Sarbanes, Pappas, Hellenic Caucus Honor Oxi Day to Celebrate Greek Resistance to Axis Powers

Today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) joined Congressman Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) and other members of the Hellenic Caucus in introducing a bipartisan resolution to designate October 28 as Oxi Day.

On October 28, 1940, Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas refused to surrender to Axis forces, answering “Oxi!” - or “No!” - to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s 3 A.M. ultimatum that he allow Axis forces to freely enter Greece or face war. Prime Minister Metaxas’ refusal to relent to fascism sparked a national resistance movement and Greece ultimately became the first country to repel the Axis invasion. Greece’s resistance required Nazi forces to delay their invasion of Russia to intervene in the Greco-Italian War, a delay which caused the Nazi regime to face a brutal Russian winter which hindered their advance and ultimately led to their eventual defeat.

“I am proud to join my colleagues in the Hellenic Caucus as we celebrate the brave spirit, strength and patriotism of the Greek people on this day in 1940,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “The Greek people’s shouts of ‘Oxi!’ rallied the country against the invading Axis powers. That cry of defiance stands as an historic declaration against the oppression of a free people. As we honor their heroism with this resolution, we must fiercely defend freedom and democracy in our own country and throughout the world.”

“On October 28, 1940, the Greek people demonstrated unprecedented spirit and courage, changing the trajectory of history,” said Congressman Pappas. “81 years later the Greek community continues to celebrate our refusal to bow to the Axis powers. As a proud Greek-American and in recognition of this year’s bicentennial of the Greek Revolution, I am honored to lead this resolution that celebrates our Greek allies and our shared democratic values.”

“On this day, 81 years ago, Greece stood up against the powers of evil by replying “OXI!” or “NO!” to Fascist subjugation. The Greek people could not idly stand by and allow the evils of Fascism to consume Europe,” said Congressman Bilirakis. “Greece decided to fight for democracy, liberty, and justice, or otherwise see these treasured virtues—originally fostered in Ancient Greece—extinguished under the darkness of Fascism.”

“On this day eight decades ago, brave Greek patriots said ‘NO’ to fascism, ‘NO’ to injustice, and ‘NO’ to slavery,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “Oxi Day serves as more than a memory, it is the embodiment of Hellenism and its highest ideals. I join all those in NY-12 and across the world in saluting the heroes of Oxi Day, for in their brave words and deeds we see all of the highest virtues of Hellenic heritage: passion for justice, courage at a time of trial, unity in the midst of conflict, and willingness to sacrifice one’s life for the good of others.”

The resolution has the support of the Washington Oxi Day Foundation, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (Order of AHEPA), the Daughters of Penelope, PSEKA, the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) and the American Hellenic Institute (AHI).