Greece mourns the passing of the indefatigable Greek leftist and Resistance fighter Manolis Glezos, who died on Monday, March 30, of heart failure at the age of 98, in a hospital where he was being treated.
He will be given a state funeral and due to restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, only his close family circle will attend.
Manolis Glezos, along with his friend Lakis Santas, were the protagonists of one of the first resistance acts in occupied Greece, when on the night of May 30, 1941, they took down the Nazi flag from the pole on the guarded rock of the Acropolis.
The next day, the sight of the flag missing from the pole angered the conqueror and encouraged the conquered yet unslaveable people of Athens and all of Greece. The two young men were sentenced to death in absentia.
Manolis Glezos was born in Apeiranthos, a mountain village in Naxos, on September 9, 1922, but in the mid-1930s his family immigrated to Athens.
As a student, he formed an anti-fascist group for the liberation of the Dodecanese from the Italians, but also against Metaxas’ dictatorship.
During the Nazi occupation he participated in leftist resistance organizations, which resulted in imprisonment, torture and persecution.
After the Liberation, he became politically active within the Greek communist party (KKE) and EDA (United Democratic Left) and wrote for leftist newspapers.
He was tried dozens of times for his political activism, and in the late 1940s he was sentenced to death twice, but after both a Greek and an international campaign, in 1950, his sentence was reduced to life imprisonment. Despite still being imprisoned, Glezos was elected as a member of the Hellenic Parliament in 1951, under the flag of EDA. Glezos was finally released on July 16, 1954.
When the 1967 military coup took place, Manolis Glezos was arrested and jailed until 1971. In total, he spent 16 years of his life in exile and prison.
After the restoration of democracy in Greece in 1974, he became politically active in the ranks of EDA and PASOK and was elected a member of the Greek Parliament until the mid-1980s.
In the 1986 municipal elections he returned to his beloved village of Apeiranthos in Naxos, where he was elected mayor by his fellow citizens and he instantly established processes of direct democracy for all local issues.
Glezos was elected as an MP for SYRIZA in Greece’s June, 2012 parliamentary elections and in 2014 European elections, he gained a seat at the European Parliament, campaigning for the German WWII reparations to Greece.
After the 2015 referendum, Manolis Glezos disagreed with SYRIZA’s politics, quit the party and joined the Popular Unity.