History of the Order of AHEPA 1922 - 1972
Chapter Eight: The Years 1945 - 1951
The 1945 National Conference
The third National Conference, since the suspension of Supreme Conventions for the duration, was held in Washington, D.C. on August 20 to 22, 1945. Attending were:
SUPREME LODGE - Supreme President George C. Vournas, Supreme Vice President Charles Davis Kotsilibas, Supreme Secretary Stephen S. Scopas, SupremeTreasurer Constantine J. Critzas, Supreme Counsellor Leo J. Lamberson, Supreme Governor Tom Semos, Supreme Governor Frank E. Pofanti.
PAST SUPREME PRESIDENTS - Nicholas D. Chotas, George Demeter, Dean Alfange, George E. Phillies, Harry J. Booras, Achilles Catsonis, Van A. Nomikos.
DISTRICT GOVERNORS - George Cotsakis, C.A. Lazarou, Nicholas Brous, Dr. Aris Carpousis, Steven Kargakos, Spiro Livadas, N. D. Farmassony, Fred A. Kyros, Basil Joannides, Paul Koken, Constantine G. Gatsos, Pete Mailers, Nicholas C. Giovan, George A. Xanthes, George J. Petros, Charles D. Exarky, James George Dikeou, Charles Valanas, Victor Adams, William Panagos, Spiro J. Kalivas, Elef. Dallas, Andrew Vlassis.
Conference officers elected were: Nicholas C. Giovan, Chairman; Nicholas Brous, Vice Chairman; Spiro J. Kalivas, Secretary.
The Conference resolved to:
(1) Undertake to assist Greece in every way possible consistent with the rules and regulations of the U.S. government in the proper attainment of her just and meritorious national demands, and empowered the Supreme Lodge to take proper action,
(2) To obtain volunteer college men and women of Greek extraction to go to Greece to aid in its rehabilitation, and to invite Greek students to America,
(3) To express to the Council of Foreign Ministers of the great powers in behalf of the rights and the claims of Greece and its people,
(4) To pursue the policy of Supreme President Vournas as to the matter of immigration, so that 2/6 of the German quota be assigned to Greece,
(5) That title of the Ahepa Sanatorium be transferred from the Silver District Sanatorium Corporation to the Order of Ahepa.
The preceding Supreme Lodge tendered its collective resignation at the 1945 National Conference, thus allowing the National Conference to select the new Supreme Lodge for the year 1945-46, as Harris J. Booras, Supreme President; Frank E. Pofanti, Supreme Vice President; Leo J. Lamberson, Supreme Secretary; C. G. Paris, Supreme Treasurer; Stephen S. Scopas, Supreme Counsellor; George Cotsakis, Supreme Governor; and Nicholas Economou, Supreme Governor. Arthur H. Lalos continued as national Executive Secretary at the Washington, D.C. Headquarters.
The Conference also approved that a National Ahepa Hospital be established and sponsored by the Ahepa in Greece, since it was evident that Greece was sorely in need of such institutions following World War II. The resolution sent to the Council of Foreign Ministers of the great powers requested that, in view of its just rights, Greece be awarded due reparations, the annexation of Epirus, the Dodecanese Islands and Cyprus, and the rectification of the Bulgarian boundary to provide maximum security for Greece.
During the National Conference luncheon, Ted Gamble of the U.S. War Finance department paid tribute to the Order by stating: "There has been no organized group in America who has done a better job in the sale and promotion of war bonds than the Order of Ahepa"
The Ahepa continued its war bond efforts in the government's Victory Loan drive … The Ahepa presented a replica of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Ahepa bust to President Harry S. Truman on Sept. 19, 1945, in a ceremony at the White House, attended by President Truman, Supreme President Booras, Past Supreme President Catsonis, and Ahepa War Service Units Chairman John Carzis.
Dr. Lucas P. Kyrides, of St. Louis, is awarded a gold medallion by the American Chemical Society for his discovery of synthetic rubber in 1913. He had more than 100 patents to his credit. … More than 1,000 persons attended the presentation of Euripides "Iphigenia in Tauris" at Cedar Crest College, Allentown, Pennsylvania, and the Ahepa chapter was an important participant. … The first atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945, and final surrender ceremonies of the Japanese are held in Tokyo Bay, on September l, 1945 … The world is at peace, and the problems of reconstruction face the world .
… Chapter president C. H. Pelias of New Orleans, La. is given credit by New Orleans newspapers for uncovering and exposing black market operations in that city … The Akron, Ohio chapter purchased an Ahepa Home in 1945 … The humanitarian task of sending food, clothing, and medicine to Greece continues under the Greek War Relief Association, and UNRRA, and the difficult task of reaching the villages is hampered by destroyed roads … The fraternity urges its members and their friends to send food and clothing packages to Greece each week… UNRRA and Greek War Relief ask for 100,000,000 garments for Greece.
"The War President" - the Ahepa bust of President Franklin D. Roosevelt is unveiled at Hyde Park, New York, the Roosevelt family estates, on October 28, 1945. U.S. Attorney General Tom Clark attended as the personal representative of President Truman, to receive the memorial in the name of the people of the United States. Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt widow of the late President, was present, including 1,500 persons representing the U.S. government, state of New York, and the Order of Ahepa …
In her syndicated column, "My Day" Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote:
I brought Mr. Morgenthau (former Secretary of the Treasury) and four others to my cottage for a rather hurried lunch. By 2:30 we were back at the library making our way down to the last terrace of the sunken rose garden, where the national Order of Ahepa were presenting to the people of the United States a bust of my husband done by the sculptor, Walter Russell. I thought the opening prayer was most impressive and very beautiful; and speeches were made by the Supreme President of Ahepa (Harris J. Booras) and the Attorney General of the United States (Tom Clark), representing President Truman. The bust is a fine one, I think, and I like the simple inscription, "The War President." The crowd at this ceremony was great, but nevertheless the group gathered there seemed intent upon a great undertaking -- the marking of a great period in history, represented here by the Commander-in-Chief under whom a World War had been won.
Ahepa announces its "Ahepa Hospital in Greece" plan, which has been accepted by the government of Greece, with a drive for fundraising to begin on January 24, 1946 in Atlanta, Georgia, founding city of the Ahepa. A nationwide Ahepa committee is formed, with the following officers: John Carzis, Executive Chairman; Charles Preketes, Executive Vice Chairman; Tom Vallas, Financial Advisor; Charles Bookidis, Treasurer; William D. Belroy, Secretary; James Mazarakos, Coordinator. Past Supreme Presidents and Mother Lodge members were all on the committee, as well as the following Executive Advisors: Gus Maggos, Sam Bushong, Theodore Andronicos, Chris E. Athas, Thomas D. Lentgis, George Kelly, John Govatos, Archie Zapetas, Michael Loris, Paul Demos.
Various national Greek-American federations were invited to join with Ahepa in this drive including: Pan-Arcadian, Pan Epirotic, Pan Cretan, Pan Elian, Pan lcarians, Pan Spartan, Pan Messenian, Pan Corinthian, Chios societies, Pan Macedonian, Pan Rhodian, and Pan Thracians.
By September, 1945, the Ahepa was actively engaged in petitioning the allies of World War II, as well as the officials of the U.S. government requesting that the country of Greece be given just consideration in territorial and reparations decisions, with emphasis on Greek claims to Northern Epirus, the Dodecanese Islands, the Island of Cyprus, and rectification of the Bulgarian border with Greece. Newpaper accounts indicated protests against the terms given Bulgaria, an Axis country, and some editorials asked: "Is Greece getting a square deal from the Allies?"
Congressman John W. McCormack of Massachusetts said in a speech:
There has been so much talk about Bulgaria and other countries that were against us that it is about time we think about countries that fought with us. Greece and its people fought with us in this war and during the last war. We should remember that fact. The claims of the government of Greece constitute a recognition it richly deserves. When the foreign ministers of the Big Five meet again they should consider its claims and decide favorably in Greece's behalf.
