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Encyclopedia > Axis Occupation of Greece during WWII
German soldiers raising the Swastika over the Acropolis. It would be taken down in acts of resistance throughout the occupation.
German soldiers raising the Swastika over the Acropolis. It would be taken down in acts of resistance throughout the occupation.

The Axis occupation of Greece began in April, 1941, following the German invasion of Greece. Italy had declared war after delivering an ultimatum in October, 1940 and after their failure to conquer Greece, the German Führer Adolf Hitler turned his military focus to the southern Balkans and by the middle of May, 1941 Greece was under joint occupation (Greek:Κατοχή) by three Axis powers: Germany, Italy and Bulgaria. Image File history File links Akropolis_german_flag. ... Image File history File links Akropolis_german_flag. ... A right-facing Swastika in decorative Hindu form For the town in Ontario, see Swastika, Ontario. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Hitler redirects here. ...

Contents


Fall of Greece and the Triple Occupation

Main article: Battle of Greece
Map showing the three occupation zones. Blue indicates the Italian-occupied areas, red the German-occupied areas and green the Bulgarian-occupied ones.
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Map showing the three occupation zones. Blue indicates the Italian-occupied areas, red the German-occupied areas and green the Bulgarian-occupied ones.

Combatants Germany, Italy, Bulgaria Greece, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand Commanders Maximilian von Weichs Alexander Papagos, Henry Maitland Wilson, Thomas Blamey Strength Germany: 680,000 men,[1] 1200 tanks, 700 aircraft, Italy: 529,000 men Greece: 350,000 men, British Commonwealth: 58,000 men Casualties Italy: 13,755 dead, 25... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (899x917, 107 KB) Map showning the zones of control of the three occupying powers in Greece during WW2, from 1941 to 1944. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (899x917, 107 KB) Map showning the zones of control of the three occupying powers in Greece during WW2, from 1941 to 1944. ...

Collaboration

General Georgios Tsolakoglou, who had signed the armistice treaty with the Wehrmacht, was appointed as chief of a new Nazi puppet collaborationist regime in Athens. He was succeeded as Prime Minister of Greece by two other prominent Greek collaborators: Konstantinos Logothetopoulos first, and Ioannis Rallis second. The latter was responsible for the creation of the Greek collaborationist Security Battalions. As in other European countries, there were Greeks eager to collaborate with the occupying force. Some because they shared the National Socialist ideology (for instance members of ultra-nationalist political factions and parties), others because of extreme anti-Communism, and others because of opportunistic advancement. The Germans were also eager to find support from the ideologically-similar Greeks, and helped Greek fascist organizations such as the infamous EEE (Ethniki Enosis Ellas), the EKK (Ethnikon Kyriarchon Kratos), the Greek National Socialist Party (Elliniko Ethnikososialistiko Komma, EEK) led by George S. Mercouris and other minor pro-Nazi, fascist or anti-Semitic organizations such as the ESPO (Hellenic Socialist Patriotic Organization) or the Sidira Eirini ("Iron Peace"). German cavalry and motorized units entering Poland from East Prussia during the Polish Campaign of 1939 Wehrmacht (Defence force) was the name of the armed forces of Germany from 1935 to 1945. ... Collaboration, literally, consists of working together with one or more other people. ... Note on Greek names: There is no firm convention for the rendering of Greek personal names into English. ... Ioannis Rallis (1878-1946) was the third Nazi collaborator prime minister of Greece, from 7 April 1943 to 12 October 1944, succeeding Konstantinos Logothetopoulos in the Nazi-held puppet government in Athens. ... The Security Battalions (Greek: Τάγματα Ασφαλείας, Tágmata Asfalías) were Greek collaborationist military groups, formed during World War II in order to support the German occupation troops. ... The National Union of Greece (Greek: Εθνική Ενωσις Ελλάς, Ethniki Enosis Ellas EEE) was an anti-Semitic nationalist party established in the Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1927. ... The Greek National Socialist Party was a minor Nazi party founded in Greece in 1932 by George S. Mercouris, a former Cabinet minister. ... George S. Mercouris (1886-December, 1943) was a Greek politician who founded the Greek National Socialist Party Born in Athens, he studied politics and economics there, Paris, and London. ...


