The Axis occupation of Greece lasted
from April 1941 to October 1944. Greece was occupied at the time by
the combined forces of the Italians the Germans, and the Bulgarians.
The occupation was unbelievably cruel to the Greek people and tens of
thousands died during this period.
The worst period of the occupation was clearly the winter of
1941. The German army wishing to supply their armies with food
withdrew a very large portion of the food supply from Greece, the result was
massive starvation throughout Greece. This period remains crystal
clear in the minds of those who lived it. A period when people died in
the hundreds in the streets of Athens, and other major cities. Those
who managed to survive were all but skeletons.
However, under the cruel occupation the Greek spirit could
not be subjugated as it could not under the Turkish occupation. The
Greek people quickly formed one of the strongest resistance movements
throughout Europe, E.A.M and ELLAS. The resistance movement forced the
Germans alone to maintain approximately 15 divisions in Greece.
Many Greeks not willing to be humiliated in subjugation to
the Axis fled to Egypt. In Egypt they joined the ranks of the allied
armies to fight against the Axis. The Greeks were notable in their
courage against the Axis at El Alamein, the invasion of Italy, and in many sea
The strongest resistance in all of Greece occurred on the
island of Crete. The people of Crete were unwilling in no manner to
accept the subjugation to the Germans who occupied the island. The Cretans resisted stubbornly
both man and woman. The Germans would carry on retributions openly in public against a
killing of a German soldier often killing one hundred Greeks for one
German. The end result was to make the people of the island even
more bitter and widen the resistance movement further. Every time
someone's brother, mother or father would be killed the Germans would then
have another Guerilla to face! The brutal actions of the Germans in
Crete in fact strengthened the resistance movement. Even in the
attempt to capture Crete the Germans lost ten thousand soldiers!
The resistance movement formed bands of guerillas which
would hide in the mountains. They were supplied with food and shelter
by the villagers of the villages that dot the mountains of Greece.
They even managed to form secret societies against the Axis occupation
even within the major cities, and would do all in their power to bring
difficulties to the occupying forces.