On October 12, 1944, after 1,264 days of Nazi occupation, the people of Athens saw the last German soldiers withdrawing from their city. A lone German soldier removed the Nazi flag from the Acropolis, marking the end to a cruel and devastating occupation by the Axis powers that cost the lives of over 500,000 Greeks nationwide, many from starvation and reprisals. A few days later, the Greek flag was raised over the Acropolis in a moving ceremony presided over by then prime minister Georgios Papandreou. The moment of liberation, “the best day and sweetest in the world,” as Nobel Prize winner poet Giorgos Seferis wrote, is still commemorated.
October 12 this year marked the 71st anniversary of the city’s liberation, and celebrations included a faithful re-enactment ceremony of the raising of the Greek flag over the ancient citadel. Wearing traditional national costumes and bearing the liberation flag, members of the Lyceum Club of Greek Women dancing group made their way up the rock to the flagpole in front of the Parthenon, before handing it over to members of the Evzones, or Presidential Guard.