Published:1948 by American Youth for the Youth of Greece
Transcription: Zdravko Saveski
HTML: Zdravko Saveski and Mike Bessler
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2009). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
The aim of this pamphlet is to present in outline, on the basis of facts, the struggle of the Greek youth.
The development of the democratic movement of the Creek youth has its roots in the struggle of the youth during the national liberation revolution of 1821. The symbol of the supreme fighting spirit and self-sacrifice of the great example of the enthusiasm of the youth and their self-immolation; of the expression of the aspirations of the youth to liberate themselves from the Turkish yoke—is the sacrifice of the youth "Holy Battalion" at Dragacani, in Valahia.
On the path of martyrdom of our people, the Greek youth, inspired by high, progressive, democratic ideals, always showed that they were prepared to sacrifice their lives, to shed their blood for freedom, independence and democracy.
The Greek youth, democratically orientated, are struggling against national and foreign imperialists and invaders; they are fighting the theory of the "great idea," observing always the rules of national dignits of the homeland.
The Greek youth, together with the antifascist Greek people, created the epic of the Albanian mountains. Later they took part in the bitter struggle against the German-Italian invaders led by the EAMN (National Liberation Front of Youth) and after February 23, 1943, under the leadership of EPON.
The formation of EPON was the highest achievement of the Greek youth. Led by EPON, the whole Greek youth waged a fierce fight in towns and mountains against the forces of occupation. The foundation of EPON was the brightest event in the history of the Greek youth. Thousands of Greek youths gave their oath to EPON that they would fight for freedom. The whole of the Greek youth rallied around EPON, and as pioneers in the national struggle, wrote in their blood, and with their heroism, the most glorious pages of our national resistance.
The most precious jewels in the fight of the Greek youth are the fight against the Hitlerites, Italians and Bulgarian fascists, during the first occupation, and the fight against the British and Americans during the second occupation.
The history of EPON is the history of the most glorious battles of the Greek youth. EPON is the champion of the Greek youth, that is why it is so deeply inscribed in the heart of every Greek youth.
The wide participation of the Greek youth in the Democratic Army laid the basis for the creation of the organization known as "Democratic Youth of Greece," whose members are fighting in the ranks of the Democratic Army. EPON and the "Democratic Youth of Greece" are today the rock against which the attempts of the Americans and monarcho-fascists are wrecked. They are the pride of the Greek people. EPON and the "Democratic Youth of Greece" will not be liquidated. EPON and the "Democratic Youth" are the future of the Greek nation and a guarantee of the victory of the Greek people. The struggle carried on today by EPON and the "Democratic Youth" for freedom, independence and democracy — true to their democratic fighting traditions and to the ideals of the World Federation of Democratic Youth—will be continued until final victory.
EPON and "Democratic Youth of Greece" are supported in their just struggle by the world democratic youth.
The epopaea of the Greek people and youth created on the Albanian mountains in their facing of the armored hordes of the Italian fascist aggressor was continued with the same heroism and self-sacrifice along the whole line of our frontiers. On April 6, 1941, the sinister fascism of Hitler made an attack, in order to put an end to the humiliating defeat of its ally in Albania, and to complete the occupation of the whole of Europe, by occupying Greece, and so continue its adventurous campaigns in other directions.
The Greek combatants and youths showed a brilliant example of patriotism, fighting bitterly against the two empires. The sacrifice of the fortifications at Rupel and Lisa were the expression of the will of an anti-fascist people, in whom the feeling of freedom was deeply rooted. The Hitlerite attack in the back resulted in the remove of the mask of patriotism assumed till then by the Metaxas—Glücksburg fascist clique. The Germanophile generals, Cholakoglu and Bakopulos of the fascist Metaxas government, by order of that government, delivered the fettered Greek people into the hands of the aggressor by signing the capitulation of our army. King George Glücksburg and the fascist government, accompanied by a section of political leaders, abandoned the people and fled abroad. In this way, the picturesque coast of our homeland, the honest Greek villages, our sunny towns, our famous mountains, our blue sea, were covered by the black cloud of slavery, the most terrible ever experienced in our country. Our betrayed people in a short time lost their most precious and dearest possession—freedom—but retained the consciousness that they could regain it by a struggle—by the resolution either to win or die. And this resolution remained deeply stamped in the hearts of the Greek people, especially the youth.
The organized fight of the Greek youth against the forces of occupation began when the OKNE youth succeeded in escaping from the barren islands on which they had been interned. The OKNE youths had previously been delivered to the Germans by King Glücksburg. The OKNE members immediately started to organize and direct the resistance of the Greek youth against the fascist occupation. The occupiers felt this resistance from the very beginning, when they first set their foot on our soil.
On April 27, 1941, the Huns hoisted their foul flag on the monuments of the sacred rock of the Acropolis, the highest point in Athens. This aroused the most intense hatred of the people of Athens and Piraeus, and in the heart of every Greek who loved his homeland. But barely a month had passed, when on May 31, 1941, two students, sons of the people, risking their lives, climbed up to the Acropolis, removed the swastika, stamped upon it, and hoisted the Greek national flag in its stead. These two youths were Manolis Glezos and Apostolos Santas. Their names have become a symbol of heroism in Greece. Yet the monarcho-fascists are today keeping them in prison. This is another undeniable proof of the kinship existing between the present rulers of Greece and the fascist occupiers. In the fight of the Greek people, the students specially distinguished themselves. They began by rallying the youth in the hard struggle against the forces of occupation. On October 28, 1941, the anniversary of Mussolini's attack on Greece, the first great people's demonstration took place. On that day, the Athens people laid wreaths on the unknown soldier's tomb. This national manifestation showed the will and resolve of the Greek youth to oppose the fascist occupation. On November 29 of the same year, the first all-students' strike was carried out. On that day the youth, for the first time, faced the Italian carabinieri and Greek occupying agents. This strike was the first in Europe during the war. It was the first greeting of the Greek student youth to the youth of the enslaved countries, who, in reply, intensified their fight against the fascist occupiers.
The so-called "new order" was accompanied by slavery. We Greeks interpreted the "new order" by certain words: terror, plunder, violence, hunger, shooting and the treachery of the ruling circles. This was our experience of the "new order."
In order to neutralize the resistance of the people's masses and at the same time conceal their lack of manpower which they needed for their factories, for forced labor and for cannon fodder on the Eastern front, the invaders tried in every possible way to mislead the Greek people, and especially to win over the Greek youth. Owing to the proud attitude of our people, who were uncompromising towards the invader, the latter tried to break their spirit, to destroy them by means of barbarian methods of starvation and terror. The winter of 1941-42 was a terrible trial for the Greek people and the Greek youth. People died by the thousands from starvation. They swelled up and then died. This blow was especially directed at the youth and children. People became living skeletons. The children looked like old men of a hundred. During that year, about 300,000 people died of hunger.
At this very time, on February 5, 1942, it was decided, owing to the needs of the fight of the youth, that the National Youth Liberation Front (EAMN) should be formed from among the youth organizations of OKNE, FEN (Friendly Association of Youth) and LM (Free Youth). The aims proclaimed by EAMN were to rally and organize the youth in the struggle against the invaders and home traitors, to organize the fight for existence and the winning of the economic, political and cultural rights of the youth, to destroy the military and economic system of the occupier (by sabotage and strikes) and finally to help the victims of the invader. These aims met with a deep response from the youth, who started to carry on an organized struggle, regardless of danger.
Besides hunger, the Greek youth were obliged also to suffer other dangers—treachery, social temptation, mobilization for German factories, forced labor, etc. The Greek people resolutely and patiently resisted these terrible trials, showing the greatest contempt for the barbarian invaders.
EAMN fought and exerted all its efforts to explain the situation to the youth and people. It protected the youth from danger. Under the leadership of EAMN, the first important battle against the occupiers throughout Greece was carried out on March 25, 1942, the day of the anniversary of the Greek insurrection of 1821. On that day, the people and youth in Athens came out into the streets by the thousands, under the flags of EAM and EAMN, baring their breasts to the tanks and machine guns to the occupier, shouting the militant slogans of "Freedom or Death," "Down With the Terrors," "Bread and Foods." This demonstration increased the authority of EAMN. Other youth organizations rallied to its flag and joined its ranks. These were the People's Youth League, the Free Youth, the Liberty-Loving Youth, etc.
The invaders and home traitors, their collaborators, launched a new offensive against the youth. A new great wave of terror began. Arrests, threats, internment and all the terrorist methods did not frighten our youth. On the contrary, the Greek youth got ready, and embarked on a new offensive, on September 22, 1942, by organizing new demonstrations against the terror. The Athens streets were again filled with its fighting people and its noble youth. On that day an Italian carabineer killed Nikos Konstantinidis, one of the leaders of the student youth. His death was mourned by the whole Greek youth. The national anthem was played at his funeral.
EAMN was the organizer, inspirer, and leader of the Greek youth in the first year of the fascist occupation. Out of the fierce fight for freedom arose the need of the creation of a much wider youth organization, which would include all sections, and deal with all problems which concerned the Greek youth. Thus on February 23, 1943, a union of ten youth organizations was formed in Athens on the initiative of EAMN. These youth organizations were:
1. The Federation of the Communist Youth of Greece (OKNE)
2. The Socialist Youth (SEPE)
3. The National Youth Union (LEN)
4. The Friendly Society of Youth (FEM)
5. The Free Girls (LN)
6. The United Youth Workers and Employees (EEN)
7. The United School Youth (EMN)
8. The Union of New Fighters of Rumelia (ENAR)
9. The Sacred Battalion of Thessaly (TIL)
10. The Peasant Youth (AN).
In a house in the Ampelokipi district of Athens, the foundation meeting of EPON was held, and it consisted of delegations of the ten organizations. Comrade Stamatis Yanakopulos read a paper entitled "The Proposal of the Central Council of EAMN for the Realization of National Units and the Foundation of EPON." The conference was attended by friends of the youth also, including Elektra Apostolu, the hero and delegate of the Free Youth.
In the foundation program of EPON it was said that the organization was to work for national liberation, education, joy and culture. The progressive antifascist program of EPON convinced and won over the whole of the youth engaged in the fight. The foundation of EPON was the greatest turning point in the history of the national resistance movement of the Greek people. From the first day of its foundation EPON became the single youth organization which was consistently fighting, jointly with the people, for the freedom and independence of the country and for the solution of all the problems facing the youth. By its wide political, fighting and cultural program, EPON offered all youths and girls an opportunity to fight in its ranks. EPON became the leader of the youth struggle. The wide masses of youth who, til then, had taken no part in the movement, or had fought without organization and without tactics, rallied to it and joined its ranks.
