How much did we know about the legendary battle of Crete if there was not the longevous research of Markos Polioudakis.
It is common belief that Markos Polioudakis gave his soul for the collection of the clues that compose that big historic event and in the opinion of experts, he is considered to be one from of the most reviablereliable sources.
Markos Polioudakis was not a historian. He did that volunteering motivated simply by his with love and passion for the local history. His love for the area and for the truth combined with his personal experiences of course, because in spite of being very young he had experienced the conquest of Crete from the parachutists and afterwards the long subjugation with all difficulties that had for Crete. That was his motivation that made him tofor collecting, deepening and applying himself to gathering material that every historian would be jealous aboutof.
To appreciate the work of a writer, we have to take into consideration two factors. In my view, the factor of his personality and secondly the era when in which he lived. In this case in point, those determing factors influenced the work of Markos Polioudakis.
Self-made businessman, tireless worker ofor the greater good, active citizen, Markos Polioudakis left his name written with in gold letters on the historian recording of Rethymno. Especially, with the full complete recording of the legendary battle that determined the outcome of the 2nd World War.
He did not have this ambition. He did not pursue to be a writer. Bloody memories were asking for an opportunity to abate in the recording of the historical truth. Human’s souls longed for their vindication into the perpetuity.
Those memories that marked his childhood with wounds from the terror of the war. A grandmother, who gave to the local history the first act of revolution against the conqueror, became the reason to be occupied with huge efforts to aggregate material and leave to us a work that any researcher could not dispute. Markos Polioudakis nee of Psihoyioudaki was born in Rethymno in 1928.
He was the offspring of the historic family Polioudaki from Asteri but with deep ancestral roots in Roumeli.
He grew up in an environment with deep faith on the ideal of race, Greek race. His grandfather Anagnostis was one of the most important factors personalities of the area.
With education and culture rare for his era, he was the wise Nestor that received honors as he deserved and his opinion was consideredmattered for in every situation. His grandmother Evaggelia could not hide her weaknessweak spot to for young Marko maybe because she felt his name resurrected her lost son in Asia Minor (Anatolia).
E’ where is your mind traveling? Aunt Anagnostena ? I see you deep in thoughts thinking, did you had any news from above?
-Wouldn’t you know that? Since you learn everything before me.
-No objection but sometime comes the time that someone is forgotten.[ forgets].
-If only I could forget the thoughts of my people that the war took away. They pursue haunt me like ghosts let it be, I also think about the little child. He seems weak since he does not stop either for a minute, on one side for the education of others, on the other side the mischiefs, young boy you see, I am afraid that he will be sick.
– My child’s child, our people are right. But you have a point, poor you. Markos resurrects your lost son in Anatolia. And me I nI would feel like that as well in your position…
Markos Polioudakis 13 years old in that era, he had the opportunity to see and experience the whole story of the Germany invasion . From the bombing that preceded the falling of parachutists in the morning of 20th May 1941. Bomber planes were bombing the whole area, villages and the town of Rethymno so as to force out the population of Rethymno and the inhabitants of the villages Pervolia, Misiria and Platania where was going to be the battle would take place , which would become in Rethymno, because in this region they would throw and the parachutists would come in the during afternoon hours. Indeed the bombing happened and in the afternoon the parachutists came began the throwing
Of parachutists and ammunition through air. The transport planes were flying, they opened the rump gate and the parachutists started falling with their parachutes opening slowly in the air swinging till they reach land to be the ground.
-Guys, we will have war. But we should be ready for everything.
-What a gallantry! God bless it but Crete blesses it more!
-So, are we ready?
-Ready in the name of the God.
-Cretan, hard rough tough warriors grabbed the knives, the rifles, the scythes… and they set up castles of defense, crenellation of values…
And the battle was………from blood and the combat was song for the honor, it was fiesta it was dance and was confusion in battle the loss. Hooray to lads, hooray to gallantryrty, they were lions they were braves. And for you that you lived, do not cry for the gallantry brave that were lost on the high mountains of Crete.
Nobody really expected that a 13 year old boy as was Markos Polioudakis when German fell ion Crete ion 20th May 1941, would be the most important historical analyst of the most odd strangest battle in the war history of humankind. Because indeed the battle of Crete had many odd things in relation the war history that was known in the world till that time.
-When the battle stopped, the retaliation began, so the beasts of the North to would have their revenge. From Of the first victims was and Marko’s father Giorgos, that who was executed on 1st June 1941.
