Daily Archives: 13 October 2022

Reaction to Germans in Crete, 1944

From Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure, by Artemis Cooper (New York Review Books, 2013), Kindle loc. 3060ff.

Anoyeia, well known as a centre of defiant resistance, had been united under the leadership of Stefanoyanni Dramoundanis. Shortly after Paddy had stood godfather to his daughter, the Germans had encircled the village and caught him. With his hands tied, Dramoundanis jumped over a wall and tried to escape, only to be shot in the back by the enemy. Normally, Paddy would have been welcomed; but since he was still in the uniform of a German corporal, he was given a taste of the Anoyeians’ hatred for the occupiers. Doors and shutters slammed, while the warnings rang out from house to house: ‘The black sheep are in the wheat!’ – ‘Our inlaws have arrived!’ At the café the old men fell silent, pointedly turning their backs. He did not reveal himself till he found the wife of the priest, Father Charetis, who was terrified. ‘It’s me, Pappadia!’ he whispered. ‘It’s me, Mihali!’ – ‘Mihali? I don’t know any Mihali!’ she cried, backing away. She finally recognized him by the gap between his front teeth, and hustled him and George into the house.

Paddy’s godbrother George Dramoundanis soon arrived, along with Father Charetis, and couriers were found to take messages to Sandy Rendel to the east, and to Tom Dunbabin, who was the other side of Mount Ida. It was a matter of vital urgency to get news of the abduction to Cairo, so that the BBC could broadcast the announcement and the RAF drop leaflets.

Meanwhile Billy and Manoli, guided by Strati, had brought the General within sight of Anoyeia though they could not risk entering the village. It had been a long night. They had found no water till 3 a.m., and the General moved slowly – his leg had been badly hurt, he said, as he was dragged from the car. He was also very hungry, having had no lunch: yet what upset him most was the loss of his Knight’s Cross, won in the push against Leningrad on the Russian front. Strati went up to the village and made contact with Paddy, and returned with a basket of food and wine. The kidnappers had to scramble up to a small cave with the General when they heard that Germans were in the village, a warning no doubt set off by Paddy in his corporal’s uniform.

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