Apostolos Santas – Lakis for his friends but mark the name: it means an apostle – owes his fame to the fact that, together with his friend Manolis Glezos, they managed to lower the German flag from the Acropolis on May 31 1941. This is considered the first resistance act against the Nazi occupation in the whole of Europe.
After this act the young law student joined the resistance and fought against the fascist occupation for as long as it lasted. After the end of the civil war he was sent to the prison camps of Ikaria and Makronisos. I am not sure how it happened but he escaped and reached Italy and then fled to Canada as a political refugee.
What always impressed me about Santas was that he never tried to “exchange” his fame with any appointments, honours or special favours. He earned his living and kept away from active politics. Young people sought him out and listened to his stories and he generously let them claim his time and talked honestly, bravely, about the time of the resistance and the civil war. Lakis was a born narrator and he was often invited to schools to give a speech on that period. His one and only book is a testament to his abilities as a narrator but also to his generous personality.
I shall never forget his speech on the day we honoured the resistance heroes of our region: it was full of the present and the future but with the experiences of the past absorbed and turned into ideas and new concepts.
I feel grateful and richer to have met him.