Elizabeth Paschakis

Section 3, Lot 645
Beechwood Cemetery, Vaughan


Elizabeth Paschakis who died in Toronto in June, 1987 at the age of 96, was a decorated World War II heroine. Mrs. Paschakis and her family daily risked their lives by smuggling 54 Canadian, British and Jewish prisoners of war out of concentration camps during the Nazi occupation of Greece. Mrs. Paschakis, her son and one of her daughters were eventually captured and imprisoned by the Nazis, although the daughter managed to escape. Elizabeth Paschakis was starved and tortured by the Nazis for 18 months, but still refused to give them information about either the soldiers she had helped free, or the network of Greek families that had helped her. She was 53 when she was finally released from prison, skin and bones and completely paralysed. It was to be eight months before Mrs. Paschakis regained the use of her limbs. Mrs. Paschakis was offered $1-million and each of her children $500,000 by a grateful British Government, following the war. In refusing the very generous offers the family informed the Government that what they had done, they had done for their country and fellow human beings. Mrs. Paschakis was awarded a medal of bravery by her own Government. In 1977, Mrs. Paschakis’ daughter, Dolly, tried to enter the United States but, for some reason, ran into trouble with the American immigration authorities. Canada intervened at her deportation hearing, where her war record was quoted and the Americans informed that if they didn’t want her, we certainly did. Dolly Paschakis later brought her mother over to join her.