-A huge German force came and surrounded the village
I haven’t slept all night. It was the first night that I was at Asteri village after 11 nightmares nights under the stars and the olive trees. A strong tension had occupied me and I fuss and turn with delusions and bad feelings .Nightmares was were in my heart hurt and while I was light sleeping I became upset from suffocating dreams. When the dawn came by , my grandmother sent me 3 kilometers out of the village to tell my father and uncle Elia not to come into the village because it is surrounded from by Germans that are gathering the men. I avoided the German’s net but on my way I was surrounded by the snakes of bad feeling and I was crying.
-He gathered the men and set them in front of a wall some of them escaped, foreseeing something bad would happen, the others did not believe that and they were executed.
Those that my eyes saw die before my eyesa while, I wish neither my enemies live to experience that. Clothes and limbs scattered on the lawn. Loose strands of life on death’s endless ball of threat.
-In the pile of death and you my child, dipped in blood my jasmine, curse to the storm of the was that envied your youth my angel.
– Which fate was brought upon engaged us, my god and took your life, my precious? Who would believe that I would see in pieces the one whom that was the lighting of my eyes?
-Without a priest and funeral my child, the land takes you my soul. Why the death did not make me the favor to take me first, not you!
– The His story continued was with another wounding experience for the 13 year old boy, but the next strikes was were the flame that lit up the struggling fighting spirit in of the young boy.
These at Anarhoudometoha, where the mother with her 4 orphans had found hospitality, came the bitter tiding of grandfather and grandmother’s executione. This simple woman Evanggelia Polioudaki, the tender granny of Marko was to star in the first revolutionary act after the battle of Crete. The pain for the tragic mother was enormous. She lost one more child who left behind woman wife with orphans. Two days after her child’s execution and while she was preparing his memorial food… – It has been 3 days my child, I could not do a funeral, as for that duty is not feasible, but your memorial food would be the way it should.
-Do you want anything, Vaggela?
-Be well my neighbor , but despite my sorrow, I am handling of it, also there is my husband if there is a need.
– I saw before a while those dogs coming here. They get and loot people’s property! I wish that they are not in time for enjoying it to see this. May I take the little boy? Ah, the pity orphan. He cannot …………..after his experience. He went again below the olive trees crying. The mother of God to be with him so that he does not breakfall. My boy is like mad.
– If an adult saw killing his people in front of him, he would be scared. To be good the kid, But thanks God the kidhe is well! The sheets that you gave me, I gave them to make bandages. But you gave your best.
-That was what I hadve. My priceless property, my dear neighbor. I gave it in favor of the strugglingfor the struggle. Two sons! I cannot evaluate equate them with the wealth of the whole world. Whatever you need for the
Injured, here is my chest for whatever is in needed, it’s a gift from me.
-Mother of God! Germans are getting coming in the yard!
– You dog, do not! Take your hands of my child’s memorial food. Even at his memorial you would not leave t him in peace? I will open your head with that stick wood.
– Vaggela, don’t!
3rd of June when Germans got into Asteri village to burn my grandparents’s house, my grandfather with my grandmother were there and my granny could not bear it because two days ago my father was executed and she took a wood stick to attack the Germans. They came to blows and when they were there another German from beside her shouted her on the legs and killed her. My grandfather run to help her and they executed him too just some steps away from her. When Lleaving, they also killed the dog so that there would to not exist be left any life behind.
Markos finished school with a lot of adversitiesdifficulties, remaining always a modest kid with low profile.
-We were classmates with Marko Polioudakis for years, 8 years in the 8 year high school , because I attended Primary school in Perama while he was in Rethymno and afterwards we kept our friendship till death. As a student, he was a good student. but hHe was consistent, with an additional great advantage, that of he had a great memorimemorizing zation, that benefited him to write the historical texts we have todayhe wrote, because not only he acquired evidences for the battle of Crete ,but also from Australians’ narrations who spoke Greek, which had they learnedt here, and the offsprings of the killed murdered Greeks , he memorized so many much evidences to in such a point degree that Markos left and nobody could refute his writinhgs
-He has taken official evidences that are related proves to reality. He does not write bunkum [?]. He was motivated from by his own spirit. Markos and I were a lot together a lot, we liked each other and we had a lot in common since school years. As it is known, he had lost his father, and that motivated him to have something written for about the facts, and so he did it that.