Noted radio commentator Cedric Foster broadcast the following on September 18, 1945:
The Soviet Union today has come out into the open regarding Russian aims and objectives in the peace settlements of Europe … The Dodecanese Islands, which are Greek by their very nature … these should go to Russia? The Dodecanese Islands which Turkey had taken from Greece and which Italy in turn had taken from the Turks in 1912, these islands should go to Russia? No greater travesty on justice could be perpetrated in the peace to come than to refuse to give these islands to the people to whom they rightfully belong. The Dodecanese Islands belong to Greece. Greece should have the Dodecanese Islands and her frontiers in the Epirus should be adjusted. Her boundaries should be drawn anew in Macedonia and in Thrace also.
IF GREECE HAD ACCEPTED ITALIAN DEMANDS WE MIGHT WELL BE LIVING IN A DIFFERENT WORLD. THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN WOULD HA VE BECOME AN AXIS LAKE. WE IN AMERICA MIGHT NEVER HAVE HAD THE CHANCE TO PROVIDE THE MEN AND ARMS WHICH SAVED THE WORLD FROM THE STYGIAN BLACKNESS OF GERMAN AND JAPANESE HEGEMONY, IF THE GREEKS HAD NOT FOLLOWED THE SPARTAN CODE … 'Come back with your shield -- or on it.'
Mayor Hubert H. Humphrey of Minneapolis becomes a member of Ahepa Chapter No. 66, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and he also proclaims "Greek Day" in the city for the Ahepa Victory Loan Drive. Humphrey later became U.S. Senator, and Vice President of the United States, and candidate for President … Mayor S. Maestri of New Orleans set aside the week of July 16-23, 1945 as Ahepa Bond Week in New Orleans … Queens Borough President James A. Burke joins Jamaica, N.Y. Chapter … C. L. Leonida of Wichita, Kansas chapter reaches total of $8,285,000 in war bond sales … Lewiston, Me. Ahepa Chapter gave $600 scholarship award to Bates College in memory of the late Prof. George M. Chase, professor of Greek at the school. … Indiana Governor Ralph H. Gates joins the South Bend, Indiana AHEPA Chapter … Lorain, Ohio chapter sponsored a Victory Float in the city's United Nations parade … Fayetteville, N.C. Ahepans started a $5,000 relief fund for relief in their city, following disastrous floods in Fayetteville. Mason City, lowa chapter's Navy Day float wins first prize … U.S. Senator A. McCarran of Nevada becomes a member of Ahepa … Sergeant Christos Karaberis of Manchester, N.H. was awarded America's highest award of valor, the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor by President Truman at Washington, D.C. for personal action in 1944 at Guignola, Italy where during his one-man attack on the enemy, he captured five enemy machine gun positions, killed eight Germans, took twenty-two prisoners, cleared the ridge leading to his company's objective and drove a deep wedge into the enemy line, making it possible for his battalion to occupy important commanding ground.
Within three weeks after the start of the Ahepa Hospitals for Greece drive, more than $170,000 had been collected … Ahepa also organized an All-America Justice for Greece Committee with Past Supreme President George E. Phillies as chairman of the public relations committee … The Justice for Greece Committee was headed by Chauncey Hamlin, national chairman; Sumner Welles, Advisory chairman; and James A. Farley, national vice-chairman. The national committee included a long list of prominent persons from all parts of American life, as well as from the U.S. Congress … George J. Christopher of San Francisco was elected to the office of City and County Supervisor at the November, 1945 elections … John T. Dimtsios elected to Nashua, N.H. Board of Education … Montgomery, Alabama chapter sponsored an Ahepa float in the city Victory Loan parade.
Eugene F. Saber of the U.S. Treasury Department said this of Michael Loris, member of Brooklyn Chapter No. 41:
”America's champion War Bonds Salesman is Michael Loris. Born in Greece, he came to America in 1902 and through all these long years, Mr. Loris has been a solid citizen -- the kind of man you are proud to call American. And Michael Loris has been proud of this American citizenship, proud enough to do something about it.
Mr. Loris is known throughout the New York organization of the U.S. Treasury as chairman of the Greek Division, War Finances Committee, which in the past five drives is credited with bond sales in the amount of $57,354,750. Loris sells principally to the man of small means. He has no millionaire friends who call up and say,
'Hello, Mike, please take my order for $100,000 or $1,000,000.' No, indeed. Loris plods along both day and night. He is not only a familiar figure as he goes about his calling, unostentatiously, in and out of season. With him bonds are always on tap. You can stop him anywhere at anytime and he will sell you a bond. Way back in 1943, Mr. Loris was the first citizen to be awarded the number A-1 citation from the Treasury Department for distinguished service. Since then his efforts and the corresponding results have increased. He is coordinator of the Order of Ahepa He supervised their blood donors' campaign, looks after collection of clothing for Greece, is active in the National War Fund and Red Cross Drives."
And J. Austin Daly of the Treasury Department said: "Mr. Michael Loris has officially been proclaimed the Nation's Champion Salesman of E. Bonds by Mr. Nevil Ford, Chairman of the War Finance Committee.”
Young Johnny Karras of the Argo, Illinois, high school baseball team, is named to the Hearst All-American Baseball team, and wins a trip to New York, to play in the game of East against West All Stars, in which he starred.
President Truman Joins Ahepa
President Harry S. Truman of the United States became a member of the Order of Ahepa in ceremonies at the White House in Washington, D.C. at 11:30 a. m., March 25, 1946. With President Truman at the White House were Supreme President Harris J. Booras and members of the Supreme Lodge. Michael Loris, America's champion war bond salesman, was also at the event.
The Sixth National Banquet was held at the Statler Hilton Hotel in Washington on March 25, 1946, and the principal speaker was Attorney General Tom C. Clark. Chairman of the dinner was C. G. Paris, and Supreme President Harris J. Booras was toastmaster. Other speakers included radio commentator Cedric Foster, William Fitzgibbons, director of the national organizations department of the U.S. Treasury Department, U.S. Senator Robert A. Taft, Congressman John W. McCormack, Senator Joseph O'Mahoney
The Justice for Greece Committee continued its work with a major Senate Resolution introduced in the Congress by Sen. Claude Pepper of Florida, and support from many members of Congress.
The Twenty-fourth Supreme Convention
August 22 to 28, 1946 - Baltimore, Maryland
The 24th Supreme Convention was held in Baltimore, Maryland during the week of August 22-28, 1946, and the following were elected as convention officers: Nicholas Giovan, Chairman; Peter L. Bell, Vice Chairman; and Basil Joannides, Secretary.
Members of the Supreme Lodge present as delegates were: Harris J. Booras, Frank E. Pofanti, Leo J. Lamberson, Stephen S. Scopas, C. G. Paris, Nicholas Economou, George Cotsakis.
MOTHER LODGE: George A. Polos, Nicholas D. Chotas, S. J. Stamos, James Campbell.
PAST SUPREME PRESIDENTS: George C. Vournas, Van A. Nomikos, Achilles Catsonis, Dean Alfange, V.I. Chebithes, George E. Phillies.
DISTRICT GOVERNORS: Sam S. Nakos, C. A. Lazarou, Nicholas P. Brous, Peter J. Carres, Nicholas Saros, George Dimas, C. P. Verinis, Fred Kyros, John Caraphil, S. Roumell, Constantine G. Gatsos, Louis K. Tsaros, Chris Anton, James Carlos, Bill Peterson, Charles D. Exarky, James Fran gos, K. J. Valenas, Peter N. Stevens, Philip Kapelos, George Bezaitis, Spyro Kalivas.
In addition, there were 312 Chapter Delegates at the Baltimore Convention.
