Τετάρτη, 4 Μαρτίου 2015

George Daskalogiannis' account:

"My grandmother and my aunt often told me stories from the Second World War and the German occupation of the village of Kontomari, which is just outside the center of Chania.
In 1941, the Germans invaded the village and took over my grandmother's house as their command center. My grandmother, her parents, and my aunt lived with them, confined in the basement of the house. 
My grandmother said that the Germans were strict and violent, but they never hurt them. Along with the Germans, there was an Austrian soldier who was a very good man, he loved children, and he was against the war.
One day, on June 2, 1941, the Germans invaded all the houses, arrested all the men from 18 to 50 years old, and took them all a few meters behind my grandmother’s house without anyone knowing the reason why.
After a while, they lined around 20 people up, and they executed them (in this place lies a memorial now). Fortunately, my grandmother’s father that day was absent from home, as he was working in the fields, and they warned him not to return, because they would kill him. 
Two people were saved from the execution: one hid in a field and escaped capture by the Germans, while no one knows what happened with the other. 
After that event, another day, a German entered the house with a hand grenade in his hand, ready to throw it, but he saw them all together there and told them to leave. So my grandmother and her family went to a village nearby where they stayed for several days, called ‘Sassalos’. When they came home, the Germans were attacking by plane and throwing bombs, so everyone had to run to the shelter, which was 10 meters away from home.
Finally, my grandmother and my aunt were saved, they are still alive now, my grandmother’s father died of cancer some years later and her mother died of old age".

Photos of the execution of 23 heroes in Kontomari, 1941
Jim Katsaounis' account

"My grandfather was nine years old at the time. He lived in Keramia, a small mountainous village.
In the summer of 1941, the Cretan resistance to the Germans set about. The passion of the Cretan people and their love for their country and  family  heartened them and equipped them with selflessness". He recalls:
‘I used to hand out proclamations, in secret of course. I used to climb barefoot to Keramia, a nearby village, I delivered messages to the guerillas,  but I was forbidden to go any further. Young, old, men, women, children, everybody was trying to resist in every way, so that they island would not fall into the Germans’ hands.
I was giving my own fight, though I was too young'.
Resistance fighters

Stathis kavroudakis' grandfather's account

"Nobody believed that Hitler would dare to conquer Crete. That's why the defence was poor.. Nevertheless, the  islanders passionately defended the island and  resisted the invading Germans.
‘Sfakia’ was not an accessible place, due to the morphology of the terrain and it was a hand to hand combat, as in other areas. Generally speaking, not  many German people got to Sfakia, let alone to ‘Mouri’. The reason was that the German parachutists feared they might land in a canyon. Only some army units, such as patrols, stepped on the place.
However, the locals fought to force the Germans off their place. Women and children hid in caves, fighters got into graves, in gorges or caves where they hid their weapons, as well.
Many, in their effort to hide their weapons were executed. This was how my grandfather’s brother, Stathis Kavros, got shot. On his way to a cave and in an effort to hide his weapons, he was detected by a German patrol. He was ordered to halt, but on refusing to obey, he was shot by each member of the patrol.." 
Second World War monument in Hora Sfakion
Second World War Memorial in Hora Sfakion

Niki Makridi, Andreas Kabourakis' grandmother recalls:

"In November 1843, two Brothers from Kyrtomado, a village up on the mountains near Chania, went to visit their sister Marianthi in the seaside village ‘Stalos’. So they arrived home and got treated as guests. Later, two drunk Germans made their appearance. On seeing them,  the two brothers got terrified because both were guerillas and misthought that the Germans had come to arrest them. So they killed them ...
However, there were many Germans who had settled and lived in the village. So the rebels were forced to flee to the mountains to save themselves. A common practice back then, 23 people were arrested ina punitive reprisal, three of which were my grandfather and my two uncles. When the German interrogated one of the uncles, he denied any involvement and claimed back that two rebels from the nearby Kyrtomado village were to blame, knowing that the rebels were hiding on the mountains, so they couldn’t be tracked. 
However, they were taken by force to the prison of Agia where they were tortured. Finally, the Germans put explosives and blew up the village where the crime was committed.
Eventually on December 22, 1843, on  Saint Anastasia’s celebration day,  my three relatives were released, as they were thought to be innocent. The crime was said to have been committed by guerillas from  another village."

Michael Kastrinakis' account:

Since I was a child,  I have been told by the older residents of the region, who had lived the events of the Germany’s invasion in Crete, that the first mass execution of civilians took place  in Plakalona, Kisamos on  23/05/1941.
This is a testimony of Mrs. Helen, a local resident of the village Plakalona: 'I was organized in EPON, ( a resistance group which was founded during the occupation). Our job was to explain what people had to do. We had to avoid talking to strangers for fear they might be traitors.  They forced people to dig their own grave and afterwards, they shot them and put them in there.... Things were really wild back then, but we were kids and fear we did not know!'
The team that took part in the abduction of General Kreipe