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Lakis Santas died at 89-Inspired boys when took down the Nazi flag

“Lakis Santas died” I told my father some days ago and he answer was “The fighter? Who took down the Nazi flag?”. My father was 12 years old when Lakis Santas together with Manolis Glezos climbed the hill and took down the huge Nazi flag from the mast. Even though the area was guarded. It was the night of May 30, 1941.

 Santas and Glezos, both 19, escaped after hiding the flag in a cave. It was the first act of resistance against the German occupation of Greece.

My father can very well remember how impressed he was by this heroic act of these dark ages for Greece. “Taken down the Nazi flag was heroism, a heroism you don’t see nowadays – it was inspiring for all the boys in the neighborhood” he said and started to recall how the boys wanted to be heroes as well. Later, many of those neighborhood children joined the left-wing resistance against the occupiers; two boys were shot by the Germans at open street in one of the south suburbs of Athens.

Apostolos “Lakis Santas” was a law student in 1941. Together with Glezos they joined the left resistance group and were imprisoned and exiled during the civil war that followed the liberation from the Nazis.

Santas fought  during the Nazi occupation period (1941-44) the  Axis forces as a fighter of the E.L.A.S.(Communists) and was wounded in 1944.

During the civil war he was prosecuted, brutally treated and exiled in the islands of Ikaria (1946) and Makronessos (1948).
He managed to escape to Italy and then to Canada where he lived as a refugee up to 1963 where he returned to Greece.

Lakis Santas passed away on April 30 at the age of 89.

An excerpt from an interview Santas gave to I. Petropoulos several years ago about the downing of the Nazi flag:

“While at a dusk during the first days of occupation (’41), I and Glezos were at Zappeion (Athens downtown).
The last sun rays were still illuminating magnificently the Attic landscape and suddenly, starring at Acropolis, our sight was caught by the “Third Reich” symbol waving on the Sacred Rock.
We somehow felt this occupant symbol’s oppressive shadow to cover the whole city of Athens and the other Attica land.

At once the idea sparkled our minds:“here is what we should do: climb the rock…”

The next morning the early woken Athenians were amazed to see a “Nazi flag free” Acropolis!

“That was one of the first resistance acts in Greece, and possibly among the very first in Europe”. (source: here )

The idea came like a spark. To take the flag form them. To destroy it, to tear it apart and so to wash the dirt from the Sacred Rock. 

Lakis Santas was carried to grave today in the presence of thousands of people.

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