Tuesday, October 28, 2003

National holiday

history > WWII >those who fought it
Today is a national holiday in Greece. Every 28th of October, over here, we commemorate Greece’s rejection of Mussolini’s ultimatum demanding total capitulation, thus drawing Greece into WWII. The Greek army pushed back the Italians (to everyone’s astonishment) and was only defeated when Germany, after invading Yugoslavia, declared war on Greece, thus making the defence of the country impossible.
The line of events leading to October 28th can be found in this article from Paul Newman’s awe inspiring WWII website, the Balkans’ section of which, (the only one I'm even remotely in a position to judge), is impressively thorough and provides an excellent tutorial of the, little known outside the Balkans but nonetheless important, WWII battle and resistance history of the region.
In particular (and as a small web memorial to all that died fighting the fascists and the Nazi occupiers in my country) I quote the following extended excerpts from P. Neumann’s chapter on the Greek resistance, since the story of the most massive, broad-based and intensive resistance movement in Europe (with the possible exception of Yugoslavia) has remained virtually unknown outside Greece since its leaders were Communists and cold war propaganda found this fact unpalatable:

At the night from 30 to 31 May 1941 in Athens young Greeks Manólis Glezos and Lakis Sandas (Apostolos Santos) had torn away from the Acropolis a hitlerite flag, hung there on 27 April by the Germans, immediately after their entry into the town. That exploit became a symbol of Greek nation's fight.

In February 1943 the occupation authorities and collaborationist government issued an order to forced "civil mobilization". It caused a new wave of riots. On 24 February 1943 workers, clerks and youth proclaimed a general strike, demanding bread, salaries' raise and cancellation of "civil mobilization". When the invaders and government did not meet the demands and tried to fulfil the order about 200 thousand people took to the streets (5 March).7 The demonstrators attacked German and Italian troops, managed to get inside the buildings of the Ministry of Labour, destroyed the files of over 80 thousand persons put to deportation to the Reich and burned them publicly. In this situation occupation authorities had to give up the carrying out the "civil mobilization". On 25 March 1943 in the streets of Athens came again to the riots. This time several thousand inhabitants demonstrated against increasing forced deportations to labour in Germany. The crowds disarmed the police and seized the buildings of the Ministry of Labour of the collaborationist government. They destroyed the lists and files of the population. The Germans sent the troops against the rioters. Hundreds of people were killed, and many were wounded.
Such mass street riots, demonstrations and strikes were unknown in other European countries. They made a marvel of the Greek resistance movement and eventually they caused a change on the post of the puppet Athens government.

Also significant is this horrific account of the Nazi massacre at Liggiades. The names of the towns change, but similar events (and even more massive slaughter) to those in Liggiades happenned in Kalavryta, Kandanos, Viannos, Hortiatis, Diakofto and too many towns and villages to mention in a simple list. These are stories that have to be preserved and remembered. So fascism can never raise its ugly head again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Read more about Liggiades OR Lingiades OR Lyggiades OR Lygiades (there are several ways in use to name this village) in the following website:
Or http://yahoo.groups.com.greoup/wehrmacht_atrocities_in_greece/

or in www.meyer.com