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In the late 1980s and 1990s, he was one of the brightest stars of the Polish music scene. His melodic, captivating songs such as “Miłość jak wine”, “na miłość na Rady” or “Let summer dreams come true” were immediately hit, and the concerts were crowded. Eleni seemed to have everything – a fan of talent and admiration, a loving husband, a beautiful and healthy daughter. Unfortunately, fate hit the artist hard. The tragic death of Aphrodite’s daughter overshadowed Elenia’s ideal life. But despite this, the artist did not break. She found the strength not only to continue her career but also to forgive the one who ended her daughter’s life. As he emphasized in his interviews, it was forgiveness that gave him the strength to return to life and work.
Eleni Tzoka was born on April 27, 1956 in Bielava, Lower Silesia. He owes his exotic name – the equivalent of Polish Helena – to his parents, who came to Poland from Greece in the 1950s after the end of the Civil War. Mr. and Mrs. Pericles and Despina Milopoulos found housing and jobs in Poland, but still hoped to return home. So ten of their children, including the youngest, Eleni, spoke only Greek at home. And every year on New Year’s Eve, my parents would repeat: we will meet in Greece next year. But life was different. Eleni, meanwhile, showed off her vocal talents as a little girl. This fact did not surprise anyone, because everyone in the family loved to play music. Over time, it became clear that the talent and passion of the youngest generation is unique.
I am the youngest, I am cherished by my sisters. The most beautiful kindness I remember as a child was the love of brothers and sisters, the love of our parents, the love of our grandmother who took care of us. I grew up in a spirit that you read a lot – reminded Eleni in an interview with Radio Niepokalanów.
He added that although the house was not flooded, a large family had only two rooms, a bathroom and a kitchen, but it coped well with all of them:
Each of us knew what to do at home. The brothers brushed the carpets, and the girls had to clean the windows on Saturdays. Ironing belonged to us … Life was a little empty … It was really empty – said Eleni.
Eleni graduated from music school in Bielava. There, in 1969, he took the stage in the school group Niezapominajki. Then she studied in the high school women’s vocal-instrumental trio Ballada. After graduating from high school, Eleni joined the Hellen team, and in 1975 joined the Prometheus group. It was there that she met her future husband, Fotis Tzokas. The couple was introduced by Fotis’s brother Costas, who later became the manager and author of some of Eleni’s songs.
Costa had a brother named Fotis, we fell in love and got married. I was 20 when our daughter, Aphrodite, was born. We were happy, we had everything, we had youth, ourselves, love, wonderful work – the artist recalled in an interview with “Super Express”.
Everything looked perfect. Eleni was married in a dream, and her daughter looked very much like her mother. The artist’s solo career was expanding. Already in 1985, he took third place in two categories in the “Panorama” music poll for the most popular artist of the year. Melodic, captivating songs, the words of which will take you to a better world, full of love and warmth, won the hearts of Poles. Songs like “Miłość jak świat”, “Na miłość don’t have any advice”, “Only in your hands” or “Let your summer dreams come true” became hits at once. Unfortunately, the series ended in difficult conditions.
The blow of fate
The life of Elenia and her family changed on the tragic afternoon of January 20, 1994. The artist’s 17-year-old daughter Aphrodite was shot by her ex-boyfriend. A man’s obsessive love caused a tragedy. Peter G. was jealous of the girl. She said she would be his only lover. Aphrodite ended the relationship four years later because she felt the relationship was poisonous, devastating, and bad. The decision was influenced by the mother, who had previously suspected Peter.
I saw that this feeling is not good. I told him about it, but he defended himself, but also defended Peter. We have discussed this many times. The worst thing happened when he left Peter. Besides feeling it, he felt that something bad was going to happen. He would tell his friends, but everyone at school would say: What nonsense are you talking about, how can it hurt you.
Although she felt bad, after the separation, the young girl came back to life and made plans for the future. Unfortunately, Peter did not give up. He illegally bought weapons and 25 bullets. Then he went to Aphrodite’s school. Her daughter was last seen alive when she got into her ex-boyfriend’s car. Anxious that Aphrodite would not come home from school, Eleni called the police. On January 22, newspapers published information about the disappearance of the daughter of the famous artist. On the same day, about 200 kilometers from Poznan, investigators investigating the area of a lake in a forest near Przybrodzin in the Greater Poland Voivodeship made a horrific discovery a few hours later. The body of the 17-year-old was covered with pine needles, and the girl was wearing a hood. The killer opened fire so badly that he had no chance of survival – he was wounded in the temple and in the heart. Suspicions quickly focused on the man Piotr G, the man was arrested and interrogated. At first, he pleaded not guilty. However, his statement was so contradictory and confusing that no one believed it. He once claimed that Aphrodite would be offended, so he boarded a bus and returned to Poznan alone. He then changed his mind and testified that Aphrodite had been shot by a mysterious Russian. He later said that the girl shot herself. In time, however, Peter’s interrogators were able to confess his guilt. The man also pointed out the location of the tragedy.
The death of her only child shocked Ellen.
Our whole world is falling apart. When this tragedy happened, all of a sudden we had nothing left. I know that my closest people were my family, friends, and priests who helped me a lot. But in fact, he is a man who is alone with his pain and struggles with it inwardly – the artist admitted in one of his interviews.
The fact that Peter G.’s trial was watched with shortness of breath by public opinion and the media, and with them all of Poland, did not help in mourning. Finally, the man was sentenced to the most severe punishment: 25 years in prison.
Forgive me for living
Eleni cried like the killer’s mother when the court announced the verdict. Apparently, after the trial, the artist told him that they both lost their children. The singer found the strength to forgive the man who ended his daughter’s life. As he admitted in one of the interviews, he did it because he believed that everyone has a chance to be a better person in life and to understand their mistakes. He also blamed himself for the tragedy.
As a mother, I did a conscience test where I was wrong. What I was doing at the time, traveling, and being away from home for a few days could also affect what happened. Eleni admitted in one of the interviews that she had a sense of ownership on the side of Piotr.
The tragedy and memory of Aphrodite did not ruin the singer’s career. On the contrary – it was music, along with prayers that brought him comfort in the most difficult moments.
If I didn’t forgive, I probably wouldn’t be able to read anymore, I wouldn’t be able to meet people. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. Forgiveness is the release of negative emotions that kill us from within. It was a tragedy for two families. Our family and the Peter family. As a mother, I felt the pain of this mother who carried the great cross. (…) If I didn’t forgive, I would die – the artist argued in “Women and Life”.
Piotr G. is now free and lives and works in Germany under a different name. After some mourning, Eleni returned to record an album. In the 90s, he released albums such as “In the Rhythm of Zorba”, which won the status of Platinum albums, “Love will not beat anything” and “Polish Christmas songs”. He returned to the new century with the albums “Something from Odysseus”, “Miłości track” and “Ship to Pireus”. Although he underwent major hip surgery in 2013, he returned to the stage after rehabilitation. The singer also runs a YouTube channel, lives and works in Poznan. As he points out, it draws strength from deep faith in God. She cherishes the memory of her daughter.
Aphrodite will live forever in my heart. I still celebrate his birthday and the anniversary of his death, and I wonder what he would have done, what he would have done, if he had children. But I’m not disappointed on a daily basis – Eleni admitted in one of the interviews.