The following action was taken by the convention:
(1) Los Angeles was selected as the site of the 1947 convention;
(2) the extension of special initiation fees for returning veterans;
(3) to support all pending Congressional legislation and future legislation for the benefit of veterans of World War II;
(4) that the scheduling of an excursion to Greece in 1948 be left to the discretion of the Supreme Lodge;
(5) that the Justice for Greece Committee be continued for the ensuing year and that all chapters give full support to the Committee;
(6) that the Immigration Committee advocate a change of quota laws to the government and that the Greek quota be increased;
(7) Increased the number of Supreme Governors to four (4) and stated that one of the Supreme Governors would be from Canada;
(8) Limited the number of terms of a Supreme President to two (2) terms;
(9) That the Ahepa Hospitals in Greece program be continued, and that the Greek War Relief proposal to match on a 50-50 basis in money or material in kind any amount of money raised by the Ahepa through its present hospital drive, such m'onies to be used for hospitals in Greece, and that the Greek War Relief shall execute the physical end of this agreement for services such as administrative, technical, etc., is accepted by the Ahepa
The following new Supreme Lodge for the year 1946-47 was elected:
Harris J. Booras, Supreme President; William G. Helis, Supreme Vice President; Nicholas P. Giovan, Supreme Secretary; Aristides Georgiades, Supreme Treasurer; Zack T. Ritsos, Supreme Counsellor; T. Bass, Supreme Governor; William Petros, Supreme Governor; George Cotsakis, Supreme Governor; V. A. Vasiliou, Supreme Governor.
On September 25, 1946 representatives of the Ahepa and the Greek War Relief Association met in Washington, D.C. to work out their mutual agreement on the work of both organizations for a medical assistance program for the people of Greece … . Throughout the Ahepa domain, Ahepa chapters were busy initiating returning war veterans into the Order. … Governor Sam C. Ford of Montana became a member of the Ahepa
An announcement from the Greek War Relief on its fund-raising drive to raise $12,000,000 for the relief of the people of Greece had this to say:
It's all over -- but the suffering! Why is a major Greek War Relief program still necessary two years after the liberation of Greece? Two years of liberation have been all too short to bind the human wounds of four years of hunger, sickness and privation. They have been all too short to heal the material wounds of a shattered and looted agricultural and industrial economy. Probably no country in Europe suffered greater devastation than Greece, certainly none entered the reconstruction era with scantier resources. During the past two years UNRRA has poured over $375,000,000 worth of supplies into Greece in an attempt to put the nation on the road to recovery. Within a few months this lifeline of supplies will be abruptly severed as UNRRA ceases operations in December, 1946. Every responsible official who has worked in Greece warns that the Greek people cannot shoulder their rehabilitation problems alone. In this crisis, the Greek War Relief is Greece's chief hope-unless its program is maintained and expanded, the Greek people face years of continued suffering and misery. To make certain that Greece does not perish, the Greek War Relief is launching a fund-raising campaign this fall and winter with a national goal of $12,000,000. Your contribution will: Erect provincial health centers whose clinics, laboratories, and hospital facilities will fight tuberculosis, malaria and the host of other diseases which now take a frightful toll of Greek lives; Provide a warm nourishing noon lunch for nearly 2,000,000 malnourished children whose stunted bodies bear tragic testimony to long years of starvation and misery; Rescue 375,000 homeless war orphans, who now roam the streets begging for bread, and place them in foster homes where they will receive the care and affection that every child requires; Give thousands of disabled veterans, gallant fighters in the cause of freedom, the chance to become self-supporting citizens by providing them with artificial limbs.
William G. Helis, Ahepa Supreme Vice President, was elected National President of the Greek War Relief Association, while former President Spyros P. Skouras became Chairman of the Board of Directors. Other newly elected directors were: George Xanthaky, Thomas Pappas, Peter Boudoures, Charles Davis Kotsilibas, Paul Demos, S. Gregory Taylor, Van A. Nomikos.
Staff writer R. H. Markham of the Christian Science Monitor noted that:
In no country was a larger proportion of the homes destroyed during the war than in Greece. In addition, Greek transportation is largely dislocated. Some of the main railroad lines still are unusable, two years after the Germans evacuated Greece. A large proportion of the destroyed bridges and culverts are still out. With a shortage of boats, a lack of bridges and an insufficiency of locomotives, it is difficult for one to travel from Athens to Greece's chief northern city, Salonika.
Travel anywhere in Greece is hard. Large sums are required for even partial reconstruction and the current national income cannot provide them. Even less can it provide funds for grain imports. An additional burden on Greece is the necessity of maintaining a substantial armed force to preserve internal order. After a war with both Germany and Italy, a civil war, and a prewar dictatorship that was preceded by several revolutions, Greece has need of stability. And an army is required to preserve that stability. The Greeks, though politically rather unstable, play a key role in world affairs. Their prosperity and tranquility are matters of much importance for the United States. Therefore, for political as well as humane reasons, the Greek nation must be helped. America would make a serious mistake if it removed Greece from its conscience and its heart.
The question of Greece's boundaries and reparations became a vital question before the Big Four, and the Justice for Greece Committee was actively engaged in 1946 in supporting the claims of Greece before the eyes of the world and the United Nations. Honorary Chairman of the Committee was Mrs. Calvin Coolidge, with Chauncey J. Hamlin as Chairman, Sumner Welles as Chairman of the Advisory Board, and Supreme President Harris J. Booras and Past Supreme President George E. Phillies also participating. Russia was actively engaged in taking concessions away from Greece in favor of her communistic satellites in Europe.
The Manchester, N.H. Daughters of Penelope collected more than $5,000 for the Ahepa Hospital Drive … . Chapters everywhere were now raising funds for the Ahepa Hospital Drive, as well as for the Greek War Relief drive … . Bill H. Kalivas of Fayetteville, N.C. had collected more than $3,000 for the hospital drive
… Providence, R. I. Ahepans honor U.S. Senator Theodore Francis Green of Rhode Island with a dinner for his efforts for Justice for Greece … . In speaking at a dinner in New York City given for visiting Greek Prime Minister Tsaldaris, James A. Farley said:
Subtly the whole good cause of Greece has been made an ideological battleground for two great conflicting theories of government. The Greeks chose to remain where they had been from the beginning; in our camp and on our side. As a result, they have been subjected to pressure from within, to forays from without and to a campaign of almost unparalleled vilification. The precise mold and form that the Greek political state takes at the present time is after all primarily the concern of Greeks. We are committed to the right of people to live under governments of their own choosing. The Greeks have made their choice. The fact that another body of organized political thought (the Communists) finds that choice disadvantageous to its own aims, does not modify in any degree the right of the Greeks to do as they have done or the justices of the claims that Greece may make upon her friends and Allies. I submit, Sir, that a certain amount of political dust has been thrown in the eyes of right-thinking and well-meaning persons in a desperate attempt to blind them to the issues. Greece needs friends as she has never before in recent times needed them.
Former President Herbert Hoover also spoke at the same dinner for Tsaldaris in late 1946, in support of the Greek cause … . Among the notables giving their moral and financial support to the Greek War Relief campaign were comedian Joe E. Brown, and star Sophie Tucker.
The Truman Doctrine
The Truman Doctrine arose from a speech delivered by President Truman before a joint session of Congress on March 12, 1947. The immediate cause for the speech was a recent announcement by the British Government that, as of March 31, it would no longer provide military and economic assistance to the Greek Government in its civil war against the Greek Communist Party.
President Harry S. Truman spoke and presented the following message and appeal for Greece:
The gravity of the situation which confronts the world today necessitates my appearance before a joint session of the Congress. The foreign policy and the national security of this country are involved. The United States has received from the Greek government an urgent appeal for financial and economic assistance. Preliminary reports from the American Economic Mission now in Greece and reports from the American Ambassador in Greece corroborate the statement of the Greek Government that assistance is imperative if Greece is to survive as a free nation. When the forces of liberation entered Greece they found that the retreating Germans had destroyed virtually all the railways, roads, port facilities, communications, and merchant marine.
More than a thousand villages had been burned. Eighty-five percent of the children were tubercular. Livestock, poultry, and draft animals had almost disappeared. Inflation had wiped out practically all savings. As a result of these tragic conditions, a militant minority, exploiting human want and misery, was able to create political chaos which, until now, has made economic recovery impossible. Greece is today without funds to finance importation of those goods which are essential to bare subsistence.
Under these circumstances the people of Greece cannot make progress in solving their problems of reconstruction. Greece is in desperate need of financial and economic assistance to enable it to resume purchase of food, clothing, fuel and seeds. These are indispensable for the subsistence of its people and are obtainable only from abroad. Greece must have help to import the goods necessary to restore internal order and security so essential for economic and political recovery. The Greek Government has also asked for the assistance of experienced American administrators, economists, and technicians to insure that the financial and other aid given to Greece shall be used effectively in creating a stable and self-sustaining economy and in improving its public administration.
