War hero laid to rest in Salonica

After lying for 62 years in an unmarked grave under an oak tree in southern Albania, the bones of the first senior Greek officer to fall during World War II were buried with full military honors yesterday in Thessaloniki’s Jewish cemetery. The funeral was attended by the son and grandson of Mardokaios Frizis, Iakovos, 70, and Mardokaios, 30, whose indefatigable campaign for the recovery of the war hero’s body finally drew a response from the Foreign Ministry late last year. Colonel Mardokaios Frizis, a Greek Jew born in Halkida, was killed aged 47 during an Italian air raid on December 5, 1940, while leading his troops 30 kilometers (18 miles) inside Albanian territory – where the Greek army had pushed back stronger and better-armed Italian forces that invaded on October 28. Frizis was credited with winning the Greeks’ first victories on the frozen Albanian front. His men buried him near the village of Tremist. The colonel’s bones were recovered earlier this month with the aid of one of Frizis’s former comrades-in-arms, and flown to Thessaloniki on Wednesday.