Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou posted a message on social media on Wednesday expressing her regret over the death of “Lesvos granny” Efstratia Mavrapidi.
Efstratia Mavrapidi, who was 96 years old, was one of three women on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos who made international headlines during the peak of the 2015 migration crisis for the heartfelt reception they gave thousands of refugees landing on the island’s shores from Turkey.
Photographs of them helping a young mother and bottle-feeding her infant on the beach at the end of their perilous crossing earned them the nickname the “Lesvos grannies.”
Her sister Maritsa Mavrapidi died in January 2019 at the age of 90. Militsa (Emilia) Kamvisi is 92 years old.
Efstratia Mavrapidi was “bound to the elemental things in life… and able to be a mother and grandmother to all the world’s children,” Sakellaropoulou said in her post, explaining that she met Mavrapidi and Kamvisi during a visit to Lesvos in the summer of 2020.
Her death, added the president, also marks the end of a generation that serves as an example to younger generations by “generously offering their love and help without expecting anything or any recognition in return.”