The Worker

80 Years Ago: The Greek Resistance Gives a Symbolic Sign

By International Federation of Resistance Fighters (FIR) – Association of Antifascists. From the 2022-48 edition of their newsletter.

On the night of November 25, 1942, the armed units of the Greek Resistance Movement succeeded in an important action that posed great problems to the fascist occupation forces, the blowing up of the strategically important and well-guarded bridge of Gorgopotamos.
In a well-organized operation by the United National Resistance, the ELAS and the EDES, with the collaboration of English explosives specialists, the central transport link was blown up, causing lasting damage to the occupying forces’ supply routes by road and especially by rail.
For the self-image of the armed resistance in Greece, this action was not only a great success, but also highly symbolic: it dealt the occupying forces a severe blow – both to their prestige (“invincible”) and to their operational capability in North Africa. Domestically, it was important because it showed what Hellenism can achieve when unity and concord prevail. Third, this action was considered the “awakening of armed resistance” and the partisan struggle.
The anti-fascist struggle in Greece united all classes and strata of the Greek people in the struggle for the liberation of the fatherland and the crushing of fascism. The destruction of the roads was followed by numerous symbolic resistance actions,
the action of Lakis Santa and Manolis Glezos to remove the German war flag with the swastika from the Acropolis and to raise the Greek flag;
the great and victorious strike against the occupation policy on April 14, 1942;
the blowing up of the offices of the Nazi organization ESPO on September 20, 1942, which prevented the Wehrmacht from recruiting “volunteers” for the Eastern Front.
The fascists knew only one answer to this: countless massacres and other crimes against the Greek population. Despite the violence of the occupation forces, the spirit of resistance of the population was not weakened. Through its actions, the Greek resistance blocked large military forces of the occupying forces in that country, an element that influenced developments on other war fronts and also decisively hindered the attempt to transform society in a fascist way. Towards the end of the war, despite occupation, ELAS was able to bring a large part of Greek territory under its control and was already building anti-fascist administrative structures there.

As significant as the Greek Resistance was, however, it took 40 years after this peak of National Resistance for it to be confirmed by Law 1285/1982, which also established November 25 as National Resistance Day.
But we must critically note that even eighty years after Gorgopotamos, the historically important contribution of Greece to the anti-fascist victory of the peoples is still not really recognized. To this day, the Federal Republic of Germany refuses to fulfill its obligations towards Greece for the heinous crimes against humanity committed by Nazi Germany in our country. The mass executions and the Holocaust, the famine during the occupation, the disappearance of the Jewish community, the forced expropriation of the Greek state, the looting of wealth and archaeological treasures, the destruction of public and private infrastructure, the forced labor – all this has not been compensated, not even recognized, until today.

Today, Greek antifascists continue the struggle for justice and compensation. They appeal to the Ministry of Education and Greek teachers to firmly oppose the attempt to rewrite the history of the occupation and national resistance.
The FIR has raised its voice many times in support of the legitimate concerns of the Greek people for adequate compensation. Also on the occasion of this commemoration day we repeat our demand and support the Greek anti-fascists in their efforts.

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