Monday 25 March 2019

Tributes paid to Greek baker who fed hundreds of refugees

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Dionissis Arvanitakis was an exemplary citizen.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker paid tribute to the Greek baker (Matt Cardy/PA)
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker paid tribute to the Greek baker (Matt Cardy/PA)

By Associated Press Reporter

Tributes have been paid to Dionissis Arvanitakis, a baker who provided free bread to refugees on a Greek island, after his death at the age of 77.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker released a statement expressing his respect “for an exemplary European citizen” who showed “rare generosity and sensitivity towards the hundreds of unfortunate immigrants”.

Mr Juncker said: “My Europe is the one Dionissis Arvanitakis symbolised.”

I know what it feels like to have nothing. Dionissis Arvanitakis

Raised in a poor family of 10, Mr Arvanitakis emigrated to Australia at the age of 16 and eventually returned to Greece, settling on the island of Kos in 1970. He opened a bakery with his savings.

In March 2015, he started giving away 100 kilos of bread a day to the large number of refugees arriving in Kos.

Mr Arvanitakis said at the time: “I know what it feels like to have nothing.”

Press Association

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