Manolis Glezos
Manolis Glezos is a national hero of Greece, politician, writer and public figure. On the night of 30 May 1941, at the age of 19, together with his comrade Apostle Santas they climbed the Athens Acropolis and took down the Nazi swastika flag. This inspired the Greeks and other people to resist the occupation. The Nazi regime sentenced the perpetrators to death in absentia. During the Axis occupation of Greece, he worked for the Hellenic Red Cross, while actively involved in the resistance. In 1948, in the midst of the Greek Civil War, he was sentenced to death multiple times by the national government. Still imprisoned, Manolis Glezos was elected member of the Hellenic Parliament in 1951. In 1958, he was arrested again and convicted of espionage. The Soviet Union issued a postage stamp with Glezos's image and later awarded him the Lenin Peace Prize, and in 1962 he was released. He was arrested again after the US-backed coup d'état of the Black Colonels in 1967, was imprisoned and exiled until his release in 1971. Manolis Glezos spent total 11 years and 4 months in imprisonment, and 4 years and 6 months in exile. After the restoration of democracy in Greece, Manolis Glezos was elected to the National Parliament and the European Parliament, was among the leaders of principled left parties, was arrested by riot police while protesting in Athens in 2012. Manolis Glezos was born on the island of Naxos in 1922. He passed away on March 30, 2020.

The text below is the last Manolis Glezos authored. He said: "This is what I want people to know. I am as strong as the Soviet tank."

Russia's President Vladimir Putin sent this message of condolences to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis: "Dear Mr. Prime Minister, please accept my deep condolences on the death of Manolis Glezos, a prominent Greek political and public figure and hero of the Greek Resistance. Manolis Glezos was a true friend of our country, a principled supporter of strengthening mutually beneficial Russian-Greek cooperation. He made a great personal contribution to the fight against falsification of history, against the rehabilitation of Nazis and their accomplices. The bright memory about him will remain in the hearts of Russians."

Manolis Glezos was buried in the First Cemetery in Athens on April 1. The flag on the Acropolis flew at half mast in memory of his daring act.
Keep the light in your soul, keep your humanity
On June 10, 1944, three Wehrmacht units converged on the village of Distomo in Nazi-occupied central Greece. They had received reports of black market activity by smugglers in the area — a hanging offense under the Nazis, who stockpiled food to supply their armies overseas, leaving the local population strictly rationed and literally starving to death.

Instead of smugglers they found a dozen resistance fighters and rounded them up.

One of them ran off and warned the resistance encamped three or four kilometers from the village, describes Thanos Bouras who at that time was 20 years old. The resistance attacked, and they mortally wounded the German commander. A woman brought him some water. He thanked her, and said: "The entire village is kaput, but don’t harm this woman."

What followed was one of the worst Nazi atrocities in Greece during their three-and-a-half-year occupation. Angelos Kastritis, who was eight, remembers the Germans going house to house, bashing down doors and spraying interiors with machine-gun fire.

Kastritis' mother had told him and his father to run away while she stayed home with her in-laws, believing that women and the elderly would not be harmed.

What happened next to another family in the village is told by Argyris Sfountouris, in his book later. He was the only boy, then 10 years old, who survived along with his two sisters hidden behind a cabinet where the Nazis did not find them. "When I returned I first saw my grandfather. The back of his head was gone. My grandmother was seated next to him dead. Inside the house I saw my mother… They had killed her execution-style, from behind."

Sture Linner, the Swedish head of the Red Cross in Greece, arrived in Distomo three days later. He described what he saw in his autobiography, My Odyssey. For hundreds of yards along the road, human bodies were hanging from every tree, pierced with bayonets — some were still alive. In the village… hundreds of dead bodies of people of all ages, from elderly to newborns, were strewn around on the dirt. Several women were slaughtered with bayonets …"
Seven percent of the Greek population at the time of the war — over half a million people — was wiped out. Four-fifths of those were civilians killed in mass executions and punitive massacres similar to Distomo
Such massacres took place in almost 250 villages, towns and cities, including the capital Athens and the second largest city in the north of Greece, Thessaloníki.

