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Memories of the Occupation in Greece



Beginning of the war of Italy against Greece.

November 1940

Beginning of the greek counteroffensive. 

March 1941

Spring offensive of Italy

April 1941

Beginning of the Balkans campaign, in whose framework Germany invades the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the Kingdom of Greece and occupies the city of Thessaloniki. On April 27th the Wehrmacht invades Athens. Crete is conquered by the mountain troops (Unternehmen Merkur). Greece is divided into three occupation zones, a German, an Italian and a Bulgarian sector. 

May 1941

Foundation of the first resistance organizations. Dr. Günther Altenburg is appointed as representative of the "Reich" in Greece. 


End of the battle of Crete and destruction of the village of Kandanos. Foundation of the "National Solidarity" in Athens. 


Manolis Glezos and Apostolos Santas, two students, bring down the swastika flag at the acropolis.

July 1941

Foundation of the organization "YVE" (Defender of Northern Greece) as well as of the KKE resistance groups "Odisseas Androutsos" and "Athanasios Diakos".


Georgios Polichronakis is the first one to be executed during the German occupation.


Foundation of the National Republican Greek League (EDES, Ethnikon Dimokratikon Eleftherotikon Metopo) by Napoleontas Zervas.


The death penalty threatens even those charged with minor offenses as petty theft.


Foundation of the EAM (Ellinikon Apeleftherotikon Metopon, National Liberation Front)


Revolts in Drama, considered as one of the first revolts in occupied Europe. At least 4.000 to 5.000 Greeks are killed by the Bulgarians.

Oktober 1941

Purge by the Germans in Kerdyllia Serron (18.10) and in Mesovouno Ptolemaidas (23.10). Executions of 96 people in the villages of Kleisto, Kydonia and Ampelofyto Kilkis (25.10). The turkish ship Kurtulus reaches Athens with a first aid transport. 

February 1942

The Greek People´s Liberation Army emerges from the leftist resistance group EAM.


Demonstrations in almost all Greek cities on the occasion of the national holiday.

April 1942

On April 12th civil servants go on strike. Post office clerks and telegraphists are mobilized.

May 1942

Thanasis Klaras (Aris Velouchiotis) recruits the first partisans for the ELAS in Fthiotida.


All Jewish men aged between 18 and 45 (9.000 people) are assembled at Freedom Square in Thessaloniki. They are registered for forced labour and publicly humiliated. Greek guards urge them to do gymnastic exercises with strokes of the lash.


Mussolini visits Athens.


Napoleon Zervas founds the "National Group of Greek Partisans" (EOEA) in Epirus.

August 1942

Arrival of the Commando Forces "Midas 614" under the leadership of Ioannis Tsigantes in Mani.

September 1942

The "National Socialist Patriotic Organization" ESPO is being broken up by a special unit of the resistance group PEAN. The first British soldiers arrive in the occupied Greece via parachutes.

November 1942

Blow-up of the bridge in Gorgopotamos. Twelve British intelligence soldiers cooperate with Greek partisans form ELAS and EDES.


Resignation of the Prime Minister Georgios Tsolakoglou. The next day Konstantinos Logothetopoulos is assigned as new Prime Minister.

December 1942

The old Jewish cemetery is being destroyed. The initiative to acquire the cemetery grounds doesn´t come from the Germans, but from the Greek city administration itself. At the same location the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the country´s largest university, is going to be built.

January 1943

Start of the registration of the Jewish community of Thessaloniki.


The founder of the resistance organization PEAN Kostas Perikkos is being executed in Kaisariani.

February 1943

Foundation of the United Panhellenic Youth Organization EPON. The funeral of the national poet Kostis Palamas turns into a historic event, that reflects the unity and the love of freedom of the Greek nation under the rule of the German occupation.

February 1943

On February 6th 1943 the special unit for Jewish affairs of the SS arrives with the SS-Hauptsturmführer Dieter Wisliceny and Alois Brunner in Thessaloniki. The same day the Nürnberg Race Laws become effective. Two days later the wearing of the Jewish star is enforced for the Jews of Thessaloniki. Their shops and appartments are being marked and they are relocated into ghettos in the Baron-Hirsch quarter and in two other neighbourhoods in the vicinity of the train station. 


The Jews of Thrace and Macedonia are being arrested by the Bulgarians and brought to Treblinka, where they were later killed.


Large demonstration in Athens against the mobilization to forced labour in Germany launched by the Nazis. Clashes with the police and the occupying forces, in which course the protesters storm the Ministry of Employment and destroy the lists with workers, that should be deported to Germany. The same evening the Germans announce that the mobilization would be repealed. This was followed by many killings. 

March 1943

On March 1st all Jewish families are prompted to declare their property. On March 8th the Greek gouvernment establishes the Department of the Jewish Wealth Management (YDIP) under the leadership of the lawyer Elias Douros. The YDIP maintans a log of all takeovers and handovers of Jewish property.


