SECRET WAR

The Story of Service 5-16-5
and the events surrounding it in Occupied Athens and the Middle East 1940-1945

Award of the Academy of Athens
as an amalgam of history and literature

by Rigas Rigopoulos


Reviews and Comments

Nicholas Gage, Author of Eleni and Greek Fire

In Secret War Rigas Rigopoulos tells a shattering story of how Greeks fought and suffered to free their homeland from Nazi occupation.  It is a stirring account of resistance from the German invasion to the liberation told by an active participant in the struggle.  Rigopoulos was one of a small band, many of whom were captured, tortured and shot by the Germans, who risked everything to collect crucial information about the enemy and transmit it to the allies.  After almost being captured, he escaped to Cairo, where he was cynically manipulated by British intelligence agents with their own postwar agenda.  At the end of the occupation, he returned to Greece only to find it plunging toward civil war as Communists tried to seize power by force.  His memoir of those turbulent times is a powerful story of courage, sacrifice and betrayal that makes compelling, and at times overwhelming, reading.

Professor André Gerolymatos, Chair, Hellenic Studies, Simon Fraser University

Rigopoulos’s memoir offers a rare, first-person insight into the clandestine world of covert operations and exposes an intriguing aspect of the resistance that took place in occupied Athens.  For the historian, the occasional anachronisms of language and unfashionable patriotic sentiment are useful in understanding the motivation of men such as Rigopoulos and why they chose the covert war in the cities rather joining the partisans in the mountains.  Rigopoulos represents a significant element of young Greeks who were less concerned with ideology and more with fighting the Axis.  In this respect, Secret War is a testament to the unsung heroes of the resistance and a unique perspective on the role of covert operations in the Second World War.

Jesse M. Heines, English Edition Editor

Secret War is the true story of a Greek espionage organization during the Nazi occupation, written by its founder and leader.  Although six of Rigopoulos’s closest companions were caught and executed, cunning, heroic friends, and no small amount of luck helped him escape and survive to write the story of Service 5-16-5 and the surrounding events.

Secret War captures the struggle of an enslaved people and the spirit of those who resisted.  Its pages paint vivid images of the character of the people who lived it and the love and humanity of the man who tells it.


Rigas RigopoulosThe Book


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