To the Editors:
The Hellenic community needs more people like Mr. Kutschera – well versed in our history and an advocate for Greece. His letter to Mr. Cramer was on point. Mr. Cramer’s expression of gratitude for Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla’s Greek-Jewish family surviving the Holocaust was not only out of context but failed to elaborate how they survived. This omission did a disservice to Mr. Cramer’s viewers, the American public, and ultimately the people of Greece; the family’s survival is attributed to the heroic intervention of the family’s Greek Christian relative who risked his own life to obtain false documents, bribe German officers, and secure the safe return of family members even at the last minute after selection for death.
More importantly, Mr. Kutschera called attention to the heroism of the Hellenic people, soldiers and civilians alike, as well as to the crucial role Greece played in delaying the German offensive against the Russians. He correctly notes the ignorance of most Americans. I might add that even Europeans under the age of 60 might do well to learn of Greece’s Resistance and contributions to the war’s success. Consider the below attestations by those best positioned to know of Greece’s startling and pivotal role in the Allied victory over Nazi fascism in World War II: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union; Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; and even the wartime Head of the German General Staff.
President Roosevelt credited the Greek resistance with restoring hope to the Allies by handing the Germans their first defeat of the war, after the United Kingdom and France had already been overcome.
Wilhelm Keitel, the Chief of the German Wehrmacht Overall Commander of Nazi Germany’s Armed Forces) admitted: “The Greeks delayed by two or more vital months the German attack against Russia: If we did not have this long delay, the outcome of the war would have been different.”
Similarly, on January 31, 1943, Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union, praised the Greek people for their courage in a Moscow radio broadcast following victory against the Germans in Stalingrad.
He acknowledged that Greece’s resistance was a turning point in WWII, saying “I am sorry because I am getting old and I shall not live long to thank the Greek People, whose resistance decided WWII.”
Winston Churchill, wartime Prime Minister of Great Britain, in a speech to the House of Commons boldly affirmed: “The word heroism…does not render the least of those acts of self-sacrifice of the Greeks, which were the defining factor in the victorious outcome of the common struggle of the nations, during WWII, for human freedom and dignity. If it were not for the bravery of the Greeks and their courage, the outcome of WWII would be undetermined.”
While many other aspects and histories of the suffering of people in WWII have been exhaustively presented, unfortunately, a comprehensive, professional documentary which might reach audiences amplifying and illuminating this story of global importance does not exist.
Few outside Greece of non-Hellenic descent are even aware that we celebrate ‘OXI’ Day on October 28th. It is well past time for such a film to be made. It would be appropriate for our most prominent political organizations and particularly those which commemorate ‘OXI’ Day to fund and produce a major production that will be able to excite and engage the interest of non-Greeks as well as Hellenes. Only in this way can we begin to garner support for Greece in the likely event that it will be needed.
Squandering the tremendous goodwill that publicizing Greece’s role in World War II will generate is a wasted opportunity, and in the face of recent events and statements, dangerous, and unacceptable.
Ζήτο η Αγαπημένη Ελλάδα!
Georgia Stavropoulos, M.A., M. Phil.
Los Angeles, CA