Anonymous. 1937. Ho Kommounismos sten Hellada (Communism in Greece). Athens: Ekdoseis “Ethnikēs Hetaireias.”.
I mentioned the Anagnostakis story about free tickets for movies and football matches. “Oh, tickets, schmickets, they would come to pick you up and you had no choice but to join them,” he said.
“So, you did join,” his wife said.
“Yes, but only very briefly,” he replied.
This is exactly what Anagnostakis testified: EON would conscript youth forcibly, but because it lacked deep structure, after a while it lost track of its members, although its ranks were forcibly replenished with new conscripts, to the extent that in 1940, when EON was dissolved after the Italian invasion, it numbered close to one million youths.
Metaxas also authorized the publication of an anonymous pamphlet distributed free to the members of EON and entitled Ho Kommounismos sten Hellada (Communism in Greece), published by a “National Society” in 1937. The pamphlet had a motto by Metaxas, a foreword by his undersecretary of public security, Konstantinos Maniadákis, and an introduction by the editors of the National Society. In this pamphlet Maniadákis and the National Society expose the rationale behind the need for a thorough knowledge of “the enemy”: “We first need to see and understand and then we must strike the enemy,” the editors wrote (Anonymous 1937: 7). They continued: “The first is called enlightening. The second, unified institution of all National forces, regardless of social class, gender, intellectual or other differences.… But there is no hope of a successful outcome to this struggle if we do not, all of us, first get to know the enemy in depth, meaning how he thinks, how he acts, and through what satanic methods he tricks the populace so that he can win them over for his revolutionary plans.” The National Society undertook to “expose the whole conspiratorial revolutionary plan,” on the basis of the confiscation of the archives of the Communist Party by the undersecretary of public security. This pamphlet, said Undersecretary of Public Security Maniadákis, in his foreword, constituted “the safest means of self defense” for those who had been blinded-sided and had not realized how “satanic and dangerous the enemy is” (4). The pamphlet was, indeed, invaluable in teaching everyone the structure of the Communist Party and the elements of Marxism, and not only those whom it hoped to influence. A number of people have noted to me, both in interviews or informal discussions and in writing—notably Manolis Anagnostakis—that this pamphlet was their introduction to Marxism, Communism, and (most important for their survival at times of crisis and persecution) their template for existing underground. As might be expected, nowhere in its pages could one find any hint concerning the means, contexts, and circumstances under which the Leftist was produced as dangerous and as the enemy, even as a means of mapping a relationship between the state and its dangerous elements.
Dated November 28, 1939, Thessaloniki. My interlocutor, his younger brother, and their father. On the back, the photograph is inscribed to the children's grandmother, who lived in Athens: “To our beloved grandmother Julia, to see us in our first caps. With kisses, your grandchildren.” Until the 1950s caps were an obligatory part of school boys' uniforms and a marker of passage from early childhood to school age. Disciplinary action was taken against children not wearing their caps, although rules were less strictly enforced in major urban centers beginning in the 1950s. Private collection.
Undated, but temporally very close to . My interlocutor with his two younger brothers and their father. The children are dressed in the EON uniform. The youngest of the boys is not included in because he was not old enough to wear a schoolboy's cap, but he was old enough to be drafted to the EON. Private collection.