The very existence of the Greek state is today threatened by the terrorist activities of several thousand armed men, led by Communists, who defy the Government's authority at a number of points, particularly along the northern boundaries. A commission appointed by the United Nations Security Council is at present investigating disturbed conditions in Northern Greece and alleged border violations along the frontiers between Greece on the one hand and Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia on the other.
Meanwhile, the Greek Government is unable to cope with the situation. The Greek Army is small and poorly equipped. It needs supplies and equipment if it is to restore the authority to the Government throughout Greek territory. Greece must have assistance if it is to become a self-supporting and self-respecting democracy. The United States must supply this assistance. We have already extended to Greece certain types of relief and economic aid but these are inadequate.
There is no other country to which democratic Greece can turn. No other nation is willing and able to provide the necessary support for a democratic Greek Government. I do not believe that the American people and the Congress wish to turn a deaf ear to the appeal of the Greek Government. Great responsibilities have been placed upon us by the swift movements of events. I am confident that the Congress will face these responsibilities squarely.
The U.S. Congress responded affirmatively, and the first steps were soon taken by the United States which ultimately saved Greece from complete communistic takeover.
Vermont Chapter No. 244 made history in late 1946 when the members initiated into the Ahepa two United States Senators, and one Governor. Senators George D. Aiken and Ralph E. Flanders, and Vermont Governor Ernest W. Gibson joined the Ahepa chapter … The Vermonters at the meeting also handed Supreme President Booras a check for $10,800 for the Ahepa hospital drive … Senator William F. Knowland of California becomes a member of the Oakland, California Ahepa chapter.
Reports indicated that Greece's northern neighbors, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Albania were giving refuge to, training and equipping Greek communist bands, who were carrying on a minor civil war in the frontier areas and other isolated sections of the country … A New York Times correspondent reported that Greece was torn by civil strife, and was also being threatened by her northern neighbors, Bulgaria, Albania and Yugoslavia; that the drachma exchange went from 5,000 to 8,000 to the dollar. Upon the death of King George, Paul becomes King of Greece. He reported that about 60,000 persons were killed in the December 1944, fighting in Athens in the civil war, or else were murdered in cold blood by the leftists in a bid for power.
"The Germans no longer are among the Greeks, but the Communists are, and they are the inheritors of the stored up hatred of many years of dictatorship, occupation, and civil war. If the freedom of the Greek people to go about their private affairs in calm security is suddenly removed, we Americans feel that our freedom is threatened too. This is the measure of how close-knit the world has become."
-Senator Arthur H. Vandenburg.
"We are coming; to the aid of all the Greek people, in the hope that we may enable them to meet a trying period and to help them establish a unified, stable and peaceful Greece. It is as simple as that."
- Secretary of State George Marshall
On April 1, 1947, Ahepa held its first air-borne excursion to Greece, when 24 members, headed by Supreme President Harris J. Booras, flew to Athens from Boston in a Trans World Airlines plane. The plane stopped briefly at Newfoundland, Ireland, Paris and Rome before reaching Greece. The trip took 30 hours. King George of Greece died while the plane was en route, and the Ahepans attended the coronation of the new King Paul after their arrival in Athens. The Ahepans were enthusiastically received by the people of Greece and given several receptions, and also visited with King Paul. They also laid the cornerstone for the Ahepa hospital in Athens, and the cornerstone for the Ahepa hospital in Salonika. Ambassador to Greece Lincoln MacVeagh endorsed America's policy of aid to Greece, and Governor Dewey of New York also endorsed Truman's policy of aid to Greece.
Ahepan Thomas N. Christie of Minneapolis is elected to the Minnesota State Legislature …
The fraternity published a special Silver Anniversary edition of The Ahepan magazine for its July - August, 1947 issue, which carried a brief history of the fraternity, as well as individual histories of the Ahepa chapters. Past Supreme Secretary Louis P. Maniatis was Editor of the special issue.
The Twenth-Fifth Supreme Convention
August 17 to 23, 1947 - Los Angeles, California
The 25th Supreme Convention was held in Los Angeles, California during the week of August 17-23, 1947. Convention officers elected were: John G. Thevos, Chairman; Peter L. Bell, Vice Chairman; Pantelis Lambros, Secretary.
Supreme Lodge delegates were: Harris J. Booras, William G. Helis, Nicholas C. Giovan, Zack T. Ritsos, Aristides G. Georgiades, William Petros, Vasilios A. Vasiliou, George J. Cotsakis, and Tim Bass.
Mother Lodge: S. J. Stamos, Harry Angelopoulos, George A. Polos, James Campbell.
District Governors: Pete Lezos, Nick Jack, Speros A. Versis, William Serras, James A. Millas, George H. Miller, Andrew Dedopolos, John S. Caraphil, Socrates V. Sekles, Peter Kourmoules, A.T. Tsoumas, James Yiannias, Stephen A. Prayson, Steve Pappas, Panayes G. Dikeou, George Nachicas, George Bezaitis, Nick Carras, Mike Colias, Pete Lambros, Steve Pepps, James Brahos, Peter S. Marthakis.
In addition, there were 333 Chapter delegates attending this convention.
Action taken by the convention:
(1) That a 1948 excursion to Greece be held if conditions permit;
(2) Detroit was selected as the site of the 1948 convention;
(3) Van A. Nomikos was elected National Advisor to the Sons of Pericles;
(4) Established the fraternity 25 years of service pin for members;
(5) That all applicants for membership will be investigated as to whether they are members of any subversive group and must assure investigating committees for membership that they are free of any and all Communist taint or subversive group;
(6) To support legislation favorable to increasing Greek immigration;
(7) Required minimum of 35 new members to establish a new Ahepa chapter in a city where a chapter already exists;
(8) Pledged full support of President Truman's foreign policy.
The new Supreme Lodge elected was: William G. Helis, Supreme President; John G. Thevos, Supreme Vice President; Peter L. Bell, Supreme Secretary; Aristides Georgiades, Supreme Treasurer; Zack T. Ritsos, Supreme Counsellor; Peter N. Derzis, Supreme Governor; George Bezaitis, Supreme Governor; James J. Starr, Supreme Governor; Tim Bass, Supreme Governor.
"It is the view of the United States government that Greece is in grave peril. This peril results from the guerrilla warfare being waged against the Greek Government by Communist-led hands actively supported by Albania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia and by the Communist Party of Greece. It is perfectly clear that the governments of the three northern countries are working in close conjunction with the Greek Communists with a common objective: The establishment in Greece of a minority, totalitarian government which would be subservient to the Communist-controlled countries. "
- U.S. Deputy Representative Herschel V. Johnson.
Atlanta Chapter #1 celebrated the Ahepa's 25th Anniversary with an anniversary dinner attended by several hundred persons with the Mother Lodge as honor guests. Also present was attorney Carl F. Hutcheson of Atlanta, who drew the Ahepa Charter at the institution of the fraternity in 1922
James Skufakis (James Scofield, who later became Sons of Pericles Supreme President) and Theodore Stathis awarded District #12 scholarships … The Ahepa and the Greek War Relief Association make final plans for the medical program for Greece with the following projects:
(1) Erection of a wing to Evangelismos Hospital in Athens to be known as the Ahepa Wing of the hospital, which would add 400 new hospital beds;
(2) Erection of an Ahepa Hospital in Salonika, to be a part of the Medical School of the University of Salonika;
(3) Construction of Ahepa Health Centers in Greece at Chryssoupolis, Kalavryta, Paramythia, Molai, Meligala, and Ierapetra.
