Kapetanissa Sarika (Sara Yeshua), partisan leader of the women’s platoon of the Greek People’s Liberation Army’s 7th division, posing with fellow EAM fighters and a revolver, October 1944.
Born in the Jewish quarter of Chalkida in 1927, Sara Yeshua belongs to the emblematic figures of the resistance. Before she turned 15, Sara assisted the wounded at the city’s military hospital as a volunteer nurse. From the beginning of the German occupation (October 1943), she got involved with Greece’s National Liberation Front, took her mother and left Chalkida for Steni.
To guard against German incursions against the Jews who had fled to the mountains, the resistance dispersed the Jews in various villages (Paliouras, Theologos, Stropones, Vasiliko) and later organised an escape network by boat to Turkey from Tsakei beach. Sara was well regarded by her fellow resistance fighters as a passionate speaker advocating for armed struggle against the occupation forces, particularly among young women. At 17, after the horrific murder of Mendi Moschovitz by the Security Battalions in Stropones (4 March 1944) and the burning of Kourkouloi, she formed an independent female resistance group that fought and gathered intelligence. Armed with Molotov cocktails, they attacked outlying sites to draw the Germans away from the main target, and aided in the capture of collaborators. By the end of the war, she was legendary among the partisans of Evia, Greece, as “Kapetanissa Sarika” (Partisan Leader Sara).