Saturday, 17 October 2009, on the village green in Ventry, Ireland:

A memorial plaque was unveiled to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the landing of the 28 Greek crew members of the Greek merchant ship Diamantis by U-35.


The memorial was unveiled by the German Ambassador in Ireland, Dr. Busso vοn Alvensleben together with the Mr. Evangelos E. Angelakos, Mayor of the Oinousses Islands and nephew of Diamantis' Chief Officer Zannis Lemos.


Ventry 3


Over 200 people gathered to attend the ceremony organized by the Ventry Historical Society.  Invited guests included Officers of the Irish Southern Command, the Dingle Harbourmaster, Brian Farrell, members of the Irish Coast Guard, the crew of the Valentia lifeboat and a troop of sea scouts, archaeologists of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, and others.


The flags of Greece, Germany, Ireland, and of the European Union were hoisted.


Ventry 1


The event was also attended by Mr. Elias Angelakos, son of the Mayor of Oinousses, Mr. John D. P. Pateras, grandson of the Greek Captain, the Chairman of the Oinoussian Benevolent Fund, Mr. Michael Monios and the Vice-Chairman of the fund, Mr. John M. Hadjipateras, whose wife is the grand-daughter of the Chief Officer of “Diamantis”, and himself grand-son of Costas D. Pateras, brother of the Captain and one of the owners. (photo 5).  


The Secretary of the Historical Society, Dr. Breandan O’ Ciobhain, delivered a welcoming address in Irish, English, Greek and German. It was followed by speeches by the German Ambassador, the representative of the Municipality of Kerry, Séamus Mac Gearailt, the Mayor of Oinousses and Mr. John D. P. Pateras. In particular, Mr. Angelakos referred to the great contribution of the Greek merchant marine during the war, as well as that of the Oinoussian fleet that lost 28 out of its 35 steamships (80 per cent) and the lives of over 200 seamen.


Also, Mr. Richard E. Neal, member of the US House of Representatives and Chairman of the Friends of Ireland in the Congress, sent a message that was read out.


The prevailing spirit of the speeches of all the speakers was that this action taken by the German Commander amidst the horrors of war was exceptional, and both parties –Greeks and Germans- showed courage and honour. The speakers also expressed the need to live in a united Europe of cooperation and peace.


Mayor Angelakos handed a Diploma to the dignitaries commemorating the event and exchanged presents consisting of the books “Oinoussian Steamships: 1905-1940” and “Mastiha Island (Chios)”, the post stamp of Oinousses,  (image 2), as well as the “Ode to Beijing,” a poem especially commissioned by the Municipality of Oinousses for the Olympic Games in China.



Following the event, local musician Eoin Duignan played a piece on his Irish pipes, which he had composed for the occasion.


Ventry 4

The German Ambassador in Ireland, Dr. Busso Von Alvensleben, Mr. John D. P. Pateras, Mr. Michael Monios, Mr. Elias Angelakos, Mr. John M. Hadjipateras, Mr. Evangelos E. Angelakos and the Secretary of Ventry Historical Society, Dr. Breandan O’ Ciobhain.


After the event, the Mayor of Oinousses planted, together with the German Ambassador, an olive tree – symbol of peace - from Greece, at the grounds of Ventry Primary School, hoping that the warmth of the love and attention of the children will compensate for the adverse local weather conditions. (photo 6).


Ventry 7 (photo 6)


After the ceremonies, the Oinoussian group, in company with the Ambassador, joined the very warm Irish crowd    in singing and drinking pints of Guinness and Murphy’s in the local pub.


Later in the evening, the guests were shown an exhibition of documents, photographs, memorabilia, etc., on the history of U-35, the landing of “Diamantis” crew and Ireland’s stance during WWII. The exhibition was enriched by documents that were collected by the Mayor of Oinousses. The event attracted the attention of the Irish press, while the national television and radio, broadcast highlights.,null,230


Immediately after the event, the Mayor of Oinousses visited Scotland and Germany to meet three of the four living U-35 crew members, in their nineties now, who unfolded their reminiscences of the episode and their thoughts 70 years after. The local press covered the meetings.


Starting from Dundee, Scotland, Mr. Angelakos visited the sailor Mr. Hans Thieme. (photo 7).




Next stop was Menden, Germany, a town near Düsseldorf, where he visited the torpedo mechanic Mr. Willi Jacob.  (photo 8). 

WILLI JACOBGerhard Freier

        (photo 8)


Finally, the Mayor visited another sailor, Mr. Gerhard Freier, at Hohenwutzen, Brandenburg, by the river Oder (German-Polish borders). (photo 9).




(photo 9) On the right Panayiotis Kouparanis, Deutsche Welle journalist.


A full-page and double page articles about the event at Ventry, the story of Diamantis and U-35 were reported by the Greek national newspapers “Kathimerini” and “Ta Nea” on 28th October and 7th November 2009, respectively.