He was born in 1919 in the village of Mangila, Kostur region, to a
poor family. From a young age he experienced suffering and deprivations
working as a labourer in other houses.
At the time of the Nazi war in 1940-1 he fought against the fascist
aggressors for the independence of our homeland.
From his early years he spent time with the CPG and in 1942 he became
a member, taking an active part in the battle against the fascist occupation.
Ilija made a great contribution in the Kastanerija region in organizing
the national struggle and especially in the security units of ELAS.
In 1943 he finished the ELAS officer school. He took part in the battles
on Vatilakos and elsewhere he fought bravely against the German occupiers
and their local collaborators.
At the time of the parliamentary elections in March 1946 he was arrested
by the police and put to brutal torture because he spread the propaganda
of the CPG.
In 1946 he became a partisan in the ranks of DAG and because of his
tireless work and self sacrifice, always fighting in the front line,
he became commander of a battalion.
With his courage in battle Ilija was a personal example to his comrades.
But he had another talent - a talent of a people's fighter and leader.
In his spare time he read Marxist literature and took care to educate
himself and to teach his comrades about ideology.
Ilija threw himself into battle first and was wounded many times. At
the commencement of the great operations on Gramos in 1948 at the locality
Nidruzi with enthusiasm he threw himself into the first battle and with
his example he lifted the spirit of the battalion's youthful fighters
who repelled the enemy attack. He was badly wounded in the stomach.
Despite the terrible pains he continued to attack and to encourage his
fighters. He showed them where they should pay attention and told them
not to step back even one step.
The heart of the courageous hero could not bear to be in the hospital
when he thought of his comrades still fighting on Gramos. And even before
he was fully healed he returned to the battle site in the Haros region
and there, in battle, he died heroically.
From: For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom
For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters