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Sofia Vembo “Children of Greece, Children”: The inspiring song of OXI Day

Sofia  Vembo, the national voice of Greece during the Greek-Italian war and the Axis occupation. The singer and actress became a major inspiration for the soldiers fighting at the war front and for the people in general. Her most famous song that encouraged the Greek soldiers during the Greek-Italian War  and was “Children of Greece, Children,” written after the Italian attack on Greece, on 28. October 1940.

The song still remains popular and is to hear at every anniversary of 28. October 1940, the Oxi Day.

The lyrics were written right at the beginning of the war and became the most popular during that period.

The music of the song was adopted from song “Zechra” (1938) composed by Michalis Souyoul.

Writer and lyricist Mimis Traiforos changed the lyrics in 1940 and the title to “Children of Greece, Children!”

An unknown background detail about the song is that Traiforos (Vembo’s long time partner)  had originally written the last verse as “If you don’t come back victorious, never come.”

Sofia Vembo found that verse “particularly cruel and unfair” for the Greek soldiers fighting in the front and changed it into ”

Vembo didn’t like that verse. She found her particularly cruel and unfair, as Greek soldiers fought bravely on the front. So he persuaded Traiforos to change their lyrics to “With the branches of victory – We are waiting for you, children.”

Sofia Vembo (1910-1978) was a leading singer and actress. Her career skyrocketed after the Italian attack on Greece on 28 October 1940, when her performance of patriotic and Mussolini satirical songs. She quickly became a folk heroine.

At the same time, she offered 2,000 gold pounds from her own fortune to the Hellenic Navy.

Following the German invasion and occupation of the country in April 1941, she was transported to the Middle East, where she continued to perform for the Greek troops in exile.

Because of her role in the war and her efforts during the Axis occupation, she was awarded the rank of Major in the Greek Army.

Children, of Greece children
Lyrics:  Mimis Traiforos Music:Michalis Souyoul Performer: Sofia Vembo

Among the roads wonder
Mothers and the look
To meet
Their children, who made an oath
When were parting on the station
To win

But for those, who has gone
And the glory wraps them
Let us rejoice
And let no one ever cry
Let her burn every her pain
And let us bless

Children, of Greece children
Who fight severely up in mountains
Children, to sweet Mother of God
We all pray for you to come back again

And I say to all those, who love
And doesn’t sleep night for someone
And sigh,
That the bitterness and fear
To a honorable Greek woman
Do not suit

Greek women of Zalongo
And of the city, and of the forest
And Plaka residents
However bitterly we feel pain
Let us say proudly
As Souliot women

Children, of Greece children
Who fight severely up in mountains
Children, to sweet Mother of God
We all pray for you to come back again

With the branches of victory
We are waiting for you, children.

Translated by Marina Boronina via hellas songs

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