Mordechai Frizis

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Mordechai Frizis
Frizis Mordechai Romaniote Greek Jew.JPG
Mordechai Frizis as a Captain.
Native name
Μαρδοχαίος Φριζής
Born(1893-01-01)1 January 1893
Chalcis, Kingdom of Greece
Died5 December 1940(1940-12-05) (aged 47)
Pindus, Kingdom of Albania
New Jewish Cemetery of Thessaloniki
AllegianceGreece Kingdom of Greece
Greece Second Hellenic Republic
Service/branch Hellenic Army
Years of service1916–1940
RankGR-Army-OF5-1937.svg Colonel
Battles/warsWorld War I

Russian Civil War

Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922)
World War II

Alma materNational and Kapodistrian University of Athens
École militaire
Spouse(s)Victoria Costi

Mordechai Frizis (Greek: Μαρδοχαίος Φριζής; 1 January 1893 – 5 December 1940) was a Hellenic Army officer, who fought in World War I, distinguished himself in World War II, and was killed on 5 December 1940, fighting against the Julia Division.


Frizis was born in Chalcis, on the island of Euboea, to a Romaniote-Jewish family, one of 12 children born to Jacob and Iopi Frizis. After studying law at Athens University, he enlisted in the Hellenic Army in 1916, and went to officer training school. He fought in World War I on the Macedonian front, and participated in the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, and becoming a Second Lieutenant in 1919. In 1922, as a newly promoted First Lieutenant, he took part in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922). He was taken prisoner, and as the only non-Christian Greek officer taken prisoner by the Turks during the campaign, was offered his freedom, but refused and elected to remain with his comrades, enduring eleven months of captivity.[1]

After the war, Frizis was promoted to Captain, and was sent to Paris to study at École Militaire. Upon his return to Greece, he was promoted to Major and posted to the Third Army Corps based in Thessaloniki.[1]

During World War II, Frizis, now a Colonel, participated in the Greco-Italian War, and succeeded in repelling an Italian attack on the bridge of the Thyamis River, followed up by a Greek counterattack. When the Italians countered with aerial bombing, his men dismounted and took cover in trenches, while he continued riding his horse throughout the battlefield and shouting "courage" to rally his men, but was severely wounded in the stomach, but continued trying to rally his men. When the Italian aircraft withdrew, it was discovered that he had died of his injuries.[1]

Following his death in action, the King of Greece, its then leader, Ioannis Metaxas, and a national newspaper left tributes for the officer.[2] A spokesman for King George II of Greece wrote to Frizis' family: "On the glorious death for his country of your beloved husband, the heroic Colonel Mordechai Frizis, His Majesty the king has instructed me to convey to you and your family his deepest condolences".

Ioannis Metaxas, then Prime Minister of Greece, wrote the following letter to Frizis' wife: "I learnt of the death on the field of honour of your husband, before you knew of it and I did not know how to inform you. You and your family as well as those families, who have lost their protectors, will become the families of this state of ours. Please be assured that the protection of Greece will never leave you or your children. The children of Colonel Frizis will be revered by our nation's youth. With feelings of honour and love".[2]

In 2002, his remains were located in Albania and were transferred to the New Jewish Cemetery of Thessaloniki.

The Greek state has honoured his memory by erecting busts of his at the War Museums of Kalpaki and Athens, in his birth town of Chalcis, and by giving his name to an Athens street.



  1. ^ a b c A Jewish Soldier In Greece
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2013-08-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

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