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AHI Forum Details America’s Formidable Contribution to Greek War Relief Commemorates 73rd Anniversary of Oxi Day
November 5, 2013—No. 61 (202) 785-8430

AHI Forum Details America’s Formidable Contribution to Greek War Relief, Commemorates 73rd Anniversary of Oxi Day

AHI President Provides Main Address at Norfolk Oxi Day Event

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) hosted a noon forum “Greek War Relief:  America’s Formidable Response to Famine in World War II Greece” featuring AHI Board Member James L. Marketos, Esq., partner, Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe, LLP.  The forum was held October 28, 2013 at AHI’s Hellenic House to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of Oxi Day.

Utilizing the backdrop of Oxi Day, and addressing an American aspect to the Oxi Day story, Marketos’ presentation demonstrated the effectiveness with which Greek War Relief, organized brilliantly through the Greek War Relief Association, addressed the dire and desperate situation Greece found itself under Axis occupation and during the post-war years.

“By the autumn and winter of 1941, Greece was starving,” Marketos said. “The death toll from starvation and typhoid, typhus, cholera, pneumonia, and dysentery had risen to more than 1,500 persons daily in Athens and Piraeus alone. By the following spring, the death rate from starvation in Athens and Piraeus exceeded 2,000 a day.  Of every ten children born, only one lived more than four weeks.”

Prominent Greek Americans organized the Greek War Relief Association within ten days after the Italian attack on Greece, according to Marketos.  With six months after the Italian attack, it collected more than $4 million. Relief supplies included: food, clothing, medicine, and other vital supplies. By the end of the war, Greek War Relief had established 150 medical clinics throughout Greece and established an orphan support program as well as a “Give an Animal to Greece” program to help restore Greece’s decimated livestock.

“Not until after liberation in December 1944 did the Greek people learn that more than $30 million in relief supplies had reached them due to the efforts of the American people thorugh the work of Greek War Relief,” Marketos said.

Marketos also examined how Greek War Relief was such a success. He credited the organization’s exceptional national leaders, who were well assimilated in American society, especially in the mainstream business community, and who were able to connect and collaborate with other privately-organized relief organizations.  He noted Greek War Relief had the support from ordinary Americans to prominent Americans, including those in academia, politics, the arts (especially Hollywood luminaries), and society.  Marketos also credits a highly organized and detailed communications strategy.

“James Marketos’ presentation draws attention to an often-forgotten part of the Greek American community’s history and that is how the community came together in admirable and effective fashion to provide tens of millions of dollars in relief supplies to Greece during and following World War Two,” AHI President Nick Larigakis said.  “As his presentation demonstrated, it was a formidable response and truly a shining moment in the community’s history.  We thank James for presenting such a thorough and well-documented account of this remarkable relief effort.”

AHI President Provides Main Address Norfolk’s Oxi Day Event

AHI President Nick Larigakis was the main speaker at an Oxi Day commemoration event held at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Norfolk, Va.  The luncheon was held Sunday, October 27, 2013.

“I thank the Norfolk community for the invitation to speak at its luncheon commemorating Oxi Day,” Larigakis said. “I enjoyed the opportunity to speak about this important historical event and to engage with the community.”

The American Hellenic Institute is an independent non-profit Greek American public policy center and think tank that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.


For additional information, please contact Georgea Polizos at (202) 785-8430 or at For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at