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Athens in ten dates : may 30, 1941, two Greeks honoured the swastika flag


Sometimes, it is serious when at the age of eighteen. With his friend Apostolos Santas, little older than himself, Manolis Glezos will prove it. After having heard the Führer say that no one objected to the Reich in Europe, they decided to demonstrate that the fight was only just beginning, on the contrary.

Greece, under the authoritarian regime established in 1936 by the Prime minister Ioannis Metaxas, attempted to maintain neutrality. In vain. After having invaded Albania in 1939, Mussolini demanded free passage of its troops on Greek territory to occupy strategic points. Supported by king George II, Ioannis Metaxas rejected, on the 28th of October 1940, the ultimatum, knowing that the country, by this refusal, was committed in the conflict. The reaction of the Duce was not made to wait. He ordered his troops stationed in Albania to walk on Athens.

Shortly after “the day of the No”, which brought together monarchists, democrats, socialists and communists, Manolis has attempted to engage in the army. In vain, because he was still a minor. Marri, he was admired, battle after battle, the resistance of the Greeks, and cheered when the United Kingdom was requested by George II, sent an expeditionary force to support the national forces. To the general surprise, they have repelled the invaders beyond the frontiers. Hitler, who intended to concentrate its war effort on the project of his invasion of the soviet Union, has had to resolve to fly to the rescue of Mussolini. On April 27, 1941, while Metaxas has succumbed to a short illness, German troops occupy Athens and the German flag struck the swastika floats on top of the Acropolis.

On the night of 30 may 1941, it is moonlight. Silent as cats, Manolis and Apostolos sneak up to the Parthenon. They are trying to climb up the pole supporting the banner. Impossible. But they end up yet, hang the flag. If by entering, they tear it apart. Each person then takes a piece of the trophy, throwing the remainder in a well, a legend provides that a snake, protector of the Acropolis, remains there. The case caused a stir, not only in Greece but throughout Europe. Sentenced to death in absentia, the two heroes dive into the underground. Apostolos joined the people’s Army of national liberation controlled by the Greek communist Party. Manolis will, he is to emerge within the Red Cross. Repeatedly arrested, it always escapes the death penalty, escapes, disappears, returns. He will take part in the civil war that is tearing Greece after the end of the world conflict, on the side of the left allied with the communists. Under the regime of the colonels, at the end of the 1960s, Manolis went back in prison. But his reputation in Greece as well as abroad will save him always.

Manolis Glezos will be fighting all

there are of Robin hood, the, Asterix and the Zorro in this small man who never gave up to fight. Fight. For utopias. Several times elected member of parliament for the democratic left or Pasok, will attempt to build in his native village of Apiranthos on the island of Naxos, a direct democracy, but the people of the village will eventually get tired of managing problems themselves municipal. The old fighter will have to give up, but he will resume the service when the “Greek crisis” will erupt in 2009.

He was then eighty-seven years, the hair, the moustache and eyebrows white as snow. But the eyes still sparkling with mirth. The austerity plans cooked up for Greece, which is threatened of bankruptcy, by the european central Bank, the IMF and the Commission, will succeed. Manolis manifest with Indignant against the strangulation of his country. Soon, he will join the coalition Syriza of Alexis Tsipras and stand in the general elections of 2012 and the european in 2014.

A year later, when the Prime minister will announce that it endorses the reforms imposed on his government by the Eurogroup, Manolis Glezos will leave the party, Alexis Tsipras, and will present an apology to his fellow countrymen.

As of 2011, he had, meanwhile, claimed publicly in the Germany of Angela Merkel, the repayment of a war debt contracted when, under the pretext of borrowing required, the nazi Germany was dominating the reserves of the national Bank of the occupied country. He had calculated that it amounted, without interest, to one hundred and sixty-two billion euros. In a laugh that he had been unable to contain, he added: “This is the only time when Greece had lent the place to borrow.” Sometimes, it is not serious when it was ninety-nine years.

Figaro Hors série

The miracle athenian

Its heroes by the names of Themistocles, Pericles, Socrates, Aeschylus. Among the gods of Olympus, she chose Athena, and he has dedicated the most beautiful of the temples, a miracle of architecture that sculpts to him alone, on the rock of the Acropolis, the idea of civilization. Le Figaro Hors-Series celebrates this immense white city, which extends like a sea, between its seven hills. Alive, as its millennial destiny, haunting as the genius Greek, that adversity does not turn off but reinforces, this walk through the centuries and neighborhoods takes you in the footsteps of illustrious personages, in the heart of the traditions, to the discovery of the site of the current culture. Athens yesterday and today, as you’ve never seen it.

Le Figaro Hors-série: Athens eternal, 164 pages, 12,90€