Yesterday, a few officials and citizens gathered in Symi for a ceremony to celebrate the anniversary of 8 May 1945, which marked the end of the Second World War. For the first time, a wreath-laying ceremony in the Dodecanese town was not accompanied by a parade or a feast, as has been the tradition.
Where once dignitaries visited to honor the sacrifices of the past, only a token few were on hand to honor the date Hitler’s Germany was forced to return the Dodecanese Islands to the people.
The island was occupied by the Nazi forces from 2 October 1943. The surrender of the Germans of Symi to the British, led to three years of occupation by their forces, followed in 1948 by the rejoining of the island to Greece proper.
Symi is the island where the now legendary British Special Boat Service and the Greek Sacred Band, raided the German and Italian garrisons in what became known as the “Raid on Symi,” or Operation Tenement.
On 8th May 1945, German general Otto Wagener, signed at Symi the surrender of the Dodecanese to the allies, turning the page in the modern history of our region.
Today, Symi is one of the most popular Greek islands for British and Italian ex-pats who want to live in paradise. The island is somewhat famous for the restoration of homes damaged in WW2 by Haris A. Kalligas and Anastasia Papaioannou, both winners of the Europa Nostra Awards for their work on Symi and elsewhere in Greece.