Mayor Frank H. Eggers of Jersey City joins Ahepa chapter #108 ... Americans of Greek descent seize every opportunity to visit Greece as travel restrictions ease … Professor Karl Lehman of New York University reports that Bulgarian occupation forces on the island of Samothrace had looted and deliberately destroyed some of the island's historical ruins during the war … New York Times staff correspondent C. L. Sulzberger reports that the U.S. stand on Greece has deterred Russia from forcing a showdown over the country . ... Maj. Gen. William G. Livesay, chief of the United States Army Group under the American Mission for Aid to Greece, reported that the Greek army was now superior in every respect to the guerrillas in Greece, and capable of carrying out successful operations against them ... Col. Daniel E. Wright of the U.S. Public Health Service, as representative of the Rockefeller Foundation and adviser of the Greek government health services, and in charge of the health division of the American Mission for Aid to Greece, reported improvements of general health in Greece … Twenty-six camps started operation in Greece for Greek children, under the auspices of the Greek government and the Greek War Relief Association.
The Chicago chapters initiated Mayor Hartin H. Kennelly, Congressman William G. Stratton, State Attorney William J. Tuohy, Chief J ustice Cornelius Harrington, and other outstanding civic leaders before 1,200 Ahepans at the Morrison Hotel. ... Supreme President William G. Helis requests the support of Congress to increase the Greek quota of immigration from 307 to at least 3,000 per year.
Dr. Simon G. Markos, member of the Dover, N.H. chapter is unanimously elected Mayor of Dover by the City Council. The local newspaper summarized a long article on the new Mayor by stating: "So, the man who never campaigned, who never solicited a vote, who never ran for office before in his life, who never voted a straight party ticket, and who once shined the shoes of many who voted for him, is the mayor of New Hampshire's oldest, and one time most politically minded city."
The 7th National Banquet honoring the Congress of the United States was held on March 29, 1948 at the Statler Hotel in Washington, D.C.
President Harry S. Truman, member of Kansas City, Mo. Chapter No. 73, attended this banquet, and headed a guest list of 269 Members of Congress, as well as other government officials. President Truman's later remark on the banquet was: "I have never had a more enthusiastic reception anywhere." President Truman said during his address that evening as he recalled his speech to Congress on March 12, 1947 when he requested the Greek aid program:
This country has never asked for anything but peace and prosperity in the world for all peoples and for all countries. We have never shut the door against any country. We are willing to talk peace and international intercourse with any country in the world, but we will not stand idly by and see the liberties of the world debauched.
The first Ahepa Health Center in Greece was completed and opened for public use at Chryssoupolis, in northeastern Greece, on March 14, 1948, and was the first hospital building to be erected in Greece since the 1944 liberation of the country … Construction had started on the Ahepa Wing at Evangelismos hospital in Athens, and on the other health centers. Surveys were progressing on the Salonika Ahepa Hospital, and plans were being completed … U.S. Representative William W. Bradley introduced a bill in Congress to increase the annual Greek immigration quota an additional five thousand … First reports were received in the U.S. that the Communists near the northern boundaries of Greece were abducting Greek children from villages, and that more than 15,000 such abductions had already taken place.
Supreme President Helis reports that communist guerrillas had come down from the hills above Kalavryta, attacked and plundered the village, and forced stoppage on the Ahepa Health Center at Kalavryta. Work stopped for about one month, then resumed again. Also that impassable roads due to guerrilla activity had slowed work on the Filiatra, Mesinia Ahepa Health Center. He reported that by July 1, 1948, construction work was about 60% complete on the remaining projects … Brother Helis was also National President of the Greek War Relief Association, as well as Supreme President of the Ahepa … Ohio Supreme Court Judge James Garfield Steward joins the Cincinnati chapter.
At noon on July 17, 1948, an olive wood brand was lighted from the sun's rays, and the flame was transferred to an ancient lamp, and then to a torch in the hand of a young Greek athlete at Olympia, Greece, the site of the ancient Olympic Games of Greece. The Greek athlete then started off on the first stretch of a 2,000 mile journey to London, site of the 1948 Olympic Games. A thousand Greek soldiers guarded the path of the torch bearers in Greece, since an intercepted guerrilla radio broadcast served notice that the communist guerrillas would do everything possible to prevent the Olympic flame from leaving Greece.
The scene was under the protective eyes also of reconnaissance planes and Spitfire fighters. The Olympic torch was lighted by 19 year old Maria Angelopoulou of Pyrgos, and the first torch bearer was a commando soldier, Constantine Dimitrelis, who took off his martial uniform before accepting the torch. The torch went in relays to Corfu, then Italy and finally to London. A package of Olympia earth was also sent to London's Lord Mayor to be scattered on the Wembley, London, track. The first Olympics were held in Greece in 776 B.C.
The Twenty-Sixth Supreme Convention
August 15 to 21, 1948 - Detroit, Michigan
The 26th Supreme Convention was held during the week of August 15-21, 1948 in Detroit, Michigan. Convention officers elected were: George A. Polos, Chairman; Constantine G. Economou, Vice Chairman; Peter Peterson, Secretary. Present as delegates
SUPREME LODGE: William G. Helis, John G. Thevos, Peter L. Bell, Aristides Georgiades, Zack T. Ritsos, James J. Starr, Tim Bass, George Bezaitis, and Peter Derzis.
MOTHER LODGE: George A. Polos, and James Campbell.
Immediate Past Supreme President: Harris J. Booras.
DISTRICT GOVERNORS: Peter Lezos, Nick Serros, Speros A. Versis, Peter V. Paulus, Kurt M. Sinner, George Kastrinos, Athan M. Arugel, William Genimatas, Socrates V. Sekles, John Kras, Sophocles N. Pancol, A.T. Tsoumas, William D. Kleason, Stephen Pepps, Panayes G. Dikeou, Tony Kontgas, John E. Dakis, Stephen Berdalis, Nick Carras, Peter Grammar, Alex G. Poullos.
In addition, there were 423 Chapter Delegates attending the convention.
Action was taken by the convention on the following:
(1) Miami was selected as the site of the 1949 convention;
(2) That the Supreme Lodge have authority to hold an excursion to Greece in 1949 if conditions permit;
(3) To establish an Ahepa Job Placement Bureau for veterans;
(4) That a student loan fund be established;
(5) Try to effect a summer program in Greece for members of the Ahepa Family between the ages of 18 and 30, the expenses to be derived from voluntary contributions from chapters;
(6) That the Districts issue monthly or bi-monthly publications for their respective memberships;
(7) That all colleges and universities be encouraged to offer Greek language courses;
(8) That a Public Relations Committee be established by the Supreme Lodge, and Chapter public relations councils be also established;
(9) That the United States be urged to support the demands of the people of Cyprus for the return of the island to Greece;
(10) Raised the Per Capita Tax to $5 per year per member;
(11) That the Chapters be asked to give financial aid to the people on the island of Lefkos.
The following were elected as the new Supreme Lodge: William G. Helis, Supreme President; John G. Thevos, Supreme Vice President; Peter L. Bell, Supreme Secretary; James J. Starr, Supreme Treasurer; A.A. Pantelis, Supreme Counsellor; Peter Grammar, Supreme Governor for Canada; Peter N. Derzis, Supreme Governor; George Bezaitis, Supreme Governor; Charles N. Diamond, Supreme Governor.
The Washington, D.C. Ahepa chapters honored New York Yankee catcher Gus Niarhos with presentation to him of a new car. Niarhos was a member of Capital Chapter No. 236 of Washington, D.C.
In late 1948, the Ahepa Health Center at Thebes, Greece was completed and ready for use … The Ierapetra Ahepa Health Center m Crete was also dedicated in late November, 1948.
His Eminence Archbishop Athenagoras of the Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America was elected Patriarch of Constantinople on November 1, 1948, after serving his church in America since February 24, 1931. The Patriarch was flown to Constantinople to assume his new office in President Harry S. Truman's presidential plane, "The Sacred Cow," in late January, 1949 … Minnesota state representative Thomas N. Christie of the Minneapolis Chapter was re-elected to the state legislature … Baltimore Chapter No. 30 initiates Maryland Governor William Preston Lane, and Baltimore Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr., into the Ahepa … U.S. Representative Frank R.Havenner of California joins Ahepa Chapter #235 of San Francisco … Anthony Papadakis, member of the Oakland, Cal. Chapter, is named "Man of the Year" for the city of Richmond, California by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce … Past Supreme Vice President P.S. Marthakis of Salt Lake City is elected to the Utah State Senate. He previously served in the Utah house of representatives … Governor G. Mennen Williams of Michigan initiated into the Lansing, Michigan chapter. ... Brother Christian X. Kouray appointed as City Manager of Schenectady, N.Y., at 32 years of age … John Pappas of Troy, N.Y. chapter serving as Postmaster of Buskirk, N.Y. for several years … Supreme Governor Peter Grammar is elected to the City Council of St. Catherine's, Ontario, Canada … George Christopher was re-elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors with the highest number of votes of any candidate, and also selected as President of the Board of Supervisors.
