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WWII O.S.S. Soldiers Honored in Astoria, Queens, NY, for Service Behind the Lines in Nazi-Occupied Greece, Italy, and Yugoslavia.

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About the Book
An American-born boy grew up in a small village on the Greek island of Crete. In his last year in high school,...

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• Introduction into the group of the OSS training spy school Cairo Egypt , October 1943

It was the first day, a mostly hot day in October 1943. An introduction to this peculiar form of war, “spy” training, if you will, in the Secret Intelligence and Special Operations section of the.....

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"...Doundoulakis is able to evoke the suspense and thrilling detail of his many narrow escapes and also convey his youthful sense of excitement and adventure. His intimate rendering of the adversity Greek civilians faced during the war is particularly moving....

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OSS Books

There have been many books and movies about the OSS.  Hollywood scriptwiters and authors have made the public aware of our past, some who have done so on the blood and sacrifice of those who lived it, while distorting the truth and making their fortunes.  

To that end, below are the unique and distinguished narratives of those who served in the OSS and lived to tell their personal accounts.  In addition to I Was Trained To Be A Spy by Helias Doundoulakis, the following books exemplify not only these men who answered the call to serve, but their character and courage which helped conquer tyranny and secure America's freedom, and will one day join ranks behind "the last hero".

A Spy's Diary of World War II: Inside the OSS With an American Agent in Europe
, by Wayne Nelson, 2009. An actor and writer, he served as a spy in the OSS.

Assignment Algiers
, by Erasmus Kloman, 2005. Experiences from the chief of Operations for OSS in the Mediterranean Theatre, describing the birth of the OSS, his close attention to details including life in Cairo.

, by Richard Cutler, 2004, an X2, or Counter-Intelligence branch officer, who was able to discern and identify good double and triple agents, with amazing judgement and intuition. 

Journey to Peking; A Secret Agent in Wartime China, by Dan Pinck, 2003, who served in the SI or Secret Intelligence branch, alone and surrounded by thousands of Japanese soldiers near Hong Kong, was able to send messages regarding Japanese ships and troop movements.  Similar to Doundoulakis' experience in I Was Trained To Be A Spy, who was also alone in Salonica, Greece.

No Bugles for Spies
, Robert Hayden Alcorn, 1962, who served with R&A, or Research and Analysis, and as Special Funds officer for OSS Europe.  He traces for the reader the black-market currencies used by spies, as well as the gold sovereigns from the "accountable to no one" funds of the OSS ordered by President Roosevelt.

Return to Glory
, by Gregory M. Pahules, 1991, who served fighting in the Greek mountains as an OG (Operational Group 1), and then as a spy in the SI, during the last days of the German Occupation in Athens.  

, by John Giannaris, 1988.  who was an OG (Operational Group 2), and recounts his missions in the Greek mountains sabotaging the Salonica-Athens rail line. 

Max Corvo: OSS Italy 1942-1945
, by Max Corvo, 2005, who headed the Secret Intelligence section of the OSS in Italy and how he helped prepare for the invasion of Sicily and the Allied victory in Italy.   

Greece in 1940-1945, Military and Civilian life

As the world watched Mussolini's army retreat through Albania, Churchill remarked on BBC Radio, "Hence you will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but rather heroes fight like Greeks." Outnumbered, Greece was finally defeated by Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria simultaneously.

Inside Hitler's Greece: The Experience of Occupation, 1941-44
, 2001, by Mark Mazower. A stunning and vivid account of the terrible affects of World War II on the people of Greece.

Behind the Lines in Greece
, by Robert Perdue, is the story of twenty-two enlisted men and two officers of Operational Group II of the Office of Strategic Services, predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency, who served in German-occupied Greece in 1944. Dr. Perdue is a WW II veteran of the 101st Airborne.

Secret War: Greece-Middle East 1940-1945 - The Events surrounding the Story of Service 5-16-5
, 2003, by Rigas Rigopoulos. A  personal account of the chaos that ensued in the aftermath of the Axis victory, and his sabotage-spy ring in Athens. 

The First Victory: Greece in the Second World War
, 2001, by George Blytas. A complete account of the military role that Greece played during WWII.

's Pivotal Role in WWII and it's importance to the U.S. Today, 2005, by Eugene T. Rossides,.  A group of essays, it sheds light on the time and mindset of the Metaxas government, the German retreat, as well as the aftermath and Civil War. 

The Battle of Crete

The first ever airborne invasion and the first mass resistance by a civilian population encountered by Germany, proved too costly for Hitler to use airborne troops again in a major assault.  Reprisals against Cretan civilians were severe, as the British and Hellenic armies, and King George II of Greece fled to Egypt.  

