Kondomari - Then and Now.

Discussion in 'WW2 Battlefields Today' started by Jonathan Ball, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Last month I had the chance to walk the ground at the site of the massacre of unarmed civilians at the Village of Kondomari on 2 June 1941 by men of the Luflande-Sturm-Regiment commanded by Oberleutnant Horst Trebes. The following is a look at events on that day from a 'then and now' perspective.

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    Despite the fact that the Fallschirmjager had dropped on top of two NZ Battalions the Germans were of the opinion that their high number of casualties in the area were in a large part due to the local population, hence the decision to carry out reprisals against the villagers. On 2 June 1941 four trucks arrived in Kondomari carrying German paratroopers. They were accompanied by a Wehrmacht photographer, Franz Peter Weixler who recorded the following events, starting with a review of the ‘evidence’ retrieved.

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    The Germans began a systematic search of the houses in Kondomari, some like this one still contain outhouses from 1941. They were looking for all the men of the village of a ‘fighting age’.

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    The villagers were pulled from their homes and marched to a point at the northern edge of Kondomari. The route is easily traceable today.

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    Weixler went ahead to the point the villagers were being brought to before turning his camera back southwards towards the village.

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    More were being brought in from the north of Kondomari, closer to the coast. The trucks that brought the Fallschirmjager to the village can be seen in the distance. Also, note the already wounded Cretan with his head bandaged.

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    The men of the age the Germans were looking for were sat on the roadside. The German officer on the extreme left is Trebes. Directly across the road from them the Paratroopers began to gather.

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    One can only begin to wonder at what point the local men began to realise what fate the Germans had in store for them. Note the Soldiers moving away to take up position in the secluded olive grove behind.

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    At this point the rest of the villagers who had gathered were marched south back in to the village with anxious glances back to their menfolk.

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    The men were ordered in to the olive grove. It’s now someone’s home but they very kindly allowed us in. The Fallschirmjager were lined up here...

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    ...and the 23 men of the village who subsequently murdered, fell here. Those not killed instantly finished off with a pistol at close range.

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    23 men. The youngest was 21, the eldest was 47. Thirteen of them came from just four families.

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    Today at the site the men are remembered by a superb memorial garden. The photos are on glazed tiles.

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    A tribute to Cretan resistance against the invader in Kondomari. They’ve been doing it for 500
    years.

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    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
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  2. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    The memorial with the tiled photographs is remarkable (as is the frieze itself).
    Funny how those pictures tend to bring quiet when people get outraged about the state of the FJ memorial...

    Looks like the frieze is an amalgam from Weixler's pictures rather than one specific shot?
    Left hand figure from here, etc.
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    (Double-checking Weixler's name spelling led to his written testimony at Nuremberg. Part of the case against Goering: Information supplied by Franz Peter Weixler / GOERING CASE )
     

    Attached Files:

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  3. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Thanks for that, Adam.
    For those interested there is an excellent and detailed study of the massacre at Kondomari in After the Battle magazine.

    ISSUE No. 181 - After the Battle
     
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