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Academic Books & Book Chapters

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Adoption, Memory, and Cold War Greece: Kid pro quo?

Gonda Van Steen


More than 3000 Greek children were adopted by Americans after the Greek Civil War (1946-1949) during a 13-year period from 1950.

In Adoption, Memory, and Cold War Greece: Kid pro quo? (2019), classical scholar and linguist, Gonda Van Steen, examines the circumstances precipitating these adoptions (the first large scale transnational adoption movement). She draws on a range of fields (including cultural anthropology and Greek history) to argue that anticommunism after the Greek Civil War was a significant factor in these adoptions.

Gonda Van Steen uses as a case study the story of Elias Argyriadis who was executed in Athens in 1952. In 1955 authorities arranged for the adoption of his 2 daughters to an American family (the mother had died). In 2013, a son of one of the adopted girls approached Gonda Van Steen for help in finding out about his mother’s past, and thus began Van Steen’s research journey.

The book also includes the testimonies of other adopted people from Greece to America and doesn’t shy away from exploring the trauma they experienced and the way they have later come together as a support network.

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