On February 10 and 11, 1923, ten of the Athens daily newspapers refused to publish in order to protest the military censor’s earlier threat to suspend publication of any papers, leaving blank spaces indicating where news items had been suppressed. Three weeks later, some military officers, presumably anti-Venizelist, were being court-martialed on charges of arming civilians to cause racial strife. The military government was also censoring telegrams and tapping wireless messages, forcing the newspaper correspondents in Athens to try various means to bypass the press censorship, such as by transmitting articles from ships, even though such messages could still be monitored. So Gilbert began enclosing his newspaper articles in his letters to his mother for his friend William Miller to forward to the Morning Post.
Vers Blake’s letter to his mother dated May 3, 1923 and written from Naples, records the first mention in the Bagnani archives of Anna Kozadinou. In late March 1923, Gilbert and his mother and Vers went on an excursion to Sounion, where the Temple of Poseidon is perched on a cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea.
“A political friend of G’s, a Miss Cosadino of whom more anon, came to lunch with us and then we all four went taking our tea. This is my diary slightly expanded. Miss C is ‘Royalist,’ quite pretty and clever, a very bitter partisan (I don’t much wonder now). [Gilbert] was a bit superior and not very tactful, at times I thought even rude, but the conversation was interesting.”
Anna was the eldest daughter of Athina Roussopoulou and George Kozadinos, who had prospered trading grain between Russia and Piraeus, but lost his fortune during the War. Anna was extremely conservative and infatuated with royalty all her life, according to information generously shared with me by her nephew, Prof. Dr. Alexander Papageorgiou-Venetas. The Kozadinos family claimed descent from Italian conquistadors from Bologna established on the island of Kea c1400 CE.
In the heated political atmosphere of Athens under the military dictatorship and censorship, Anna had endangered both herself and her friends. In his diary for 1 April, 1923, Gilbert wrote:
“[Anna Kozadinou] wrote me saying trouble over letter serious & that she could not send me her stuff as she could not get hold of it. Destroyed her letters … [Mme Boubouli] warned me after dinner that the Koz was suspect.” (Sunday, 1 April 1923)
By destroying her letters to him, Gilbert prevented any of them from being used to incriminate her, or himself for that matter, if they were seized. It is not known precisely what Anna had done but getting out of Athens on a trip with other young people was probably a good idea for her at that time. Anna’s later life as Kyria Doro Levi lay far in the future.