Homage to the last widow of Distomo

Dimitris Tsingos
2 min readApr 17, 2023

This Orthodox Easter Sunday, April 16th 2023, was marked by the passing of Ms. Efrosyni ‘Frósso’ Perganta at the age of 99.

Ms. Perganta, who lived all her life at the beautiful village of Distomo on the foothills of Mount Parnassus, near the ancient city of Delphi in central Greece, was greeted by her fellow villagers as a kind, polite and sweet human being, who yet was strong enough to go through some of the toughest circumstances life can bring.

In June 10th 1944 ‘Fròsso’ became one of the survivors of the Distomo Massacre, organized by the Waffen SS units of the German-Nazi forces that were occupying Greece at that time, resulting to the brutal death of 228 civilians — the first husband of Ms. Perganta being aming them, together with tens of her relatives and friends.

Justice was never served for this terrible war crime. Shortly after the war the LIFE magazine in the US published a story under the title “What the Germans did to Greece”, featuring the photo of a mourning woman, of the ‘Distomo widows’, Ms Maria Padiska who peacefully passed away in March 2009 at the age of 84.

Being that my life partner comes from Distomo, I often spend holiday at this beautiful place. I was then particularly touched to learn the news of Ms. Perganta passing on Easter Sunday, especially with the note of my father in law, who at the age of 82 is one of the few remaining massacre survivors, that she was the ‘last widow of Distomo’, a term which apparently refers to the massacre.

I felt, then, the need to write this brief note as a homage to Efrosyni Perganta and as a reminder that, on the one hand, freedom is not free, and that, on the other hand, that younger generations should not be taking our rights for granted; we must all keep working for preserving and improving our democracy.

Last but not least, I keep finding it exceptionally heartless and vile of the modern German state that they refuse to respond to their moral duties to this village which actually never recovered from the pain of the Nazi massacre.

— This does not only refer to the war reparations, where Greece does have a legitimate claim but Germany keeps ignoring it, but also to a wide spectrum of initiatives which could have been undertaken towards the village’s life conditions improvement and economic development. It should be repeated that Distomo, once one of Greece top wine making regions, never recovered the massacre, facing a plethora of challenges around mental health, social fabric collapse and economic stagnation.

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