The members of EPON, owing to their militant character, became the champions in the mass struggle for the frustration of the plans of the occupier, and for the existence of the people, for national and social freedom. At the beginning of 1943 the Greek quisling government, by order of the Huns, introduced and passed the law concerning the forced mobilization of the people, in order to supply Hitler's factories with Greek manpower. The people were threatened with internment and extermination.
In this critical hour EAM and EPON were the leaders and organizers of the national fight. Thus on March 5, 1943, 200,000 people filled the Athens streets, demanding the rescinding of the mobilization order. The demonstrators carried at their head banners and black flags. These were borne by the EPON boys. The demonstrators succeeded in occupying the ministry of labor and in setting the mobilization lists on fire in the streets. Hitler and his apprentices in Greece, in the face of this loud demand of the people, were forced to withdraw the law concerning civilian mobilization.
On the eve of March 25, 1943 (the anniversary of the proclamation of the national insurrection of 1821) the EPON members wrote on the walls of all the towns in Greece slogans calling upon the Greek people to intensify their resistance against the forces of occupation. On the eve of the national festival, 4,000 youth, members of EPON, in Athens alone, laid wreaths on the graves of the national heroes. The Greek police attacked the members of EPON. Next day hundreds of thousands of people manifested in the streets of Athens their will and resolve to live in freedom. From the balconies, Greek patriots showered down on the demonstrators thousands of Greek flags. The meeting place appointed for the demonstrators was the Sindagma Square. By eleven in the morning more than 300,000 people had assembled there. The people had inscribed their derision on a big banner, in only three words—Freedom or Death. The EPON members constantly announced by megaphone militant and fighting slogans: "Death to the fascist invaders!" "Down with the traitorous government!" and "Long live March 25!"
The occupiers and their Greek collaborators tried to disperse this demonstration by firemen's hoses filled with water and ink mixed, and by openly attacking the people with rubber truncheons. The people, firm and united, opposed them with unparalleled courage and calmness, when the base murderers opened fire from rifles and tommy guns. The blood of Greek patriots once again spattered the Athens streets. Among the victims, FPON members were in the majority, and included Kostas Oratopulos, a school boy, and a student called Edmondos Toron. A big manifestation took place in Salonika on the same day, when the people laid wreaths on the graves of the national heroes. The occupiers and home traitors arrested two hundred persons whom they sent to concentration camps.
The occupiers tried to put down the people's insurrection by a campaign of terror, which they waged throughout the country, but especially in Athens, the bastion of Greek resistance. Arrests, shootings, the taking of hostages, plunder, internment—all this was in progress. The terrorist orgy of the occupiers was particularly directed against the unsubjugated Greek youth.
To all these terrorist measures of the occupiers and their home hirelings, the people and youth answered with intensified mass fighting throughout the country. In Athens, on June 25, 1943 the people's organizations of EAM and EPON organized magnificent national demonstrations in the streets under the slogans: "Down With the Terror!" "Enough of Hostages!" "Enough of Shooting!" The occupiers attacked the demonstrators. There were many dead and wounded. Our EPON youth again drenched with their blood the tree of freedom.
In July, 1943, the Bulgarian fascists, by permission of their Hitlerite masters, began to spread their occupation to central Macedonia. Moreover, it seemed it was their plan to spread their occupation to all parts of Greece. The Greek people answered this new danger by demonstrations and protests. In Athens, the greatest demonstration which had been organized till then took place. 400,000 people and youth filled the streets of Athens. The Hitlerites brought up strong infantry units and tanks against the people. On the University Boulevard an EPON girl named Statopulu threw herself in the path of a tank which was sowing death among the demonstrators, stopping it with her body. The Hitlerite tank officer, the criminal who was standing frightened in the turret, his face changing color, was wildly attacked by Lila Kula, another EPON girl. But the fascist brute did not hesitate to fire at the brave EPON girl, who fell on the ground, and died with the words "I am a Greek" on her lips.
These demonstrations strengthened the morale of the youth, made the people even more resistant, and showed them that they could and must fight against the occupation, against German brutality, against the German "new older" in Greece.
The strengthening of morale among the youth and people, the spirit of resistance, hatred of the occupiers, and the resolve of the youth to be free or die—all this was clearly manifested during the development of the struggle in the mountains and in the cities. In these encounters Athens, with the Acropolis in the center, and its unsubjugated districts, symbolised the whole war in Greece, and had refused to bow her head before the occupier. Athens was an unconquerable fortress, the Acropolis of freedom. This was a city in which not only the unforgettable fight for the freedom of Greece, but also for the freedom of the whole of progressive mankind, was being waged. Not only are the Parthenon, Marathon, Delphi, famous in Greece. Beside them also shines brightly the name of Kesariana, the heroic and martyred Kesariana, which 47 times resisted the fascists, and succeeded in remaining unconquered. In this district there was not a single family that did not lose at least one member in the fight for freedom. Every corner of it has its special proud history. There all the mothers are in mourning, and all the girls wear black. Then comes the Imitos fortress, an ordinary house, from which three 18-year-old EPON boys, Foltopulos, Avgeris and Sokmenidis, fought for a full seven horns against 200 Germans and home traitors. It was only after they demolished the house and set it on fire with petrol and attacked it with flame throwers, and after the last defender had fallen, that the enemy succeeded in occupying it.
In a house in Bizania Street, in the Kalitea district of Athens, three EPON boys between 18 and 20 years of age, fought half a day against the fascists. When asked by the occupiers and their hirelings to give themselves up, they replied like true EPON heroes: "ELAS does not surrender; it fights to the last!" And they fell with a song on their lips.
In a narrow street, Nikos Frangonikopulos succeeded in barring the way to 400 Germans, thus helping the withdrawal of the ELAS men. The occupiers could pass only over the dead body of this youth.
History will always point to the epic of the heroic Kotsina Koma, a district of Piraeus, which, alter a five-day fight against the occupiers and traitors, lost 200 of its heroes, which were butchered in the most brutal manner. Then come the Kalobreza district, with their 22 heroes, Dragutin, where 50 heroes were killed, and Byron, where the student, Kasimatis, gave his life to save ten patriots. All this is only a small part of the great and glorious fight of Athens. The Athens streets and districts are soaked with the blood of the fighters for freedom. The walls are inscribed with the slogans of the EPON fight. Usually at night, and sometimes by day, in the Athens districts, the EPON men spoke through the megaphone. The whole Athens population hung on their words.
"Attention! Attention! EPON calling!" and then the news was given. The megaphones reported the number of killed fascists in the various city districts, on the struggle of the enslaved nations throughout the world, of the great historical victories of the heroic Red Army which inspired the enslaved Greek youth in their fight against the occupiers.
In our country, the partisan fight against the invaders was organized and carried on by the people themselves, with their own resources. The partisan movement was started by a small group of patriots, simple, honest, moral men.
The Greek national liberation army (ELAS) was the weapon forged by our people to liberate them from slavery. ELAS was our partisan army, which, through the flames of an unyielding fight against the occupier, had become great, and a first class tactical army, perfect in composition and organization. ELAS was the arms which, by its fighting and self-sacrifice, liberated our country, following close on the heels of the occupier and attacking him at every step.
Today the monarcho-fascist regime of slavery is savagely persecuting all the fighters of the famous ELAS, thus betraying the most brilliant pages in the history of the national resistance movement of our people, in the period of 1941-45. Today in our country tribute is paid to the collaborators of the occupier, the officers of the treacherous security battalions are rewarded, while the ELAS fighters are arrested, executed, interned on the barren islands of death, or are compelled to take to the mountains in order to protect their lives by joining the glorious democratic army.
The participation and action of the Greek youth of EPON in the ELAS fighting was from the first moment decisive. EPON sent out a call to the youth to take up arms, to learn the technique of war, and by constantly attacking the occupiers, to liberate the country.
The war slogan of EPON, "To Arms!" resounded throughout the country and incited the youth and the whole nation to fight. The offensive spirit of war spread among the masses of the youth. Thousands of new fighters joined the ranks of ELAS, resolved to give their lives for the freedom and independence of the country. EPON became a workshop of war, from which issued devoted, enthusiastic fighters for freedom, who aided the struggle in every way. ELAS has tens of thousands of EPON members as its reserve. The number of youths working in auxiliary services was enormous. Long columns of EPON members who went to the mountains to await the people's insurrection, met with the deepest and greatest response among our youth, who contributed their young enthusiasm, faith and optimism to the heroic liberation army, the glorious ELAS. Sixty-five to seventy-five per cent of ELAS's total manpower consisted of EPON youths between 18 and 24 years of age. The EPON members—partisans in ELAS—reached the figure of 32,000 front line combatants.
The EPON partisans—together with the ELAS units, produced the brilliant youth shock detachments EPON-ELAS. The principle of the EPON-ELAS units was always to engage the occupiers and take the initiative in attack and self-sacrifice. The glorious battles of our EPON partisans at Amphisa, Karutas, Amphilichea, Nafpaktos, Stimphalia, Kalamata, Meligala, Achladokabos, Trikala, Melia, Nausa, Edesa, Fiorina, Kozani and Kilkis, in all parts of Greece, show that the EPON partisans honorably observed this principle. They were the first in the fight, the first in self-sacrifice.
The hero, Kritikos (Kapsalis), a military commander, is a brilliant example of heroism and self-sacrifice to all EPON partisans. He fell with a song on his lips, in the fight against the occupier.
The EPON-ELAS ninth division of ELAS, 478 strong, took part in 106 battles and encounters, and its casualties were 35 dead and 25 wounded. In September, 1943, at Katafigi, on Mount Olympus, they destroyed 100 Germans in a fierce battle. Their losses were seven dead. In July, 1944, the EPON partisans of the 42nd regiment, after bitter fighting, killed 150 Germans. They lost eight dead. In the fight at Kipsel-Kastoria the EPON-ELAS men of the 28th regiment opposed 4,500 Germans, singing as they fought. Forty five EPON boys went into the fight, and only fifteen returned. Thirty of them fell honorably on the field of battle. In the battles at Meligula, Diakoftos, Mistras in 1944, our EPON partisans destroyed 240 Germans. Nine youths died a hero's death in this fight. In February, 1944, EPON partisans of the tenth division encountered 300 Germans at Krania, near Deskati. Five FPON men fell for the freedom of their homeland, among them was Laskaratis, leader of the EPON-ELAS tenth division. In general, more than 1,300 EPON men fell in battle, faithful to the aims of EPON. They all fell fighting bravely as members of EPON.
