Symi during the Second World War.

Archived useful topics that don't fit anywhere else!

Symi during the Second World War.

Postby Brian Tate » 20 Feb 2008, 22:16

Being a bit of a military history nut, I am interested in what happened on Symi during WW2. I undersatnd that when the Germans withdrew they detonated an ammo stockpile causing considerable damage. I also believe that the island 'changed hands' a couple of times between the Brits and the Germans.

Can anyone steer me towards info on what happened on the island during the period of WW2 please?
Brian Tate
Regular Visitor
Regular Visitor
 
Posts: 8
Joined: 14 Feb 2008, 01:00
Location: Australia

Symi during the Second World War.

Postby Kojak » 20 Feb 2008, 23:04

The Germans did indeed detonate ammunition before they left Symi. They moved all the explosives up to the Castro church - the highest point of the old town. Before that the ruined castle of the Knights of St John which encircled the Castro was in a much better state of preservation. One of the German soldiers tipped off the inhabitants so they were able to creep away before the explosion, thus saving many lives. The story is that there was only one casualty, an old woman who refused to leave her house. The area around the Castro was devastated by the immense explosion. Much of that area is still in ruins today.

Because of the naturally deep and protected harbour the island was fought over and changed hands several times and British Commandos, together with men from the Greek Sacred Squadron made several raids on the German Garrison. Back issues of the Symi Visitor do contain a relatively detailed account of wartime Symiand the visitor Office will have more information about that. There is a memorial at the monastery of Panormitis to an Abbott who was shot for concealing Allied soldiers who were hiding there.
User avatar
Kojak
Inveterate Visitor
Inveterate Visitor
 
Posts: 3095
Joined: 12 Oct 2006, 01:00
Location: United Kingdom

Symi during the Second World War.

Postby symivisitor » 20 Feb 2008, 23:26

There is an excellent account of the events Kojak alludes to in the appendix of 'The Rough Guide to the Dodecanese'.
symivisitor
Senior Visitor
Senior Visitor
 
Posts: 154
Joined: 19 Apr 2006, 01:00
Location: United Kingdom

Symi during the Second World War.

Postby Brian Tate » 21 Feb 2008, 05:02

Thank you Kojak and Mike for your information. The story of Symi during WW2 has echoes of 'Captain Correli's Mandolin, even down to the Italian officer who thumbed his nose (well actually another part of his anatomy) at propaganda leaflets dropped on the island calling on the Italian troops to surrender to the Germans. A great story and one I will undoubtedly explore when we actually make our first trip to Symi. Thanks again.
Brian Tate
Regular Visitor
Regular Visitor
 
Posts: 8
Joined: 14 Feb 2008, 01:00
Location: Australia

Symi during the Second World War.

Postby Kon » 21 Feb 2008, 10:18

Love my history too Brian especially Greek islands and Greek history in general ,time is my problem love to one day sit down and listen to a historian talk about Greek (Symi )history. I guess I'm at a stage where i want to slow down and listen and learn. Many of you SV regulars have great knowledge of the history of the island ,i too want to be in that position to teach young Alexander one day.
User avatar
Kon
Inveterate Visitor
Inveterate Visitor
 
Posts: 1299
Joined: 06 Jun 2006, 01:00
Location: Australia

Symi during the Second World War.

Postby Adriana » 21 Feb 2008, 12:55

Apart from his now notorious Ethnography on Tourism on Symi and his lesser known paper about Crete, Legless in Sfakia, Dr Sean Damer also wrote a whole series of articles about Symi under the British Administration for the Symi Visitor while he was still on the island. Unfortunately as it was such a popular 4-part series we don't have any back copies left so it is a case of networking with those subscribers who keep every copy...
User avatar
Adriana
Inveterate Visitor
Inveterate Visitor
 
Posts: 1446
Joined: 19 Jun 2006, 01:00
Location: -

Symi during the Second World War.

Postby Kojak » 21 Feb 2008, 17:58

Hugo Tyler has made a detailed study of the WW2 history and I suspect our Mr Damer culled a great deal of info from him. I'm sure Adriana would put anyone in touch with Hugo as he's a mine of information about this.
User avatar
Kojak
Inveterate Visitor
Inveterate Visitor
 
Posts: 3095
Joined: 12 Oct 2006, 01:00
Location: United Kingdom

Symi during the Second World War.

Postby hilarias » 21 Feb 2008, 22:42

My parents were young children at the time of WW2 on Symi but I have been told many stories about what they witnessed. Many families fled their homes and stayed at the various churches/monasteries around the island. My father contracted typhoid after they reached the church of Ayio Nikita where he was lucky that the 2 doctors of the island were.
Interesting to sit and talk with the older esidents on the island.
User avatar
hilarias
Super Visitor
Super Visitor
 
Posts: 129
Joined: 25 Jun 2006, 01:00
Location: Australia


Return to Miscellaneous



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest