Greek Resistance fighter Manolis Glezos died at the age of 97

30. März 2020

With deep sorrow, we have to inform, the Greek resistance fighter Manolis Glezos died on Monday at the age of 97 years. He had previously been hospitalized because he had difficulty breathing and chest pain. Glezos was politically active until his old age.

He had become known to a broad public when, together with Apostolos Sandas, he took down the swastika flag from the Athens Acropolis during a life-threatening action on 30 May 1941. It was a symbolic act of resistance against the German occupying forces. Many Greeks followed this example at the time. Up to the present day, Glezos and Santas have been considered a symbol of the resistance of the peoples against fascist foreign rule and oppression. During the war, he was arrested and tortured several times. His younger brother was executed by the occupying forces.

After the liberation of the country from the fascist occupation, Glezos first headed the Communist Party newspaper “Rizospastis” as editor-in-chief. The newspaper was banned in December 1947; in 1948, he was sentenced to death for this activity. Due to strong protests, especially from abroad, this sentence was not carried out. Glezos was not released until July 1954. In the following years he received further long prison sentences for his political activities. Immediately after the military coup on April 21, 1967, he was sent to prison again. It was not until 1971 that he was released through a general amnesty. He was sentenced 28 times for his political activities, including three times to death.

After the fall of the military junta he was, among other things, chairman of the United Democratic Left (DFA) and mayor of the municipality of Apiranthos on Naxos, where he was born. He was first elected to the European Parliament in 1984 for PASOK. In 2002 he founded the group “Active Citizens”, which cooperated with the then Synaspismos (now SYRIZA). In 2012, he was elected to the Greek Parliament for SYRIZA. He was the oldest member of the European Parliament from 2014 to 7 July 2015.

Despite his old age, in recent years he has always vehemently defended the legitimate demands of the Greek people regarding compensation for the damage caused by the German fascist occupation.

The FIR and its member federations mourn with the family, his fellow combatants and the Greek anti-fascist movement. We will keep an honorable memory of him.