Ahepa urges Congress to amend the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 so as to permit up to 50,000 Greek nationals to enter the United States during the years 1949 and 1950 without regard to existing limitations on Greek immigration. The E.C.A. Mission to Greece figures showed that there were 660,000 displaced persons in Greece as of Dec. 31, 1948, and at least 300,000 orphans as well. Ahepa proposed that the Greek-American community of the United States would see that these displaced persons and orphans would be properly taken care of, if brought to the United States … Supreme Vice-President John G. Thevos is appointed as commissioner for the Paterson, N.J. Board of Education for a three-year term …
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Chapter #26 sponsored a "Pihos - Mackrides" Day to honor Pete Pihos and Bill Mackrides, members of the Philadelphia Eagles football team, national football league champions. The special day was held on Nov. 28, 1948 during the game between the Eagles and the Steelers.
… The Daughters of Penelope announced a drive to collect supplies and equipment for the Ahepa Hospitals and Health Centers in Greece … James Mezilson of Chicago #348 joins the staff of U.S. Senator Paul Douglas, Illinois, in Washington … St. Louis, Mo. Chapter #53 establishes a C.B. Johannides Memorial Scholarship in memory of the Ahepa's first Executive Secretary at Headquarters.
The Ahepa Pavilion, or Ahepa Wing of Evangelismos Hospital in Athens, Greece is completed, becoming a main unit of the hospital with an added 400 hospital beds … The lerapetra, Crete, Ahepa Health Center was already serving 1,000 patients a month … The Thebes Ahepa Health Center served 6,648 people during its first three months in operation ... The Chryssoupoulis center more than 12,000 persons since opening …
Greek newspaper comments on the AHEPA Health Centers: "It should be stressed that the Centers are equipped and constructed according to the most modern hospital concepts, combining beauty and serviceability. The Health Center at Thebes is located among old buildings, and stands out as an architectural jewel, a really wonderful sight. Its scientific equipment is the last word in American hospital construction … This Health Center should become a model for many more to be erected throughout the country."
Prime Minister Sofoulis of Greece wrote:
Ahepa, this much beloved and active organization which holds all the vitality of our race in the United States of America, can be proud of the accomplishments of Greek War Relief with which it is identified and behind which it always stands, as an unseen spirit that realizes and appreciates our needs. It is fortunate indeed that you have brought together for action all our friends and that you have saved Greece from a cataclysm of misfortunes with the permission and assistance ·of the great countries, the United States of America and Canada. I express the deep gratitude of Greece to your organization, the work of which will forever remain as the highest example of human altruism, an example that will inspire respect and admiration to the generations that will follow and honor the founders and collaborators of this task which will remain as the highest expression of the best feelings of the free people for their suffering fellow-people. May God bless your work. We are grateful.
The 27th Supreme Convention
August 15 to 21, 1949 - Miami, Florida
The 27th Supreme Convention was held in Miami, Fla., during the week of August 15-21, 1949, and the following were elected as convention officers: John K. Douglas, Chairman; H. Sanders Angela, Vice Chairman; and John C. Mitchell, Secretary.
SUPREME LODGE delegates were: William G. Helis, John G. Thevos, Peter L. Bell, James J. Starr, A. A. Pantelis, Charles N. Diamond, Peter Grammar, George Bezaitis, Peter N. Derzis.
MOTHER LODGE delegates were: Spiros Stamos, George A. Polos, James Campbell, and George Campbell.
DISTRICT GOVERNOR delegates were: Speros Zepatos, C.G. Marcos, Andrew D. Vozeolas, Peter V. Paulus, James Argyros, Leon J. Marketos, George J. Margoles, John Rousomanis, William Genimatas, John Priggooris, John Kras, Theo. N. Tsangaris, George Kapetanakis, V.C. Beskas, Steve E. Pepps, Gus Callas, Leo Athans, Stephen Berdalis, Gus Rakus, P. Destun.
In addition, there were 224 Chapter delegates in attendance.
The new Supreme Lodge elected by the Miami convention was: John G. Thevos, Supreme President; Constantine G. Economou, Supreme Vice President; Peter N. Derzis, Supreme Secretary; Charles Preketes, Supreme Treasurer; Peter L. Bell, Supreme Counsellor; Pantelis B. Lambros, Supreme Governor; Constantine P. Verinis, Supreme Governor; Peter Grammar, Supreme Governor for Canada.
Highlights and mandates of the convention were;
(1) The U.S. Treasury Department made Savings Bonds Awards to both the Order of Ahepa, and the Daughters of Penelope;
(2) That the Order of Ahepa urges the Senate and the House of Representatives to take immediate and favorable action on an amendment to the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 so as to permit at least 50,000 Greek orphans, and other refugees in Greece who have been driven from their homes as a result of the Communist war, to enter the United States during the years 1949 and 1950 under the provisions of the Displaced Persons Act and without regard to the existing Quota of Limitations on Greek Immigration;
(3) That a permanent National Immigration Committee be appointed by the Supreme Lodge;
(4) To hold a 1950 Excursion to Greece;
(5) Donated $500 to the relief of victims of the Ecuadorean earthquake;
(6) Endorsed the work of the Foster Parent Plan for War Children and urged chapters and members to work for and with the plan;
(7) That final title of the Ahepa Sanatorium be given to the Supreme Lodge of the Order of Ahepa, and that neither the whole property nor any part of it be sold, or leased for longer than five years, without vote of the Supreme Covention;
(8) Contributed $500 to the Chios Society, and $500 to the Pan Macedonian Society;
(9) Elected Chris Athas, George E. Johnson, and John Manta as Directors of the Ahepa Sanatorium property.
Ahepa in Australia
Past District Governor Anthony Aroney visited the Ahepa chapters in Australia, and reported to the Supreme Lodge that there were six Ahepa chapters in the states of Queensland and New South Wales and seven chapters in the formative stage in the state of Victoria, Western and Southern Australia. The Supreme Lodge of Australia was:
Peter Aronis, Supreme President; Stelianos Georgiades, Supreme Secretary; Michael Pavlakes, Supreme Treasurer; and the following Supreme Governors: Eustratios Christofides, Michael Karolos, Demetrios Andronicos, George Trovas, Valerios Beneras, Demetrios Evlavos, and Emanuel Fardoulis
George E. Geroulis was appointed National Chairman of the Scholarship Fund Committee, and Executive Committee members were: John Priggooris, John Kras, George A. Speros, George Kapetanakis, George M. Paradise … Indiana Governor Henry F. Schricker joins the Indianapolis Ahepa Chapter … Sons of Pericles Past Supreme President Christ J. Petrow becomes executive secretary to Governor Val Peterson of Nebraska … Ahepa District No. 18 established scholarship award for the outstanding student of Greek Literature at the University of Montana … The Sacramento, California, Chapter district convention banquet in 1949 had two State Governors as speakers: Governor Earl Warren of California and Governor Vail Pittman of Nevada.
The Ahepa noted in 1949 that it had given 260 national Ahepa scholarships over the past several years … The Supreme Lodge under Supreme President Thevos began an all-out campaign to establish new chapters and revive inactive chapters, and established 11 new chapters and reactivated 12 chapters from the end of the Miami convention to March, 1950 … The new Supreme Lodge also changed the format of the Ahepan from a regular magazine format, to a tabloid newspaper format style, however, this new format lasted for only that one term, or administration. The following September, 1950, The Ahepan reverted to its prior magazine format.
