Kostas Sarantidis (R) meets with then Foreign Minister of Vietnam Pham Binh Minh in 2018. VNA/VNS PhotoThe same day, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh also did the same, while Minister of National Defense Senior Lieutenant General Phan Van Giang, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son, and President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations Nguyen Phuong Nga sent messages of condolences to the family of the 94-year-old deceased.
Sarantidis, was born in 1927 in Athens. The Greek was 16 when he was sent to the German army in 1943. After World War II, he could not return home for having no identity documents and later joined the French Foreign Legion and was mobilised to Indochina.
Since Sarantidis set foot on Sai Gon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in 1946, he decided to follow the Viet Minh (the short name for Vietnam Doc Lap Dong Minh or Vietnam Independence League) as he had witnessed invaders’ crime to innocent Vietnamese and realised the aspirations of the Vietnamese revolution.
The soldier, with the Vietnamese name of Nguyen Van Lap, had made various accomplishments during his service and was presented with awards from the Party and State.
He was honoured with the Friendship Order and received Vietnamese citizenship in January 2011.
In 2013, Lap was awarded with the title of Hero of the People's Armed Forces of Vietnam.