Last summer, I visited my parents’ village in western Greece. Their village had been burnt down during World War II, and left barren. Most of the tiny town (population of less than 1,000) was rebuilt, but there are still a few homes that are abandoned.
The Germans invaded Greece on April 6, 1941. Resistance movements began in the summer of 1941, and grew enormously in 1943 and 1944, liberating large parts of the country’s mountainous interior.
My father was just a young child when the Germans invaded. He remembers stories his parents and relatives told him, of how they survived the war. Many families fled to the mountains to hide, while others sought cover in the fields. Those who went to the mountains only survived.
This is Popi.
Much of Popi’s family perished during the war.
Popi was a 14-year-old girl when she lost her eye.
Here she tells her story.
Greece entered World War II on October 28, 1940 when the Italian Army invaded from Albania, beginning the Greco-Italian War. The Greek Army was able to halt the invasion temporarily and was able to push the Italians back into Albania. But Greek successes forced Nazi Germany to intervene.
The Germans invaded Greece and Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941, and overran both countries within a month. Greece itself was occupied and divided between Germany, Italy and Bulgaria, while the King and the government fled into exile in Egypt.
Resistance movements began in the summer of 1941, and grew enormously in 1943 and 1944, liberating large parts of the country’s mountainous interior.
Political tensions between the Resistance groups resulted in the outbreak of a civil conflict among them in late 1943, which continued until the spring of 1944.
The exiled Greek government also formed armed forces of its own, which served and fought alongside the British in the Middle East, North Africa and Italy.
Mainland Greece was liberated in October 1944 with the German withdrawal in the face of the advancing Red Army, while German garrisons continued to hold out in the Aegean Islands until after the war’s end.
Greece and its economy and infrastructure was devastated by war and occupation. The country suffered more than 400,000 casualties during the occupation, and the country’s Jewish community was almost completely exterminated in the Holocaust. Source: Wikipedia