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From Philhellene to Hellene

On Tuesday, acclaimed historian Mark Mazower was given honorary Greek citizenship. The Greek government cited that he had devoted his career to “the promotion of Greece, its long history and its culture to the international general public.”

Mazower is best known for one of his earlier publications Inside Hitler’s Greece: The Experience of Occupation, 1941-44. This book helped bring Greek history into the mainstream discourse of European history. His comprehensive research for the period of the Axis occupation helped galvanize interest in several topics emanating from his book. His chapter on the famine of 1941-42 grips the reader with the various first-hand accounts of the starvation that gripped the country. He was also one of the first to address the situation of the Jews in Greece during World War II and brought to life their suffering and deportation. Many of the images that Mazower used are still considered iconic representations of that time. Today, his numerous publications are identified as requisite reading in the field of Greek history and he is one of the most sought-after academics.

In my office bookcase, I have a copy of the first edition of this book. Inside the cover, I can clearly see the quick dedication Mazower wrote in 1993. I was a young graduate student at the time, and remember being thrilled to get my hardback copy signed by him. Today, I consistently assign Mazower’s Inside Hitler’s Greece along with his other publications in my courses.

From the interwar economy to the Greek Revolution to the history of Thessaloniki, Mark Mazower has a great range and depth in his research. His contribution to Greek history places him among the top academics of modern Greece, and it is only fitting that he received honorary citizenship.


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