The Fallschirmjager memorial in Chania - Then and Now.

Discussion in 'WW2 Battlefields Today' started by Jonathan Ball, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    This is the large memorial to II. Battalion FJR Sturm Regiment just outside of Chania in Crete. It was erected in 1941 and to this day is still seen as provocative by many of the locals.
    It's not signposted, is seldom visited and is certainly not maintained. The eagle disappeared in 2001 and the line is that this was due to storm damage although I was told by more than one person that this isn't strictly accurate. Nobody was forthcoming as to where it is now.

    F monument a.jpg







    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
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  2. Great photos! I'm surprised that it took so long for the descendants of the fierce Cretan 'Andartes' to take down the eagle but more significantly the Nazi swastika it held in its claws :)

    I'll always remember dining in a small 'giros pita' shop in Chania back in 2009 where a glass cupboard covering a whole wall contained an assortment of WW2 weaponry, from the locally-made hunting rifle to a Vickers .303 MG, not forgetting sundry lethal blades, all claimed to have been used by locals during their continued guerilla war against the occupants. Very impressive, and an efficient deterrent against any possible thoughts of discussing the bill I must say!

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  3. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The German occupation of Crete was marked by severe reprisals against the civilian population as the Cretan Andartes continually opposed the German invader....after reprisals such as the massacre at Kondomari on 2 June 1941 soon after the Battle for Crete concluded and others, I am surprised that the monument was not torn down.

    My New Zealand cousin's husband fought infantryman.....a survivor from the Greece operation,evacuated to Crete,fought against the German his notes,summarising, he related "a battle that everybody joined in"

    Taken off Crete,his luck ended for a while when he was captured by the Italians at Tobruk....."rifles are no good against tanks"..five weeks in captivity in the open with no cover from the heat or cover from the night cold.....not properly fed and watered...did not think much of the Italians.....freedom came when as he put it in his notes....."relieved by South African troops"
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  4. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Well-Known Member

    I spent a month or so working as an itinerant labourer in Crete in spring 1984, and I remember that the local feeling about the German occupation, and indeed Germans in general, was still quite intense back then - surprised that the memorial lasted that long, frankly.

    Incidentally, the Cretan love affair with guns was certainly going strong back in those days, and any kind of big social event seemed to be punctuated with WW2-era gunfire (mostly of the joie de vie kind, though if it was anything remotely political...). The old boys in whose lemon groves I worked mostly wore traditional Cretan outfits, complete with a cummerbund and vast moustaches; they were tough old sods, but on the whole decent and fair: can see how they were so admired by Patrick L-F, etc. in the war.
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  5. Jba45ww2

    Jba45ww2 Well-Known Member

    This page is from an album that a wife kept of her husband during his service in the Fallschirmjager. He was killed and buried in Italy and this page was part of her memorial to her him. I had heard that the monument had been pretty much been destroyed. Thanks for the great pictures.
    f13.jpg f6.jpg
  6. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Many thanks for sharing that. It's a view of the memorial I doubt anyone has seen before and from that angle I doubt could be seen today/ Needless to say I will endeavour to take a 'now' shot next year..
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  7. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    A further postwar image of the memorial.

    Fallschirmjager memorial.jpg
  8. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    A few further photos with some EAM graffiti and with the Eagle in-situ before it "fell off in a storm". I think I know where the Eagle is now. I'll either find it for some photos next August or get chucked out trying.



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  9. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Another image spotted on the Battle of Crete FB page taken during the construction of the Memorial.

  10. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    A further view from an angle long ago hidden by the urban sprawl which surrounds the memorial.

  11. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    I suspect he was captured around Bardia, and one of over a thousand Empire soldiers liberated when Bardia and/or Halfaya fell to the South Africans in January 1942. The MidEast authorities investigated the treatment of the POWs liberated and came to the conclusion that they were appropriately treated, i.e. received the same ration/water allocation as the Axis soldiers and that deprivation was due to the conditions of the lengthy siege of the border fortifications.

    All the best

  12. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Courtesy of my friend, Greg Way.

    Issue 2 of Die Grünen Teufel from September 1950.
    DGT was the forerunner to Der Deutsche Fallschirmjäger, the magazine of the Bund Deutsche Fallschirmjäger and these early copies are quite rare.
    The BDF at this stage after the war was concerned with tracing missing Fallschirmjäger from the Red Cross lists and helping former FJ and their families and in particular the families of the fallen

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  13. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    This photo was taken by Walter Otto Luben in 1943.


    This, via Google Streetview is taken from roughly the same point today.

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  14. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    A view from around the back, then and now.


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  15. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    What a contrast between this memorial and the German cemetery overlooking Maleme airfield.
  16. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    There's certainly a marked difference in the condition and upkeep of the cemetery at Hill 107 and the memorial outside Chania. The former of course now under the care of the VDK and the latter most certainly not. That the Memorial is still standing in any form is remarkable. The below are two photographs of the German Memorial and Cemetery that existed at Heraklion. When the bodies were exhumed in 1960 and moved to Maleme, the Memorial was pulled down. In his excellent book on the battle for Heraklion, Yannis Prekatsounakis has photos of the stones from both the Memorial and border walls etc. that are now incorporated in to the garden walls and homes of the nearby population.


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