– In high school he memorized everything, because we did not have books, and also he wrote fast so he could take notes. Our company group of friends gathered at Christos Makris house at Elidaki. Enough classmates, weWe were 5-6 the of his closer friends and copied Markos writings.
– We were together from a very young age, from the 1st grade of Primary school, meaning 7 years old, tilluntil the last grade of High technical school, meaning 18 years old. We spent a whole life together. The time during occupation in short, charged burdened him with premature early responsibilities, he was a fighter and a historian, and certainly the facts that he learnt and wrote down are valuable for our country place. (Country?)
-Liberation, brought him harder struggles. His democratic ideal did not allow him having restoratedto recover, despite his family’s efforts.
-Indigene [??] was around him and he was suffocating from the need to help his family.
– But he had enough valuable advantages to fight for his living life and success.
– He had will, tenacity, sturdiness and ideas
-Markos Polioudakis was a pioneer also in business. I can say that I met him through his business activities.
-Markos Polioudakis succeeded with his persistence to upgrade into an Anniversary Commemoration event the ‘’Battle of Crete’’ , with the splendor we all know.
– He was, maybe, the only man indeed that was chasing after pursuing everything that had to do with the ‘’Battle of Crete’’
at Latzima, Sfakaki, RPethymno etc. As for the monument I remember that he had big fights because the plane was blighted and he was trying to keep it lively and beautiful as far as he could. At the events (parades) he was always flag-bearer, ahead of all trying truly for the events to have the proper stature for the eventsics as they should have.
-And the most significant importantly, to create build strong friendships with Australians and as a result a bridge of offer was built between them and the place that stood up with hospitality to welcomed them when they tried to get away to the Middle East after the battle. That respect was handed down from generation to generation of Australian and Cretan expatriates to Marko Polioudakis and his family.
-The president of the Cretan Union of Melbourne, Antonis Tsourdalakis, following his father’s steps, has established with his work ship [??] to his home country a visit to Markos family. And they have every time a lot to remember with Mrs Polioudaki whose was her house is always open for prominent visitors from Australia.
-I do not know if you remember Markos’ words about Australian friends he had in Australia in general.
-About Bill Brown….
-He knows all, Bill with his wife were coming here…
– Who from because of his love for Crete was coming every year and your club renamed him to Vassilis Mavrakis, the club had honored him. He would have told you about Jeff Ferguson. In Jeff’s case, Markos had a crucial role in relation with the set up the building of Preveli Monastery in Australia, and having finally the authorization from Jeff. For this achievement allThis was all due to the effort was from of Marko and he has also has written about it.
-Yes, he was at Preveli constantly.
-His offer contribution was significant about to Preveli’s place
and about the event as I have already prementioned. He had a lot of friends , to name Bill Frossy , to name Alex…, to name Frank Miller. I was with all those people lately and they had the best comments for Marco. For that reason I mentioned that Australian authorities respected him a lot. Of course, his offer to Rethymno from the 50 years of ‘’Battle of Crete’’ and the whole program is not forgotten by veterans in every visit. Every year, when we meet with veterans on the event of the ‘’Battle of Crete’’, those who are, alive constantly…
-Are they many?
-They are left aAbout 30.
– I want to add an element that I believe it will help those who have read Markos Polioudakis work to really appreciate its value. In Manolis Glezos, two tone volumes book, who is the first resistor in Greece, is referred uses to 117 quotations of Markos Polioudakis work. From the size of hisBecause of his importance value as a writer and truth researcher of the truth.
– Although tThe seed of memory that he sowedplanted did not get is not lost. Young people inspired to motivated to be involved themselves in the amazing unit of History of the ‘’Battle of Crete’’, and this is a light of hope in the ‘’Persimmon era’’ we live in.
-Markos pPolioudakis influenced me very much. The way he writes is amazing , his books motivated me to evolve delve deeper with into the ‘’Battle of Crete’’,. fFrom my side , I have for also the 4 last four years try tried to help to upgrade elevate the commemoration events, doing photograph exhibitions with photos from my collection.
-Markos Polioudakis reflected in his work the eternally conviction that marks innocent people’s lives, memorializing a grandmother, who was his good angel, till the end of his life.
It was a production of the Crete Union Melbourne Australia and the cultural Organization of Rethymno.
Script Diligence Direction
Footages from Markos Polioudakis archive ‘’the 11th day’’ and Eva Ladias archive.