Paparegas, Demetres

Paparegas, Demetres

 

Born Feb. 22, 1896, in Volos; died Feb. 20, 1949, in Athens. Leader in the Greek labor movement.

The son of a small shopkeeper, Paparegas began working in 1910 as a smith’s apprentice. He served in the navy from 1914 to 1922 (with interruptions) and saw action in the Turkish War of Independence (1919–22). In 1922 he became a member of the Communist Party of Greece (CPG) and from 1923 to 1925 was a member of the party’s city committee in Volos. He was arrested in 1925. After his release in 1926, he founded a labor union for Volos metalworkers and served as the organization’s secretary. He was arrested again in 1927 and spent two months in a labor camp.

Paparegas was a member of the Central Committee of the CPG from 1927 to 1931 and in 1934 and 1935, a member of the Politburo from 1927 to 1931, and a member of the Central Control Commission in 1945 and 1946. He led the strike of the Lavrion miners in October 1928. In February 1929, at the first congress of the General Labor Confederation of Greece, Paparegas was elected to the confederation’s executive committee, and in 1946 he became secretary-general of the confederation. A member of the Athens district committee of the CPG in 1929–30, he was arrested in 1930 but escaped from prison in 1931. Paparegas served as secretary of the CPG city committee in Patrai (Patras) in 1936. He spent the years from 1936 to 1944 in prison and labor camps and escaped from the Khaidharion concentration camp in 1944.

In the period after his escape, Paparegas was secretary of the Athens city committee of the CPG and directed work in the trade unions. In 1946 he became a member of the executive committee of the World Federation of Trade Unions. In July 1947, Paparegas was arrested and banished. He escaped, but in July 1948 he was again arrested and subsequently killed in the torture chambers of the Athens secret police.

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