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Santa Rosa author celebrates Greek women of World War II in ’Krisanthi’s War’

The story follows three women struggling to survive in Greece during the Nazi occupation from 1941 to 1944.|

For Santa Rosa author and former teacher Ida Egli, everything about Greece is fascinating, especially its history, and it’s easy to see why.

Her husband, Kosta P'manolis, who came to the United States from Greece with his parents in 1949, taught history for nearly 30 years at Santa Rosa Junior College.

For the past 20 years, Egli, 74 and retired from the Santa Rosa Junior College English department faculty, has been working on her novel “Krisanthi’s War,” set in Greece during World War II, with some help from her husband.

“We took eight trips to Greece. We lived in Greece in 1999 and 2000,” she said. “We interviewed almost a hundred people who were survivors of the war. I never could have done this all by myself.”

Now the 360-page book is finished. It was published in May by McCaa Publications of Santa Rosa and is now available in paperback on amazon.com and at Copperfield’s book stores, Four-Eyed Frog Books in Gualala and Mendocino Books in Ukiah.

The story follows three women struggling to survive in Greece during the Nazi occupation from 1941 to 1944. Germany invaded Greece in 1941 to assist its ally, Fascist Italy. Over 40,000 civilians died in Athens alone from starvation, and tens of thousands more died from reprisals by Nazis and collaborators.

“When I first traveled in Greece, I kept seeing monuments to women,” Egli said. “Women have a special place in Greek culture. During the occupation, they were getting food for the people. I admire them so. There were holes where they hid food.

“Italy and Germany took every drop of olive oil and every grain of rice to ship to Axis troops in Italy and Russia,” she added.

Through her travels to Greece and her long study of the country, Egli has come away with a deep appreciation for the country’s character and culture, particularly during the war.

“Greek women are strong. I really got a sense of the closeness they had. The primary relationships were women to women,” Egli said. “They would have died for each other.”

However, her fondness for the people of Greece is more elemental than respect for their resistance efforts.

“They dance into the night,” she said “They have a propinquity for creating joy.’’

You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at dan.taylor@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @danarts.

Dan Taylor

Arts & Entertainment, The Press Democrat

Do you take fun seriously? I know I do. Tell me what you want to know about arts and entertainment in the North Bay to make the best use of your leisure time and money. As a longtime local arts journalist, I have learned where to look and who to ask.

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