George Heilas

Born to one of the most well-known families of Pityos – whose house, in fact, located in the old inner square of Aplada, was commandeered by the Ottoman army of occupation as the residence of the last military commander of Chios, Zichni Bey, during the events of 1912 – the teacher Giorgos Heilas, linked his name forever with the history of his village, recording it and at the same time becoming a part of it, with his overall research project.

He was the author of numerous texts and articles, a scholar of the local history of Pityos and Chios in general, a tireless researcher of scattered and unclassified historical sources and a pioneer of recording personal narratives of the villagers since the 50s. The heritage he left behind includes two valuable books for the history of Pityos:

The first is hard to find as it has been long out of print, is entitled, Pityos: The Story of my Village, and was privately published in Athens 1989. It is a unique source of information about Pityos, gathering in a single volume of 200 pages a lot of information, historical facts, narratives, myths, study of archival sources, photos, etc.

The second, may be called his “swan Song”, it is his autobiography entitled: The Image of a Life, what I Learned, what I Taught, what I Did (Chios 2010, ed. Alfa-Pi) in which one can read his life and work.

He worked as a teacher from 1949 to 1958, in Pityos. At the same time, he was a prominent member of the Commission for the restoration and promotion of the Holy Monastery of Mundon-Diechon and member of the Chian Union: Friends of the Forest (Filodasiki).

During the 80s he fought to solve the housing problem of the 1st Primary School of Chios where he served during the last years of his educational tenure as director.

Even later, as a retiree, he continued to deal with social issues. It is with his own intervention to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in 2004, and to the Deputy Minister mrs. Rodoula Zisi, in particular, that the inhabitants of the villages of Chios were freed from a series of bureaucratic procedures and costs for small-scale work permits for maintenance of their farms.

He was honoured by various organisations: the National Foundation, the Holy Metropolis of Chios, Directorate of Primary Education of Chios, the Municipality of Kardamyla, Cultural and Educational Associations of Chios and Athens, etc.

He was married to the later Alexandra Sarri Heila, also a teacher from Crete, with whom they met during the difficult years of the war when the latter was appointed in Pityos and served there on the eve of World War II, a few days before October 28th, 1940, as she was forced to stay here for the rest of the war.