Crete: The Battle and the Resistance
, by Antony Beevor, 1994.  Personal references by New Zealand, Australian, British and Greek forces, recounting Germany's pyrrhic victory. 

The Cretan Runner: The story of the German Occupation, 1999, by George Psychoundakis, translated by Patrick Leigh Fermor.   Personal account of this Cretan shepherd who ran through the mountains at night to deliver messages to Fermor.  With Stanley Moss and Fermor, they abducted the German General Kreipe to Egypt.

Ten Days to Destiny: The Battle for Crete, 1941
, 1997, by G. Kiriakopoulos.  A detailed account of pre-war Greece, the Axis invasion, and finally the Battle of Crete.

ANZAC and British Forces in Greece

       To the New Zealand and Australian troops who served in Greece, these books are an account of their valiant stand and courage in crisis.  

Forgotten Anzacs: The Campaign in Greece, 1941
, 2008, by Peter Ewer, gives personal accounts by New Zealand and Australian veterans, detailing the retreat through Greece by way of ancient Thermopylae and gives recognition long overdue to these brave men who helped Greece in their darkest hour.

Perilous Commitments: Britain's Involvement in Greece and Crete 1940-1941
, 2005, by Matthew Willingham, thoughtfully describing Britain's involvement in Greece, ahttp://www.iwastrainedtobeaspy.com/contact-form.phpce and Crete. 

Books in Greek

, (Memories), 2004, by Helias Doundoulakis.  The author's account of his OSS experiences written in Greek.   Obtainable from the author, please click on CONTACT AUTHOR.

Skies Tis Niktes
, (Shadows in the night), 1999, by George Doundoulakis, describes his leadership in the Cretan Resistance and his OSS mission to Mt. Pylion with the ELAS partisans in Greece. OUT OF PRINT. 

Books on the Greek Jews

Most are unaware of Greek Jewry which flourished in Salonica, and that many Greek Jews fought heroically alongside their Christian brethren.  Once Greece was under Nazi control, the Jews suffered untold humiliation and were betrayed into believing they could buy their freedom, then paid the ransom for the ultimate horrible betrayal: deportation to Auschwitz. This came about despite strong opposition by non-Jewish Greeks, and an outcry from Salonica's leading citizens and clergy. The Greek puppet government along with their germanophilic leader were powerless, and instead the Nazi-controlled newspapers incited fears and fueled anti-semitism, threatening those who helped Greek Jews with severe punishment or death. Despite the threats, the edicts were disregarded, even by the Greek police and clergy. Together with ordinary folk, they helped Greek Jews find sanctuary and escape, at the risk of their own lives. Some Greek Jews who did escape fought alongside the partisans.  Sadly, Greek Jewry was virtually annihilated, Jewish properties confiscated, and in such an abandoned Greek Jewish textile factory, author Helias Doundoulakis operated his wireless radio that was used to send messages to OSS HQ in I Was Trained To Be A Spy.

Farewell to Salonica: City at the Crossroads
2003, by Leon Sciaky.  Great account of life in Salonica, not only from a Jewish viewpoint,  but reminiscences when the war began in 1940. 

Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews 1430-1950
, 2004, by Mark Mazower. Wonderfully written book with details of Salonica's Byzantine and Ottoman past, and is an authoritative narrative of the Greek Jewry of Salonica, and accounts the terrible war-time years.

The Illusion of Safety: The Story of the Greek Jews during the Second World
 War, 1997, by Michael Matsas, who gives an in-depth account not only of the Jews of Salonica, but of Ioannina, and gives personal memoirs and of other Greek Jews who fought valiantly against the Axis powers.

Visit the Kehila Kedosha Janina Congregation in New York City, or their website at http://www.kkjsm.org/ for the most extensive booklist anywhere on Greek Jewry.

Books by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Helias Doundoulakis' friend, Patrick Leigh Fermor, lives in a small village in the Peloponnese, Greece.  His accomplishments, his courage, but most of all his warmth and love for the Greek people has made him one of the most revered personalities in Greece.  He is considered one of the most prolific British travel writers, and though he has not written war-time memoirs, his writings are superb.  

Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese
, 2004.  One of the best books on the Mani peninsula.  Many tourists retrace his steps and explore the Mani with this book.  

Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece
, 1966.  Roumeli is still as uninhabited and wild as when Fermor journeyed through it.  The author's wife, Rita, was born in Roumeli.  The book is a companion to Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese.