Documents on German reprisals in WWII Greece

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Documents on German reprisals in WWII Greece

Post by David Thompson » 08 Oct 2004 04:33

"V: Hostages, Reprisals and Collective Measures in the Balkans. Measures Against Partisans and Partisan Areas: (B) Contemporaneous Documents: Partial Translation of Document NOKW-1246, Prosecution Exhibit 472: Extracts from War Diary No. 3, LXVIII Army Corps, Concerning Operations in Peloponnesus, Greece, 11/28/1943-12/14/1943", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 11: United States of America v. Wilhelm List, et al. (Case 7: 'Hostage Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1950. pp. 1030-1032.

War Diary No. 3, LXVIII Army Corps, started 7/1/1943, concluded 12/31/1943.

LXVIII Army Corps was subordinate 7/1-27/1943, to Army Group E; 7/28/1943-9/9/1943, to the 11th Italian Army; 9/9/1943-10/4/1943, to Army [Armeegruppe] Southern Greece; 10/5/1943-12/31/1943, to Army Group E.

The war diary was kept 7/1/1943-12/31/1943 by Captain (Cavalry) Sinapius.

* * *

11/28/1943 - In Old-Corinth, the reinforced 117th Signal Battalion carried out a mopping up operation in the course of which 67 hostages were seized and arms and propaganda material secured.

* * *

12/4/1943 - In Aighion, 50 hostages shot to death as reprisal measure for attack on truck on 12/2/1943.

12/5/1943 - 50 hostages hanged at the railroad station of Andritsa as reprisal measure for attack on 12/1/1943.

* * *

Twenty-five hostages shot to death in Gythion as reprisal measure for attack by bandits on 12/3/1943 west of Gythion.

* * *

12/8/1943 - Operation "Kalavritha". The combat groups advanced concentrically on Kalavritha (targets of the day about 10 kilometers around Kalavritha). According to statements of 2 men who escaped from the 5th Company of the 749th Light Regiment, which had been annihilated near Kalavritha on 10/19/1943 the captured company commander, Captain Schober, and 78 men are alleged to have been shot on 12/7/1943, in the mountains East of Kalavritha. To prevent the bands from escaping toward the east, the 3d Battalion of the 22d Air Force Light Regiment of Corinth is committed for the area, 25 kilometers southeast of Kalavritha.

* * *

12/9/1943 - Combat Group Lieutenant Colonel Woelffinger reaches Kalavritha without contact with the enemy. Combat Group Captain (Cavalry) Gnass thrusting ahead to the West up to Tripotamia.

* * *

12/10/1943 - Operation "Kalavritha". A reconnaissance patrol of platoon strength of the reinforced company of the 965th Fortress Regiment, makes contact with the enemy (10 kilometers south of Liwia). Own losses, 10 dead, 11 wounded.

Continued march of combat group Lieutenant Colonel Woelffinger to Tripotamia without contact with the enemy.

12/11/1943 - Operation "Kalavritha". In reprisal for the 78 murdered soldiers of the 5th Company of the 749th Light Regiment, nine villages in the area of "Kalavritha" destroyed up to now, 142 members of the male village population shot to death.

* * *

12/12/1943 - Operation "Kalavritha" concluded without any notable success except for the continuation of reprisal measures. It again has been demonstrated that an insufficiently mobile Light Regiment in the mountains is insufficient for the execution of a large scale operation (encirclement of bands).


12/13/1943 - During the course at additional reprisal measures, Kalavritha entirely destroyed, three more villages burned down, and 511 male inhabitants shot to death.

Seventy corpses of the murdered soldiers of the 5th Company of the 749th Light Regiment were found in Masi (10 kilometers southeast of Kalavritha).

* * *

12/14/1943 - During the continuation of the reprisal measures in the area of Kalavritha, Mazeika and two monasteries were destroyed. The combat groups are marching back to their garrisons. During the course of the reprisal measures a total of 24 villages and 3 monasteries were destroyed; 696 Greeks shot to death.

