Lap passed away in Athens on June 25, 2021. The hero’s remains were brought to Vietnam and rested at the cemetery of Military Region 5 in Da Nang city following his wishes.
In his eulogy, Maj. Gen. Truong Thien To, Deputy Political Commissar of Military Region 5, said that the passing of revolutionary soldier Kostas Nguyen Van Lap has left a great loss to his family, friends, comrades and the Vietnamese people.
He extended his respect to the late soldier, who had devotedly worked side by side with the Vietnamese people in their struggle for national liberation and the national construction and defence.
For her part, Foteni Sarautidou, daughter of Kostas Nguyen Van Lap, said she was happy that her father can now rest in peace in Vietnam - his second homeland.
She took the occasion to express her thank you to Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan, the Vietnamese Ambassador in Greece, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence, and the Military Region 5 High Command for their support to turn her father’s wish into becoming true.
Memorial service held for Hero of People’s Armed Forces Kostas Sarantidis – Nguyen Van Lap
Nguyen Van Lap was born in Greece in 1927. He was 16 when he was sent to the German army in 1943. After World War II, he could not return home due to a lack of identity documents and later joined the French Foreign Legion and was mobilised to Indochina.
After Sarantidis set foot in 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 the invaders’ cruelty to the innocent Vietnamese and realised the aspirations of the Vietnamese revolution.
He was given the name Nguyen Van Lap and served in various posts, participating in many battles.
He was honoured with many noble rewards from the Vietnamese State, including the first-class Feat Order, the Friendship Order, the third-class Victory Order, and the second-class Resistance Order.
In 2010, he received Vietnamese citizenship. In 2013, he was named a Hero of the People’s Armed Forces and became the only foreigner to have received this noble title.