The EPON-ELAS detachments, the shock units and groups, were, at the same time, the soul of the cultural movement in the free regions of Greece. The EPON partisans, full of fire and enthusiasm, feeling that they were a prime factor in the fight for the liberation of the people from the darkness and backwardness into which they had been thrown by the Greek traitors and foreign invaders, always tried, on all occasions, in between battles, to work on the raising of the political and cultural level of all the people's partisans, organizing dramatic groups, reading groups, cultural societies, meetings and courses. As an example of this activity of the EPON-ELAS shock formations, we may mention the EPON partisans of the ninth division of ELAS. They passed through 487 villages, held 824 educational conferences, and 536 special meetings and performances. Besides this, they gave, among themselves, and to the people, 405 lectures, and published 32 newspapers. This cultural activity of the EPON-ELAS ninth division produced 129 ELAS leaders. If we take into consideration the fact that another 200 shock formations of EPON, within the framework of ELAS, carried on a similar activity, then we get a proportionate picture of the work of the EPON partisan movement all over Greece.
Our people have a rich tradition of sea warfare. The features of me heroes who blow up ships, of the sea wolves of 1821, such as Miaurlis Kanalis and the woman leader Bubulina, are still vivid in the hearts of the people. The fight for freedom during Hitler's occupation produced the glorious Greek national liberation fleet, ELAN. The creeks and smaller harbors were the bases of the new sea wolves. From these bases light ships sallied forth to paralyse the enemy sea traffic along the coast. The majority of the ELAN sailors were EPON men. These heroes, strong and steeled in sea warfare, became the terror of the occupier, owing to their bold and sudden attacks. The ships and equipment of ELAN consisted entirely of booty seized from the enemy. The achievements of the ELAN men were incredible feats, which could only have been inspired by the revolutionary enthusiasm roused in the people by the fight against the occupiers. The first ships and their arms were seized from the enemy by sudden raids, carried out by the younger EPON sailors who, in the majority of cases, were armed only with pistols. Thus an ELAS leader, with two EPON sailors, armed only with pistols, made a sudden descent on a German ship containing five thousand bullets, a hundred pairs of boots, and ten rifles. Another ship, which was carrying provisions for German troops stationed on the Island of Lemnos was seized by ten EPON sailors. On August 23, seventeen ELAN men engaged in a real naval battle with a German ship which was transporting 200 German soldiers and 30 Gestapo men. The ship was compelled to go out to sea under the fire of ELAN machine guns. Eighteen Germans, who fell into the sea, were captured. And that day, the fascists had more than 100 dead and wounded.
Panos, a member of EPON, will never be forgotten. From 1941, as a boy of sixteen, he transported arms in his boat to Salonika from coast villages in the Katarina district. He was captured and shot by the Germans in the spring of 1943. Ilya Ehrenburg, in one of his articles in the Moscow Pravda, calls upon the anti-fascist youth of the whole of mankind to take a lesson from the example of the heroic young Athenian, and his bearing before the German military court.
"You are accused of having destroyed a German ship." The Athenian interrupted in a calm voice, saying:
"You are wrong. I destroyed three ships."
"Do you know what awaits you?"
The youth answered:
"I know and do not repent. I only regret that I could not destroy more."
On the Epirus coast, the ELAN members captured a German ship. They found on it 5,000 land mines, which they handed over to ELAS for sabotage and the disruption of enemy communications. On September 7, 1941, the courageous members of ELAN captured another German ship of 120 tons. It contained 40 mines, and they also found on it eight revolvers and ten tommy guns, twelve rifles, four machine guns, and a large quantity of other war material. The participation of ELAN in the armed fight of our people was also manifested in its great services rendered to the people's army of ELAS by the quick and secret transference of ELAS units under the very nose of the occupier.
From this it can be concluded that the EPON shock formations became the champions of a superior offensive spirit and inspired the people and the ELAS forces with enthusiasm, faith, optimism and culture. The movement of national resistance inspired the EPON youth in the ranks of the people's army and built a new type of fighter—the EPON mountain partisan, the Athens EPON-ELAS man, who fought singing, and even sang when faced with death. Our EPON men fought more intensely than anyone else for the freedom of the country.
It is characteristic that owing to the war the youth movement developed on all sides and took various forms. The reason was that the EPON movement, by embracing all manifestations and all fields which interested youth, succeeded in stimulating the widest masses of youth to take part in the national struggle, until it reached its highest form. In this period of dark fascist occupation we brought about a considerable development of the cultural and constructive activity of EPON in the struggle for the education and joy of the youth, for the protection of children, etc.
EPON, appealing to the psychology of boyhood and youth, organized a rich cultural movement on a progressive national basis. Choirs and theaters, which were organized in every village, national festivals, these were a revolution in the field of culture, especially in the interior of the country. By this work, EPON opened up new prospects for the cultural development of youth in the national liberation movement. Besides the cultural movement which developed during the occupation, EPON also worked on the reconstruction of the country, the improvement of backward villages, the grafting of wild trees, etc. The members took part in the repair of roads, in the construction of bridges and wells. The EPON members were particularly enthusiastic about cultural work and reconstruction after the second plenary meeting of the central council of EPON. The great cultural work of EPON developed around cultural institutes and cultural organizations and societies which were now being formed. On the Peloponnesus, for instance, 481 cultural, sports, art and other groups were formed, rallying about 20,000 members. More than 5,000 dramatic performances and special meetings were held. Three hundred youth clubs were opened. At Argoli, Corinth, more than 10,000 trees were grafted and mere than 70,000 pines freed from various parasites. Fifty splendidly cultivated vegetable gardens were made.
Considerable help was given to EPON in this work by the EPON-ELAS shock formations. The shock company of the ELAS third division gave 14 dramatic performances and 21 lectures, from July 15 to August 30, 1944, organized 20 social evenings, cleaned the streets in eight villages and dug wells in three villages. The company also took part in fifteen battles during this time, together with other ELAS units, which fought against the occupiers and home traitors.
The same activity was going on in Thessaly. In the region of Trikala, the EPON dramatic groups gave 1,300 performances. Members of EPON made or repaired more than 100 wells and 80 bridges.
In Macedonia there were 588 youth clubs. The EPON members also built 260 houses. In Eastern Macedonia and Thrace 155 cultural institutes were opened, 297 special meetings were held, 341 lectures and 269 dramatic performances given. In this region the EPON members built 92 houses, constructed 42 kilometers of road, laid 45 telephone lines, planted 70,000 saplings and tilled 8,500 yutars of the land of poor peasants. The cultural organizations and EPON institutes became centers of education, joy and general cultural development of the youth.
In Salonika, the center of permanent cultural activity was the university, with the students' cultural association (EOP). Here the students who were EPON members published a progressive review ("The Departure"). In Athens and Piraeus, sports were promoted, especially through the League of Athletes, which was one of the most important organizations of the Athens and Piraeus athletes. In both cities, many artistic and social evenings were held. Thanks to this cultural activity and work on reconstruction, organized by EPON, the Greek youth were saved from the moral and physical degeneration which were the aim of the occupiers and the traitors of the people. Thanks to all this work the Greek youth became a fount of strength, optimism, vitality and militancy for the warring nation.
The EPON press was distributed throughout Greece and became a heartening companion to every youth who was fighting for freedom. During the occupation EPON published eighteen papers and reviews. The EPON members made great efforts in the education of youth. In the regions liberated by ELAS, schools were immediately reopened, thanks to the efforts of the members of EPON. Two teachers' colleges were founded at Karpenisa and Tirna, which produced 130 EPON teachers in a month and a half. The first readers were published. Seventy percent of the total number of teachers during the occupation were members of EPON. They took up the work of education of the new generation with great enthusiasm.
The children's movement—the pioneers—developed very early. They were called by the Greek people Aetopula, which means eaglets. This movement arose thanks to the influence to the partisans on the spirit of the children, both in the country and in the town. The pioneers were educated in the spirit of the general national struggle. The demonstration of 10,000 Athens youngsters will always have a place in history, not only for the Greeks, but for the whole world. They carried black flags and banners, protected by armed EPON men, and demonstrated before the premises of the Red Cross, before the ministries, before the City Hall, demanding clothes, boots and food. The Kokinnia district of Piraeus will never forget the demonstration in which 3,000 pioneers appeared before the Town Hall on August 1, 1944, shouting: "We are starving! We want food, clothes and boots!" There were many examples of the important participation of the children in the struggle, and of their heroism, which filled the whole people with admiration. But even greater was the joy and optimism, the liveliness which the pioneers inspired. They were called "the joyful reserve of the struggle." And that is what they were. The pioneers filled the people with enthusiasm and stimulated them to carry on, said Georgios Siantos in his speech in the national council. Siantos was a member of the political committee of the national liberation—chief of internal affairs of the organization.
During Hitler's occupation it can be said that the children were in the center of the EPON struggle for existence. The devoted members and cadres of EPON, and its leaders, looked upon it as their duty and business to care for the lives and moral education of the children. Here are a few characteristic examples of EPON's work on the protection of children.
In Thessaly, thanks to the efforts of the National Solidarity organization and EPON, there were 100 children's canteens, in which 10,000 children got their meals. In Macedonia, there were more than 55 children's homes and canteens, for a total of 30,000 children. In central Greece, 15,000 children received meals in 150 children's homes. On the Peloponnesus, 15 children's homes and 50 children's canteens supplied 15,000 children with food. 4,350 children were provided with food in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, where there were 26 children's canteens and 20 children's homes. Here 80 performances were given, in which 22,000 pioneers took part. In Salonika, nineteen entertainments for children were given in one month and seven excursions organized.
In the general national insurrection, alter the victorious attacks of ELAS and the epic battles in Athens, and while the heroic liberating Red Army was progressing towards the Balkans, destroying Hitler's fascist hordes and liberating the enslaved European countries one after the other, our country also began to liberate itself. The people and youth, consistently fulfilling the orders of the government of national unity, provided for a normal return to liberty. On October 12, 1944, our heroic capital, unsubjugated Athens, was liberated by ELAS and the Athens people themselves. The youth celebrated their victory with great enthusiasm. The martyred Athens city districts and devastated squares, and the ruined villages, rose again. The first period of the struggle of our people was completed by the national liberation. The most glorious chapter of the modern national history of the Greek people, and a brilliant cycle of the national liberation and educational fight, united by the unbreakable unity of the Greek youth—was concluded.
The period of the national resistance united the Greek youth—600,000 youths and girls, members of EPON, who had the support of all the rest of the Greek youth, and transformed them into a gigantic force for the abolition of fascist slavery and for the democratic recovery of Greece. After the liberation of Greece, the presidency of the central council of EPON set new tasks to EPON and the youth, at its meeting in November 1944. The first duty was still the continuation of the struggle for the eradication of the fascist remnants, the arrest and punishment of traitors, the maintenance of peace and order and normal democratic development. Besides these political duties, other special duties were also laid down. They were reconstruction, education, the people's health (the health of the majority of the new generation had been ruined: 30 per cent were suffering from tuberculosis, and during an examination by the international Red Gross in Salonika it was revealed that of 100,000 only 1,641 were healthy).
