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Our Committee is raising funds to create a lasting legacy telling the story of Lemnos' link to Gallipoli and Australia's Anzac story. Our projects include the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park, the publication of a major new historical and pictorial publication and more. To make a donation you can also deposit directly by direct debit into the Committee's bank account: Account Name: Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee Inc; Bank: Delphi Bank; Account No: 204299-020 BSB No: 941300; Include your surname in the reference section. For further information on our legacy projects or to make a donation please contact either Lee Tarlamis 0411553009 or Jim Claven 0409402388M

Thursday, 7 September 2017

8 September 1944 – The Murder of A Herione – Lela Karayianni, the Bouboulina of the Resistance


Mrs Lela Karayianni in 1944. Picture from Chris Jecchinis, Beyond Olympus, Harrap 1960
Today we honor Mrs Lela Karayianni – known as the Boubolina of the Greek Resistance.
Mrs Karayiani ran one of the most fashionable boutiques in Athens, which was able to survive even during the early days of the occupation. It was a cosmetics business in Patision Street, where she mixed and prepared her own lotions and creams.
In the opinion of Allied SOE agents sent to Greece during the occupation to aid the resistance, she was considered one of the most pro-Allied and anti-Axis agents. Behind the beautiful satin curtains at the rear of her boutique, information on developments in the hinterland and details of German troop movements was passed on and exchange among the resistance. She directed the work of many resistance agents and spies in Athens – all dedicated to removing the hated occupier from Greece.
One member of her resistance circle – Chris Jecchinis – remembered her.
“She was an imposing woman … handsome, with big, beautiful eyes. Her posture was proud and erect, and she looked a true descendent of her great-grand mother Bouboulina,” the legendary heroine of the Greek War of Independence in 1821. She named ger three sons Byron, George and Nelson.
In early 1943 she was arrested by the Germans and taken to the infamous Haithari concentration camp near Athens. She had been betrayed by a Greek collaborator. As he appealed for her to talk, she slapped him. She would be beaten and starved. Even her children were tortured in an effort to get her to talk,
Despite torture by the SS, she refused to divulge any information regarding the resistance or the agents she had helped.
She was taken to a pine grove, beyond Daphni, on the 8th September 1944. As she was taken out to be shot with other women prisoners, she began to sing and they all joined in. Then she shouted – “No fish can live on land, nor Greek can live as a captive.” As the rain began to fall, she was shot by a German firing squad.

Lest we forget

For more information read Chris Jecchinis, Beyond Olympus: The Thrilling Story of the “Train-Busters” in Nazi-occupied Greece, Harrap, 1960.

Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
Member, Battle of Crete and Greece Commemorative Committee

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