World War II survivor Giannis Karageorgiou celebrated his 100th birthday recently on the Greek island of Lesvos.
His unbelievable strength helped this man survive some of the most barbaric ordeals in modern history, since he spent time in the cells of the Gestapo’s secret police in Mytilene and the Pavlos Melas concentration camp in Thessaloniki as well as prisons and concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Austria.
Known by his friends as ”Barba Giannis,” Karageorgiou, who comes from the village of Scalochori on Lesvos, witnessed hundreds of his fellow men being murdered by the SS only a few days before the official end of the WWII, in April 1945.
It all began earlier, in 1942, when Barba Giannis and nineteen other young men from the island of Lesvos decided that they wanted to fight the cruel occupiers of Greece, by going to the The Middle East to join the fight that was ongoing there.
Unfortunately, they were all arrested by the Germans before they even left and they were sent to an SS prison on the Greek island of Lesvos.
Following years of torture, forced exile, and beatings, six men from the original 20-member group died.
Barba managed to survive and not only witness the liberation of Greece, but his good health allowed him to blow out the 100th candle on his birthday cake.
A special event was held by his friends on the island of Lesvos a few days ago, where people expressed their gratitude for this beloved WWII veteran, who made his country proud with his indomitable courage and faith in the triumph of the human spirit.
Xronia polla, Barba Gianni!