[ Patrick Leigh Fermor ]Manuscript letter, in Greek, from 'Haris' in Heraklion, informing Fermor of allegations that he ordered the execution of 'Apolorona and Hania' and others, and that he is organizing the military occupation of Crete by the British.

[Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011), British soldier and travel writer; 'Haris' of Heraklion, Cretan opponent of Communism; Cretan resistance; SOE; Major 'Xan' Fielding (1918-1991)]
Publication details: 
Heraklion [Crete, Greece]. 12 January 1947.
SKU: 18771

4pp., 8vo. 96 lines of text. On paper ruled for accounts. On lightly-aged paper, with loss to corners and at central edge, affecting a few lines of text. Accompanying the letter is a translation (2pp., 8vo) by Colin Jordan, with the assistance of Dr Loukas Christodloulos. The letter is of great interest, casting light on Leigh Fermor's activities in Crete in the period following the Second World War. The identity of 'Haris' is not immediately apparent: he does not appear to feature in George Psychoundakis's account of the Cretan resistance, 'The Cretan Runner' (1955), which was translated by Leigh Fermor. Addressing 'Mr. Leigh Fermor', the author of the letter begins in reproachful terms: 'After my third letter you remain silent. I write now with a big question mark: why this is happening and why you are ignoring my thoughts and my offer in general?' He asks Fermor , 'for the sake of our friendship and co-operation and for our land of Crete', to guide him in his thoughts and to advise him in his actions, 'and to help me in my efforts against the slanderers and the malevolent enemies of our union'. He desires Leigh Fermor's 'co-operation against the transformation of Crete and Greece, my country, into a Soviet protectorate.' He proceeds to report on 'the situation that exists': 'The Communist newspaper, "Free Crete", has begun again a serious campaign against the English generally and in particular against us, Major Fielding [Major Alexander Wallace 'Xan' Fielding, who like Leigh Fermor was in the SOE in Crete during the war], and Kyrios Giorgos. They claim that the crimes of killing a villager from Potamiko (Nikos Komi), of another from Heraklion prior to the referendum, others from Apokoronou and from Hania (family murders for revenge and political party murders) were done by you, that you organized them, that is, and ordered their execution by your people.' A further claim is that 'from the time of the occupation' Leigh Fermor has been 'organizing here the ground for the occupation of Crete by the English and the creation of military bases since Alexandria is hostile towards Egypt and you are using that against her'. In his view it is easy to refute the Apokorona and Hania murder charges, 'since it's commonly known that they were done by locals for revenge and due to political hatred and had nothing whatsoever to do with our work. The murder of the police officer from Heraklion happened before your arrival here in September. As for the killing of Komi at Potamiko, the same man wrote a letter that he did it because of personal motives and not following orders from yourself.' He proposes to write 'to the newspapers of the Right-wing here that your visit to Crete was entirely a holiday trip to see your friends and that the villager's murder was done before you came. Also that the Hana murder had other purposes and that you and the English generally have never thought of occupying Crete and that you have always acted from friendship. I will also go to the prison and I will oblige Nikos Komis to sign a letter of protest against the writings of the "Free Crete" newspaper.' He will take responsibility for the publication, 'as I did a few days ago when I published articles about English/Greek friendship in the <...>IDI and PATRIDA newspapers. Regarding 'the Communist nightmare that threatens all of us with destruction': 'Once again I give my life and for that thought I would gladly sacrifice. The communists know this and consider me their enemy like nobody else.' He ends with an enquiry regarding 'the Anglo-Greek Society at Heraklion that you had promised back in September'.