The action undertaken by Estia Neas Smirnis during the Greek-Italian War was impressive. At its own initiative, the Nea Smirni community of that time turned into a grand knitting facility, where women knitted approximately 74,000 woolen items, to supply the troops of an entire division.
Moreover, Estia coordinated the collection and dispatch of 3,000 boxes with food and beverages for the troops. At its own expenses and that of its members, the two military hospitals of Nea Smirni, namely Iossifoglio and Blue Cross were equipped with surgical instruments, drapes and 150 wheelchairs and canes. On account of its offer, Estia was ranked first by the Ministry of Military, following the partly state-owned organization “I Fanella tou Stratioti” (Flannel of the Soldier), while in the Archive of Estia one can find hundreds of thankful notes by grateful soldiers and officers of the Albanian Front.
The contribution of Estia to rescuing thousands of human lives during the German Occupation has been of great importance. By organizing charity meals, such as the daily “Child’s Soup” and the “Sunday meal”, Estia offered in total more than 80,000 servings of food worth many millions of Pre-War drachmas.
Risking his own life, Panos Haldezos along with Archbishop Damaskinos and the Police Commissioner of Athens, Aggelos Evert, issued 543 forged certificates to Israeli citizens and rescued them from occupation forces. In acknowledgment of his actions, the Hebrew State pronounced Panos Halzedos “Worthy of the Nations”.
During the German Occupation and in order to complete the incompletee schooling hours, Estia established and ran for 3 whole years (1941-1944) private tutoring lessons taught by selected teachers of the Evangelical School and high-school principals Olga Kakridis and Ioannis Papagiannogoulos.
Of Estia’s educational work, one major milestone is the establishment of the “I Smirni” School of Naval Engineering in 1957. It was a four –class night school with educational sailing courses abroad the vessels of ship owner Aristotle Onassis who was of Asia Minor descent and whose donation was used to for the construction of the School. A few years later, on April 8 1962, the building facility was inaugurated, which housed, in addition to the School of Naval Engineering, in its 30 halls, the day model high-school “Estia Neas Smirnis”, the “Vassiliadio Night Vocational School” for economics, the night school of Naval Engineering “I Smirni”, the technical schools of mechanical, electrical and vehicle technicians “Thales of Miletus”, the day school of housecraft for girls, the Dressmaking Workshop and other workshops and stations for students to practice. The common denominator of all Schools has been the technical and vocational training in order to facilitate the job search process and thus the elevation of its students’ standard of living.
From its first years of operation, Estia gave regularly free courses in line with the needs of each era, such as courses of “general education”, stenography, philosophy and international auxiliary language Esperanto. At the same time, in the context of its intellectual offer, it has held hundreds of educational lectures, exhibitions and events featuring subjects that mainly aimed at maintaining and passing on the intellectual and historical greatness of Asia Minor Greek community.
No one can either ignore the priceless social work undertaken by Estia Neas Smirnis through the years. Estia has always discreetly been by the side of people in need. Especially, following the end of World War II, when hunger and poverty plagued Greece, Estia made sure to actually help by offering either sums of money to penurious families of Nea Smirni or winter clothing and shoes.
While the Schools were operating, Estia offered hundreds of partial and total scholarships, whereas it had for many years instituted the distribution of free breakfast to the students of its Vocational Schools.