Duty, Honor and Courage of Cretan Families


By Catherine Tsounis
Published by GreekReporter.com on November 13, 2014

“The secret of Happiness is Freedom, and the secret of Freedom, Courage.” - Thucydides (460 BC – 395 BC), Greek Historian. Nikos Douroudakis and Stavros Katsoulakis from Queens, New York, immigrants from Sfakia, Crete, related incredible stories of heroism and perseverance in peace and war. Crete has untold stories of heroism rarely discussed. 

Douroudakis holds a Certificate and the National Resistance Hero Medal given to his late father, Sifis Douroudakis, prominently displayed in his living room. The National Resistance medal “was in support of the government against powers who wanted to destroy Greece,” said Douroudakis. “There was no Civil War in Sfakia, Crete. Action was only in Athens and the big cities. We had Vendetta.” In the blockbuster mini-series “Tis Agapis Maheria” (The Knifing of Love), a police officer said to a Cretan “we must follow Greece’s laws.” The protagonist replied, “This is not Greece. This is Sfakia”. See the miniseries at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KINuTAxqZS0 

Nikos’ brother, George Douroudakis, described the unique history of their father in an internet interview from Athens, Greece. “Sifis Douroudakis or Douroundous (or Ndoutoundous, Katsoulos, curly-haired, or Katsoulosifis) was born in 1897 in Sfakia, Crete. These were the Black Years of Greece’s participation in the Greco-Turkish War.” According to Wikipedia, “The Greco-Turkish War of 1897, also called the Thirty Days’ War and known in Greece as the Black ’97 or the Unfortunate War… Its immediate cause was the question over the status of the Ottoman province of Crete whose Greek majority long desired union with Greece. Despite a decisive Ottoman military victory, as a result of the intervention of the Great Powers, after the war, an autonomous Cretan State under Ottoman suzerainty was established the following year, with Prince George as its first High Commissioner.  This was the first war effort in which the military and political personnel of Greece were put to test after the Greek War of Independence in 1821,” . . . .