Publisher: Yale University Press (March 1, 2001)
ISBN: 0300089236

Inside Hitler’s Greece: the Experience of Occupation, 1941-1944


This gripping and richly illustrated account of wartime Greece explores the impact of the Nazi Occupation upon the lives and values of ordinary people. The first full account of the experience of occupation, it offers a vividly human picture of resistance fighters and black marketeers, teenage German conscripts and Gestapo officers, Jews and starving villagers.


"Fascinating. . . . [Mazower] succeeds in getting under the skin of the occupation."—Mark Almond, Times

"A superb book on the horrors afflicting wartime Greece." —Fritz Stern, Foreign Affairs Go to full text

"A vivid picture of the German occupier's mind and actions. . . . Mazower's arguments are always fair." – Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times Book Review

The Guardian Go to full text

The Times Literary Supplement, London Go to full text

William H. McNeill, The Journal of Modern History, 67:2 (Jun., 1995), 488-489 Go to full text

S. Victor Papacosma, The American Historical Review, 100:2 (Apr., 1995), 554 Go to full text

J. S. F. Parker, The English Historical Review, 111:442 (Jun., 1996), 813-814 Go to full text

“Drawing on eyewitness accounts and previously untapped archives, Mazower's notable study offers a detailed chronicle of the German occupation of Greece and the rise of the resistance movement. He traces the rapid growth of the National Liberation Front/People's Liberation Army after communist activists created an organization that harnessed the anti-Axis sentiment of the populace at large, and describes the bloody reprisal campaigns launched by the Wehrmacht against the guerrillas in the mountains. Mazower also presents a documented account of the fate of Greek Jewry between 1941 and 1944, the first of its kind in English. He covers the bitter fighting between British and Greek forces after the October 12, 1944, liberation of Athens and the internecine clashes that led to civil war. Finally, he reveals new details of the systematic oppression of the Greek Left after the liberation. As late as the 1960s, Greece's prisons were crowded with men and women whose only crime was to have fought against the Germans.” —Publishers Weekly

“Up-close, anecdotal look at the Nazi occupation in Greece. What with ideology, global strategies, and battle tales, it's easy to overlook what daily life was like for a non-Aryan nation under the Third Reich. From the German anti-aircraft gun in front of the Temple of Olympus and children playing a few yards from resistance fighters left hanging dead by their necks, to the utter disruption of family life and complete economic collapse, Mazower elucidates the particulars of Hitler's fate for non-Aryans. The author's tone is almost detached, but his documentation is overwhelming: Rich and poor Greeks have their say, as do Germans and American observers, and it's clear that even at the peak of its success, Nazi rule--nearly unchallenged and seemingly invincible- -included ``sadistic overtones.'' Hitler wanted to plunder Greece, and, according to Goering's orders, the German leaders ``could not care less...that people...are dying of hunger. Let them perish so long as no German starves.'' Mazower examines how this brutal policy clashed with Greek culture, inspiring local brigands to resistance. Anecdotal evidence abounds here, including stories of priests, whores, politicians, defeated soldiers, black marketeers, and men shipped to work in Germany. Meanwhile, Mazower explores the German experience as well: the satisfaction of controlling what was respected in the West as the birthplace of culture; the profound relief of serving in Greece, away from the Russian front; and, ultimately, the SS terror system as it bore down on the resistance. A grinding, horrific experience, intimately explored. (Seventy illustrations)” —Kirkus Reviews

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