On the early morning of December 13th, 1943, the people of Kalavryta, in the mountains of Achaea, Peloponnese, woke up to the sounds of ringing church bells. The omens were bad. Within hours, at 9.00am, the first German soldiers of the Wehrmacht 117th Jägerdivision appeared in the town’s main road. The orders were definite: Everyone should assemble to the local school. Half an hour later all women and children were locked in the schoolhouse while all men, between 12 and 80 years of age, were lined up and driven to a nearby hillside (Kappi Hill). The infamous “Unternehmen Kalavryta” (Operation Kalavryta) had just begun. In less than three hours the heroic town would be burned to ashes and only 13 of its male inhabitants would survive to keep the memory of their beloved ones alive, along with the shocking testimonies describing the Nazis’ atrocities.
- Published in Greece