Vassilios Tsavaliaris, The First Victim of Italy’s Attack on October 28, 1940



A statue of Vassilios Tsiavaliaris stands in his village. Photo by Newsit

It was a few minutes after 5:00 AM on October 28, 1940.

The Italian military forces were ordered to launch their first attack against Greece, at the Greek-Albanian border, in the Pindos Mountains.

Vassilios Tsiavaliaris, a 28-year-old Greek soldier, stands inside the 21st outpost in Golio height, next to the village of Pyrsogianni.

The Italians attack. Their first target is the outpost Tsiavaliaris is guarding.

In the wake of Greece’s entrance to World War II, Private Tsiavaliaris becomes the first victim of the Axis’ unjustified aggression.

The plaque under the soldier’s statue reads ”Vassilios Tsiavaliaris. The hero who was the first to fall for his country at 5 AM on October 28, 1940 along the Greek-Albanian border.” Photo by Newsit

Tsiavaliaris was a father of three children, named Nikos, George, and Alexandra. According to George Papavassiliou, a school counselor in the region of Trikala, where Tsiavaliaris was born, the soldier’s last words before he died were: “My children! My children will be lost…”

Christos Apostolou Gianniou was the second soldier guarding the 21st outpost. According to his words, Tsiavaliaris was hit by Italian mortars. When he died, Gianniou took his body, brought it to the unit’s priest and asked him to say the final prayers over it.

Tsiavaliaris’ village, near Trikala. Photo by Newsit

”I was the first one to cry for Tsiavaliaris” Gianniou remembered.

Tsiavaliaris was the fourth of five children of Giannis and Agoro. He was born in 1912 in the village of Pialia, next to the city of Trikala.

Raised to love his country, he was a role model for his village, noted for his patience, his willingness to work hard and his good-hearted manner.

In 2000, the University of Athens built a statue in his honor in the center of his village, to commemorate his contribution to Greece’s fight for freedom.