Kiwi Woman Finds Greek Family who Saved Her Grandfather in Crete during WWII

The National Herald Archive

The Greek siblings, Irene, Tasos and Nikolas, who saved a New Zealand soldier's life during World War II. Photo: Facebook

MELBOURNE – Emma Ebrahim, a resident of Avondale Heights, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, shared a black and white, World War II-era photo of a Greek family on Facebook, hoping to find them or their descendants, according to a report on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) website.

The Greek family, three siblings Irene, Tasos, and Nikolas, had saved her grandfather, Arthur, a soldier from New Zealand stationed on Crete during the WWII, supplying him and his fellow soldiers with food “under the cover of darkness,” Ebrahim told ABC, and he had kept the photo of the family for the rest of his life.

“Irene spoke a little bit of English so she was the one communicating with the soldiers,” Ebrahim continued, adding that her grandfather had been captured twice and escaped twice form a prisoner of war camp. He was hiding in the mountains starving, eating anything he could find, and this Greek family supplying him with food saved his life.

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, Arthur was 22 when he enlisted, and apparently kept in touch with the Greek family who saved him, since the photo has a message written on the back dated December 1946, ABC reported.

While planning a trip to Crete, Ebrahim told ABC, she first shared the photo on her own Facebook page and then on a local site asking for suggestions about what to do, someone mentioned she should post on the Greeks in Melbourne page and soon more people shared the post and reached out to her with family and friends in Crete who could possibly help. Someone working for a newspaper in Crete then reached out to share the information in an article.

Within two days, Ebrahim had received hundreds of messages and when she finally had a chance to go through them, she found a message that said, “that’s my dad,” she told ABC, adding that Nikolas’ daughter, Mara, had seen an online article about Ebrahim’s search.

According to ABC’s report, Ebrahim found out that Nikolas is now 89 years old, and she plans to visit him and his family, including his two daughters, and Tasos’ daughter, on her trip to Crete.