Many people have an avid interest in the war-time history of Crete, much is documented, and novels based on the heroic resistance efforts are very popular. Less known is the dreadful civil war that engulfed Greece between right and left-wing factions. As in any civil war persecutions, fighting and tortuous deaths tore communities and families apart and left a huge scar that time slowly heals.
During the Nazi occupation of East Crete a brave lady, Maria Lioudaki who lived in the small village of Latsida played an important role supporting the resistance. Before the war she taught local children, loved folklore and collected matinades the two-line, fifteen syllable poems created as a spontaneous response to events. Sadly, Maria met a horrible death during the civil war.All these years later, her local community decided they wanted a fitting memorial to such a brave lady. British Kritsa sculptor, Nigel Ratcliffe created this beautiful marble relief, unveiled to the public on 10th September 2018. During the speeches one eminent local stated, ‘She left her name indelibly written in the “book” of those who gave their own lives for the next generations to live free.’
We visited the village a couple of days later to admire Maria in situ and as a bonus enjoyed the best chip omelette ever from the taverna next door.
Latsida is a village we’d only driven through previously so it was lovely to have a reason to explore. Next time you’re passing stop for a stroll…but not at 1.00 p.m. the village was full of quad bikes as people enjoying a fun safari stopped in one of the village tavernas for lunch.
There must be so many unsung tales of resistance and bravery from the war time in Crete. If you know of any snippets, probably not recorded elsewhere then I’d love you to share them via comments. Best wishes, Yvonne