In Nazi ideology, the Greeks were regarded as a German-friendly nation and were above Slavs in their racial scale. Hitler admired the ancient Greek civilization, the Spartan model and Hellenic classicism, which inspired many building and artistics endeavours in Nazi Germany. Hitler had no plans to occupy Greece either, and also resisted to Italy's plans to invade Greece, which in the end was for this reason enacted without Mussolini consulting Hitler. Also the fact that Greece in the 1930s had a fascist regime leaded by the germanophile Ioannis Metaxas placed Greece on Hitler's list of potentially friendly nations. Furthermore, the Italians' failure to conquer Greece after their October 28, 1940 ultimatum and attack gained the Greeks the respect of Germany. For this reason Hitler ordered the Wehrmacht not to take Greek prisoners and allowed them to carry weapons, something no other defeated army was allowed to. Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945, standard German pronunciation in the IPA) was the Führer (leader) of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party) and of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. ... Sparta (Doric: , Attic: ) is a city in southern Greece. ... Benito Mussolini created a fascist state through the use of propaganda, total control of the media and disassembly of the working democratic government. ... Ioannis Metaxas Ioannis Metaxas (Greek Ιωάννης Μεταξάς, April 12, 1871 – January 29, 1941) was a Greek General and the Prime Minister of Greece from 1936 until his death. ... October 28 is the 301st day of the year (302nd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 64 days remaining. ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ...


Resistance

Main article: Greek Resistance

However, most Greeks did not cooperate with the Nazis and chose either the path of passive acceptance or active resistance. Active Greek resistance started immediately as many Greeks fled to the hills, where a partisan movement was born. One of the most touching episodes of the early resistance took place just after the Wehrmacht reached the Acropolis on April 27. The Germans ordered one Greek soldier to retire the Greek flag. The Greek soldier obeyed, but when he was done, he wrapped himself in the flag and threw himself off of the plateau where he met death. Some days later, when the Swastika banner was waving on the Akropolis' uppermost spot, two patriotic Athenian youngsters, Manolis Glezos and Apostolos Santas climbed by night on the Acropolis and tore down the Swastika. It was one of the first actions of Greek resistance and among the first in Europe, and therefore inspired not only Greeks but also other Europeans under German domination. An ELAS soldier The Greek Resistance is the blanket term for a number of armed and unarmed groups from across the political spectrum that resisted the Axis occupation of Greece during World War II. // Origins The rise of resistance movements in Greece was precipitated by the invasion and occupation of... Acropolis in Athens. ... A right-facing Swastika in decorative Hindu form For the town in Ontario, see Swastika, Ontario. ... Manolis Glezos Manolis Glezos (Greek: Μανώλης Γλέζος) is a Greek left wing politician, notable for his participation in the World War II resistance. ...


