Greek Resistance

German soldiers enter Athens in 1941

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

This episode of “This is Our Enemy” focuses on Greece, but most specifically Greek resistance to Nazi-aided Italian occupation.

The program begins with a dramatization, in which a German soldier tries to win the affections of a beautiful young woman by bribing her family with fresh meat and butter—delicacies they have not had for a long time, since the Germans killed all their cows for meat when they first arrived.

Anna, the daughter, cooks the meat, but when the family sits down to the table, first the mother and the father refuse to eat the meat. They opt to eat artichokes instead.

“What’s the matter with you two?” the German soldier demands, “You gone crazy? You can’t live on that mess. Don’t you want some real food?”

“Oh, we’d like some very much,” the father says, “But only if the rest of our countrymen are getting it too.”

Music swells, and the program cuts to narration from a woman, who tells her listeners that the occupation leaders in Greece are very much afraid of the man bands of guerrilla fighters in the mountains.

In one town, she says, the Germans and the Greeks set up fine clubs in the best houses in town, complete with bronze plaques outside the door.

We are brought to a recreation of the guerilla response to the club houses. The guerrillas interrupt a part, killing all of the German and Italian officers.

“We collected dues from all our members,” the leader laughs when they leave. He takes the plaques from the clubhouses and installs them in the town cemetery.

The woman wraps up the story with a remembrance of Greek heroes past, and of Greece as “a symbol, carried through the centuries, of the immortal structure of the human spirit.”

Matthew Gordon, Chief of the Foreign Service, then gives his weekly report. As is usual in his reports, he talks about resistance to the occupation forces, claiming that, “the fascists in Italy, who tried to increase their holdings at the expense of neighboring countries, are doing their best to hang on at the expense of their own people.”

Much of his broadcast is devoted to the subject of enemy propaganda, however. The fascists and the Nazis, he explains, are spreading rumors about Allied bombs destroying culture. “The way they tell it, we never hit anything of military importance,” he says.

He also criticizes them of hypocrisy, saying, “This despite the fact that Nazis had used terror as a weapon, had bombed cities, and then put out stories of the great destruction they had caused, and the greater destruction they would cause.”

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 69652
Municipal archives id: LT782