This is a World War II walk of Athens city center starting out at Korai Square where the Ethniki insurance company building is situated and served as the German headquarters during the occupation. The WWII walk is recommended by our local walk lover and World War II enthousiast Andreas G. with 7 places of interest to visit within the city center.
A. The Historical Legacy Site 1941-1944, situated in the basement of the building of “Ethniki” insurance company at number 4, Korai Square, was used as an interrogation center and detention facility both by the Italians and the Germans. It was an air raid shelter built in the mid 30’s and is now primarily used as a museum with free admission and theatrical plays take place from time to time.
B. Parnasos Literary Society
This building was used during World War II by the Germans who conducted Military Tribunals against citizens that had allegedly violated the austere Nazi Penal Code of that era.
The commemorative plaque roughly says that this building was used for Military Tribunals conducted by the Nazi victors; the Parnassos Literary Society thus remembers the condemned Greeks.
The literary society organizes various cultural events such as concerts and philosophical conventions among other literary and academic events.
C. Ministry of Transport / “Public” building at Constitution Square
From this building on the 18th October 1944 the prime minister Georgios Papandreou of the newly established Greek government of “National Unity” gave his liberation speech.
Liberation Speech given on 18th October 1944
D. On December 3, 1944 in Constitution Square, less than 2 months after the Germans had retreated, a massive pro-EAM (National Liberation Front) rally took place against the government forces. The rally ended violently when Greek government gendarmes, with British forces standing in the background, opened fire on the unarmed demonstrators, killing roughly 28 demonstrators and injuring dozens. These killings signaled the beginning of the “Dekemvriana” events (3rd December 1944 – 11th January 1945)
E. Metochiko Tamio Stratou
The Greek Army’s Headquarters were situated in the Metochiko Tamio Stratou Building on Panepistimiou Street, close to the Hotel Grande Bretagne on Constitution Square during 1940-1941. Lt. General Ronald Scobie set up his III corps HQ in the same building in 1944 after the liberation.
The main entrance of the General HQ on Panepistimiou Street
F. The commemorative plaque on the facade of the building of the Bank of Greece in memory of the 3 University Students (3 girls aged 17,19 and 20) that were killed while demonstrating by German Nazi Tanks on 22nd July 1943.
G. Exarcheia, 47 Didotou Street
The building at number 47 on Didotou Street was chosen as a military base by ELAS (The National People’s Liberation Army), the military arm of the left-wing National Liberation Front (EAM) during the “Dekemvriana” (December Events) of WWII in Athens. The building was chosen as a temporary base for ELAS since it was situated directly opposite the ” Chimeio” (State Laboratory) building which was the temporary military operations base of the group Organization X, also known as “Chítes“, the extreme right paramilitary militia group, and many battles between the two opposite groups took place in the area.