February 2, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Manolis Glezos: On Christmas Day 1944 I Almost Killed Churchill

“You must have read about the attempt to blow up our headquarters in the UK Hotel. I don’t think it was for me. However, a ton of dynamite was planted in the sewers by very skilled hands. This was written by Churchill in a telegram to his wife about his near-death encounter in Athens on Christmas Day, 1944.

“Skillful hands” belonged to Manolis Glezos, the hero of the Greek Resistance. 70 years later, he tells this to an Observer reporter, confessing that “Britain’s leader didn’t really die at the hands of the communists at the end of the Second World War.” “I will tell you something that I have never told anyone before. I held the wick cord with my own hands,” the 92-year-old MEP begins, describing the long hours in the sewer system that night. “The Greek Resistance EAM wanted to blow up the British headquarters, but we did not want to take responsibility for the murder of one of the Great Three.

We wanted to blow up the Great Britain hotel, because there was the headquarters of General Scobie, – emphasizes Mr. Glezos. – There were about 30 of us, we worked in the tunnel, we were very afraid that they would hear us. We crawled in the water and the contents of the toilets through the sewer pipes, and set sticks of dynamite exactly under the hotel building … There was a lot of explosives, enough to blow the huge building into the air. It took me almost two hours to set up the sticks of dynamite and another two hours to get back. When we got out of the sewers, everything was ready, the rest was a matter of seconds.

In the end, the bombing plan was canceled when the EAM members learned that Winston Churchill had arrived at the hotel. “I arrived at those people who had a fuse, and we were waiting for an order … waiting … but he never came. No explosion followed. Then I found out – at the last moment it became known about the arrival of Churchill, and the action plan was canceled, ”said the Greek hero.

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