The single biggest killer was starvation, stemming from Germany’s seizure of the Greek economy. Greece lost 97 percent of its exports. Agricultural production fell, infrastructure — roads, bridges, railroads, ports — were systematically destroyed. A year into the occupation, Germany was so worried about a collapse of the country that it let Britain and the Red Cross distribute food and aid. It was the first country in Europe where this happened during the occupation.

If the German people are alive today, it is because of the death of the Greek people. They sent our crops, our olive oil, our meat production, to a Nazi Germany. "The resistance struggle of the Greek people was instrumental for the defeat of Nazism," I say in every lecture I give to children in schools and universities. It delayed Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.
We never gave up, the free conscience of our people resisted in every town and city. Our mountains were the home of our liberation army
Young teenagers were the backbone as were the veterans of the Albanian front from the invasion of Mussolini’s fascist regime that took place in October of 1940.

I recall the municipal carts of Athens that transported the corpses of thousands of emaciated citizens who died of starvation in the streets. Some families buried their dead in the yard, not reporting the death so as to keep getting the food rations of the dead person, I remember.

You can still visit our anti-Nazi memorial in the suburb of Kesariani, in Athens, where the on the 1st of May 200 hundred communists were executed, among them my older brother, Nikos Glezos who was 21 one years old at that time. This was a reprisal for of our continuous armed struggle. He left a small message written on the inside of his head cap which read the following: "Dear Mother, I kiss you and hug you all, today, I go to my execution falling for the Greek people," Nikos Glezos, Paramithiou 40 Athens (address).

Notice the expression "I go": it meant that he, like all his comrades, embraced their fate not with fear but with the conviction of sacrifice. They sacrificed themselves not in vain, this is their message to us today.
Freedom, socialist and communist ideals were not just words but the highest form of practical action in solidarity with all peoples struggling against Nazism. This is why the bond of Greek people and the Soviet people in our common fight against fascism is unbreakable, unforgettable, irreplaceable
Greece had the largest percentage of its population die of any occupied country. It went from 7.3 million in 1940 to 6.8 million in 1944, before the civil war broke out (1944−1949), which added another 700, 000 victims when the British and Americans invaded our country in order to keep us away from restoring true democracy.

As president of the National Council for the Claiming of German Debts, we estimate that Germany owes the country 162 billion euros (plus interest) in reparations, loans and other obligations. That includes the occupation loan that Germany and Italy forced Greece to pay out in 1941, the $ 7bn in reparations decided at the Paris Peace Conference, with three percent annual interest (Greece had asked for $ 12 billion). That comes to about $ 40bn with interest today. It’s not a question of money.

It’s our right to oblige Germany to recognize even after 75 years that we were part of the horrendous holocaust as well as the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and other nations and peoples.

It’s our right to keep our historical memory alive. It’s the way to pave the road for future generations to never forget the atrocities caused by the most horrific social and political system that ever existed in our human history: NAZISM and FASCISM.

Greece is the only country in Europe that never received reparations from Germany. We never got back the antiquities that were stolen from museums and given to the Nazis by their Greek collaborators. We never got back the buildings and movable property seized by the Nazis.

For decades, Greek governments have refused to demand reparations. Many believe it is because they know Germany would balk at such a request, and that it might compromise Germany’s crucial support for Greece within the EU, from funding over three decades to national issues such as Cyprus' EU admission in 2004.

Indeed, the Germans have argued that, in refusing reparations, they paid a large proportion of the EU funds Greece has received.

At some point, Greek authorities should demand it, with the threat of breaking off diplomatic ties with Germany — I insist on this question. It’s not vengeance, it’s real medicine and reparation for our soul and memory.
We were not heroes. We did the logical thing — to stand up and not fall on our knees
This is our only legacy to the younger generations today. Keep the light in your soul. Keep your humanity, your actions and your ideas against oppression and fascism, against the so-called right of the rich and powerful who want to subdue your heart and souls.
On the use of information

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Demonstration of Nazi and fascist paraphernalia or symbols on this resource is related only to the description of the historical context of the events of the 1930−1940s, is not its propaganda and does not justify the crimes of fascist Germany.