Historical story

ORIA:76 years since the shipwreck with 4,100 victims in Saronic

Memorial event for the 4,100 victims-captive Italian soldiers of the Norwegian ship ORIA, will take place again this year, 76 years after the great maritime tragedy, on Sunday February 9 at 11 am. at the 60th km of the Athens-Souni coastal avenue (on the borders of the Community of Palea Fokaia).

The event is co-organized by the Saronic and Lavreotiki Municipalities, the Spiritual and Social Activity Association of Keratea "Chrysi Tomi", the Italian Embassy and is under the auspices of the President of the Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos. For the victims of the shipwreck, a memorial service will be held officiated by the archbishop of the Catholic Church of Athens, Sevastianos Rossolatos, followed by the laying of wreaths and short greetings.

As part of this year's event, a tree-planting action will take place in the area around the monument in memory of the victims of the shipwreck, following a relevant initiative and proposal of the Public Benefit Non-Profit Company "ARISTON PRAXEIS AMKE". In particular, 4,100 straight-branched cypress trees - as many as the souls that were lost in the wreck - are to be gradually planted, for which a seven-year systematic care is planned, so that their "presence" throughout time will adorn and honor the place.

The story

The wreck of the Norwegian ship ORIA is one of the greatest maritime tragedies in world history, but remains widely unknown. It happened on the evening of February 12, 1944 near the islet of Patroklos (Gaidouronisi) located in the Saronic Gulf.

After the capitulation of Italy on September 8, 1943, the Germans are now in possession of the Dodecanese. The Italian garrison has surrendered and is under POW status. In the afternoon hours of February 11, 1944, 4,115 Italian soldiers were piled into the holds of the Norwegian ship ORIA which had been commandeered by the German authorities. The only 2,127 ton ship was a freighter and had been built in England in 1920.

ORIA left Rhodes in the early hours of the evening in bad weather heading for Piraeus. During the course she ran aground due to bad weather on the islet of Patroklos, 25 miles SE of the port of Piraeus. The ship tilted and began to sink. The sea of ​​the area became the wet grave for thousands of Italian prisoners who were piled in its holds", reports the municipality of Saronikos.