The Koukidis mystery
Some days ago I received a Greek chain-mail that recounted the story of Konstantinos Koukidis. As it was the second time I received this email, I decided to investigate a bit.
The story is more or less that presented in the Greek Wikipedia here: Koukidis
There’s even a commemorative plaque about him underneath Acropolis: Koukidis Plaque
and according to this page here, the story is recorded in a number of sources. Only non-Greek source mentioned (and usually mentioned first) is the Daily Mail article of 9 June 1941.
I wanted to verify that this article really exists and so I wrote to the British Library’s Newspaper reading dept; they actually offer a remote reading service for a small fee. Basically you tell them what you want, they verify it exists, they send you a quotation on the price, you pay, they send you photocopies (hard-copies).
The Koukidis story was indeed published on that date by the Daily Mail newspaper (based in London). Here is the photocopy I received: http://fotios.org/files/koukidis.gif
Still, after reading the small article I was not convinced. There’s a number of reasons for that:
- The story contains descriptive details (e.g. “He paused a moment, with eyes fixed on the German officer”) that suggest it was originally told by a witness or witnesses, yet no known witness exists or has come out.
- The story (as it appears in various sources) is presented in a strangely literary manner.
- The Germans never mentioned the story anywhere, even after the war, and I don’t think such a story would remain without some German eventually mentioning it or confirming it.
- The newspaper article itself mentions that the story came through “Greek channels”
- During war time and especially occupation there is obvious motivation for such stories to be created.
It really does sound like a cheap attempt at myth creation but I am not quite sure it really is.
What do you guys think? Anyone has some more info on this?
Seeing how tough it is to decide what is true even when it comes to periods that are only 60-70 years back (and at times when various media existed for easily recording information about events, etc.), I am amazed to see how convinced certain people are when it comes to “events” that have happened thousands of years ago (and at times when recording information was not that easy).