Dionysis Arvanitakis, the generous baker from Kos, who baked and offered bread every day to the refugees and migrants that arrived on the island died on Sunday at the age of 77.
Mr. Arvanitakis was known all over Europe for his kind nature and warmth towards the migrants that had arrived on the island before the creation of the hosting centres.
The famous baker was honoured with the Civil Society Prize in 2016 with which the EESC rewards the most outstanding examples of solidarity with migrants.
European Commission President Jean Claude Junker has referred to Arvanitakis’ action saying that “Europe is the baker in Kos who gives away his bread to hungry and weary souls”.
Mr Arvanitakis had migrated from Greece to Australia and then returned back home and opened up his first bakery. Since then he opened up seven bakeries along with his children.
On a daily basis, Mr Arvanitakis distributed two van loads of bread, croissants, and sweets to refugees and migrants arriving on the island from the Turkish coast.
Speaking to reporters he said, “I remember, as a young child I was forced to leave my home for a better tomorrow. I went from Pyrgos Ilias to Australia. Being in a foreign land is difficult.”
“What we have been seeing and living for so many months now is not easy. Small children from Syria, Afghanistan are falling down and yelling ‘Mum’. They show us bread with their hands. They do not know the word food. Who can not be moved when they see a young child eating soil? No hesitation, no second thought, I said every day I will make bread and I will deliver it to them in my van. Anyone who is not hungry cannot understand what the people are going through.”