Introductory Message of Dr. Ernst Reichel, German Ambassador to Greece
The bicentenary of the Greek War of Independence, which is celebrated in 2021 in Greece and across the globe, is an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the historical events of that time and their relevance to our present and future. As Germans, we take pride in the fact that by far the largest part of the documented Philhellenes who came to Greece in support of the Greek Revolution came from Germany, while a German nation state was only founded in 1871. In Germany, the Greek Revolution inspired a philhellenic movement of great force and became a source of inspiration for public discourse and the arts
Moreover, the Greek struggle of independence greatly intensified and deepened relations between Germans and Greeks. The German Philhellenes were a diverse group consisting of influential intellectuals, powerful representatives of the political elite, as well as adventurous members of the military forces who supported the Greek cause with whatever means they had at their disposal. Many of them lost their lives in Greece, some remained in Greece after the war, others came in the years to follow. Many had a lasting impact on the spirit and functioning of the newly established Greek state, in particular in the fields of science and education, in urban planning and in the judicial system. Their legacy remains visible until today.
More than 20 street and square names in the municipality of Athens alone commemorate those German Philhellenes who called Greece their new home. Before this background, I would like to thank everyone who made the project “Walking with the Philhellenes” possible, and I am pleased that the German Embassy Athens was able to support this project.
Η κληρονομιά τους παραμένει ορατή μέχρι σήμερα. Μόνο στον Δήμο Αθηναίων, περισσότερα από 20 ονόματα δρόμων και πλατειών μνημονεύουν εκείνους τους Γερμανούς φιλέλληνες που έκαναν την Ελλάδα δεύτερη πατρίδα τους.
I hope the installation of bilingual signs in the Athenian streets bearing the names of renowned Philhellenes, together with this application, will be an exciting and “eye-opening” tool for inhabitants and visitors of the beautiful city of Athens alike.
Dr. Ernst Reichel
German Ambassador to Greece