There is a relatively unknown monument, among the many from World War II, that praises the brave women of Pindos who contributed to the great victory against the Italian army.
The unsung heroines of October 28, 1940 are definitely the women of Pindos, strong, steadfast women who helped the men fight the battles along the Pindos mountain range of Greece.
The women of Pindos had to climb the tall Epirus mountains to provide the Greek soldiers in battle with much-needed supplies in the harsh winter conditions.
The rare monument
The monument to the women of OXI Day is away from any main roads, perched high up at the entrance to the Asprangelos plain.
The statue was erected in the area in 1993. It is the work of the Thessalian sculptor Georgios Kalakallas and its height reaches 6 meters (20 feet), while its weight is 1.7 tons.
It is dedicated to the memory of the women of Zagori who selflessly sacrificed themselves to help repel the invasion of the Italian forces in the autumn of 1940.
Many of the women of Pindos were from Zagori, a village located 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the capital of the Epirus region, Ioannina.
At the time of the Italians’ effort to invade from Albania, the road stopped in the middle of the route.
From there, the Zagorian women had to go up to the mountains carrying the supplies on their backs, or with the use of donkeys.
Carrying supplies to the fighting soldiers
In November 1940, the Greek soldiers had been fortified in the mountains and were fighting in the area of Vrysochori.
Due to the distance from Zagori, the nearest village, they faced serious problems with their supply of ammunition food and water, however.
The women of Zagori actively participated in the war with their timely supplies to the Greek forces that were fighting to stop the fascist invaders, who were trying to reach Metsovo through the valley of Aoos.
The women of OXI Day had to carry the supplies with donkeys or on their backs since all the horses in the area were used by the Greek army.
The women of Pindos
Greeks call the heroines of the Greco-Italian War, “The Women of Pindos”. Photographs of them in their traditional dark clothes carrying heavy loads on their backs were a morale booster for civilians who watched the war from afar.
The brave women of OXI Day were also a favorite part of the war newsreels of the time. Along with the outnumbered Greek soldiers who were fighting in the snow and the mud, they symbolized the indomitable spirit of Greece that always stands tall, and never surrenders.
The assistance of the women of Pindos was decisive in the uneven war. They were bringing ammunition, medical supplies and food to the front, while at the same time they were transferring the wounded to the rear.
Also, their participation in fortification works and bridge construction has also been recorded in testimonies.
The heroism of these women, combined with the international admiration for the unexpected successes of the Greek army, contributed to the creation of the term “The Women of Pindos,” which generally describes all the female volunteers.
Very importantly as well, the Greek victories against the Axis in Albania were the first for the Allied forces on European soil.