Anniversary: Nazi massacre of Kommeno village
- Written by E.Tsiliopoulos
During the Axis Occupation of Greece in World War II, the village of Kommeno was the site of a massacre perpetrated by 12 Company of the 98th Regiment, of the German 1. Gebirgs-Division (First Mountain Division), which, on 16 August 1943, executed 317 inhabitants and torched the village.
On 12 August 1943, a two-man Wehrmacht reconnaissance team had come across a small group of andartes in the village and had reported back to divisional headquarters in Ioannina. On the evening of 15 August 1943, Colonel Josef Salminger, the commanding officer of the 98th Regiment, ordered 12 Company to attack the village on the following morning. The attack was led by 12 Company's leader, Lieutenant Röser, who personally shot the village priest at the outset of the assault.
Men, women and children (74 of them under the age of 10) were killed indiscriminately, but almost half of the village's population managed to escape by swimming across the Arachthos river. The first Wehrmacht reports recorded that 150 civilians had died. As the reports moved up the command chain, they were amended so that "150 civilians" became "150 enemy".
The names of the 317 villagers who were killed are now recorded on a marble monument in the village's main square