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Jan 18 2013

The end of the Greek Civil War…25 years on.

On 18th December 1974 Private Teruo Nakamura of the Imperial Japanese Army was captured in Indonesia; the last, if Wikipedia is to be believed, Japanese soldier from the Second World War to cease military activity[1]. While Japanese ‘hold outs’ attracted worldwide media attention at the time, and are still the stuff of myth and legend, not as much notice seems to have been paid to events going on in Crete around then.

On 23 February 1975, Giorgos Tzombanakis, 55, from Kokkino Horio and  Spyrois Blazakis, 59, from Gavalohori, surrendered to the Greek authorities in Canea; the last two members of a the Democratic Army of Greece  who, during the  1945-1949 Greek Civil war, had been fighting in the  Cretan mountains[2]. In spite of repeated efforts by the Greek government to round them up and ever increasing prices being placed on their heads, they managed to avoid capture and betrayal for over 25 years. The two had been sought by the Greek government on charges of murder and ‘anti-state activity’ and only emerged from hiding when the post- Junta Karamanlis government legalised the KKE, the Communist Party of Greece, and Athens agreed to drop all charges against the men.

Out of the mountains after 25 years. G.Tzombanakis (left) and S.Blazakis (right).

 

According to the AP report of the time, they said they “felt strange at returning to civilization”, while the Guardian, on 24th February 1975, reported them as saying:  ‘Today our heads are held high. We did not compromise, we did not surrender.’[3]



[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teruo_Nakamura

[3] http://www.civilwarincrete.co.uk/index.html

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