the archive


presented here is the personal archive of Christos Aetou Tzifakis, a Greek Army officer who played a significant part in the Battle of Crete in the Rethymno Sector, and subsequently in the National Resistance. During the Liberation he served as Prefect of Rethymno and later General Commander of Crete. He is therefore a valuable historical source on the critical period of the German-Italian Occupation in Crete.

The Archive consists of approximately 7,000 documents and is divided into four main sections: 1. Battle of Crete, 2. National Resistance, 3. Liberation and 4. Postwar Period.

The documents in the first section (Battle of Crete) reveal both Tzifakis's own activities as an officer and details of the military operations in the Rethymno Sector. An important part of this section consists of the reports on military activities and operations by Greek Army officers .

The main bulk of the documents in the Archive dates from the period of the German-Italian Occupation and the National Resistance, when Christos Aetou Tzifakis played a major part as the leader of the National Organisation of Rethymno. The Archive includes sketches, maps, notes on the forces of occupation sent by members of Tzifakis's network , and official and unofficial correspondence. Other documents shed light on the structure, organisation and activities of the Committees of the National Struggle and the Mixed Committees responsible for coordinating the different resistance organisations. Of particular interest are the handwritten messages Tzifakis received from British agents of the Allied Secret Services  which whom he worked closely, and the reports on the activities of individual Resistance fighters or leaders of andarte (guerilla) groups.

During the first period of the Liberation, Tzifakis was extremely active. As military commander of the Rethymno Sector, he coordinated the movements of the armed andarte groups and, as documents in his Archive show, he handled issues concerning the withdrawal of the occupying forces, prisoners of war , the preservation of order, and the protection and administration of state property.

Tzifakis later offered valuable services as Prefect of Rethymno and later General Commander of Crete. His contacts with US officials bear witness to his efforts for the reconstruction of Crete . In this context, his work as Chairman of the Board of the Cretan Association of General Businesses is important. He worked on the development of Rethymno Port  to make it suitable for ferries and shipping, and on the establishment of a state hospital in Rethymno. He also made great efforts in aid of the Venizeleio Sanatorium . On a more personal level, he engaged in the restoration of damaged churches and monasteries in Rethymno Prefecture, including the church of Prines, his village of origin. However, Tzifakis's most important contribution during this time concerns his initiatives for and unceasing interest in the material and moral recognition of Resistance fighters  evidenced in his abundant correspondence with the Ministry of National Defence.

Christos Aetou Tzifakis's historical conscience is typified by his foresight in keeping copies of his own letters, too, in order to leave behind as complete an archive as possible.

The importance he attributes to the objective recording of events is revealed in his historical notes on the Battle of Crete and the period 1941-1945, which form an important part of the Archive. “I have only written down,” he notes in the introduction to his memoirs, "that of which I have direct personal knowledge, and what [I have collected] from the contemporary written evidence of our own and foreign fighters and from responsible leading members, mentioning the sources of this information, and all this has been done objectively and free of any other influence from anywhere" . These words are his own description of the contents and composition of his archive. They also demonstrate his thinking and the methodical way in which he collected and classified his material, as modern researchers studying the Archive will find.