Child-welfare, sports, and other tasks of a cultural character were laid down in EPON's program, as expressed in the slogans: "Democracy — Reconstruction — Education — The People's Health — Child Welfare — Joy — Culture."
After the liberation, the efforts of EPON were intensified in the work of reconstruction. New wonders were performed. Everywhere houses were being erected or restored, bridges, roads and railway lines were built. In Salonika, students and workers went to work together on the railway line. Schools were repaired and re-equipped, various social institutions for children were organized—children's homes and nurseries, day nurseries, playgrounds—fields were ploughed. It was characteristic that tens of thousands of EPON partisans who had fought up till then, eagerly took up the work of reconstruction. The EPON slogan: "A cultural institute for every district— an institute for every village" was being realized. All over Greece there was activity in all political and social problems and questions which concerned the people, youth and children.
This was how our people welcomed their dearly paid for, freedom. In the hope and wish to take the path of normal democratic development, the path which would lead Greece to the haven of a people's democracy, our people, during their bitter fight, during Hitler's enslavement and tyranny, came to understand that it was in their power to transform Greece into a garden of joy where they could live in prosperity, without home and foreign exploiters, where they would make great strides towards happiness and culture, and live a free, independent and democratic life.
But the people's youth wanted one thing, and the people's enemies another. The people wanted to restore their ravaged country, while their enemies were doing their best to get rich in the peace period, as they had amassed riches during the war. They chose the devil for their master instead of the people. The people's enemies trembled with fear even at the thought that the people were in a position to set up their democracy and take their fate into their own hands. They were afraid of normal democratic development, and in order to hinder every effort of the people towards normalization, order and peace, carried on with even greater intensity the conspiracy which they had organized before the liberation. And, as they were faced by the huge people's front, which they could not oppose with their own forces, they did not hesitate to call to their aid their English masters. Parallel with this, the enemies of the people, the traitorous Greeks, headed by the prime minister of national treason, Papandreyu, began arming the fascist organizations X, EDES, etc., they started a policy of tolerance towards the hated, treacherous, murderous units of the security battalions from the time of the occupation, and left war criminals free to continue their crimes against the people. Thus the anti-national coup d'etat was organized, with the object of dealing a decisive blow at this unsubjugated people, who constantly demanded the people's authority. Realizing that they were betrayed, and comprehending the whole extent of that critical situation, the people organized a magnificent, perfectly peaceful manifestation on December 3rd, 1944. 400.000 people gathered in the Sindagma Square, demanding the carrying into effect of the program of the government of national unity. The slogans: "Death to Traitors!" "Normalization—People's Freedom Peoples Authority!" echoed in the tense atmosphere. But at this very moment the traitor to the nation and people, Papandreyu, began to carry out his anti-national plans. The gendarmes fired on the people, among whom were victims of the special police. The traitors opened fire on the people, under the protection of British tanks. The blood of the best sons of Greece flowed again in the streets of Athens. Twenty-seven were killed and 140 wounded. The people did not answer this provocation. They collected their dead and wounded and moved away. "Have the Germans come again?" the pioneers asked their mothers. And the next day, December 4, the people buried the fallen demonstrators. When they were returning from the cemetery, another attack was made on the people. The gendarmes and police opened fire, again killing the Athenians in the street. But the heroic people of Athens did not give in. On a big poster which was stained with the blood of EPON girls who held it was written: "When the people face the danger of tyranny, they choose either chains or arms."
The people and youth who had not been broken even by the German tanks again chose arms, faithful to their glorious traditions. That is how the December general resistance of the people began, that jewel of the democratic liberation fights of our people.
Again the EPON proclamation went throughout the country: "To arms! Our freedom is in danger!" The youth were again roused and took up arms. They put aside pickaxes, hammers and books, and took in their hands the ELAS rifles. The unsubjugated youth of Athens, that heroic city, fought, sang, and again fell, in the Athens city districts.
The capital of national resistance became the capital of democracy, of the democratic soul of mankind. The eyes of the world again turned to Greece, to Athens—not to gaze at the Parthenon, but to watch the reflection of the flames of the Athens Kesariani district, which was set on fire by English tanks, as it had previously been set on fare by Hitler's tanks. In the Athens city districts where the fighting was going on, EPON and ELAS songs resounded. In these districts the ideals of the allied war were put to the test. EPON was fighting.
The enemies—and the foreign correspondents—were deeply impressed by the youthfulness of the champions of democracy. Boys of sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen and twenty— there were the Athens champions of democracy. The EPON-ELAS members held out for thirty-eight days in the battle in Athens and Piraeus, and the best sons of the peasants, the EPON partisans of Rumelia, of the Peloponesus, of Thessaly and Macedonia, came to their aid. All the members of EPON in Athens, both boys and girls, worked day and night for the barricades, for propaganda, inspiring the people with courage. They worked in various ELAS auxiliary services as nurses, couriers, carrying food and ammunition. Thousands of members of EPON joined the ELAS forces. The megaphones sustained the pulse of the fighting city. The central council of EPON sent a message to all the democratic youth organizations of the world, declaring ". . . the tanks, planes and guns may destroy everything. Perhaps not a single hut will remain standing. But we shall continue the fight from the ruins themselves. And we shall fight with rifle, axe, tooth and nail. We shall fight against fire, and from the flames. There is no power on earth which can subdue the new Greek generation."
The central council of EPON did not exaggerate. This was how the youth in Athens fought, this was how the Greek students fought in Didotu Street. In the meantime, special EPON formations were being created, as part of the ELAS units. The Lord Byron student company was formed. On December 6, Georgius Karavias, secretary of EPON for the Votanikos district, facing single handed three English tanks on a street barricade, sent them into flight by throwing dynamite. But he himself fell on the barricades, like hundreds of other members of EPON. Maria Mandaraki and Anna Franguli, members of EPON, fell like dozens of other EPON girls, when carrying wounded EPON-ELAS fighters out of the line of lire. The headquarters staff and the second ELAS division said in their reports that the EPON-ELAS company "Stilidas," of the 52nd regiment, distinguished itself by fighting with unexampled heroism. In the fight near the Sotiria sanatorium, this company fought heroically against dozens of English tanks, at a range of five to ten meters. An EPON-ELAS shock detachment of this regiment entered Sotiria with twenty fighters, and came back with two. Many shock formations of EPON-ELAS from the Peloponesus, Rumelia and Thessaly fought bravely in Athens. The entire Greek youth rose up as a sign of solidarity with Athens.
The crimes of the English surpassed all bounds. Scobie was jealous of the fame of Hitler's cannibals. It was with a cynical pride that he stated in his reports that the British fleet, artillery and airforce had, in a single day, discharged 2,400 bombs and shells in the Athens Kesariani district. The English did not even spare the sacred rock of the Acropolis which ELAS had abandoned in order to avoid the destruction of the ancient monuments. There the English placed guns of all calibres, and showered bullets and flame on the martyred Athens districts.
A typical example, showing the criminal attitude of the English in the December events, was the massacre of wounded ELAS fighters in the Sotiria hospital. This massacre was carried out by the English and the home traitors—collaborators of the Germans. They did not spare even the wounded, but committed this horrible crime, which has stamped the English for ever as criminals and occupiers.
The English "allies" used the most inhuman, base and murderous methods against our heroic people. The English did not hesitate to threaten the Athenians with starvation and condemn them to it. In an Athens district, at a moment when the people were waiting in a queue for bread, fighter planes of the British RAF arrived at the call of ML, and machine gunned a large number of women and children. The Greek people will always remember the horrible crimes of the English. They stimulate them even more in the fight for the liberation of their country from foreign invaders and imperialists.
If we recall today the attitude of our youth in December 1944, we can say that their ideals, enthusiasm, faith and heroism, were once again put to the test and that the youth emerged victorious. The December events, in their national democratic brilliance, were the achievement and glory of the people, and especially of the armed Athens youth. The telegram of the American youth to EPON, which inspired with even greater bravery the youth and the whole people of Athens in their critical hour, was an indication of the world echo which the heroic resistance in December evoked.
"You, the Greek youth," says the telegram, "are fighting as citizens of the whole world. Greek patriots, you are also winning our fight. We are with you in spirit. The whole of mankind will remember your heroic city."
This was a recognition of the great fight.
After the epic resistance of December 1944, which lasted 33 days, and after the Varkiza agreement, which was the greatest political trick played in modern Greek history by the English imperialists and the Greek agents—the democratic path of the Greek people and youth was forcibly, but only temporarily barred. The forces of the monarcho-fascist reaction and collaborationism, again free and given every support by English imperialists, worked on the destruction of all that had been wrought by the four year general fight of the people. The Scobie-Leaper state, the state of treason and national humiliation, the state of collaboration and slavery to the English, had for its aim the persecution and destruction of the glorious national resistance, the abolition of democratic freedom and the safeguarding of all collaborationists, war criminals, exploiters of the people. The post-December state worked for the dissolution of the organizations of national liberation, even on the destruction of graves and monuments of national heroes, of the people and youth who made Greece famous. Obsessed by a wild mania for destruction, it aimed at razing the very foundations of what the people and youth had built by their toil, tears and blood.
The sun of freedom was setting in the blue sky above Helas.
This state was transforming Greece into a colonial protectorate of English imperialists, and into an anti-Balkan offensive bridgehead of world reaction. The post-December regime in Greece very quickly took up its position beside the fascist and semi fascist regimes of Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Turkey.
The Greek traitors—the rulers and reactionaries of the country—attacked with particular fury the youth who had created the EPON organization. They did this because they felt that the youth, liberated from their fascist influence, had gone over to the side of the people and democracy. They centered their attacks on the heroic EPON in order to shatter it and disperse it with blows, slanders and lies, they tried to represent it as a terrorist anti-national organization. They hindered its legitimate work, they arrested, demolished and set fire to the premises and institutes of EPON. They arrested thousands of its members, tortured and killed them. They tried to humiliate the girls by cutting off their hair and keeping them away from EPON. They helped the resuscitation of fascist youth organizations by every possible means. EPON, and the whole progressive movement of our youth, were threatened with great danger from these quarters, as a result of this policy of the fascist reaction. The basic duly in these circumstances was thus formulated by the presidency of EPON: "We must tackle all the new specific problems created for us by the foreign intervention, in order to preserve, in this new storm, the mass character of our organization."