The greatest source of partisan activity was the Communist-backed guerilla forces, the National Liberation Front (Ethniko Apeleftherotiko Metopo, or EAM), and it's military wing Ethnikos Laikos Apeleftherotikos Stratos (ELAS), which carried away operations of sabotage and guerrilla against the Wehrmacht with notable success. A right-wing partisan organization, the Greek National Republican League (Ethnikos Dimokratikos Ellinikos Syndesmos, or EDES), led by a former army officer, Colonel Napoleon Zervas a well-known Republican, and the National and Social Liberation (Ethniki Kai Koinoniki Apeleftherosis, or the EKKA), led by Colonel Dimitrios Psaros, a Royalist. These groups were formed with remnants of the Hellenic Army and the conservative factions of Greek society. In a number of cases, EDES fought directly against ELAS in a sort of prelude to the Greek Civil War that sprang up after the German departure in 1944. EAM alleged that EDES was aided by the German occupying forces and by the Nazi-supported puppet regimes of Tsolakoglou, Logothetopoulos and Rallis. This situation led to triangular battles among ELAS, EDES and the Germans. The Ethniko Apeleftherotiko Metopo (EAM) (Greek Εθνικό Απελευθερωτικό Μέτωπο (ΕΑΜ), National Liberation Front) was the main resistance movement in Greece during World War II. It was founded in 27 September 1941 by representatives of four left-wing parties : Lefteris Apostolou for the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Christos Chomenidis, for the Socialist Party of... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Ethnikos Dimokratikos Ellinikos Syndesmos (Greek Εθνικός Δημοκρατικός Ελληνικός Σύνδεσμος, Greek National Democratic Union, abbreviated EDES) was a World War II Greek resistance movement. ... Napoleon Zervas (1891 - 1957) was a Greek general and resistance leader during World War II. He organized and was the leader of the National Republican Greek League (EDES), a resistance organization against the Nazi occupation of Greece. ... The Hellenic Army (Greek: Ελληνικός Στράτος) is the land force of Greece (The Hellenic Republic). ... Combatants Hellenic Army, Royalist forces, Republicans, British troops Communist guerillas (ELAS, DSE) Commanders Alexander Papagos Markos Vafiadis Strength 100,000 men 20,000 men and women Casualties 12,777 killed 37,732 wounded 4,527 missing 38,000 killed 40,000 captured or surrendered An ELAS soldier The Greek Civil... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1944 calendar). ...


When Italy surrendered to the Allies in the fall of 1943, German forces actively hunted down and, in some cases executed, the Italian soldiers and simultaneously began serious attacks on EDES. There is evidence that Zervas then struck a deal with the German army. The right-wing partisans and Germans agreed not to attack each other. This truce left the Germans free of sabotage in some areas and allowed EDES to suppress local Communist rivals. The EDES-German truce ended in 1944, when the Germans began evacuating Greece and the British agents in Greece negotiated a ceasefire (the Plaka agreement).[1] 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1943 calendar). ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1944 calendar). ...


The stage, however, was already set for the next period of Greek history: the Greek Civil War. Combatants Hellenic Army, Royalist forces, Republicans, British troops Communist guerillas (ELAS, DSE) Commanders Alexander Papagos Markos Vafiadis Strength 100,000 men 20,000 men and women Casualties 12,777 killed 37,732 wounded 4,527 missing 38,000 killed 40,000 captured or surrendered An ELAS soldier The Greek Civil...


Liberation and aftermath

Nazi atrocities

This of course did not prevent the German occupation forces from ravaging entire villages, committing atrocities against those civilians accused of aiding the partisans and to exploiting Greece's economy, which caused a great famine that killed over 300,000 people in the winter of 1942.[2] In fact, the fragile Greek economy was decimated by the occupation and the people suffered the lack of food and basic supplies. Inflation boomed and a black market emerged. The Germans did allow the International Red Cross in the Greek ports to bring food to the starving Greeks of the the bigger cities, especially Athens and Thessaloniki. In the countryside, the occupation forces did not have the same degree of control, leaving large sections of the country under the nominal control of Italian (and in Thrace the Bulgarian) forces, and so they did not directly interfere in the daily lives of rural Greeks. 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1942 calendar). ... The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is the worlds largest group of humanitarian non-governmental organizations, often known simply as the Red Cross, after its original symbol. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Thrace (Bulgarian: Тракия, Trakiya; Greek: Θράκη, Thrákē; Latin: Thracia or Threcia, Turkish: Trakya, Macedonian: Тракија) is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. ...


