through my entire being. The devilish current lifted me from the table. My back arched against the constricting ropes. My hands clenched and unclenched spasmodically. I could feel my toes curling with the agony. I bit down so hard that I could taste the blood spilling down my throat. Little tendrils of wispy smoke curled from my nipples toward the ceiling. The other wires, the ones which had been inserted deep within me, crackled and sputtered. The electricity fucked me, violated me. The agony was indescribable.
Oh how he tortured me, how he played with me. He had placed the generator in my line of sight so as I lay bound to the table I could watch his hand creep so slowly to the machine, watch his fingers turn the dial a fraction up, then rest on the switch. He stared at me and smiled. I shook my head back and forth slowly. I whimpered. I might have begged, I don't remember.
The electricity hit me with such force I arched off the table. Only my wrists and heels touched the wood. My mouth flew open but I couldn't breathe, couldn't scream. When he cut the current I collapsed with a thud, mewling and sobbing. When I fainted he revived me with cold water or ammonia capsules.
The torture went on and on. The whirring of the electricity grew and grew. Each step up of the voltage brought a new convulsive paroxysm. First my nipples, then my vagina, then both together.
And all the time Kalyas stood beside me, looking down on my straining, sweat glossed body. His eyes never left me, I read the madness there. I can't describe my horror at watching him enjoy my desperate struggles to escape his torture, his delight at my helpless writhing, his obvious lust at the sight of my naked body stretched out by his ropes. Worse, I understood. I knew that he was mad the way the warders at Ravensbruck and Toledo and Rome had been mad. History always has been able to provide men to carry out the bestialities of tyrants. And Kalyas was the instrument of the colonels. There was no hope for me, only pain.
Just short of death by exhaustion, I was removed from the table. My heart fibrillated wildly against my ribs. I was so weak that I collapsed on the floor before my captors. I no longer even attempted to cover my nakedness. I made no protest when they chained my wrists behind me and dragged me back to my cell by my hair.
For three days I was to remain alone in my dungeon. At first I thought they had forgotten about me. I should not have underestimated Kalyas. He was a keen student of psychology. And he was a master of physiology. He knew all too well how each successive shriek of the tortured would rip into my very soul. He knew how there would be no rest for me as I awaited my next session with him. He also knew that a woman must regain her strength to feel the full impact of his torture. And thus he ordered me fed and had my clothes returned to me.
Kalyas wanted me ready when he sent for me once more.
They came for me, as I knew they must. I was so terrified my knees shook to the point I couldn't stand. One held me by the shoulders while the other chained my wrists behind my back. I was pulled from the cell. I wanted to be brave but there was no bravery left in me. I fell to my knees. I looked up into their cold dead eyes. And begged. For the first time I begged. "No more," I wept, "Please please no more." My tears didn't move them. They seized me under my arms and pulled me along like a rag doll. My toes scraped the floor. I sobbed and screamed at them "Don't take me there! Don't take me there!"
They hauled me into another cubicle. This one was fitted out like a hospital room with a metal table physicians often use for gynecological examinations. The only difference was it had been equipped with thick leather straps and heavy buckles. I gave one last scream and threw up. They were going to torture my sex.
Once again I was stripped naked. They forced me onto my back on the table. The cold enamel sent shudders through me. I fought them with my puny fists but I was no match for their strength. In a moment my wrists were lashed down to the sides of the table, my feet secured in the stirrups the straps tightened over my belly and hips.
I lay there unable to move, moaning with fear. I heard the splashing of water. Then Kalyas approached me. He carried a huge rubber apparatus from which dangled a length of tubing with a hard tip.
"Remember when you were a little girl, your mama probably did this for you," he gloated. "But this will be quite different. Of this I can assure you. You will not enjoy what is about to happen to you. No woman does. But then again, we are not here to entertain you, are we?"
I felt the terrible rush of water and the swelling, cramping pain. But this was mild compared to the pain that was to come when the harsh industrial detergent did its work inside me. The pain was so great I could barely breathe.
When the tubing was removed from my anus I lay motionless strapped to my torture table. I hadn't the energy to do anything more than moan and weep. At least, I thought, my torture for the day was over.
Through my tears I saw Kalyas looming over me. Then I felt the hard rubber tip enter my vagina. I couldn't believe it. No one, not even Kalyas could fall to such despicable depths. I struggled like a mad woman. I pulled at the straps with all my strength. I arched my back and tried to push the horrible thing out of my sex. Kalyas simply pushed it in deeper until it struck my cervix.
There is no way that I can describe the true sensations of the torture. Suffice it to say Kalyas considered it one of his most potent. For a number of days after the treatment I found myself too weak to stand on my feet. I lay whimpering on the floor of my dungeon, whimpering like a stricken animal. I wanted to die.
From time to time I fell into a fitful sleep. Then the terrible dreams would come. Each brought its own brand of pain and degradation. Through them all the face of Kalyas the gloating evil face of my captor danced before my eyes.
The dreams ran into reality. Kalyas screamed questions at me. He stuck needles into my nipples and the lips of my pussy. My head was held under water until I almost drowned. I was fucked with a spiked dildo. And all the time the shouted questions. In my delirium I had no way of knowing what was truth and what was fantasy. All I know is that I didn't talk.