The basic weapon of the fascist authorities in the persecution of EPON was that it had not been recognized, that it had no statute. The presidency of EPON worked out a new statute which was approved by the first district court of Athens in June 1945. The new EPON statute was a historical step in the struggle for the winning of legal recognition. The struggle of EPON in the period following was dramatic, and developed in various forms. EPON was fighting under conditions of the most unscrupulous violence used by the home monarcho-fascists, with the approval of the English, but did not allow itself to be stopped by obstacles put in the way of the realization of its ideals. It turned to the creative work of building up. It occupied itself with all the problems of youth, led it in the economic struggle for the raising of the living standard, in the struggle for education and culture. In spite of the unheard-of terror, persecution and murder, the members of EPON worked bravely throughout the country, and formed thousands of reading groups, cultural institutes, mass organizations, children's summer resorts and school societies. In village and town EPON worked in the first ranks of the reconstruction of the country. The members of EPON announced weeks of shock work, they worked on the erection of houses, motor roads, bridges, and on the improvement of villages. In one region alone (Macedonia) 3,150 provisional homes were built. On Crete alone, 30 bridges were built and 10,000 saplings planted. The Greek people see in the youth a happier future of the homeland, and help them on the path which leads to their better future. The post-December fascist state, with the help of the English, replied to the will and working enthusiasm of the youth for reconstruction by violence, terror, the blocking of villages and towns, arrests and murders, internment and torture. They looked upon the progressiveness of EPON, upon its democratic spirit, its resolve to live in freedom, its hatred for fascism, its strength—as the decisive factor for peace, independence and democracy. They sought to place obstacles before the rallying and uniting ranks of EPON which they considered an obstacle to their reactionary plans. That is why they have tried to break them by all possible methods of violence and terror. They have even surpassed the Hitlerite murderers in their attempts to conquer the youth. The following facts give only a faint idea of the persecution of the democratic youth in Greece by the criminal monarcho-fascism, immediately after the Varkiza agreement was signed.
In 1945, in Athens, especially in the center of the city, a certain hypocritical legal recognition of EPON was admitted. This was used to display Athens to foreigners as a show window of western democracy. Then thousands, youths and fighters of that famous December were arrested in Athens. They were all imprisoned and on the false accusation of a traitor, sentenced to death. The world public knows of the death sentence passed on Menelaos Monedas, a mechanic who had been three times sentenced to death by the Germans because he destroyed three ships. Later, when the country was being liberated he led a group of ELAS youth against the retreating Germans and saved the power station in Piraeus from destruction. This hero was sentenced to death by the justice of the state of "ideal democracy," after the pattern of Churchill and Bevin because he took part in the December resistance.
In Salonika, on May 9, 1945, on the day of the celebration of the victory of the united nations over Hitler's fascism, at the time when the people and youth were celebrating this great historical event, the police and bandits from the X organization stabbed to death an EPON girl, Daphni Hadjipanayotu, who was carrying an EPON flag. This girl won distinction in the fights against the occupiers, and took part in many acts of sabotage, while those who killed her, the X bandits, were members of an organization founded by Glücksburg. These men are the most criminal, traitorous and collaborationist elements who, even today, equipped with English arms, are torturing and killing the people and youth, aided by the police. In the same city, the police fired on the people on the day of the celebration of the allied victory, and on the anniversary of the liberation. A large number of citizens were wounded, and an EPON member was killed. In Yanina, in Epirus, on April 18, 1945, the police arrested Andreas Paplomatas, leader of EPON and editor of the youth review, Epirus Youth, because he condemned the terrorist acts of the government forces. Paplomatas was subjected to the most horrible torture in the police station. At Veria, the so-called national guards tortured Sophia Zaphiropulu, an EPON girl, in March, 1945, and on March 25, a national holiday, they killed Kiriazidis Nikolaos, a student. The collaborators of the occupiers, armed by the monarcho-fascists, with the assent of the police, removed from prison an EPON girl called Sonia, violated her, and broke her arm. On December 15, 1945, in the village of Velvendos, the gendarmes attacked the premises of EPON. Kristos Romas, who was in charge of the premises, went to make a protest, but was shot on the spot by a tommy gun. After this crime, the village population protested to the local authorities in Kozana, and to the British authorities. The next day, English tanks, helped by the gendarmerie, blocked the village and arrested 60 boys and gills, imprisoned them, tortured them, and tried to force them to renounce EPON. In June 1945, the terrorists of the X organization and gendarmes violated Ephdoxia Papalexandri, cut off the hair of her three daughters, who were members of EPON. This happened in the town of Arahova. At Kilkis, a murderer of the Tagmatasphalit formations—the treacherous battalions formed during the occupation—killed Lazaridis, a member of EPON, before the eyes of English officers. The English intervened, and saved the cutthroat from the people, who wanted to lynch him. The terrorists led by the bandit Zurlas, killed one of the pioneers of the national resistance, Vidalis, a capable journalist and writer, before the eyes of English officers.
In all the Greek villages blockades were carried out under the supervision of the English occupiers, thousands of boys and girls were arrested and thrown into prison, where they were horribly tortured and hundreds of them killed. The distribution of the democratic papers was banned, and death threatened all those who read them. EPON's printing works were daily and systematically attacked. The democratic press began to appear illegally, as during the first occupation.
Against this sudden revival of fascism in Greece, against the ruthless persecution of the people, against the unscrupulous English intervention in the internal affairs of an allied country—the voice of the great Soviet Union was raised. The Soviet delegates exposed, consistently and uncompromisingly, in the Security Council of UNO, the causes of the newly created situation in Greece. The sharp condemnation of Vishinsky, assistant foreign minister of the USSR, exposed by irrefutable documents, the official colonial policy in Greece, and stamped the monarcho-fascist regime as a regime of the Franco type, in Spain. The Greek people directed their eyes with gratitude to the great defender and protector of world peace and democracy, to the consistent protector of the rights of small nations, the great USSR.
In order to justify the situation in Greece before the world public, imperialist England exerted great efforts to legalize the post-December neo-fascist regime. She asked Sofulis "democratic center" to hold elections. The elections of March 31, 1946, which went down in history as the falsified "Bevin elections" reveal a moral and political decay, the spirit of slavery and unscrupulousness of the Greek reaction. The abstention of the parties of the democratic left and the majority of the parties of the center showed the great strength of democracy. The abstention of the Greek democratic people, in spite of unscrupulous forgeries and savage terror conducted during the elections—in many parts of Greece reached 100%. By the falsified Bevin elections of March 31, 1946, the treacherous monarchist populist party, and the rest of the monarcho-fascist right wing bloc came into power. Their chief aim was the continuation and intensification of the anti-national post-December policy, the total sale of the country to the Anglo-Saxon imperialists, and the return of the hated King Clücksburg. In this manner, in spite of the inter-allied agreement of November 1945, made between England, France and the USA, according to which a plebiscite concerning kingdom or republic was to be held in the spring of 1948, the monarcho-fascists of the populist party decided arbitrarily, on the instructions of the British, to hold it in September 1946. In spite of an orgy of falsifications, violence and terror, the plebiscite showed the triumph of democracy, which received 55% of the votes. Of course the monarcho-fascists did not recognize this result, reduced it 49%, and thus brought back to Greece the traitor, King George Clücksburg. Immediately on his return to Greece, he strengthened still more the British intervention which assumed a clearly colonial character. The English missions in Greece virtually directed the economic and political life of the country. There was a military mission headed by General Rawlings. There was a commission for reorganization—for giving a fascist character to the security detachments under General Wickham's command. There was the economic mission of General Clark. In Greece, not even a gendarme could be transferred without the permission, formerly of the British, now of the Americans.
After the falsified elections of March 31, 1946, and the false plebiscite of September 12th of the same year, the terrorist murderous orgy against the democratic people and youth increased daily, until it reached unprecedented proportions. The worst enemies of the people became ministers, and, thanks to the experience they gained during their anti-national and traitorous activity at the time of Hitler's occupation, they organized the extermination of the people and the youth, in this way serving their new masters, the Anglo-American imperialists. The sinister man of Greece—Gonatas—the organizer of the murderous security battalions, is one of them. The cowardly hireling Zervas who, during the first occupation, collaborated with the German and Italian fascists under the name of Gutas, is now minister of public order, the organizer of the civil war, and of the orgy of murder and terror against the people. The man of national treason, Papandreyu, who sold Greece to the British imperialists and drenched Athens with blood in December 1944, is minister of the interior.
The parliament of today is the Pantheon of Greek collaborationists. Two hundred deputies are proved collaborators of the Germans, and they fought on the side of the occupiers against the Greek people. 1,400 traitorous officers of the security battalions who, with the Germans, killed the people and youth, are now the backbone of the present government army, while the flower of the officers of the heroic ELAS and the national resistance are being killed, arrested and interned. The famous General Sarafis, the commander of ELAS, Mandakas, the commander of the first ELAS corps, Matsukas, Psiaris, Hadjmihalis, are interned on barren islands. The glorious ELAS general, Bakirdgis, was basely murdered in a prison cell on the island of Ikari. Among the leaders of the government army there are today collaborationist generals, such as Spiliotopulos, who betrayed English soldiers to the Italians and Germans. These soldiers had remained in Athens after 1941. Colonel Gerakinis, one of the leaders of the security battalions who had joined with the Germans in butchering the people, and who had included in his report on the fighting against ELAS: "Our losses—one German," is now director of the military academy.
Such men are ruling Greece today, and their only method of administration is violence and terror. One can see daily, in the streets of Greek towns and villages, the bodies of killed democratic fighters, who have fallen by the hand of fascist renegades. The number of youths killed by official and unofficial organs of the state in the course of 1946 reached several hundreds.
On September 8, 1946, in the village of Aidonohori in Epirus, the gendarmes captured an EPON girl, Marta Stefanidu. They tortured her like inquisitors, with boiling oil and red hot irons, whipped her, broke her ribs. After a few days, she expired as a result of this treatment. All this was because she refused to renounce her allegiance to EPON.
On July 1946, in the village of Kupa, near Kilkis, five EPON girls were arrested. When the bandits tried to violate them, they replied: "We choose rather to die the honorable death of Greek women.'' When the bandits threatened to cut their throats, one of the girls, Antonia Kodjabasi replied: "EPON has taught us that when one dies for the people, one is victorious even in death."
In the town of Sufli, in Thrace, after the gendarmes had arrested and tortured hundreds of youths, the monarcho-fascists arrested, in April 1946, three girls, Totu Zakmaki, Anastasia Aranchu and Julia Manusari. They took them away from the town and brutally violated them.
There were many cases of the bandits, gendarmes, and traitorous and collaborationist criminals of the X organization having killed girls after having tortured and violated them. The Tsaldaris-Glücksburg monarcho-fascist regime constantly intensified the terror, as without it, it could not remain in power. In the course of 1946 alone 2,000 institutes and EPON premises were plundered, demolished and set fire to, while thousands of EPON members were arrested and sent to prison or to a living grave on the barren island where they were interned.
