1. Manolis Glezos and Apostolos Santas
The lives of these two courageous men typifies those of thousands of other Greeks who stood up to the horrors of four decades of political oppression, through the fascist dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas, the occupation by the Germans and Italians during the Second World War, the Greek Civil War and the Colonels' Junta.
See also the article about the Greek poet Menelaos Loundemis.
Manolis Glezos (Μανώλης Γλέζος, born 1922) remains an active left-wing politician and writer, and still takes part in demonstrations and debates.
In 1935 Glezos moved with his family from the village of Apiranthos (also known as Aperathu), Naxos to Athens, and while at high school there worked as an assistant in a pharmacy. He was also a founder of an anti-fascist youth group to counter the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas and the Italian occupation of the Dodecanese.
In 1940 he began studying at the Higher School of Economic and Commercial Studies (today the Athens University of Economics and Business). At the beginning of World War II he tried to join the Greek army to fight the Italians on the Albanian front, but was under age. He went to work as a volunteer for the Hellenic Ministry of Economics, then during the Axis occupation he worked for the Hellenic Red Cross and the municipality of Athens, while secretly active in the resistance.
The Nazi regime sentenced Glezos and Santas to death in absentia for taking down the German flag from the Acropolis. Glezos was arrested and imprisoned first by the Germans 1942, then by the Italians in 1943, and again in 1944 by Greek Nazi collaborators. He finally escaped in the same year.
During the Greek Civil War, the right-wing government put him on trial for his political beliefs, and he was sentenced to death in 1948. However, due to an international outcry, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1950. Despite his imprisonment, in 1951 he was elected as a member of parliament for the EDA, United Democratic Left (Ενιαία Δημοκρατική Αριστερά, ΕΔΑ). His hunger strike forced the government to release seven other EDA MPs from exile and imprisonment. Glezos himself was released in 1954. In 1958 he was sent to prison again, having been convicted of espionage, but was released in 1961, once again due to international pressure. He was to spend another four years in prison and exile, from 1967-1971, under the military dictatorship (the Colonels' Junta, 1967-1974).
Following the collapse of the junta and the restoration of democracy in Greece, EDA collaborated with the PASOK party (Panhellenic Socialist Movement), headed by Andreas Papandreou. Glezos was elected as a Member of the Greek Parliament in 1981, and in 1984 a Member of the European Parliament. In 1986 he withdrew from parliamentary life, and devoted his efforts to politics on a local level, first in his hometown on Naxos, then in Attica. He also continues to work as a journalist, book author and advocate of alternative, progressive political ideals.
See also: the article Glezos greets Gauk at The Cheshire Cat Blog, 5 March 2014.
Apostolos "Lakis" Santas (Απόστολος Σάντας, 1922-2011) moved with his parents from Patras to Athens in 1934. After finishing high school he began studying at the law school of the University of Athens, although he was unable to complete his studies until after the withdrawal of the German occupiers from Athens in 1944.
Santas joined the left-wing National Liberation Front (EAM) in 1942, and in 1943 the guerrilla force ELAS (ΕΛΑΣ, Greek People's Liberation Army). He took part in several battles against Axis troops in Central Greece.
After World War II, he was sent into internal exile on Ikaria in 1946, to Psyttaleia in 1947 and to the infamous prison island of Makronisos in 1948. He escaped to Italy, then went to Canada where he granted political asylum. He returned to Greece from Canada 1962, and died in Athens.