Besides its unique architecture, the building hides an emotional story of great importance. It used to be the home Mr. and Mrs. Nikolaos Karagiannis and their seven children, which, during the German occupation, served as the headquarters for the anti-Nazi and resistance organization called “Bouboulina”. The leader of this organization was Lela Karagianni herself.
Lela (Helen) Karagianni (June 24th 1898 – September 8th 1944) created and funded through her own resources the organization called “Bouboulina” (inspired by her mother’s maiden name which was Boubouli) in 1941. The goal of the organization was to provide aid to the Allies, initially by helping British soldiers escape and sabotaging the enemy, and also by gathering information regarding German routines and transporting medical and other kinds of supplies. The organization had over 100 members, but the core remained Lela Karagianni’s family, which included her children as well.
Οn July 1944 Lela Karagianni and five of her children were arrested by the Gestapo, were incarcerated in the SS dungeons on Merlin Street and were submitted to horrendous torture. However, she put her country above her family, even when her captors threatened her with her children’s lives.
On September 8th 1944, she was executed by the Germans along with 58 fellow compatriots of the resistance at the Haidari Forest. One month later, the country would be freed. For her effort and sacrifices, on 1947, the Academy of Athens gave her posthumously the Award for Virtue and Sacrifice and the Yad Vashem Foundation in Memoriam of Martyrs and Heroes, the honorary title of “Righteous of the Nations”.