Epaminondas Remoundakis (1914-1978): An Eagle Without Wings

"A martyr and saint of Greek lepers", Epaminondas Remoundakis seals with his life and actions the Hansen disease movement in Greece.

Born in the region of Sitia, despite getting the disease at a young age, he managed to avoid the confinement by fleeing to Athens. There, he continued his education and enrolled in law school. As a third-year student at the age of 22, he is confined to the Leper Hospital of Agia Varvara, and a few months later, he voluntarily decides to go to Spinalonga, where his sister resides.

His arrival on the island on March 11, 1936, marked a period of change in the lives of the Hansen disease patients of Spinalonga. At that time, the society "Brotherhood of the Sick of Spinalonga, Saint Panteleimon" was founded, the first of its kind in Greece, which aims to improve the living conditions of the patients and acquire "all means of culture that could alleviate the misery and despair of the sick," as stated in its charter. Thanks to the activism of the "Brotherhood," in which Remoundakis played a leading role, long-standing requests of the patients are fulfilled, the living conditions are improving, and the daily lives of the confined individuals change.

E. Remoundakis in his speech at the hospital of Agia Varvara in 1961. ©Doxa Mavroidi Archive.

After the shutdown of the Leper Colony, Remoundakis and his wife Tasia are transferred to the Anti-leprosy Station of Αgia Varvara in Attica. There, he continued his activist actions, trying to raise awareness about the issues faced by lepers and the stigma caused by the disease. There, he dictates his autobiography, as he has lost his eyesight, published posthumously under the title "An Eagle Without Wings."

Photo Gallery

Epameinondas Remoundakis and his wife Tasia at the Anti-leper Station of Athens. ©Maurice Born Archive

Epameinondas Remoundakis at the Anti-Leper Station of Athens. ©Maurice Born Archive

Epameinondas Remoundakis in 1933. ©Archive of Despina G. Giakoumaki