On September 13, 1943, a Greek destroyer sailed in all its glory to the small port of Kastellorizo, the south-easternmost island of Greece, marking the beginning of the end of the German occupation of Greece.
The sight of the Greek flag hoisted upon the “Admiral Koundouriotis” filled the local population with pride and hope for a better future.
Kastellorizo became the first piece of Greek land that was liberated from the Nazis, symbolically opening the way that will bring freedom to others.
Along with the arrival of “Koundouriotis”, British commandos and other allies landed on the island, which was transformed into a supply hub for the allied fleet in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean.
Because of this, it became a war target for the Germans. On October 17, 1943 German planes bomb the island without mercy, killing dozens and destroying the beautiful waterfront.
The British commander orders the evacuation of all inhabitants of the island to prevent bloodshed. With sullen eyes and flattened hearts, the inhabitants hastily bury their dead and leave for the relative safety in the coast of Asia Minor.
Only the “Lady of Ro”, Despina Achladioti, remained on her islet to raise the Greek flag every morning, as she used to do for forty years.
Kastellorizo was finally integrated into the Greek state on March 7, 1948 along with the rest of the Dodecanese Archipelago.
The Lady of Ro: A Symbol of Patriotism and Greek Defiance