However, increasing attacks by partisans in the latter years of the occupation resulted in a number of executions and wholesale slaughter of innocents. The most famous example being that of the "Massacre of Kalavryta" in which the Germans troops carried out the extermination of the entire male population and the subsequent total destruction of the town of Kalavryta, on December 13, 1943. The Holocaust of the city of Kalavryta or Massacre and Annihilation of Kalavryta refer to the extermination of the male population and the subsequent total destruction of the town of Kalavryta, in Greece, by German occupying forces during World War II on 13 December 1943. ... December 13 is the 347th day of the year (348th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1943 calendar). ...


Jews of Greece

The approximately 40,000 Jews of Thessaloniki, some who have been in Greece since the Spanish Inquisition and others since ancient times, were an early target for the Nazis who didn't waste any time in isolating them for future deportation. Jewish newspapers were closed down, local anti-Semites were encouraged to post anti-Jewish notices around the city, Jews were forced to wear the Star of David so they can be easily identified and further isolated from the Greeks. Jewish families were kicked out of their homes and arrested while the Nazi-controlled press turned public opinion against them. By December, 1941, the Germans begin to demolish the old Jewish cemetery so the ancient tombstones could used as building material for sidewalks and walls. There have been organized Jewish communities in Greece for more than two thousand years. ... // Pedro Berruguete. ... The Star of David The Star of David is called the Shield of David in Hebrew, מָגֵן דָּוִד or מגן דוד, pronounced Magen David [] in Israeli Hebrew and Mogein Dovid [] or Mogen Dovid [] in Ashkenazi Hebrew and Yiddish. ...


The Germans began mass deportations in March, 1943, sending Jews of Thessaloniki to the Auschwitz death camp on a long journey packed in box-cars like sardines. By the summer of 1943, the Jews of the German and Bulgarian zones are gone and only those in the Italian zone remained. Jewish property in Thessaloniki was distributed to 'caretakers' who are chosen by special committee. Instead of giving apartments and businesses to the many refugees, they were given to friends and relatives of committee members or collaborators. Auschwitz, in English, commonly refers to the Auschwitz concentration camp complex built near the town of Oświęcim, by Nazi Germany during World War II. Rarely, it may refer to the Polish town of Oświęcim (called by the Germans Auschwitz) itself. ...


In September, 1943, the Germans turned their attention to the Jews of Athens, their propaganda was not as effective with the Athenians because the Jewish community there had been better integrated into Athenian life. Archbishop Damaskinos ordered his priests to ask their congregations to help the Jews. Many Orthodox Christians risked their lives hiding them in their apartments and homes, despite threat of imprisonment. Even the Greek police ignored instructions to turn over Jews to the Germans. When Jewish community leaders appealed to Prime Minister Ioannis Rallis he tried to alleviate their fears by saying that the Jews of Thessaloniki had been guilty of subversive activities and that this is the reason they were deported. At the same time, Elias Barzilai, the Grand Rabbi of Athens, is summoned to the Dept. of Jewish Affairs and told to submit a list of names and addresses of members of the Jewish community. Instead he destroys the community records thus saving the lives of thousands of Athenian Jews. He advises the Jews of Athens to flee or go into hiding. A few days later, the Rabbi himself is spirited out of the city by EAM-ELAS fighters and joins the resistance. EAM/ELAS helps hundreds of Jews escape and survive, many of whom stayed with the resistance as fighters and/or interpreters. Statue of Archbishop Damaskinos near the Athens Cathedral. ... Eastern Orthodoxy (also called Greek Orthodoxy and Russian Orthodoxy) is a Christian tradition which represents the majority of Eastern Christianity. ... Ioannis Rallis (1878-1946) was the third Nazi collaborator prime minister of Greece, from 7 April 1943 to 12 October 1944, succeeding Konstantinos Logothetopoulos in the Nazi-held puppet government in Athens. ...


References

  1. ^ Twenty-Five Lectures on Modern Balkan History, by Steven W. Sowards. [1].
  2. ^ Inside Hitler's Greece: The Experience of Occupation, 1941-44, by Mark Mazower, Yale University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-300-08932-6

See also


 
 

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