In the hands of the collaborationists who are ruling in Greece today, justice loses its meaning and becomes an instrument of terror in the hands of the state. A large number of prominent foreigners and correspondents of foreign papers who have visited Greece, describe the situation in that country in the darkest terms. Here is what three British MP's, Norman Dodge, Stanley Hiffany and Solley, who came to our country as delegates for the Union for Democratic Greece, wrote in their report about the tragedy they saw in Greece in April 1946:
"The state system is in the hands of the right. Today courts in Greece are sentencing the real resistance fighters as murderers, because in carrying out orders from the Middle East Command during the occupation, they killed the collaborators."
Solley also wrote: "I witnessed many cases when persons were arrested and tortured without any reason and without any means of complaining to a higher court." A little further on, the MP's wrote:
"Greece has been transformed into a fascist country. Behind the democratic facade which exists in Athens, a unilateral civil war is being waged by the extreme right against all democratic citizens. Murder, illegal imprisonment, violence and terrorism—this is the fate of thousands of democrats. The gendarmerie and the police are fascist, corrupt to the core and, to a great extent take part in the acts of murder, collaborating openly with the Hitos men (X) and all the fascist terrorists. The premises of the left and democratic papers, workers' organizations, youth institutes throughout the country, are being attacked and closed clown. The courts of justice are in the closest collaboration with the gendarmerie, which is reactionary in the extreme. The judges who refused to collaborate with the occupiers have been dismissed, while those who served under quisling governments are still in service and are sentencing the heroes of the national resistance. The committees of security, which worked so dishonestly during the Metaxas dictatorship are passing sentences on the heroes of the resistance, and are being revived as organs for the shattering of the workers' movement by means of the imprisonment and internment of the political opponents of the present regime. Just as it was in Hitler's Germany, anybody who is against the present government is called a communist." In connection with the English occupation, the British MP's say in their report:
"British prestige and moral authority are on the decline in Greece today. The presence of the British army on Greek territory is the unjustified intervention of an allied country in the internal affairs of another allied country. The Greek people speak quite justifiably of the British occupation of Greece."
Referring to the terror against EPON, the report says:
"On the eve of the new year, 1946, an artillery detachment attacked the EPON premises in Volos. They set fire to the furniture, desks, books, records, etc., and drove out at the point of their tommy guns, the youths who happened to be there. In Piraeus, a student of theology was beaten into insensibility, and he is hanging between life and death. This was done because a receipt was found in his pocket for a contribution to the national resistance fund."
In the midst of the flames of this bitter fight against revived fascism, and in order to create a democratic Greece, the heroic EPON organization called its first anti-fascist democratic congress in 1946, at which 600,000 youths and 150,000 pioneers were represented. The congress decided that EPON should join the World Federation of Democratic Youth. Declaring that the ideals and program of the World Federation of Democratic Youth are an expression of the world aspirations of youth to fight for peace, freedom, democracy, independence and equality, they pointed out that these are also the ideals of the whole Greek youth. In the part of the EPON congress's resolution which refers to the World Federation of Democratic youth it is said:
"We inform the World Federation of Democratic Youth that the Greek Youth, sons of immortal Helas, the cradle of liberty and democracy, will be the most faithful and loyal fighters for peace, freedom and democracy, for the ideals of world democratic youth. As free citizens of the world, we shall give the whole flame of our Greek soul for the victory of these ideals throughout the country.''
M. Guy de Boisson, secretary of the World Federation of Democratic Youth, was present at the first EPON anti-fascist congress. He said in his speech:
"We greet with gratitude the Greek youth and nation, who raised and held high the banner of the fight against the enemy, who won the first victories for the allies, who gave 500,000 victims, which is the highest proportion in the whole world. This is why we greet fraternally and with gratitude, on behalf of the World Federation of Democratic Youth, the Greek youth who chose to die with heads erect, rather than live in submission."
EPON was represented at the World Youth Congress in London, opened on February 6, 1945, as the only organization which represented the Greek youth. The delegates were S. Yanakopulos, commander of the famous EPON partisans, and G. Geordalas, university professor and president of EPON. EPON contributed to the work of the World Youth Congress by supporting the proposal for the creation of the World Federation of Democratic Youth.
In spite of the refusal of the monarcho-fascist government, EPON through its delegate, Nikos Akritidis, took part in the Congress of Balkan Youth in Belgrade, in June 1945, when the voice of the heroic Greek youth was heard. EPON also look part in the Congress of the anti-fascist youth of Albania, as well as in the international student congress in Prague, in November 1945.
After the first EPON anti-fascist congress, the unsubjugated democratic Greek youth, in an unconquerable spirit, intensified their fight for freedom, independence and democracy, raising it to a higher level. They fought against misery and hunger by means of strikes, demonstrations, and mass protests. In the great militant strikes of January, 1946, the young Greek workers, students, artisans and employees, insistently and stubbornly claimed the fulfilment of their demands.
Parallel with these actions, EPON was in the first ranks of the fight of the people, who demanded the withdrawal of the British occupiers from Greece, the cessation of the terrorist murder orgy, the holding of free elections, and the establishment of free, independent and democratic Greece.
The people and youth answered the attempts of the British occupiers and their home agents to provoke civil war in Greece in order to justify their occupation and the colonial policy of the intervention, with a fight for reconciliation, unity and democratic normalization. The unilateral civil war, declared by the monarcho-fascists, with the help of the British, on the democratic people and youth, brought thousands of people to an impasse. The only way out for these people, for their honor and dignity, lay in the direction of the famous Greek mountains. The Greek democrats, persecuted by the state, faced with the danger of the annihilation of themselves and their families, began to defend themselves with arms, stopping the criminal hand of the gendarmes and Hitos (X) which was raised against them. The increased terror and persecution against those who were fleeing to the mountains brought about the unification of the first aimed groups of democrats, who formed the famous democratic army of Greece. This army is now the decisive force which, with unequalled heroism and self-sacrifice, fights for a free and democratic Greece. The democratic army is also fighting for the reconciliation of the people, attacking the monarcho-fascists and enemies of this reconciliation, it is fighting for an all-party government, which will purge the state administration of fascists and collaborationists, proclaim a general amnesty, and hold free elections. The democratic army dealt the first blow to the monarcho-fascists on March 31, 1946, when the monarcho-fascist government began the purging operations which they have continued up til today. These are in fact directed against the democratic people in the interior, as they can have no effect on the democratic army. The monarcho-fascist artillery, fleet and airforce set fire to dozens of beautiful Greek villages and kill hundreds of innocent women and children. In the villages of Koniskos and Vogusa, 300 persons were killed from the air. On December 13, 1946, the monarcho-fascist forces, shattered and defeated by the democratic army, burnt the village of Skra near Kilkis and killed many women and children. Of 110 houses in the Macedonian village of Kupa, the monarcho-fascist murderers set fire to 107. Thousands of people, hungry and barefoot, took to the forest. The democratic army, according to a monarcho-fascist army report which was published in the democratic paper Rizospastis, is distinguished for its brilliant morale, excellent discipline and health. This report is confirmed by the statements of the Enquiry Commission of the Security Council, whose members met fighters of the democratic army in the village of Agoriani. The partisan equipment is of English make. General Markos, commander of the democratic army, declared that this equipment was being constantly improved and added to by the daily blows dealt to the monarcho-fascist troops by the democratic army.
The democratic army is fighting with unprecedented spirit and is liberating towns and villages, and the people welcome its fighters with enthusiasm. The entry of the democratic army into such towns as Nausa, Katerina, Kilkis, Sparta, Sofades, Ipati, Florina, Yerapetra, in Crete, Sufli, Poligiros, Grevena, the outskirts of Volos, was received with joy by the people, who looked upon the democratic army as their savior. All the fighters of the democratic army are sons of the people, who fought against fascism in Albania in 1940, and during the occupation, from 1941 to 1944. They came to know fascism from direct contact, and were filled with hatred against it, and now want to wipe it from the face of the earth. They are children with free souls, who feel that our people are capable of governing themselves, without the "protection" of the Anglo-American "allied" imperialists. Sixty per cent of the democratic army consists of spirited youth, anti-fascist democrats, who will not lay down their arms until they see their country and people again living in freedom, independence and democracy. The leaders of the democratic army are the flowers of the Greek officers, who took part in the national resistance during the first occupation. These officers have great experience in the methods of partisan warfare, which is the basic factor in dealing successful blows to the monarcho-fascist forces.
The democratic army takes the side of the people, who are waging a bitter fight in towns and villages, and it is the best guarantee that the American imperialist policy in Greece will go bankrupt. This army opens up the prospect of a most glorious victory, to be won by the strength of the people.
The monarcho-fascists try to estrange this people's army from the people, intensifying their terrorist orgy by special courts, punitive expeditions, and courts martial, which are set up in every town and village of Greece, and which, in a few minutes, sentence to death democratic citizens as collaborators and helpers of the partisans, shooting them in the name of the king. The savagery of these special military courts is directed particularly against the heroic democratic youth, who are shot on the basis of the false statements of gendarmes and collaborationists.
At Yanica, on June 29, 1946, a military court sentenced to death an EPON girl teacher called Irina Gini, on the charge of having collaborated with the partisans, but without any concrete proof. Irina Gini was an EPON leader, and fought in the front ranks of the national resistance, during Hitler's occupation. She stood up bravely to the monarcho-fascist firing squad, and despising death, fell, with the words. "Long live EPON! Long live Freedom and Democracy!" on her lips.
On January 29, 1946, a military court in Salonika sentenced to death three youths, including a fifteen year-old boy, Odiseas Dukas, on the same charge. A military court in Serez sentenced to death a member of EPON, Nikos Vusis, in June 1944. Kula Elefteriadu, a twenty year-old EPON girl, on the evidence of Parteniu, the chief of the espionage and Gestapo agents, who is now a policeman of the present collaborationist fascist Greek state. Kula Elelieriadu died proudly, shouting. "Long live FPON!" At Lamia, 17 democratic citizens were shot, including Kusandji, a woman teacher. They were accused of having worked for the partisans. At Komotina, 30 democratic soldiers of the government army were shot on May 10, 1947, because they were said to have had connections with the partisans. At Kozana, the military court sentenced to death Kula Mitropulu, a teacher, on June 3, 1947. In Athens, five democratic citizens, including two old men of 70, were shot on the charge of collaboration with the partisans. Altogether, in the course of May 1947 alone, 600 democratic citizens and youths were sentenced to death by the military courts.
