Ethniki Insurance Company Building
This building’s history starts in 1894, when the Ethniki Insurance Company bought a residence on Korai Street to house its headquarters.
In 1934, when the company decided to build a new, modern structure, architects Lykoudis, Axelos and Kriezis were enlisted to draft a study for the building. Following specifications from Ethniki, design work began in 1936; two-and-a-half years later a modern building was commissioned. According to prevailing architectural trends in Europe, the building was full of the latest conveniences, including central heating and plumbing, as well as elevators. It had the first private subterranean air-raid shelter in Greece.
Under German occupation, the building was commandeered by German troops to house several military services, among them the infamous Kommandatur (garrison headquarters). The air-raid shelter was converted into a prison, as well as a prisoner-transfer unit, used mostly for Greek patriots sentenced to death. Following liberation, the building was requisitioned, first by the EAM, later by the British, and then by the Greek government, which used it to house an electrical distribution company. Eventually, the building was restored to its rightful owner, the Ethniki Company, which undertook a complete restoration and renovation. The basement was transformed into the Museum of Historic Memory, in honour of the Greek patriots who suffered at the hands of the German occupiers.
The Ethniki Insurance Company building is, therefore, considered historically significant for the period between 1941 and 1944.