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Greece Opens Office for Support of Terror Victims

Terrorism victims in Greece
US Ambassador Jeffrey Pyatt signs the remembrance wall at the new office for those who have been victims of terrorism. Credit: Greek government.

Greece opened an office for the support of victims of terrorism on Monday in hopes that, as Minister of Civil Protection Michalis Chrysochoidis says, the nation can “pay its dues” to them.

The Minister opened the office in a ceremony while saying “With the hope that there will never be more victims of terrorism in our country.”

Chrisochoidis stated that the Office will serve as the indelible place of remembrance for the victims of terrorism, where a “memory wall” was created where the relatives of the victims can write a tribute to their loved ones who have been killed in a terrorist attack.

British ambassador Kate Smith signs the Wall in remembrance of the British victims of terror in Greece. Credit: Greek government

Representatives from Bakoyannis and other victims’ families present

Dora Bakoyannis, the widow of Pavlos Bakoyannis, the New Democracy MP who was killed in 1989 by November 17, the ultra leftist terrorist group that formed as a result of the attack on the Athens Polytechnic in 1973, attended the ceremony, along with many other family members of others killed by N17 and other organizations.

November 17’s first attack, on December 23, 1975, was against the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s station chief in Athens, Richard Welch. Welch was gunned down outside his residence by three assailants, in front of his wife and driver. The group’s repeated claims of responsibility were ignored until December 1976, when it murdered the former Intelligence Chief of the Greek security police, Evangelos Mallios, and left its proclamation at the scene.

In January of 1980, 17 November murdered Pantelis Petrou, the deputy director of the riot police (MAT), and his driver.

The group resumed its attacks in November of 1983, killing the deputy chief of the Joint United States Military Aid Group to Greece, George Tsantes. In 1985, it broadened its targeting with the murder of conservative newspaper publisher Nikos Momferatos.

US Ambassador Jeffrey Pyatt, British Ambassador Kate Smith, the wife of George Vasilakis, the brother of Thanos Axarlian, the daughter of Apostolos Vellios and the son of Nikos Momferatos also attended the ceremony and left their messages on the Wall to commemorate their loved ones.

Also present were the General Secretary of Public Order Konstantinos Tsouvalas, the Leader of the Hellenic Police, Lieutenant General Michael Karamalakis, Officers of the Hellenic Liberation Army and executives of KEMEA.

The statement of the Minister of Civil Protection reads:

“Here is their place, where it will be an indelible place of memory. That’s why we created a memorial wall, on which the relatives of the victims write a tribute to their unfortunate fellow man.

“We support the families of the victims of terrorism and reiterate that anyone who is lost in such unjust killings will be honored by the state.

“With the hope that there will never be victims of terrorism in our country again.”

Extensive urban guerrilla campaign ravaged Greece for decades

Revolutionary Organization 17 November (Greek: Επαναστατική Οργάνωση 17 Νοέμβρη, Epanastatiki Organosi dekaefta Noemvri), also known as 17N or the 17 November Group, was a Greek far-left urban guerrilla terrorist organization formed in 1975 and led by Alexandros Giotopoulos.

17N conducted an extensive urban guerrilla campaign against the Greek state, banks, and businesses, as well as American, Turkish, and British targets. The organization committed 103 known armed robberies, assassinations, and bombing attacks, during which 23 people were killed. 17N was designated a terrorist group by Greece, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and was disbanded in 2002 after the arrest and trial of many of its members.

The group’s name, 17N, refers to the final day of the 1973 Athens Polytechnic uprising, in which a protest against the Greek Military Junta (1967–1974), also known as the Regime of the Colonels, took place. The uprising was bloodily suppressed by the Army and more than a score of people, including both students and passersby, were killed.

In addition to assassinations, kidnappings, and symbolic attacks on corporate and government offices, 17N supported its operations with at least 11 bank robberies, netting approximately US$3.5 million. Members of 17N kept detailed financial records, found in one of their safe houses in 2002, to document that the stolen money was used for revolutionary purposes.

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