Referendum Shows Crete Defiant Again: “We Cretans Have Waited in Worse Lines”


Old wounds heal slowly on Greece’s largest island of Crete, where many of its residents were alive when Nazi paratroopers invaded the island with all of the firepower and might of the Third Reich in May of 1941. Crete’s towns and villages are filled with 80 and 90-year old residents who are vocal about the future of their country that they, themselves fought for seven decades earlier.

A pensioner from Hania, Manolis Bassias, was defiant as he waited in line to get his 120 euro allocation of his pension just one day before Greece’s historic referendum.

“We Cretans have waited in worse lines,” he said, continuing with a story of his fellow villagers being lined up in the village of Kontomari in June of 1941, where dozens of his fellow villagers were shot in a firing squad after Nazi Germans invaded Crete.

“We’ve waited in worse lines than these and we will continue to wait, to show these people that we have pride, we have dignity,” Bassias told The Pappas Post.


A line in the village of Kontamari when all of the male villagers were shot by Nazis in June of 1941, which Mr. Bassias referred to in our interview.

The island of Crete voted overwhelmingly in favor of the “No” vote that was also advocated by the Syriza government of Alexis Tsipras. Crete’s largest district, Heraklion, recorded a whopping 71% to 29% margin.

Th other districts were also overwhelmingly “No” including Hania with a 74%-26% margin, Rethymnon with a 65%-35% margin and Agios Nikolaos with a 63%-37% margin. (all percentages have been rounded; Click links to see exact results on Ministry of Interior website)

A woman wearing her traditional black-- said to be worn by the people of Anogeia in perpetuity for the burning of their village during World War II

A woman wearing her traditional black– said to be worn by the people of Anogeia in perpetuity for the burning of their village during World War II

In the village of Anogeia, which was burned to the ground by the Nazis during World World II, villagers donned their traditional black dress and headscarves and voted overwhelmingly “no”, many bringing with them stories from the Nazi occupation on the early 1940s– stories that have been carried down to the younger generations who see German interference with their country as yet another example of an attempted occupation.

A defiant voter in the mountain village of Anogeia

A defiant voter in the mountain village of Anogeia

Back in Hania, Mr. Bassias was just as defiant the day after we caught him waiting in line at the bank. While waiting at the local elementary school which was designated as a local polling station in central Hania, he said that “The Germans tried beating us with tanks once, and now with banks. We must say No again, just like we did seventy years ago.”




  1. Sally Tournas on

    Please…stop with the propaganda! WAKE UP PEOPLE…and le’ts cut through the smokescreen and get to the fire. Think about who Germany’s creditors are and what “they” have to lose. It is best for us to stop looking back at history and who our “enemies” were and it’s best to have a united Europe and then…look into the details of holding those accountable…accountable!

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