Saturday, December 06, 2008

Antonis Vratsanos (1919-2008)

Comrade Antonis Vratsanos (Aggeloulis) was born in 1919 in Larisa.

Vratsanos joined the Greek Resistance against the Italo-German occupation and became a saboteur in the Greek People's Liberation Army (ELAS), the military branch of the National Liberation Front. In ELAS he had rank of second lieutenant. Antonis Vratsanos and his sabotage squad (Olympus), with their operations made against the enemy's trains and other means of transport, railway lines and bridges, caused great damage to the conquerors.

A very comprehensive review of his resistance action includes:
1. Approximately 48,900 meters of blasted bridges.
2. Blasting of 36 railway bridges.
3. Blasting of 47 railway facilities.
4. Destruction of 20 trains.
5. Destruction of 12 locomotives.
6. 3,066 enemy casualties.
7. Stop traffic for 1,324 hours.

His most important achievement as a revolutionary and member of the National Resistance was the blasting, on February of 1944, of a German train, full of soldiers and officers, on their way to the Eastern front. This single heroic act cost Wehrmacht 450 dead, including 150 officers and a general with all his staff. This action is considered as one of the biggest sabotages in Europe, against the German occupation.

After the end of World War II, he followed the Communist party’s directions and joined the Democratic Army of Greece, where he continued his action as saboteur against the Anglo-American imperialists and the Greek monarch-fascists.

Following the retreat of the Democratic Army, he went to Tashkent and later to Romania, where he lived for 33 years. He remained an adversary of Khrushchevian revisionism and adherent of the revolutionary line of Stalin and Zachariades until the end of his life. He defended Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism against the treacherous counterrevolutionary current of Khrushchev-Brezhnev-Gorbatschev and their Greek collaborators Kologiannis-Florakis-etc. In Romania the revisionists asked him to hand them important documents he was holding since the end of the World War II and he denied. He spent two years in jail in Bucharest for this attitude. He was set free because the revisionists were afraid of the reactions of the Greek communists, since his name was a legend among the communists and the Greek people.

In December 1991 he participated in the committee of communists, members of the heroic KKE 1918-55, with Dimitris Vissios, Vassilis Aspridis and Petros Touloudis, which organised the funeral of Nikos Zachariadis in Athens, whom the revisionist clique of Brezhnev-Florakis murdered in Surgut, Siberia after 17 years of exile in 1973 and his body was send to Greece after 18 more years. This ruined the fiesta the local revisionists Papariga-Florakis tried to organise by presenting Zachariadis as their comrade.

In 1997 he led an action with more than a hundred former partisans of the Democratic Army and members of KKE 1918-55 in establishing the “Pan-Hellenic Union of Partisans and Friends of the Democratic Army”, which defended the revolutionary line of the KKE in 1946-1949 and Nikos Zachariadis. After the fall of the military Junta in 1974 none of the revisionist parties took similar actions for the Democratic Army, although unions of of Greek Resistance fighters, political refugees and exiles to remote Greek islands were established since the early ’80s.

On February 28 2007, he was awarded by the President of the HellenicRepublic, Karolos Papoulias "Senior Commander of the Order of Honor" for his action of resistance against foreign occupation troops in the years 1941-44.

He died on Tuesday, on 25th of November, at 9:30 pm in Athens, never treating his beliefs and values. He stood till his death a great revolutionary communist.

November 2008

The Political Committee of the Movement for the Reorganisation of the Communist Party of Greece 1918-55

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