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International Court of Justice Ruling on Distomo Case

In an announcement, issued on February 3, concerning an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling upholding Germany’s position, that it enjoys state immunity from being sued in foreign courts by victims of Nazi atrocities during World War II, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that the Greek government will study this Judgement closely, in the light of its firm and longstanding position that the matter of German compensations remains open.
The judgement affects the case of the south-central Greek village of Distomo, where Nazi troops killed 214 civilians on June 10, 1944, one of the numerous instances of WWII atrocities in occupied Greece. The court case concerned the confiscation of German property on Italian soil for reparations to be paid to victims of Distomo.

  • MPs Raise War Reparations Issue

Meanwhile, in Athens, 28 MPs from PASOK, New Democracy (ND), Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) as well as independent deputies tabled a motion in Parliament requesting a discussion on issues concerning the so-called German occupation loan from Greece during WWII, as well as the issue of war reparations to victims of Nazi atrocities and stolen treasures from the country.
In a letter addressed to the presidents of competent parliamentary committees, the MPs called on Parliament to adopt a clear stance on this “crucial national issue.”


“Kali Patrida” Greek Communities of Political Refugees in Eastern Europe

By the end of the Greek Civil War (1946-49), Greece was in a tragic state. The human loss and physical destruction incurred in this conflict was added to the suffering and damage already accumulated during World War II and the occupation. One of the most dramatic consequences of the Civil War was the odyssey of thousands of Greek men, women and children who settled in Eastern Europe and the USSR – mainly in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The Hellenic Parliament Foundation for Parliamentarianism and Democracy is hosting until December 31, 2011, an exhibition titled Kali Patrida… Greek Communities of political refugees in Eastern Europe.
The exhibition draws on material (printed and audiovisual) from many sources, both from Greece and abroad in order to shed light on particular themes in the lives of political refugees: their establishment in the host countries (East Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Uzbekistan); their children’s education, their communities, their efforts to preserve their distinctive cultural heritage as well as their repatriation.
“Kali patrida” meaning “Happy Homecoming,” is actually a wish political refugees shared, expressing their nostalgia for their homeland.
ERT Archive: Documentary: Second Homeland – Episode: Stepmother Homeland & Michalis Gkanas: The history of my times [VIDEO]; TVXS: Writer Alki Zei talks about the Civil War [VIDEO]
ODYSSEY Magazine about Greece and the Greek Diaspora: Features-Our Town Beloiannisz in Hungary


Farewell to Iakovos Kambanellis

Iakovos Kambanellis, one of the most prominent figures of post-war Greek literature, died yesterday at the age of 89.
Kambanellis was born on the island of Naxos and studied design in Athens. During the Nazi occupation of Greece in WW2 he became actively involved in the Resistance movement. He was arrested by the German occupying forces in 1943 and was sent to Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, from which he was liberated by the Allied Forces in 1945.
His legendary Mauthausen novel, which describes his experience as a concentration camp survivor, was set to music by Mikis Theodorakis and became one of the most influential works in Greek culture.
He wrote more than twenty plays and twelve film scripts, including Stella by Michael Cacoyannis and The Dragon by Nikos Koundouros. In an announcement, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism expressed deep regret for Kambanellis’ passing, noting that the deceased defined the style of post-war Greek theatre, adding that his works were deeply loved by the Greek audience, as they soberly and truthfully depicted the reality of life in Greece, its difficulties and joys.
ERT Digital Archive: Iakovos Kambanellis – Part 1& Part 2 (in Greek) [VIDEO]

Ο “Όλυμπος”, το … σπλάχνο των Ελλήνων πολιτικών προσφύγων της Πολωνίας και ο 87χρονος στυλοβάτης του

 (ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ ) Είναι “σπλάχνο” των Ελλήνων πολιτικών προσφύγων, που τα ταραγμένα χρόνια του Εμφυλίου κατέφυγαν στην Πολωνία κι εκεί έχτισαν μια νέα ζωή, χωρίς να αποκόψουν, ωστόσο, τον “ομφάλιο λώρο” με την πατρίδα. Ο αθλητικός, τουριστικός, πολιτιστικός σύλλογος “Όλυμπος” μετρά σχεδόν μισό αιώνα ζωής και όπως λέει ο 87χρονος σήμερα Λευτέρης Τσιρμιράκης, εκ των ιδρυτικών στελεχών και πρόεδρος του συλλόγου, αποτελεί το “καμάρι των Ελλήνων πολιτικών προσφύγων της Βαρσοβίας”.  Στις 24 Ιανουαρίου του 1962, δεκαπέντε μέλη της Ένωσης Πολιτικών Προσφύγων της Πολωνίας, που έφερε το όνομα του Νίκου Μπελογιάννη, διαφορετικής ηλικίας κι ένας Πολωνός, όλοι τους παθιασμένοι με τον αθλητισμό και πιστοί στα ιδεώδη του αρχαίου ελληνικού πνεύματος, έβαλαν τα θεμέλια του “Ολύμπου”. Continue reading