Immigrants: America’s Secret Weapon

«Ο αδερφός μου και εγώ δεν ξεχάσαμε ποτέ ότι ήμασταν Αμερικανοί»

"My brother and I never forgot that we were Americans."

---Helias Doundoulakis in his memoir I Was Trained to Be a Spy


Travel papers used by Helias Doundoulakis when he arrived in Greece in 1925.

The Doundoulakis brothers had proven themselves invaluable to the British SEO agents in Crete. But their efforts had not escaped the notice of others as well. A local Cretan tried to blackmail George, threatening to betray him to the Gestapo if he did not pay 1 million drachma. George refused and sent John Androulakis to dispose of the traitor, but it was too late. At the urging of Fermor, George and Helias fled to Mount Ida, the mythical birthplace of Zeus, where after thirteen months in the mountains, a Royal Navy ship carried them off to Egypt.


Photograph of a group of men. Helias Doundoulakis standing at the back right and Jim Androulakis seated third from the left.

The brothers' stay at the lavash SEO villa outside of Cairo was short-lived however. When George and Helias learned about the Office of Strategic Services--the OSS--America’s wartime intelligence agency, they immediately got in touch through contacts in the British army and volunteered their services. After all, the Doundoulakis brothers were Americans.

NHM Resident Scholar, Katie Kelaidis, describes the important strategic advantage America's immigrant population provided during the Second World War.