ASTORIA – The Partisans of Athens, a documentary about the Resistance during the Nazi Occupation of Athens, was screened on May 25 and May 26 at the Greek Cultural Center (GCC) in Astoria. The film features the recollections of fourteen people who lived through that period and is about collective memory and an entire people’s struggle against Italian Fascists, German Nazis, and their Greek collaborators.
Based on the testimonials of those who took part in the resistance, The Partisans of Athens sheds light on stories of struggle from the time of the great famine of 1941-42 to the liberation of Athens. The fourteen protagonists create a mosaic of experiences, struggles, and expectations of men and women who chose to stand against defeatism and collaboration with Nazism. Rare archival material, the original music score of drog_A_tek, and footage of historic neighborhoods in today’s Athens are included in the film.
Historian Eleni Drivas who has met many of the people in the film was present for a Q&A following both screenings which were also followed by refreshments and more discussion.
Frosso Tsouka who has worked with one of the film’s directors, Xenofon Vardaros, told The National Herald about how well the film has been received in Greece, especially among young people. She noted the meticulous research that went into the film, and the skill of the filmmakers in bringing history to life with seamless editing and attention to detail. Tsouka welcomed everyone to the screening, introduced the film and Drivas for the Q&A, and helped moderate the discussion that followed the film. She also thanked the GCC for screening the film and encouraged everyone to support the organization which does so much for the community and for Greece through its efforts.
The history of the time period chronicled in the film is vital for understanding the subsequent historical events and the current situation in Greece. In many ways, the wounds from World War II, the Occupation, and the Civil War have yet to heal. The silence about what really happened during those years has not helped the situation. There are not many people left who lived through those terrible times, recording their memories is an important service to future generations and to history itself. Giving everyone a chance to share their story only adds to our understanding.
During the Q&A, Drivas noted that four of the people who were interviewed for the film have passed away recently, and most of the fourteen interviewed over the three years it took for the filmmakers to realize the project are in their 90s.
The Partisans of Athens was directed by Xenofon Vardaros and Giannis Xidas. More information about the film is available on Facebook.