World War II Museum in Episkopi Village, Crete

Discussion in 'WW2 Museums. Events, & places to see.' started by Marilyn12, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. Marilyn12

    Marilyn12 Junior Member

    I am a dear friend of Captain Mihalis Argyraki, the founder of the WWII museum in Episkopi village in Crete, near Heraklion. This museum was not a hobby, but the heartfelt memorial to the many Greek underground members who fought the Nazis and, often, paid with thier lives. Among these heroes was Cap. Mihalis' parents, Ioannis (shot in a nearby prison) and Kalliope (died in Auschwitz). There is the story:
    When Mihalis was 9 years old in Episkopi, neighbors snitched to the occupying forces that his family was hiding Australian paratroopers. Ioannis and Kalliope were arrested and tortured, but they would not reveal the location of the Allies. Young Mihalis was then also arrested, dragged before Kalliope, and tortured in front of her. She would not talk. They shot Mihalis in the foot. She would not talk. They gouged out one of his eyes. She would not talk. Mihalis was left for dead outside the prison, but found, hidden and raised by other neighbors. After the War, he scrounged and begged to survive. After years of petitioning the government of Greece, he was recognized as Greece's youngest War hero, and invited to participate in ceremonies throughout the counry. The Australian veterans coming annually to Greece for their commemorative ceremonies always prominently honored Mihalis.
    I met Mihalis in Messolonghi in 1993, where he was at the foot of the monument to the fallen heroes of the Exodus ceremonies, dressed in the traditional freedom fighter outfit of Crete -- fringed black bandana, long knife in his cumerbund, etc.
    Mihalis "adopted" my daughter and me into his family -- a very special privilege for any non-Greek. At much sacrifice to his family, he dedicated his savings to building a WWII museum in Episkopi Village, on the spot where his parents were arrested, in order to house relics and memorabilia of his famiy and the War. Wile given the rank of Army Captain by the government of Greece and recognized for his bravery, the government did not assist with promoting his museum.
    I love the Museum because I so respect and admire Captain Mihalis, a very brave and wise man indeed to preserve the fading memory of the great heroes of his time.
    I am posting this message today because I heard from Captain Mihalis' daughter that he died suddenly on 4/24/11 at age 71 in his Museum.
    If anyone is traveling to the Herakliion area, a trip to Episkopi Village is well worth it. There is also a monument outside a nearby prison (which I found), with the name of Ioannis Argyraki and all the fallen freedom fighters of those dramatic years.
  2. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    excellent 1st post Marilyn, my own mother visited Crete many times and was taken aback by the kindness she experinced
  3. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Good post Marilyn - welcome to the forum!


  4. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Welcome and enjoy Marilyn.!!! Was that a mis-print age 71?
  5. Vlaanderen

    Vlaanderen Junior Member

    Hi Marylin12,
    Thank you for your post. I visited the museum in 2003, found by accident. I returned the following day on my own and was treated extremely well by the family.
    I returned a couple of years later, but I did not meet "Michael".
    My web site has a feature on the museum. uk

    I shall update it as soon as possible.

  6. neilb62

    neilb62 Junior Member

    Such a shame, I remember having much Raki foisted upon me when we found the museum by accident.
    I hope the museum will stay? I would love visit again one day.

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