Was it only a nightmare that I was chained to a wall by my wrists while a group of hooded figures, their decaying faces reeking of the grave, plucked away my clothing and forced their skeletal bodies upon my nakedness? Was it a dream that they dragged me across the dank stones of the subterranean crypt and forced to lie under them as they fell upon me, their obscene bodies now nude and grotesque in the terrible tableau?
Was it my tormented imagination, or did they hold me pinned to the floor while one of their number spread my thighs and enter me? Was it the truth or fantasy that made me cringe and cry out against the cruelty of their scratching, tearing claw-like fingers as they did things designed to destroy my sanity? Was it the foulness of the air of my dungeon, or was it really the stench of the unwashed walking dead which suffocated me?
I cannot be sure. I can only say that the pain was real. It never left me. It was a constant thing, attacking one portion of my body, then another, never allowing me to remain totally free of it for a single instant.
All I know is that I felt every torture the hooded and cloaked creatures perpetrated. I heard the rattling chains, the guttural sounds of their rasping breaths. I looked up into the hideously diseased and disfigured faces. And the faces kept coming closer. Their blackened toothless gums fasted themselves to my naked flesh. Over and over I cried out in horror when again and again they came for me. Again and again I screamed when my legs were pulled apart and held by the ankles so one after another they could penetrate me. Time after time my shrieks were stifled when my mouth was filled with one of their monstrous foul members. My cries were answered by mewling, cackling, mindless laughter.
Was it real or fantasy? I can never be sure. There are those who have had the same dreams. They have told me that Kalyas has recruited a special squad of half-crazed lepers to carry out his atrocities against women.
One girl, whom I'll call Aristide, has told me Kalyas has become an expert in the techniques once used by the Gestapo. She contends that Kalyas understands that physically a woman will suffer much greater pain than a man without breaking.
According to her version, Kalyas believes that a strong girl will succumb to his will faster if she is forced to have sex with hideously disfigured men. She notes that this abomination was carried out successfully by the Nazis in France and the low countries during their occupation.
She may be right. I cannot say for sure.
I wish I could say that I was rescued from this crypt of horror by some wildly brave deed of the Rigas Ferraios. But that would be fiction. It did not happen that way. Instead I must carry to my grave that my freedom was dearly bought. It came at the expense of the betrayal of some of my best friends in the underground movement.
I had lost all track of how long I had been held prisoner in solitary confinement when the officers came for me once more. I was chained and dragged to a limousine and taken to a dungeon in the Korydallos Prison where the maximum security cases are held. Roughly the officers thrust me into a basement cell where another prisoner was already chained spread-eagled to the wall.
At first I did not recognize the man. His face was so badly swollen he could scarcely open his eyes. His head lolled on his naked shoulder. His body was covered with bloody welts where the whip had done its work. There was a raw and angry wound where his manhood had been.
At the sight of me he managed to lift his head. "Maria!" he gasped. I had been reunited with Dimitrios.
"You know each other," Kalyas said. "All the better. Then you will enjoy watching what happens to the girl. Remember, you can stop it any time you decide to. A little information in return for her life and possible freedom is not too much to ask. I am sure you will come to that realization in short order."
Once again my clothing was stripped from my body. I struggled as best I could knowing this was the prelude to more soul-searing agony. It was of course useless. Kalyas supervised the other officers as they bound me for my ordeal. My arms were roped behind my back, wrists tied to the opposite elbow. Other ropes were fastened around my ankles. I tried to kick my legs free but in a heartbeat I was hoisted upside down in the air, the ropes pulling my ankles far apart. The blood rushed to my head, blinding me. I swung sickeningly back and forth before my torturers, my thighs spread, naked and helpless.
Kalyas moved his sweating hands across my nudity, lingering on my breasts, belly and between my legs. I retched at his obscene touch. I heard Dimitrios moan.
"My friend, I have a bullwhip here. It cuts deep. In but a few strokes your woman will be so maimed no man will be able to bear the sight of her. Her flesh will be covered with scars that will look like ropes. Listen to her screams and know that your stubbornness has brought this upon her."
"Don't listen to him!" I shouted. "Dimitrios, if you love me, don't betray our cause! It is bigger than either of us!"
One of the guards shoved a gag into my mouth to still my pleading. I was thankful for it, that way I couldn't beg Dimitrios to make them stop. I heard the tortured intake of Dimitrios' breath. I swore to myself I wouldn't scream, that I wouldn't let Dimitrios know my pain. There was a sharp whistling sound. The lash curled around my hips bringing the most excruciating agony I had yet felt. My entire body twitched convulsively at the outrage. I screamed uncontrollably into my gag. My vow disappeared with the searing pain.
The next lash wrapped around my thigh, not more than an inch from my sex. Moments later it tore at my other thigh. The pain was unbearable. Despite the gag and my resolve my screams echoed in the torture chamber. And of course there was the horror of knowing as the whip crept up my thigh its final destination.
Dimly I heard voices, then two footsteps. I heard Dimitrios cry of "NO!" I knew with dread certainty what was coming, even before my torturer laid the bullwhip almost gently between my thighs and then pulled it so it snaked through my sex. I was screaming uncontrollably but the lash never fell.
Dimly, from far off, I heard voices. Then I knew I was being lowered to the floor. To this day I do not know what Dimitrios told them to save me, but that night I was transported to a ship headed for Gibraltar.