When certain members of the Enquiry Commission of the Security Council which came to Greece in February 1947, asked that no death sentences should be carried out during the work of the Commission, it was the British and American delegates who rejected this proposal, thus helping and encouraging the monarcho-fascists in their criminal work. With the arrival of the new American occupation, the military courts intensified their murderous action, and now sentence to death 50 to 60 democratic citizens and youth daily. They are immediately shot, but they always face death proudly, for the highest ideals of freedom and democracy. In February 1947, the symbols of freedom, letters in neon lights, expressing the wish of the whole people: "Out with the English!" shone out again like a miracle under the English occupation when the Enquiry Commission arrived, on the sacred Acropolis rock. It was a youth called Manolis Glezos who performed this feat—the same hero who, at the beginning of Hitler's occupation, removed from the same spot the swastika flag and trampled it underfoot. The flame lit by Glezos burns in the heart of every Greek youth and can never be put out. In the towns and villages, the monarcho-fascists carry and expose sadistically, the severed heads of democrats and partisans— this under the very noses of the English and Americans—for the purpose of intimidating the people. The tragic fate of a seventeen-year-old schoolgirl, whose head, with its school cap, was carried through Grevena, sheds a lurid light on the jungle fascist regime. The criminals asserted that she was a partisan girl, though, as a matter of fact, she was killed in her own home village. Incapable of subjugating the people, they commit base political murders. One of the victims of this policy was Yanis Zevgos, a leader and educator of the Greek people, who was killed in the streets of Salonika by the murderers, the protegés of the Greek fascist military police, and by order of the hireling, the cowardly minister of public order, Zervas.
Macedonia is a hell. In the region of Katerina, which contains 20,000 inhabitants, 2,000 democratic citizens were arrested. In western Macedonia concentration camps for the extermination of arrested democrats have again been set up in the towns. The monarcho-fascists had provisionally closed down these camps for the sake of appearances when the Enquiry Commission of the Security Council arrived in Greece. The town of Alexandropolis is one vast concentration camp. At Kavala, 350 democrats were arrested and sent to the concentration camp on the island of Tarsus. In the town of Santi 178 persons were arrested. In Athens, in one night, 551 democratic doctors, lawyers, civil servants, were taken out of their houses and sent to exile on the barren islands of death.
Up to now a total of 35,000 democratic citizens, old men, women and children have been arrested and interned. There are hundreds of pregnant women and those with small children on the barren islands. Entire families have been exterminated, and whole villages wiped out because of their democratic convictions.
Parallel with their murderous and terrorist activity against the people, the Greek reaction and the Anglo-American occupiers are exerting all their efforts to fetter and subjugate the people and youth by way of economic misery, economic ruin. They think that in this way they will succeed in breaking the unsubjugated new generation of Greece and make it submit to their fascist plans. That is why young workers are left unprotected and unemployed. In Athens alone, there are 50,000 unemployed workers.
There is no trade union freedom in Greece today. The decisions of the Greek general workers' congress, which met in 1945, and whose work was followed by delegates of the world trade union federation (the English, French, Russians), were annulled by the post-December neo-fascist government. The workers' anti-fascist coalition (ERGAS) won a brilliant victory in the trade union elections in 1945, when delegates of the world trade union federation were present. The ERGAS candidates were elected almost unanimously (98—100%) in all trade unions. These elected representatives of the workers were unlawfully banned, persecuted, imprisoned, and then interned and killed by various monarcho-fascist governments, and notorious traitors to the working class were appointed in their stead.
80% of the workers' youth have been left without any employment and do not enjoy any protection from the monarcho-fascist state. No social insurance exists for the Greek working youth. The employer can throw young workers into the street when it pleases him. The monarcho-fascist governments have passed a series of anti-workers laws. Strikes and the right to hold meetings are prohibited. The monarcho-fascists terrorize and kill workers in the factories. In the meantime the youth are in the first rank of the economic and political struggle in the towns.
The health condition of the Greek youth is terrible and dangerous. Of 64,000 youths who were examined in Athens and Piraeus, 65 to 80%, were found to be suffering from various diseases. In Greece there are 800,000 tuberculosis patients, but there are only 5,000 beds in the sanatoriums. In Greece there is no quinine or other basic drugs. And while the Anglo-American imperialists sent material to the monarcho-fascists, the Greek people are without medicine.
The monarcho-fascist state does not take any interest in the education of youth. Out of 30,000 students enrolled in the Athens university, only 7,000 are able to attend lectures, and those only irregularly. The others are obliged to work in factories, in the harbor, in streets, in order not to die of hunger. In the students' canteen, no food can be obtained. In the provinces, the majority of the schools were destroyed during the first occupation, and destruction is still being continued, owing to the civil war, by bombing from English aircraft, used by the monarcho-fascist government against the partisans and the people.
90% of the student youth are today organized in EPON. The democratic teachers have been dismissed, and fascist teachers, collaborators of the German occupiers, are at present teaching in the universities. One of these is Vizu Kidis, of the Salonika university, an admirer of Hitler, who delivered Salonika over to the Germans. In the schools, the monarcho-fascists demand a statement from the pupils of their social standpoint, and at the examinations they are treated according to their political convictions. Hundreds of students have been imprisoned and interned (on the island of Ikaria alone there are 100 interned students) while the number of those executed by special military courts runs into several dozens. Monarcho-fascism is making great efforts to introduce harmful habits, and to corrupt the youth, both morally and physically. It permits and even encourages the use of narcotic drugs which are imported in large quantities by the English and Americans. The use of narcotic drugs was originally introduced into Greece and spread by the English occupiers, and this is one of the means for bringing about moral and physical degeneration and thus preventing the oppressed people from raising their heads. In all the towns in Greece, even in the smallest provincial ones, opium dens openly carry on their trade today. A dose of opium is much cheaper than a kilogram of bread.
This shows clearly that the monarcho-fascist and the Anglo-American occupiers have launched an unscrupulous offensive against the Greek youth. EPON has begun a crusade against this destruction of the youth by means of narcotic drugs, warning them of the consequences of this practice. In many Greek towns the EPON members demolished the cafes which the erring youth frequented to indulge in opium.
The climax of the persecution of the Greek youth was the trial of the heroic EPON. Nothing other could base been expected of a regime which bids fair to surpass even Franco's fascist regime in Spain. The heroic EPON, which fought consistently in the front ranks of the fight against fascism, which made hundreds of thousands of sacrifices in this fight, was brought before the court by the monarcho-fascists, who had the obvious intention of outlawing it. The indictment was drawn up by the government itself, saying as EPON had turned aside from its proclaimed aims, it should be dissolved. The indictment was based on false, slanderous and preposterous statements of gendarmes and fascist elements. They even tried to outlaw EPON legally, although it is the only organization recognized by the World Federation of Democratic Youth, as monarcho-fascism was not in a position to suppress by any other means the democratic movement of the Greek youth. On learning of this event and the attempt to outlaw EPON, the whole world democratic youth rose up in its defense. George Thomas, the English Labor M. P., came to Greece as delegate of the World Federation of Democratic Youth and the progressive British youth organizations, to witness the struggle of the Greek youth, organized in EPON. Thomas said: "The World Federation of Democratic Youth can call millions of its members to rise in defense of EPON. EPON is a progressive force, not only for Greece, but for the whole world. The British youth cannot understand why the state is persecuting EPON. I believe that the ideals of EPON and its militant spirit are necessary to ensure the future of Greece."
The democratic youth of all the countries addressed telegrams of protest to the monarcho-fascist government, condemning its attempts to outlaw EPON by means of a staged and false trial. The World Federation of Democratic Youth sent a letter of protest. The Council of the Federation of Balkan Democratic Youth did the same. But the criminals who are ruling Greece today did not hesitate to bring EPON before the court, in spite of the disapproval and protests of the world youth. The trial was contrary to every legal procedure. The court had before it a long indictment, full of false statements. The Central Council of EPON was refused a copy of the indictment. This procedure showed that the monarcho-fascist regime was fully aware of the fact that its accusations were unfounded, and that EPON was in a position to expose the odious monarcho-fascist lies by means of concrete proofs. The monarcho-fascists dared not publish the evidence, which would have put them to shame. The indictment stated that EPON, starting out as a democratic organization, had turned into an anarchist—terrorist— communist organization, that its members were in touch with the partisans, that they were joining the democratic army in masses, and that EPON was chiefly responsible for the civil war. They also accused EPON because of its cultural activity and participation in reconstruction.
All this sounds incredible, but to the monarcho-fascists it was a logical accusation. The most fantastic things can be found in this preposterous indictment. One accusation was that EPON was plotting to steal the secret of the atomic bomb, by the order of Yugoslavia, and that this secret was in Greece. The most incredible inventions can be found here, and they reveal in full measure the fury of monarcho-fascism and the wildness of their assertions. They accused EPON of "anti-national" activity, because it was against the British and American occupation, because its slogan was, "The fight against Fascism."
When the Enquiry Commission of the Security Council arrived in Greece, the monarcho-fascists postponed the trial, by order of their English masters. They resumed it on February 23, five days after the fourth anniversary of the foundation of EPON. During the trial, the counsel for the defense was not allowed to express himself, except in the briefest possible form. Thus it was decided to liquidate EPON, "because it had been transformed into a communist organization."
In precisely the same way, and for the same reasons, Hitler's courts during the occupation passed similar sentences. The reaction, by condemning EPON, tried to justify and show as legal the persecution of the democratic youth which was continuing the fight in the ranks of EPON. A few hours after judgment on EPON had been pronounced, the Athens police made a brutal attack on the premises of the organization, and ordered its members to leave the building. The monarcho-fascists seized all they could find there. This procedure shows how illegal and unjust the attack on EPON was. The judgment could not be executed before the court of appeal had rejected EPON's plea and confirmed the judgment. The central council of EPON protested to the Enquiry Commission against the dissolution of the organization, against this measure which aimed at legalizing the pogrom against the Greek democratic youth. A few days afterwards, comrade Filinis, who submitted a report to the Enquiry Commission, protesting against this government measure, and all the representatives of democratic organizations, who submitted memorandums and set forth before the Enquiry Commission the causes of the civil war, were arrested, and are now rotting on the islands of death.
In spite of the decisions of the monarcho-fascist court concerning the liquidation of EPON, this organization is continuing its struggle in new forms, and under illegal conditions. EPON cannot be eliminated by court decisions, as it was not created by degree, but sprang from hard and bitter struggle against the fascist invader. The only consequence can be the intensification of the civil war, accompanied by new massacres, sufferings and sacrifices, and the ordeal of the martyred Greek people will continue.
EPON thanks the youth organizations of the whole world which, at the call of the World Federation of Democratic Youth, resolutely rose against the liquidation of EPON and the persecution conducted against it. It expresses unwavering faith in the democratic ideal and its readiness to fight on the side of the youth of the whole world, in the front ranks, for the realization of the aims of the World Federation of Democratic Youth.
