Maria Malandri – A Rhodes Heroine

maria Malandri

An amazing story to come from the island of Rhodes took place during World War Two and involved a lady known as Maria Malandri.

Very much like Anastasia of Rhodes, Maria Malandri is considered even today as a true heroic figure on the island.

Now, it is sad for me to say, that through all my research for this amazing lady, I was not able to locate anything at all on the internet. Sometimes a true hero can go unnoticed in many ways. I relied on my Greek friends and a little outside help to get this brief information.

So, Who Was Maria Malandri?

Maria Malandri was born in Monolithos, Rhodes in 1909 and remained in this area all of her life.

She was a simple farm working girl and took care of various animals. It is also said that she was illiterate and not so well-educated.

One day she accidentally discovered a cave while looking for one of her missing goats. This cave later became known as The Cave Of The Spies. It is here where Maria Malandri did her amazing work.

Maria’s Story

During war time, I believe a lot of us do not know how we would react. We all like to think we are strong and would stand up to our enemies, but would we? Really? If it really came to it, could you honestly say you would be ready to play your part?

Well Maria was, and she did.

From this cave she went on to accommodate and secretly keep a group of Partisans. For those people that do not know, a Partisan group is a team of people who secretly fight their opponents. From here, and with use of radio, the partisans were able to assist their allies in defending against the German forces in World War Two.

With a daily risk to their own lives, they managed to help the fight against the enemy.and were able to offer information as to the whereabouts of the German Forces to the resistance.

This offered a massive boost to allied troops as they were able to fight with a plan of action.

After The War

The Partisan Cross - Courtesy Of Pibwl (Wikimedia Commons)

The Partisan Cross – Courtesy Of Pibwl (Wikimedia Commons)

The German Forces finally surrendered the island of Rhodes to the British in May 1945. On September the 2nd of the same year, World War Two came to a close after 6 years of conflict.

Just before the end of the war was declared, Maria got married. She went on to have 2 children. 5 Grand Children followed and then 4 Great Grand Children.

Maria was later awarded by Greece with a medal for the part she played during the war.

Later in 1986 she was also awarded The Partisan Cross by The British Government. This is a very fitting military decoration for the role she played and she was the 24th person to be awarded this honor.

Before her death in 2000 at the age of 91, she was asked what made her do what she did. What persuaded her to get together these partisan and operate the way they did.

She simple answered, “I just did my duty, as any other soldier would.”

Would You Stand Up?

In my opinion, this lady played a very important role during the war. She stood up and had a plan. She organized and helped get critical information on the enemy forces (along with her Partisans) and used this for the defense of her country.

Would you do the same? Do you think you would have the courage and ability to do something similar?

I would love to hear all your thoughts. In my opinion, she is well deserving of the military decoration that was awarded to her. Please leave your point of view in the comments below.


Click From Below To Learn More About Some Important Historical Figures In Rhodes

Chris Towers
Hi there, I am Chris and I live on The Island Of Rhodes In Greece. I am more than happy to assist you in anyway possible if you are looking for information or help on this amazing Greek Island.

Feel free to leave me a message if you have any questions or need advice!

Hey, maybe you have visited this beautiful place yourself and you have something you want to share?

I look forward to hearing from all of you.

8 comments on “Maria Malandri – A Rhodes Heroine

  1. TJSchlenker

    Wow. What a lady!

    I’m curious… did you find any specifics about HOW she did her resistance? Was it mostly talking to Allies on the radio? Did they use light to communicate with Allied ships? How did she get the intel’??

    And finally, were these Resistance fighters only from Rhodes, or were they from many islands and met there in her cave???

    Her story is just too good to not know the details!! 😉

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Hey there, and thanks for getting in touch with your questions.

      To my knowledge, all of the resistance fighters were Greek, although it is unclear (at least to me) if they were all actually from Rhodes. She went out to recruit these Partisan Fighters and then later used the cave as the base of operations.

      With details about Maria Malandri being very difficult to find, it is hard to pin down exact details. Most of my information here has been found out through friends here that are Greeks and from Rhodes.

      It is frustrating not to be able to give more specific details, but believe me I will never stop trying to get more on this.

      As soon as a I have more, it will be added here.

      Thanks for your interest.


  2. Maria was courageous. Now, thanks to you, Chris, her story IS on the Internet!

    There were many heroes in Europe during the war. I hope we never forget what courage looks like.

    Thank you for bringing her story to the world.


    • Thank you Sheila, I appreciate you having a read.

      I agree that Maria and her Partisan team were very brave. Against odds, and with a definite risk to their lives, they all played their part.

      I personally cannot find any information about her online, and I was surprised when I tried to look for her. I hope people that are interested in her story at least have my information here to learn a little more.



  3. Steve & Kris

    I am very intrigued with Greece and I wanted to stop by and see what you have written lately. 

    This is such an interesting story about Maria Malandri. Funny that there is nothing on the internet about her. She seems like such a unique and very inspiring figure. 

    I am sure her family is very proud of her and she has left a legacy. As for your question about standing up, I would hope that I would. I guess we never truly know until faced with the situation, but I think I would stand my ground.

     Thanks for sharing this story.

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Hello guys and thanks for stopping by once more.. It is great to see you here again.

      I too would like to think I would step up and be counted. Like you say though, when actually confronted with a situation, you never know what your reactions would be.

      In the case of Maria Malandri, she was certainly a courageous figure. Her actions led her to be an important figure in the history of Rhodes. I agree, full respect should go to her.



  4. Hello Chris, it’s a wonderful historical story. 

    It’s common when you do research information about people who were helping in a silent way during the World War Two, and she was noticed in the official way. 

    I agree with you about Maria’s courage. She’s a wonderful woman, and lucky that we still have her information until she passed away at her 90 years old. 

    Still better than those unknown named soldiers who fought for their belief and lied down the ground. 

    Thank you for your time to give a brief information about Maria Malandri

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Hey, yes i was very surprised when I was not able to find anything on her via the internet. It makes you think eh?

      I am happy of course she was recognized in an official way for her efforts during the war.

      Like you say, a lot of fallen heroes have not been remembered, and this is tragic.

      I am happy you liked the information.

      There is more coming in this section, so be sure to call back!



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