Crete Kidnap Gang

Discussion in 'SOE & OSS' started by Jedburgh22, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Here are some images of the German General and Paddy Leigh Fermor, Billy Moss and the Gang

    Attached Files:

    brithm likes this.
  2. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Here are some more images

    Attached Files:

    brithm likes this.
  3. mario

    mario Junior Member

    Here are some more images
    I thought you would be interested in this video. Paddy, Paterakis, Tyrakis and other partisans who took part in the abduction of General Kreipe meet him on a Greek TV show in 1972. It is in Greek and there is a rather long introduction in the video about the operation but the moment of the meeting of the "gang" with the general almost 30 years after is very interesting.

    First guest in the show is Fermor, then is Paterakis (fourth from left in the picture above) and then Tyrakis - who flew from S. Africa where he lived (first from left I guess). Moss had already died three years earlier in the Caribbean).
    brithm likes this.
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  5. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Hi J., I've seen most of those...but not pic four and seven before! Thanks for those.
  6. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Saw a reference to PLF in the BBC Magazine.

    In life there has always been room for a wide range of personality traits.Paddy was one of the variables with his laid back approach..

    Kriepe's anger,when he settled down,was that the clandestine group were not regulars as he would have thought but amateurs.

    Often thought of subsequent events,Kriepe's successor was declared a war criminal and paid the supreme penalty from his involvement in the occupation of Crete while Kriepe returned from Canada in 1947 as a free man.
  8. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books


    I also think they are sanitising what happened to Kreipe's driver in the BBC article? Wasn't he shot? Not sure.

    His successor wasn't executed, if that's what you mean:

    All the best

  9. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Bruno Brauer was executed...but not for his time as garrison commander IIRC, but for the actions he was in charge of in the three weeks immediately following the invasion, the various massacres of village communities on the road east from Kastelli Kissamou where the locals had taken up arms during the first days of the invasion.

    Suprisingly, a lot of Cretans didn't actually want him executed after the war; as garrison commander later he was one of the more evenhanded garrison commanders!

    He had been one of Mickey "our man in Heraklion" Akoumianakos' lovers...which was how Mickey had got the information on the general's daily travel routine ;-) He had spent the night with the general's driver in the driver's room in the Villa Ariadne the night before the kidnap.

    Mickey had demanded that the man not be killed, and Paddy Fermor had initially agreed to this...but to let him live would have made a mockery of all the efforts the kidnap party had gone to to give the impression that it was a British Commando operation, not SOE/Andartes, to prevent reprisals - a letter claiming responsibility, backed up by leaving a beret at the scene, and numerous Player's cigarette ends etc.. So once Mickey had departed the kidnap scene, Paddy had given the order for the driver's throat to be cut.

    It created some bad feeling between the two men for many years, not reconciled fully until they met on the set of "Ill met By Moonlight" in the south of France IIRC where they and others acted as advisors...which became very much a Force 133/Andartes/Greek Intelligence reunion party!
  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Yes Bruno Brauer is the man.

    One fact is clear was that he was the CO of Fallschirmjager Regiment 1 during the battle for Crete.

    However the Wikipedia coverage of Helmet Friebe and Bruno Brauer are at odds....former..... became Commander of Crete in May 1944 after the kidnapping of Kreipe....latter's entry relates, replaced General Alexander Andrae as Commander of Crete in November 1942.

    There is also further information sourced which states that Brauer held the post until March 1944 while another states that he held the post until November 1944 when he was replaced by General Friedrich Wilhelm Mueller,a man of known brutality and it would appear to be his assistant.

    Then a news item reported by the Australian newspaper dated 4 Nov 1945 on the trial of Brauer and Muller headed.....

    Crete Atrocity Charges

    Germans on Trial

    Athens Nov 3 (AiA.P)

    General Bruno Brauer,former German Military Governor of Crete and General Frederik Wilhelm Mueller,his assistant and successor are being tried in Athens on charges of against Cretans during the occupation.

    Bishop Psaridakis of Arcadia said in evidence that Brauer was responsible for the death of a1000 villagers in the Viannos district near Canea.Bishop.Bishop Athanas of Relimo said that Mueller ordered the village of Anogia to be razed.

    Brauer said in testimony that what happened in villages round Canea was in reprisal for the kidnapping of General Heinrich Kreipe commander of the 22nd Panzer Grenadier Division in April 1944.

    (Kreipe was kidnapped by two Coldstream Guards officers from outside his headquatrers in Crete and taken to Egypt.A letter left for the Germans by the officers said that no Cretans had taken part in the raid.)

    ..........................end of report............................

    Note that Brauer referred to Kreipe as the commander of the 22nd Panzer Grenadier Division.

    As regards Friebe,with the harsh occupation of Crete,one would have thought he might have featured in any postwar trials.

