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1943: The Massacre of Kalavryta

December 13th, 2016 Headsman

On this date in 1943, German troops occupying Greece massacred the entire male population of the town Kalavryta.


Memorial to the December 13, 1943 massacre.

Weeks earlier, resistance partisans had waylaid a German patrol in the vicinity, taking about 80 German soldiers prisoner and subsequently executing them.

A bestial Lidice-like mass reprisal, Unternehmen Kalavryta, commenced in December with German columns descending on the small Peloponnesian town — murdering civilians at nearby towns and firing the historic Agia Lavra monastery in the process.

Once they reached their target, the women and children of Kalavryta were locked in a school that was put to the torch, while men and older boys were marched to the outskirts and machine-gunned en masse, killing at least 500. (About thirteen are known to have survived this mitraillade and its ensuing finishing-off with axes.) The total death toll in Kalavryta was near 700, significantly mitigated by the women eventually forcing their way out of their burning tomb. Those survivors faced immediate winter privation to go with the horror of the massacre, for the Germans also destroyed homes and drove off the livestock.

A memorial at Kalavryta today* records some 1,300 names including villagers from the surrounding towns slain during the course of the operation — and the church clock is permanently fixed to 14.34, the moment on that awful December 13 that the massacre in Kalavryta began.

* The city also has a museum dedicated to the event.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Borderline "Executions",Execution,Germany,Greece,History,Innocent Bystanders,Mass Executions,No Formal Charge,Put to the Sword,Shot,Summary Executions,Wartime Executions

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One thought on “1943: The Massacre of Kalavryta”

  1. Curt Kastens says:

    I myself am quite disappointed that Ted Bundy and the crimes of Ted Bundy get more attention from society than the crimes of those who take part in massacres like this one or the massacre at El Mozote mentioned a few days ago.
    Even better would be for society to study every tiny detail of the lives of those people who refused to take part in a massacre. Even better would be to study in every detail the lives of those who stood between the victims of a massacre and the perpatraitors. Even better than that would be to closely study the lives .of those who attempted to stop a massacre by shooting those responsible in the back.
    When the lives of these men get highlighted every day in every forum perhaps humanity might start to rise out of the muck like a Lotus flower.

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