Introduction: The Resistance

From the beginning of the Occupation, the Greek people used spontaneous acts of rebellion, individually and collectively, to express their will to resist that soon become manifest in organized form with the foundation of resistance groups from autumn 1941 on. Among these first acts, and pre-eminent for its symbolic value, was the lowering from the Acropolis and destruction of the Nazi swastika by two young students, Manolis Glezos and Lakis Santas, as early as May 1941. Another dynamic act of resistance in that first period was the blowing up of the headquarters of ESPO, an organization of pro-Nazi Greeks, by PEAN (Panhellenic Association of Fighting Youths) whose leader was the airforce officer . Perrikos.
The majority of the Greek people took part in the resistance against the foreign occupation, on a large scale and in various ways. The epic repercussions of the Albanian war on the one hand and the collective trial by famine on the other, the black market, the insufferable oppression and common hatred of collaborators, had both radicalized popular opinion and dissolved many of the old political disputes in the face of a common desire for liberation. People of all ages, professions and social and political parties, in the cities and in the countryside, participated in the struggle. Intellectuals, artists and many other citizens, each in his way, responded to the appeals of the resistance.
Young people proved to be a group of pioneers with an impressively daring and dynamic membership, of which the biggest and most active organization was EPON. It is in the context of the activities of these youths that a wider cultural and educational effort was born that materialized during the period.
Particularly dynamic and unprecedented was the role played by women of all ages, both in Athens and the countryside, who participated in every kind of resistance initiative including armed fighting. For Greek women resistance activities were a demonstration of their social self-awareness and emancipation.
In particular, the underground resistance press must be mentioned; this was a very signifant factor in the national struggle - operating in great danger and circulated from hand to hand, it told the Greek people the truth about the war and encouraged the resistance movement. Eleftheri Ellada, Apeleftherotis, Ginaikeia Drasi, Nea Genia, Dimokratiki Simaia, Floga, Doxa, and Apeleftherosi were some of the many publications in circulation, while every district and employment area had its own publication, typed, duplicated or in some cases in manuscript form. At the same time, brochures and propaganda sheets filled Athens thanks to the exceptional inventiveness and audacity of their writers and distributors.