    My initial post was off the cuff from what I remembered of the incident so I then had to revisit John Paul Pallud's excellent article on Operation Merkur.It would appear from "It Happened Here" that Mueller was in post at the time the plan was envisaged in January 1944 and was the target but at the last monent had been replaced by Kreipe who took up his post in February 1944 when he was appointed as commander of the 22nd Panzer Grenadier Division.
  11. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    IIRC there has been some debate over that in the years since; four villages in the valley of the Amari were evacuated and burnt...but one story is that they weren't burned in reprisal for the actual kidnapping, but as reprisal for other resistance activity. Notices had been out up the day before they were burned proclaiming this, and they had already been earmarked for punishment pillaging/destruction. But unfortunately for posterity...and Brauer!...they became inextricably linked.
  12. manolis

    manolis New Member


    For years I was listening to the stories of my grandfather Efthimios G. Harokopos, and of his daughter Eleftheria (my mother) about how they managed to hide, to host, to feed and to support the kidnappers (Patrick Leigh Fermor, major of SOE, Stanley Moss, captain of SOE, and their Cretan guerillas) of the German General Kreipe, May 1944.

    Quote from the book / diary "ILL MET BY MOONLIGHT" of Stanley Moss (first published in 1950):

    "Things have suddenly cleared up a lot.

    The night before last (May 7) we left our hideout at Yerakari and completed the easy march to Patsos in quick time, arriving at our destination before midnight – this, despite the fact that the mule which had been brought for the General was so lame that we had to leave it behind. The General was obliged to complete the journey on foot, but he marched very well and slowed us up scarcely at all. It seems that this mountain air is getting him into fine trim!.

    We are now hiding in a delightful spot which is about a quarter of a mile from Patsos. We sleep in a stone-walled hut which has been built against the base of a steep cliff, so with trees on three sides and the cliff behind us we could not have found a more sheltered position.

    . . .

    The dinner was excellent. We are being cared for by a charming family which, though very poor, gives us everything it has. The father (Efthimios G. Harokopos) is a fine, old-fashioned Cretan type, and he tell us that since the German occupation he has looked after more than sixty British and Colonial stragglers who were hiding from the enemy. His young daughter is a sweet-looking girl whose face has the appearance of a delicate waxen mask – a look of L’inconnue de la Seine – and altogether she is possessed of a natural grace and charm which is all too rare among the island’s women folk. She goes bare-armed, bare-legged, and wears a one piece canvas dress, and her hair is arranged in two long plaits. It is quite possible, I suppose, that she is only about twelve years old, and perhaps it would be best not to think of her as she will be in ten years’ time. Her brother, Iorgi by name, is a handsome young man with a quiet manner and Biblical face. He speaks a little English, and has told me that he would like to go with us to Cairo. We may take him along if there’s room on board.

    . . .

    We have been so well looked after at this hideout that this afternoon we decided to give the family a present of gold (for we knew that its wealth consisted of little more than some goats and a few olive-trees); so Paddy (Patrick Leigh Fermor) called the old father aside. He reminded him that we were in all probability going to take his only son, Iorgi, with us to Egypt, and therefore there would be no one left to help with the work at home. So, Paddy continued, would he accept the hopelessly inadequate gift of a few sovereigns in exchange of his son? But the old man – as well we might have guessed – merely shook his head, thanked us for our kind thought, and politely refused. We did not press him.

    The General, who had been watching this scene with interest, was most impressed by the old man’s refusal, and he said as much to Paddy and me. It is a fact that as each day goes by and he meets more Cretans he is becoming more and more aware of their affection and self-sacrifice towards us. I don’t believe that he ever realized before how much the German are hated on the island, and how popular by comparison – despite let-downs and reversals – are the British.

    Some food now, then on to Photeinou."

    End of Quote.

    The "old-fashioned Cretan type" is my grandfather Efthimios G. Harokopos, "Iorgi" is my uncle George E. Harokopos (97 year old today) and the "young daughter" is my mother (Eleftheria K. Pattakou, 95 year old today).

    When you get the time, take a look at (text in English and Greeks). I hope to enjoy the reading.

    Thank you
    Manolis Pattakos
    Smudger Jnr, CL1 and dbf like this.
  13. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Hello and welcome to the Forum.
    A wonderful first post and you have some fascinating family history from a dark time in History.
  14. manolis

    manolis New Member

    Hello Tom and thanks.

    I read: Location Berlin Germany.


    Do you, or does anybody else, know whether the German general Kreipe left some "Memoirs" / autobiography ?

    Manolis Pattakos
  15. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Yes I retired to Berlin in August, 2002.
    I will make some enquiries regarding and documents by Kreipe.

    My late father, who was in the 4th Reconnaissance Regt. received a very nice Medal and Large Scroll from the Greek Government.

  16. Heimbrent

    Heimbrent Well-Known Member

    Doesn't seem to be the case, I couldn't find anything.
    He does however pop up in Neitzel's Tapping Hitler's Generals, you might find something interesting there (and the edition is worth a read either way).
  17. manolis

    manolis New Member

    Hello Tom and Heimbrent

    Heimbrernt wrote:
    "Doesn't seem to be the case"

    If so, it is a pity.

    On the other hand, maybe he wrote his memoirs but didn’t publish them (as happened in many cases wherein important diaries were left somewhere “forgotten” for years or for ever).

    His ancestors may know.

    Thank you
    Manolis Pattakos
  18. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    I am in agreement with Kate as I cannot find anything other that references to the General from other authors.
    If he had written his memoirs they are hidden away.

  19. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    Manolis, Have you read "The Cretan Runner"by George Psychoundakis.?I believe your grandfather is mentioned in that book too, only in the English translation, by Patrick Leigh Fermor, spells his surname as Kharakopos.What a tale.You must be so proud of your family.
  20. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

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