The hardest, but also the most glorious path lies open before EPON today. The path of struggle. EPON loves life, but not a life of slavery. Above all, it loves freedom, independence and democracy. The boys and girls of EPON know its history very well, and they themselves have helped to write it in their blood, and they vow before the whole world that they will honor this history with new pages of glorious and heroic battles, for the highest ideals, for the happiness of Greek Youth.
"We fight and sing,
Victory is ours."
One year has passed since the above words were written in this book and new pages of blood and sacrifices are now filling the history of present-day Greece.
The desperate attempt of Greek monarcho-fascists to enslave the Greek people and its youth through civil war with the help and under the direction of the Anglo-American conquerors, is causing new ruins and destruction in tortured Greece and it prolongs the end of the blood-letting.
The economic situation has become unbearable: 2.000,000 Greeks are lacking the necessities of life, since their total yearly income is around 300,000 drachmas ($30), according to a recent report by the Greek Ministry of Public Welfare. By order of Mr. Griswold, head of the American Aid Mission, the Greek puppet government has doubled the tuition in the universities thus compelling thousands of students to discontinue their studies.
The country's whole economy together with the $300,000,000 of American taxpayers' money is being used solely for feeding the flames of civil war.
The refusal of the Greek people to be enslaved, its heroic struggle for freedom and independence, compels the monarcho-fascists and the Anglo-American conquerors to resort to the most barbaric crimes against the freedom-loving people of Greece.
The Athens government has drafted into the Army five classes of youth (1941-1946) thus forcing thousands of young people from high schools, universities and their jobs to throw them into the fratricidal war.
The terror continues at an unbelievable pace. From June 1946 until now 1,600 fighters of the Resistance have been executed on orders of the fascist courts-martial. Among those were six students and 40 women. 10,000 were killed: 25,000 are in prisons today; 45,000 in exile and 18,000 officers and men of the government army are prisoners in the notorious concentration camp on the island Makronisos; of these 243 were cowardly murdered by fascist guards.
700,000 refugees, homeless and hungry, together with 400,000 orphan children are roaming helplessly over the country. In Athens 1,800 babies died from hunger. 120 children were killed by government planes. 29 children between the ages of 4 and 7 were executed on the island of Samothrace. On Icaria island 40 babies died with their exiled mothers from starvation. In Tripolis a boy of 14 was executed in March 1948. In Salonica the fascists executed 127 fighters of the Resistance, whose only crime was that they had fought the Nazis and their quisling collaborators for the liberation of Greece. When the Minister of Justice Ladas, on May 1, 1948, paid with his life for the murder of 600 resistance fighters whose executions he himself had ordered, the Athens government in reprisal (surpassing even the Hitlerite methods) executed another 250 prisoners and is threatening with execution 2,100 more condemned democrats.
The imposition of martial law and the death sentence on striking workers provide a picture of the fascist hell which is Greece today.
Nevertheless, the unconquerable Greek people are continuing its struggle with greater courage and determination than ever. It is fighting everywhere and with all means. The youth of Greece, led in the illegalized heroic EPON, inside occupied Greece, are organizing and struggling for the solution of their problems. The dissolution of EPON had a deep-felt influence upon the unorganized Greek youth. Thousands of these hitherto unorganized youth have joined the ranks of EPON.
EPON, with its underground newspapers and leaflets enlightens the youth about their problems and mobilizes them in militant actions to fight off the attacks of the monarcho-fascists who seek to fascize the Greek youth. During celebration, on February 23, 1948, of the fifth anniversary of EPON, thousands of leaflets were distributed and on every wall of Athens there appeared proclamations and slogans of EPON. In the center of the city there appeared illuminated signs set up by the democratic youth.
March 25, 1948, the Greek national holiday was celebrated with popular manifestations. The police on that day arrested 300 Eponites.
Thousands of democratic youth are again taking up arms and joining the invincible Democratic Army. The wide participation of the democratic youth in the Democratic Army created the organization known as the "Democratic Youth of Greece," whose purpose is: 1) The militant mobilization of the youth in the armed struggle and participation by the youth in the self-rule and reconstruction of the regions that are being liberated by the Democratic Army. Companies, battalions and regiments of the Democratic Youth are being formed everywhere. These formations, under leaders steeled in the struggle for national liberation, are dealing decisive blows against the enemy. The Democratic Youth of Roumeli in two months recruited 2,500 men. In Macedonia and Thrace 6,000 youth joined the Democratic Army. In one village of Thessaly all the young men and women, about 180, joined the Democratic Army. In one day 2,000 youth joined the Democratic Army throughout Greece.
The leaders of the Democratic Youth encourage competitive activity among its various units—for example, the unit which captures the general staff of an enemy brigade shall be honored for its heroism. The part played by the Democratic Youth is of the greatest importance; in the day-to-day struggles it creates new and experienced leaders of the Democratic Army. Hundreds of young men and young women, members of EPON, are officers of the Democratic Army. The Minister of Agriculture in the Democratic Government, D. Vlatas, was secretary of EPON until 1944. Nick Akritides, political director of the military academy of the Democratic Army, is a member of central committee of EPON. The secretary of EPON, Fokas Betras, is serving in the Democratic Army with the rank of colonel.
The steadily growing might of the Democratic Army is dealing smashingly blows to the enemy's attacks and arming itself with arms captured from the enemy. It raises the banner of liberation atop one mountain summit after another, bringing freedom to its enslaved brothers.
The successive victories and battles of recent months in Konitsa, Kilkis, Salonika, Komotini, Axioupoli, Aegion, Amphilochia, Kalavryta, Kalamata, Sparta, Tropaion Parnithos (l6 miles outside of Athens), have spread panic among the reactionaries and the Anglo-American invaders.
The open military aid by the American government, the creation of an American field staff in Greece, the participation of American officers in the operations against the Democratic Army, the execution of captured guerrillas on orders of the Americans—all these prove who are the real instigators and organizers of the civil war.
These bestialities and mass murders are causing a great wave of indignation all over the world. Protest demonstrations were held in every land. Thousands of indignant telegrams from organizations and governments are flooding the Athens government every day.
Aid to the Greek democrats is being organized everywhere with collections of clothing, money and medicines. On April 10-11 of this year an international conference for aid to democratic Greece was held in Paris, France, with representatives from 22 nations. Representatives of many youth organizations took part; also of the World Federation of Democratic Youth. At the conference it was decided to form an international Committee of aid to Greek democrats. The World Federation of Democratic Youth is mobilizing its forces to help the democratic youth of Greece; it appealed to its member organizations to conduct relief campaigns and to demand an end to the terror and murder. At the convention of the Balkan youth organizations, at the conferences of the Polish, Albanian, Czechoslovakian, Hungarian, Yugoslavian and Austrian youth, as well as at the great Youth Festival in Prague the representatives of the democratic Greek youth were welcomed with the greatest enthusiasm. Thousands of youth organizations have expressed their solidarity with the heroic EPON and the "Democratic Youth of Greece" and pledged to give their help.
From American youth also has come increasing aid to the democratic Greek youth. In New York City, on February 23, the fifth anniversary of FPON was celebrated with many organizations taking part. Similar celebrations were held in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and other cities. The AYD organized mass aid rallies in all of its organizations. Demonstrations were organized in front of the Greek consulate against the dissolution of EPON and the mass murders.
In this bitter and glorious struggle the Greek youth, with the help and sympathy of the democratic youth of the world, is writing with its blood the most brilliant pages in the history of modern Greece.
And this struggle will continue until the day when victory and democracy shall prevail in all of Greece.
The following are a few of the telegrams from the hundreds that were sent to EPON from the democratic youth of the world in which they express their sentiments and promises to contribute morally and materially to the great struggle now being waged.
You, Youth of Greece, fighting like true citizens of humanity. Greek patriots, winning our struggle too. We are at your side. All mankind will remember your heroic struggle. Long live freedom.
American Youth For Democracy To Greek Youth of Athens (Dec. 1944)
The Greek youth has the mutual solidarity of the youth of the world.
GUY DE BOISSON
President of the World Federation of the Democratic Youth
The millions of American youth are indignant over the efforts made by the Greek government to dissolve the EPON. Rest assured of our continuous support.
Secretary of the American Youth for a Free World
The democratic organizations of the Polish Youth express their indignation for the trial by the Greek monarch government the purpose of which was to dissolve the EPON, a youth organization that contributed greatly in the liberation struggle of Greece.
Organizational Committee of Polish Youth
United in the trade unions of youth, the Young Workers of Napoli express their support in your struggle against fascism.
Young Workers of Napoli
To K. S. of EPON
With our deepest sentiments we greet the representatives of the Council of EPON.
Convey our warmest desire for your success to the glorious youth of Greece to heroic fighter members of the Resistance fighters of the liberation front.
We are confident that the great struggle for democracy for which you have to courageously fought will be ultimately crowned with victory. In this courageous struggle for a free democratic and happy Greece of the new generation the mutual aid of all democratic youth of the world is assured by the world federation of democratic youth.
Central Committee of Anti Fascist Soviet Youth
The Italian anti-fascist students send to you their brotherly greetings and their sincerest hope for your victory.
For the D. Committee of the Student's Union
On occasion of the Third Anniversary of the EPON, accept the congratulations of our Central Committee.
Rest assured that we follow closely your efforts and struggles and hope that the materialization of your goal will soon be reached. Death lo fascism! Freedom to all people!
SLAVKO KOMAR, President
For the CP. or the Youth Organization of Yugoslavia
We assure you that in your fight for democracy we stand by your side because we too have the same fight through our terrible experiences of November 17.
Long live the Democratic Youth of Greece!
Council of Czech students of Prague
In its heroic struggle for an independent, democratic and prosperous Greece, the youth of that country is receiving the whole-hearted support and sympathy of youth organizations and young people the world over. American youth, conscious of the great responsibilities placed upon it because of the continuing aid and direction given to the monarcho-fascists of Greece by the U.S. Government in order to carry on the civil war, will endeavor to put an end to the policy of American intervention in Greece.
The youth of America is following with the greatest interest the struggle of the youth of Greece. The terror and mass murders of Greek democratic youth create the deepest indignation among young Americans and move them to declare their solidarity with the youth of Greece.
We appeal to every American youth and to all their organizations to: 1) increase your aid to the democratic youth of Greece; 2) multiply your protests against the crimes committed against the youth and the people of Greece: 3) demand that our government help financially in the reconstruction of Greece; not one cent for the civil war and the crimes against the Greek youth of Greece; 4) urge your organizations to give all possible help. You are also asked to contribute personally to the moral and material aid of the heroic democratic youth of Greece.
Act at once—help save the lives of thousands of young Greek Democrats!
Show your solidarity with the fighting democratic youth of Greece!