The first transport with 2.500 Jews leaves Thessaloniki heading to Auschwitz.

April 1943

Ioannis Rallis becomes Prime Minister of the occupied Greece. ELAS executes 33 German detainees and declares war to Germany.


Deportation of the Jews of Didimotichon, Nea Orestiada and Soufli.


Operation "Animals": The SOE-Cairo (Special Operations Executive, established by Winston Churchill to "set Europe in fire") commands the leader of the British Military Mission (BMM) to the partisans, Eddie Myers, to start the major offensive "Animals", that shall divert the attention from the Allied landing in Sicily. This offensive consists of intensified attacks of the Royal Air Force against German facilities in Greece and results in heavy losses for the occupants.


Foundation of the Security Bataillons by the Greek collaborationist government. 


Combat operations of the ELAS against the Germans in Sarantoporo Elassonas. 100 Germans are killed. 

July 1943

Combat operations of the ELAS against the Italian occupants in Leontion Achaias (10.07). The "United Partisan´s Headquarter" is being established in Pertouli Trikalon (18.07). Fightings if the EDES against the Italians in Makrinoros (14.22.07). Mass demonstration in Athens against the Bulgarian annexation of "Greek" Macedonia. Approximately 70 people are killed. 


Kommeno massacre: The Germans execute 317 inhabitants, among them 97 childern in the age between one and fifteen years and set fire to the village.


Allied military operations on the Greek island of Egina.


Vianno and Ierapetra massacres. The Germans shoot 451 inhabitants.


4.635 Italian prisoners are executed by the Germans on the island of Kefallonia.


Fight for the re-conquest of the island of Leros from the Germans.


Ligiades massacre. 85 inhabitants are killed by the Germans.


Fightings between the resistance organizations ELAS and EDES in the Epirus mountains.


A German company gets killed in Parnitha by ELAS members.


Large purges by the Germans in Central Greece (Panther, Puma, Tiger).


Re-conquest of the Greek island Egina by the Germans. 


Kalavryta massacre. 499 people are killed. Including the neighbouring villages 696 people are killed in total during the "Operation Kalavryta". 

January 1944

Counter offensive of the EDES. On January 4th the ELAS is pushed back to the river Acheloos. Piraeus is bombed by the American Air Force, causing the death of nearly 600 civilians. 


Greek collaborationists kill 80 resistance fighters in Nea Makri, Kilkis and burn down the village. 


Negotiations in Myrofyllo, Plaka: Ceasefire agreement between EAM and EDES. They agree to strongly condemn the actions taken by the collaborationist groups.  


Execution of 100 people in Larisa.


Formation of the Political Committee of the National Liberation PEEA by the EAM.


Arrests of the Jews of Athens, Chalkida, Kastoria, Ioannina, Arta, Preveza, Larisa, Trikala and Volos.


Uprising of some Greek Naval Units deployed in Egypt and supporting the left-wing EAM against the British. 


Massacre of Kleissoura with 270 casualties. The village is burnt down completely. 


Execution of 120 people in the city of Agrinio.


Dissolution of the "5/42 Evzone Regiment". Their leader Dimitris Psaros is murdered. 


Operation Maigewitter in Vermio: 318 women and children are executed near Kozani.


Execution of 138 detainees from Kiriaki, Distomo, Lamia and Livadia.


Georgios Papandreou becomes Prime Minister of the exile government in Egypt.


Execution of 200 fighters from the Chaidari prisons on the shooting range Kaisariani. Nearly all are communists. 

Μay 1944

Meeting of represantatives of all important parties of Greeces and representatives of the EAM/PEEA, EDES and EKKA near Beyrouth under the leadership of Georgios Papandreou. The aim of the conference is the formation of a unity government. 


Execution of 101 hostages in Diavata near Thessaloniki.


Distomo massacre near Livadia. 218 women and children are killed and the village is burnt down. 

July 1944

Increase of partisan offensives. ELAS attacks Amfissa on July 1st and Amfilochia on July 12th and 13th. On the German site 500 soldiers are killed and 780 are wounded. 


ELAS attacks in Velestino. 


German operation "Kreuzotter" in Central Greece. Thousand of partisans and 130 Germans are killed. 


Raid in Kokkinia (Nikaia): Nearly 100 men are shot on the spot, while between 3.000 to 4.000 men are brought to the Chaidari prisons, of which 1.000 had to carry out forced labour. 


Chortiatis massacre near Thessaloniki. 149 fatalities. 


Execution of 104 people in Giannitsa, Pellas. 


22 air raids on Thessaloniki.


'Caserta-Treaty: The ELAS fighters are operating from now on under the leadership of the British landing troops.


Withdrawal of the German troops from Athens.


Arrival of the unity government in Athens. 


Liberation of Larisa.


The last German soldier passes the border of Greece. 


Dekemvriana ("December events")