Resistance in Occupied Greece (WWII)

Greek Recompense Resisted

By Jeffrey Levett
16 October 2018

Voices from the earth…
Wayfarer do go tell
Of voices you have heard from those who fell
Dead who never once a tyrant’s line adored
Who never ever lied or once betrayed.
Wayfarer you are now our ears and eyes
Examine our concerns we ask
In honesty and in faith
In crystal clear revealing light.
We say enjoy your days
Walk tall in courage, knowing well
That if you love and you are loved,
That every shred of good that comes with life
Was freely given by those now dead.
Wayfarer, do go tell, with one raised voice
What you have heard
Through tears and from the many voices from the ground.
(S. Rotas, translated by JL)

Zeus was captivated by the girl with the wide-eyed gaze, Europa. He turned himself into a playful white bull to possess her. Enchanted, she hopped onto his back. Before she could bat a beautiful eyelid she was whisked away to Crete. It was both a coming together and a separation. It symbolized a distancing from Asia and the beginnings of Europe; a Europe of two world wars (WWI, WWII) and a European Union (EU) in deep trouble and disarray with exit, potential exits and important parts of Europe left out.

Disguise played an important role in the abduction of a high ranking German officer by members of the Greek Resistance at the time of the Battle of Crete. Dressed as German soldiers they whisked him away over the Cretan mountains to rendezvous with an Allied submarine that took him to Egypt. Ill met by moonlight tells this story. German reprisals were asymmetrical, methodical and cruel.

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I was in the Municipality of Amiras Viannos in the southeast quadrant of Crete, 70 kilometers from Knossos to participate in an event held in the recently opened Museum of the Holocaust. My talk was a part of the 3rd Panhellenic National Congress on Hellenic Holocausts and German Compensations (14-16 September, 2018) held in the new, innovative, commemorative and still evolving Museum of the Holocaust. [1]

The related events paid tribute to well documented sufferings of Greece and its people. More specifically it reinforced an unrelenting struggle to keep alive the persistent claims of Greece for justice and recompense (Gerechtigkeit und Wedergutmachung). For me, it opened some blood splattered pages that document the horrors of war and a great need for world peace, all the more important as the symbolic timepiece of the Atomic Scientists stands at 2 minutes to midnight. My part was to address the health impact of the occupation and especially of enforced famine in Athens (1941-2). Its consequences were death for more than100,000 people within a short span of a few winter months out!!! Between 1941-42, stunted growth in children, tuberculosis, vitamin deficiency, dry eyes and blindness as well as a set of debilitating life-time, psychological problems and much more; typhus was rampant.