In early 1950, the fraternity held meetings to arouse public opinion for the liberation of the 28,000 Greek children who had been abducted during the Greek civil war by communist guerrillas and taken to various Iron Curtain nations. Speakers noted that
"During the conflict between the government of Greece and the Russian-backed Greek Communist guerrillas, the latter conducted one of the most unspeakable campaigns in all human history by abducting thousands of Greek children ranging in age from 3 to 15, from the areas of guerrilla operations and transporting them behind the Iron Curtain. Of these, 2,000 were taken to Albania, 2,650 to Bulgaria, about 3,000 to Hungary, 3,800 to Romania, 2,235 to Czechoslovakia, 11,000 to Yugoslavia and many have since been moved to Poland and Eastern Germany. The United Nations has condemned this violation of fundamental human rights but its resolutions asking the immediate restoration of these young people to their homes have been ignored."
Ahepa chapters sponsored meetings in all parts of the country for this cause.
George M. Paradise of the Sioux City, Iowa Chapter was appointed Judge of the Municipal Court of Sioux City … Brother George Christopher was the President of the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco … Supreme Governor Peter Grammar was elected to the City Council of Saint Catherine's in Ontario, Canada … A referendum vote taken among Ahepa Chapter membership approved a change of Chapter elections of officers from December to June of each year, but the change proved unpopular, and the fraternity soon reverted back to elections of Chapter Officers in December, with new officers taking office on January 1 of each calendar year … A proposition for an Atlanta Shrine, where Ahepa was founded, was defeated by a 2 to 1 vote of the chapters.
The Fayetteville, N.C. Observer had this to say:
It goes without saying that Fayetteville was pleased to play host yesterday to some several hundred persons of Greek birth or ancestry who gathered in this city for a meeting of the Order of Ahepa. In days when it is politically expedient to exploit so-called "minorities" in this country, we don't see anybody shedding any crocodile tears over the plights of the Greeks in this country. The reason for this is very plain: your average Greek-American is not in any "plight." He doesn't feel sorry for himself. He is not passing around the hat for sympathy and he is not trying to get on any unemployment dole. Because there is built into the Greek character those traits which make for self-sufficiency: thrift, the willingness to work, having sense of humor, self-respect and courage.
The individual with these traits can look the world in the face. He never has to worry about being a minority, because he feels like a majority. And he is."
The roster of new Chapter Presidents shows an increasing number of returning war veterans, and former members of the Sons of Pericles … The first post-war Ahepa Excursion to Greece sailed on March 17, 1950 on board the Greek liner Nea Hellas from New York, under the commandership of Paul Demos of Chicago. Vice Commander was Panayes Dikeou of Denver. The excursionists were feted upon their arrival with receptions and dinners by the government and by private groups in Greece. During their stay, the excursionists dedicated the new Ahepa Wing of Evangelismos Hospital in Athens, and also visited Patriarch Athenagoras at the Patriarchate in Constantinople. The Patriarch was visibly moved upon seeing so many friends of his 18 years as Archbishop in America. They also visited Salonika to witness work on the Ahepa Hospital there, still under contruction .... It was noted that the Miami Supreme Convention had adopted "Demeter's Manual of Parliamentary Law and Procedure" as the fraternity's parliamentary law authority. The book was written by Past Supreme President George Demeter, and also has been adopted by numerous other organizations as a more efficient parliamentary law authority than Robert's Rules of Order.
Mayor Robert Wagner, Jr. is initiated into Chapter #42, New York City .... U.S. Representative Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., also initiated into Chapter #42 .... Mayor Vernon Anderson of Hammond, Indiana, initiated into the Hammond chapter.
The 8th National Banquet honoring the Congress of the United States was held in Washington on March 7, 1950, and the principal speaker was Secretary of Labor Maurice Tobin. Postmaster General Jesse M. Donaldson also attended as did the usual number of Senators and Congressmen at these Ahepa biennial dinners. Chairman was Basil Thomas, and Past Supreme President V.I. Chebithes was the toastmaster. Senators McMahon and Homer Ferguson also spoke .... The Daughters of Penelope reported a total of $9,091.18 raised for supplies and equipment for the Ahepa Hospitals in Greece .... The winners of the Sons of Pericles and Maids of Athena Essay Contest on the subject "American Citizenship, Its Privileges and Responsibilities" were: First place, Nicholas T. Prepouses; Second place, Helen Margellos; and Third place, John C. Sedell. ... Basil A. Joannides of Manchester, N.H. is cited and decorated by the French government for his services to the cause of French-American understanding and friendship.
The Twenty-Eighth Supreme Convention
August 14 to 20, 1950 - Cleveland, Ohio
The 28th Supreme Covention was held in Cleveland, Ohio during the week of August 14-20, 1950 and the following were elected convention officers: Louis J. Dukas, Chairman; John C. Mitchell, Vice Chairman; Spero Custis, Secretary.
SUPREME LODGE delegates were: John G. Thevos, Constantine G. Economou, Peter N. Derzis, Peter L. Bell, Charles Preketes, Constantine P. Verinis, Nick Strattin, Pantelis Lambros, Peter Grammar.
MOTHER LODGE delegates were: Spiros J. Stamos, George A. Polos, James Vlass.
DISTRICT GOVERNOR delegates were: Gregory Kolivas, Sam F. Felos, Bill Simopoulos, Spero Custis, X. K. Microutsicos, Louis J. Dukas, George J. Margoles, George M. Papadopoulos, John P. Priggooris, Perry E. Pakes, George Kapetanakis, D. N. Karalis, George H. Payne, John B. Grivas, Gus D. Bruskas, John Cardos, Peter Tamaras, Gust Rakus, Paul Destin, Chris A. Politz.
In addition, there were 294 Chapter Delegates in attendance.
The convention approved the following:
(1) That the Ahepa favored a means of achieving union of the Island of Cyprus with Greece and that the matter be placed on the agenda of the Congress and the United Nations;
(2) That the Ahepa express its appreciation to the Save the Children Federation for its work, and that all members and chapters support this program;
(3) That the historic Macedonian borderline of Greece be safeguarded for the protection of Macedonia and of Greece;
(4) Minneapolis, Minn. was selected as the 1951 convention site;
(5) That the Ahepa Florida Property in Pinellas County, Fla. be offered for lease either for farming, cattle grazing or cattle raising or for citrus farming;
(6) To continue the Scholarship funds under the supervision of the Supreme Lodge;
(7) To urge the Congress and the United Nations to clearly establish the boundaries of Northern Epirus and reaffirm the Greek territorial jurisdiction thereof;
(8) Established a Supreme Advisory Board for the Sons of Pericles;
(9) Authorized and directed the new Supreme Lodge to implement the action of Congress of allowing 10,000 Greek persons and orphans to enter the United States by establishing an Ahepa Displaced Persons Board of nine members, and appropriating $10,000 for the operation of the Board;
(10) To hold an Excursion to Greece in 1951;
(11) Appropriated $2,000 for the relocation of the Ahepa bust of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to a more appropriate site at Hyde Park;
(12) Appropriated $5,000 as a donation to St. Basil's Academy, Garrison, N.Y.;
(13) Appropriated $500 as a donation to the American Friends of the Blind in Greece, Inc.;
(14) Raised $600 from the floor of the convention as a donation to the New Orleans Holy Trinity Church;
(15)Elected the following to the Ahepa Displaced Persons Committee: Louis Dukas, George A. Polos, Nick Copanos, Chris Anton, Charles N. Diamond, James Veras, George Papanicolas, Leo Ypsilanti;
(16) Elected the following to the Ahepa Sanatorium Board of Directors: John L. Manta, Chris Athas, Louis Preonas.
The following new Supreme Lodge was elected: John G. Thevos, Supreme President; Leo J. Lamberson, Supreme Vice President; Zack T. Ritsos, Supreme Secretary; George T. Geroulis, Supreme Treasurer; William D. Belroy, Supreme Counsellor; Nick Jamson, Supreme Governor; Socrates V. Sekles, Supreme Governor; Peter V. Paulus, Supreme Governor; Sam Galanos, Supreme Governor of Canada.
