December 13, 2011

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TRIBUTE - December 13, 1943 - The Massacre of Kalavryta (Historical Video)

The clock stopped at 2.43. The firing stopped and the soldiers marched away making sure to check every single body for a sign of life. Behind them lay a river of blood with the bodies of 696 persons, or the entire male population of Kalavryta. There were 13 survivors of the massacre, the town itself totally destroyed.

Due to partisan activity around the town of Kalavryta in southern Greece, a unit of the German army 'Kampfgruppe Ebersberger' the 117th Jager Division, under the command of General Karl de Suire, surrounded the town on the morning of Monday, December 13.

All the inhabitants were herded into the local school. Females and young boys were separated from the men and youths, the latter being marched to a hollow in a nearby hillside. There the soldiers took up positions behind machine-guns. Below, they witnessed the town being set on fire.

Just after 2pm a red flare was fired from the town. This was the signal for the soldiers to start firing on the men and youths who were huddled in the hollow.

Only eight houses out of nearly five hundred, were left standing.

It was not until late afternoon that the women and young boys were released to face the enormity of the tragedy.

Today a memorial stands on the site of the massacre on which are carved the names of 1,300 men and boys from Kalavryta and 24 nearby villages who were murdered that day.

The next day the Nazis also looted and burnt down the Monastery of Agia Lavra, otherwise known as the birth place of the Greek War of Independence. 

Kalavryta is a town and a municipality in the eastcentral part of the regional unit of Achaea, Greece. It is the southern terminus of the Kalavryta - Diakopto Road and the eastern terminus of the Patras - Kalavryta Road. It is located approx. 40 km S of Aigio, 38 km S of GR-8/E65, about 190 km W of Athens, about 85 km NNW of Tripoli and about 130 km NE of Olympia. 

In post-war Greece, the federal Government of Germany has only offered free school books and scholarships for orphans of this particular massacre and they have also built a senior citizens home.

A LUDICROUS and SMALL price to pay for killing hundreds of people, destroying hundreds of years of history and the wealth of this area. And to this day, Germany has yet to compensate the few survivors...

Also, no German commanders, (e.g. Major Ebersberger who carried out the massacre and the destruction of Kalavryta (such as Hauptmann Dohnert who led the firing party), were ever brought to justice.

Around 460 villages were completely destroyed and approximately 60,000 men, women and children were massacred during the occupation of Greece. They want us to forget... but the wounds of WWII for the people of Kalavryta, and for all Hellenes, are still too fresh...

The historical footage seen in the video below shows Nazi troops as they entered into Kalavryta, soon after the holocaust began.

Reference - Wikipedia

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