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Panhellenic Union of Fighting Youths

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Title: Panhellenic Union of Fighting Youths  
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Subject: Greek Resistance, Dekemvriana, Socialist Initiative, Olive Tree (Greece), Democratic Left (Greece)
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Panhellenic Union of Fighting Youths

Panhellenic Union of Fighting Youths
Πανελλήνιος Ένωσις Αγωνιζόμενων Νέων
Panellínios Énosis Agonizómenon Néon
Participant in the Greek Resistance
Active 1941-1944
Ideology Republicanism, Socialism, Venizelism, Anticommunism, Antifascism
Leaders Kostas Perrikos, Panagiotis Kanellopoulos
Area of operations Athens
Allies EDES, EKKA, RAN, SOE, Greek government in exile
Opponents Royal Italian Army, German Army, Kingdom of Bulgaria, Collaborationist government, Security Battalions, EAM/ELAS

The Panhellenic Union of Fighting Youths (Athens and Piraeus, and although it never expanded to become a wider movement, it was one of the most active of the multitude of urban resistance groups that sprung up during the Occupation, and one of the first to carry out active resistance, in the form of bombings.


Foundation and political aims

Kostas Perrikos in Air Force uniform, before the Occupation.

The organization was founded in October 1941 by a [1]

Politically, PEAN, like most other similar groups formed in that period, was leftist-socialist, advocating "social justice" and state takeover of crucial sectors of the industry, while being vehemently opposed to any return of the monarchy in the person of Communist Party-controlled National Liberation Front (EAM), which at the time rejected PEAN's calls for sabotage acts and condemned them as "urban terrorism", a bitter feud that would continue throughout the Occupation.[3]

The ESPO bombing and aftermath

PEAN published a number of newspapers, most important of which was Doxa (Δόξα, "Glory"), first published in April 1942,[1] and gained some popularity among the educated urban youth of Athens. Its most notable achievements, however, are the two bombings carried out by its "destruction squad" (members: Dionysios Papadopoulos, Thanasis Skouras, Antonis Mytilinaios, Spyros Galatis, Dimitrios Lois, Ioulia Bimba). In August 1942, they blew up the headquarters of the Greek pro-Nazi organization OEDE, without causing any casualties. On September 20, the group achieved a more spectacular and ultimately fatal success, when it blew up the headquarters of the Greek Legion" to fight in the Eastern Front alongside the Germans. A team of four (K. Perrikos, A. Mytilinaios, Sp. Galatis and I. Bimba), carried out the bombing, in which ca. 40 ESPO members and 6 Germans were wounded, most of them severely, including ESPO's founder, Dr. Spyros Sterodimas, who died shortly after of his wounds.[4] The attack was widely publicized and praised by Allied radio stations, and marked the end of the ESPO and of German attempts to recruit Greeks into the Wehrmacht.

The Germans initially blamed EAM for the act, but after the betrayal of the group by gendarmerie officer Polykarpos Dalianis, on 11 November they managed to arrest PEAN's core group, including Perrikos, and on 31 December, a court martial condemned the arrested to death. Perrikos was executed at Kaisariani on February 4, Ioulia Bimba was executed in a concentration camp in Germany, Galatis' sentence was commuted to a life sentence, while Mytilinaios managed to escape and flee to the Middle East. Four others, Th. Skouras, Ioannis Katevatis, D. Lois and D. Papadopoulos, although found not guilty, had been executed as a reprisal act on 7 January.[5]

Later history

The arrest of its leadership was a critical blow to the PEAN, which had never been very large, and severely limited its abilities. It did however carry on, in a purely political role, continuing to publish Doxa, and gradually moving to a more conservative stance, particularly through its rivalry with EAM. Its armed wing was reactivated only from March 1944 onwards, when it carried out a number of sabotage attacks on the Germans.[6] During the EAM-ELAS.


  1. ^ a b c Eleftherotypia, 8.4.2006
  2. ^ Fleischer, pp. 15-16.
  3. ^ Fleischer, p. 16.
  4. ^ Most Greek accounts give the casualties as 43 German and 29 ESPO members dead, but these numbers are grossly inflated. Fleischer, p. 17.
  5. ^ Fleischer, p. 17.
  6. ^ Fleischer, pp. 16-17.


  • Hagen Fleischer (1995). Crown and Swastika - Greece of the Occupation and the Resistance, Vol. 2 (in Greek). Athens: Papazissis Ed. ISBN 960-02-1079-9. 
  • (Greek) "Οι αντιστασιακές οργανώσεις φύτρωναν σαν μανιτάρια" article in the Eleftherotypia newspaper, 8.4.2006
  • (Greek) The bombing of the ESPO building from
  • (Greek) The ESPO bombing from
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