Xrissoula Zaragoza

Xrissoula Zaragoza was born in Salamis in 1943. She is the youngest of six children (five women, including Xrissoula, and one boy). Her father Geórgios Symiakakis worked as a mason on one side, and as a cook in small boats coming and going from Salamis to the port of Piraeus on the other. A part of Geórgios’ family emigrated to France in the 30s. when she was young, Xrissoula worked as a seamstress. In 1968  she married Emmanuel Zaragoza, who was a naval industry worker. Born in Oran in 1928, Emmanuel was the son of Maria Dolores Ubeda and José Zaragoza, both of Spanish origin: the mother was born in Oran in 1892, the father, Joseph, was born in Callosa de Segura (Alicante) in 1887, and had emigrated in the early last century to the Algerian city. Like many other Europeans, at the end of the Algerian war in 1962, Emmanuel had been forced to emigrate to France, settling in Port-de-Bouc where, in the mid-60s, met one of the uncles of Xrissoula. He proposed to visit Salamis during the holidays.

Accepting the proposal, Emmanuel traveled to the island in 1967, being hosted by the parents of Xrissoula, whom he married a year later. In one of our interviews, Xrissoula said that both marriage and her coming to France had been due in part to economic reasons: accepting Emmanuel proposal, Xrissoula intended relieve the family from the demands imposed by marriage at Salamis, where the father of the wife was required to provide a home for the newlyweds. Installed in Port-de-Bouc, Xrissoula continued to be a seamstress and homemaker. He has had two daughters: Sophie, who lives in Port-de-Bouc and Catherine, who lives in Calais. Emmanuel Zaragoza died in 2006.

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