President Harry S. Truman sent the following message to the Cleveland Convention:
Greece, the ancient homeland of members of Ahepa and their forebears, has long been the battleground of freedom. Through the centuries, as in more recent years, Greece has learned that only through constant struggle can those freedoms be maintained which are the basis of all our happiness as Americans. A few years ago, the proud Hellenic people met and overcame a totalitarian assault on their freedom comparable with the attempted enslavement of Korea which the world witnesses today. Soon after the war ended five years ago it became apparent that one powerful nation did not want world recovery and would not respect the freedom of small nations. Our own country by wholehearted support of the United Nations bore witness to its faith in freedom. We backed our choice with deeds. Besides supporting the U.N. we carried out a practical program of European recovery and military assistance in the common defense of free nations. The field for service today in the cause of world peace and justice in the world is limitless. May I, as my message to the convention in Cleveland, express the hope that Ahepa will again dedicate itself by word and deed to the cause of liberty with peace and justice to all nations.
Herve J. L'Heureux, Chief of the Visa Division, U.S. State Department in Washington, addressed the Cleveland convention, and explained the provisions of the amendment to the Displaced Persons Act allowing for the entry of 10,000 Greek refugees into the United States. U.S. General James A. Van Fleet, who directed the successful war against Communist guerrillas in Greece, as head of American aid to Greece, also spoke to the convention. It must be noted that only American advisors were on the scene in Greece during the civil war, and that no American soldiers or American service men took any active part in the fighting. In his address, General Van Fleet said: "whether by cold or hot war, communism must be destroyed and the sooner the better. Communism is a ruthless enemy, it plays no rules. We have seen in Greece that the communists even shot their own wounded. Greece set an example to the world what a courageous people can do to defeat communism. It was first in Greece that the line of western civilization was held in bloody war against world communism."
The Ahepa Displaced Persons Committee immediately went to work after the convention, and sent instructions to all chapters and members on procedures, requesting that chapters obtain sponsors for the Greek refugees who would provide: employment, living quarters, and the necessary funds to bring the refugees to the United States. It was pointed out that the Order of Ahepa had been designated as "an arm of the government of the United States in administering the resettlement of 10,000 Greek refugees." … Past Supreme Governor George Peterson Cherakis of San Francisco publishes his book "The Hand of Alexander." … Dr. George Athans of Vancouver Chapter was Canada's high point man at the British Empire Games at New Zealand. He competed in the springboard and tower diving events … . Dean J. Lewis of the Newport, R.I. chapter was endorsed as candidate for Mayor of Newport by the Republican City Committee.
Chicago Chapter #46 celebrated its 25th anniversary before 3,000 persons at Pilsen Park, and also, donated 150 volumes of Greek books to the Chicago University Library.
U.S. Attorney General J. Howard McGrath wrote to Ahepa on its Ahepa Displaced Persons Committee:
It is organizations such as Ahepa that have been instrumental in making this (Displaced Persons Act) humanitarian activity possible; and it is organizations such as yours, together with Federal and State Commissions, volunteer local agencies and patriotic individual sponsors, working in team-like fashion, that have been doing the magnificent job with the newcomers that American society desired. As service to mankind has ever been the guiding spirit of your organization, I know the members of the Order of Ahepa will meet this important challenge by happily and ably doing their part of the work that is essential in making the Displaced Persons movement a complete success.
The Ahepa Displaced Persons Committee was certified as a voluntary agency by the Advisory Committee on voluntary foreign aid of the United States Government. The Certificate of Registration issued on November 17, 1950 reads: "This is to certify that Order of Ahepa Displaced Persons Committee is accepted for registration with the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid of the Department of State, effective November 15, 1950, and is assigned Registration No. VFA 058. Registration No. VFA 058 shall remain valid under the terms of 'Acceptance and Termination' in the Conditions of Agency Registration issued September 1, 1948, or any amend men ts thereto, and until the termination date as established by the Displaced Persons Act of 1948, as amended by Public Law 555-8lsL Congress." Besides the Ahepa office at Washington, D.C., the committee also opened an office at the New York Port of Entry, and set its goal of bringing 10,000 Greek refugees to the United States before the deadline of June 30, 1951, as set by the law itself.
U.S. Representative William C. Lantaff of Florida, becomes a member of the Miami Chapter … Hartford, Conn. chapter gives awards to Trinity College for students doing outstanding work in first year Greek … . On January 25, 1951 the Ahepa Chapter in Nassau, Bahamas is established … . Brother Angelo Schiadaressi of Baltimore is appointed by Governor McKeldin of Maryland to the Maryland Correction Board … . Brother Dean J. Lewis of the Newport Chapter is elected Mayor of Newport, R.I., at age 35.
During its March meeting in Washington, D.C. the Ahepa Supreme Lodge visited with President Harry S. Truman at the White House. Those attending were: Supreme President John G. Thevos, Supreme Vice President Leo J. Lamberson; Supreme Secretary Zack T. Ritsos, Supreme Treasurer George Geroulis, Supreme Counsellor William D. Belroy, and Supreme Governors Peter V. Paulus, Stanley Galanos, and Nick Jamson.
The following news article is from The Navy Reporter of 1951:
A Navy combat correspondent, assigned to cover the action of the Greek battalion in Korea, forgot his stories momentarily and fought during the first meeting of the Chinese Communists and the Greeks. Stelios M. Stelson, JO3, USN, Durham, N.C., says the Greeks were terrific. Stelson, who is of Greek descent, was the only newsman present when the veteran volunteer force went into action. The Greeks were assigned the defense of a hill near Ochon. A force estimated at 3,000 Chinese attacked in massed formations yelling, with bugles, hand grenades and long knives. The Greeks yelled back.
Three times the Chinese reached the crest of the hill but each time were beaten back with heavy losses. The Greeks used bayonets and rifle butts and some took the Reds' knives away from them in hand-to-hand fighting. In four hours the Greeks, all veterans of guerrilla fighting in Greece, inflicted an estimated 800 casualties on the Communists. Their own losses were light. Throughout the battle, Stelson had fought side-by-side with the Greeks. They cheered him and then kidded him because of his combined status of American, sailor, writer and "Old man." Stelson is 46. The Greeks average age is 24. After the fighting ended, Stelson helped in the care and evacuation of the wounded. Stelson, who came to America in 1920 with his mother as a refugee from the Turks, says "I'm proud and grateful to be an American citizen and to serve my adopted country. I have served in the Marines, Coast Guard and Navy, and now I have fought with the Army. I was happy to be in this fight." Stelson says everyone knows what happens when Greek meets Greek, but when a Greek meets a Chinese Communist, the Reds had it.
The New York Inquirer of March 18 carried this news story:
Greek troops used knives and bayonets to cut down four savage counter attacks by Chinese forces guarding the big Red base of Chunchon Saturday in some of the bloodiest fighting of the Korean War. Waves of shouting Chinese, supported by machine gun and mortar fire, charged hilltop positions held by the Greeks throughout the afternoon. At nightfall they withdrew, beaten. The Greeks counted 222 enemy bodies on the slopes leading to their positions.
Officers said 12 prisoners were taken in the fighting and estimated that the Chinese lost in addition more than 600 men wounded. An American officer, who watched the action, said, "I know now why those Greeks are famed for their bayonet work. They fought like madmen. I don't blame the Chinese for breaking off the fight.
The Marshall Plan is bringing good results in Greece's reconstruction and development of private industry and agriculture .... Streams of Greek refugees and orphans are beginning to arrive in the United States, under the sponsorship and support of Americans of Greeks descent, and Ahepans .... John L. Manta of Chicago donates $9,000 to the University of Chicago Greek Cultural Foundation for the purpose of creating a lecture series .... Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Chapter No. 26 opens its own Ahepa Home on March 8, 1951. ... Past Supreme Vice President P. S. Marthakis is elected President of the Salt Lake City Teachers Education Association
Brother Phil Chakeres of Springfield, Ohio is honored by Look Magazine as "an outstanding symbol of responsible showmanship in his adopted country." Brother Chakeres controlled 49 theatres in Ohio and Kentucky, and this was Look Magazine's first annual award (1951).
© Copyright Order of AHEPA
George J. Leber's book is copyright protected. However, any portions of this book may be quoted at length, provided that proper credit & acknowledgement is given to the book, author, publisher, and pages.
Leber, George J. History of the Order of AHEPA 1922 - 1972. Washigton DC, Order of AHEPA, 1972.