Maria Malandri: A Heroine of World War II Resistance

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 Malandri’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.

Maria Malandri: The Partisan Cross - Courtesy Of Pibwl (Wikimedia Commons)
The Partisan Cross – Courtesy Of Pibwl (Wikimedia Commons)

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

Maria Malandri: After The War

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

22 thoughts on “Maria Malandri: A Heroine of World War II Resistance”

  1. I am not a history person by any means as I don’t really find it that interesting, however, you got me stuck on the Story of Maria! 

    The story you have told is excellent and the way you told it couldn’t have been any better! The Way you explained what she did and how she assisted in the allies winning the war was very good and truly influences me to believe that she is one of the unnamed hero’s of that war!

    Great Job on the Post 

    Justin 🙂

    • Thanks Justin, to get the attention of someone that is not really interested in history is an honor 🙂

      The thing with Maria Malandri is, she was recognized for her efforts. She was awarded The Partisan Cross for the part she played during conflict. 

      What surprises me though, is aside from that, there seems to be little else about her. If you look at footage and writings from wartime, there are hundreds if not thousands of names which are discussed.

      I was really shocked to learn that it was hard to locate anything substantial about Maria.

      Like you say, some people can simply fade into the past, so I hope this post that I made will offer information to anyone looking for her in the future!

      Thanks Justin, I appreciate your interest.


  2. Hi Chris, thanks for the time you invested in putting this information together for all.

    As I read through, and I got to where she gave that wonderful response, I simply said, ”if all could say I just did my duty, as any other would”, then the world we be a better place.

    Her response says a lot about her mindset and commitment to service and diligence.

    Thanks once again. I’ve learnt something new today.

    I hope to be back to learn some more.

    • Thank you for reading my friend.

      Yes, I guess if everyone had the same positive mindset that Maria had, the world probably would be a better place I agree. Certainly more positive things would be achieved.

      Maria’s actions were of course back in the day, when times were hard and people looked out for one another. Nowadays, we seem to take our freedom for granted and we forget that people put their lives on the line so we can enjoy our liberties today.

      If we all felt this sense of duty, yes, the world would be better off.

      Thanks for reading and for your thoughts.


  3. It truly amazes me how many things aren’t recorded on the internet. It makes location blogging that much more important. 

    You’re like a historian for Greece, sharing old local stories of heroes in our new digital world. It’s a shame it wasn’t already known. 

    She sounds like a brave and caring person. I wish more stories like this were being shared across the world.

    • Hey Jaime and thanks for your kind words.

      Although Maria Malandri’s actions were documented and appreciated (she did get The Partisan Cross for her war efforts) I was unable to locate any information about her online. I am not saying there is nothing there at all, but I was not successful in any of my search efforts.

      People like Maria should never be forgotten. It is people like her that have made the world that we know and live in today.

      I am sure there are a lot of people that know a lot more about Greek history than I do, but I am doing my best to bring the important aspects about Rhodes together. 

      I am preparing a lot more information on various important historical people that have shaped the island of Rhodes, so be sure to come back and see in the days and weeks ahead.

      Thanks Jaime.


  4. Thanks for this Chris. Maria was a very brave and also a very clever woman to do this and help the Partisans without being found out.

    She very much deserved the Partisan Cross and she went above and beyond with the role that she did to help the Partisans. 

    Well done to you Maria.

    • Thanks Cheryl.

      Some people do go above and beyond to assist others. It is great Maria Malandri was recognized for her efforts.

      I appreciate you getting in touch!



  5. Hi Chris:

    First of all I want to say, what a fascinating and unique subject!

    Until now I had only heard of Rhodes but knew nothing about it. What you have here is a thorough description of a place that everyone should visit! Great website!

    I was trying to find information about what brought you there. Is it somewhere on the site? I would like to hear your story!

    The Medieval City looks absolutely wonderful! I love all the photos you have included. These should really inspire people to visit!

    I don’t know a word of Greek. Will I be able to get around with no knowledge of the language?

    Thank you!

    • Hello my friend and nice to meet you. I am happy you like my work here.

      If you check out the About Me page you will see my story and how I came to be here. A decision I do not regret 🙂

      You should visit Rhodes for sure. There is a lot to see and do, but do not fear for the language.

      Although it is nice to learn a few Greek words, most Greeks can communicate in English, especially in the areas of tourism.

      Make sure you pay a visit, you will love it here 🙂



  6. A really interesting article. 

    It’s amazing how heroic some people can be when they need to be. Extraordinary circumstances can make people do extraordinary things. It was great to read about this, especially as you say there isn’t much documented about this story. 

    It’s always good to hear about the less well known history of places. 

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Yeah I agree very often people have been and gone and some have even been forgotten about.

      During times of war, every person has their own way of dealing with things. Some of these stories are never told or even heard about at all.

      Some people are able to stand up and be counted when the demand is there, and Maria Malandri certainly did that.

      Thanks for getting in touch. I appreciate it!


  7. Wow! What an amazing and inspiring story of heroism. I am surprised that I have never heard it before. 

    So many seemingly ordinary people stepped up during WWII and accomplished extraordinary things for their country. Maria is no exception, and her brave and unselfish acts for her country and people deserve recognition, and her story needs to continue to be told. Thanks to you for sharing this very special lady’s legacy.

    I would like to think I would be brave enough to stand strong for my country in the face of fear as Maria did. My grandfather stormed the beaches of Normandy for something he believed in during WWII. 

    Possibly it is in my blood; I’d like to think so. Thanks again for sharing Maria’s story.

    • I agree with you Gina, in past conflicts people have stood strong for what they believed in, but often their names can be overlooked.

      People such as your Grandfather (and his colleagues) have had to face situations that many of us will never have the understanding of. Even myself, I served as a Firefighter and have had my courage tested, but would I ever do what your Grandfather did? I am not so sure. I would like to think so, but with my hand on my heart, I am not sure I can give an honest answer.

      As for Maria and her team, they also showed great couragenfaced against a fierce opposition. It is wonderful that she was recognized for her efforts. 

      People like this should never be forgotten. Without the soldiers and fighters both now and from history, we wouldnnot be sitting enjoying the freedom we have today. I think it is nice for people to remember that.

      Thanks Gina, lovely to hear from you.


  8. 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

    • 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!



  9. 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.

    • 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.



  10. 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.



  11. 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!! 😉

    • 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.



Leave a Comment

The Island Of Rhodes

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies and tracking. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.