* * *

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Post by David Thompson » 08 Oct 2004 04:34

Title: "V: Hostages, Reprisals and Collective Measures in the Balkans. Measures Against Partisans and Partisan Areas: (B) Contemporaneous Documents: Partial Translation of Document NOKW-469, Prosecution Exhibit 482: Extracts from Report of Special Plenipotentiary Southeast Concerning 'The Blood Bath of Klissura' (Greece), 5/15/1944, via Foreign Office to Commander in Chief Southeast for Investigation", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 11: United States of America v. Wilhelm List, et al. (Case 7: 'Hostage Case'). US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1950. pp. 1034-1035.

* * *

Top Secret [Stamp]
[Handwritten] VAA - To OKW
* * */Foreign Group 1264/44 Top Secret, Foreign II A 3
Command Post, 5/25/1944

3 copies - 2d copy

Commander in Chief Southeast 2100
(Army Group F) Group Ic/AO
No. 4450 Secret - 5/26/1944 - Enclosure * * *
Ic 03 05 07 D Ic/L for special missions
Counterintelligence Officer AI AII AIII St.P G.F.P.
[Handwritten] Commander
[Illegible initial] [Illegible initial]

Commander in Chief Southeast
(Army Group F) Central Office
Arrived: 5/26/1944 No. 647/44 Top Secret

Enclosure Section Ic

To Chief Armed Forces Operations Staff
Via Liaison Officer, Foreign Group

The Foreign Office forwards the following telegraph report from the Special Plenipotentiary Southeast, Envoy Neubacher, under Pol I M 1138 Top Secret, dated 5/20/1944. The report is dated 5/15/1944. Rapid investigation and information as to its outcome is requested.

Commander in Chief Southeast with the request for speedy investigation and report of the results.

[Illegible signature]

Subject: "The Blood Bath of Klissura"

According to the reports previously submitted to me on 4/5/1944, 215 inhabitants of the village Klissura in the area of Salonika, mostly women, children and old men, were killed and 27 people wounded. This allegedly was done by order of the commander of an SS regiment from Salonika. This action constitutes a most serious infraction of an order on reprisal measures issued by the Commander in Chief Southeast, with my agreement, on the basis of the Fuehrer directive, dated 10/29/1943.
Reports available up to now show that among the dead were babies less than 1 year old; 29 children from 1 to 5; 39 old people between 60 and 90.

The competent military authorities are investigating this - on the basis of the present report - senseless and irresponsible excess.

The preliminary report of our consulate general indicates to me that German trucks were shot at by partisans at a distance about 22 kilometers from the village on 4/4/1944. No losses occurred. Two German motorcyclists were allegedly killed later by hand grenades thrown by an Italian of the same group of partisans at the same spot. The motorcycles are said to have been taken to Klissura. As happens daily in numerous villages, partisans had been quartered over night in the village itself. Partisans surrounded the village and forbade the inhabitants to leave the village and to use the pasture. After the last partisans withdrew on 4/5/1944 at about 1400 hours, the adult men left the village, because repeatedly in northern Greece and elsewhere too it happened that our side proceeded with mass shootings of the male population after the partisans had left. The men went to a neighboring village to a monastery. Women, children, and old men were almost the only ones to remain. The slaughter of those who were left began approximately at 1600 hours, and allegedly was stopped later by intervention of an army officer. I do not know the number of houses burned down.

The village priest was shot with his wife on the street. The house of a Greek captain fighting on our side with a group fighting the partisans was burned. All the relatives of a tailor who had worked for many years for the consulate general in Salonika were killed.

* * *

In view of the necessity of accelerating the final action [for clarification] of the population [In original document "die Schlussaktion in der Bevoelkerung vorwaertszutreiben."] the political effects of such incidents are catastrophic. It is utter insanity to murder babies, children, women, and old men because heavily armed Red bandits billeted themselves overnight, by force, in their houses, and because they killed two German soldiers near the village. The political effect of this senseless blood bath doubtlessly by far exceeds the effect of all propaganda efforts in our fight against communism.

No matter what the final result of the investigation may be the operation against Klissura represents a severe transgression of existing orders. The wonderful result of this heroic deed is that babies are dead. But the partisans continue to live and they will again find quarters by use of submachine guns in completely defenseless villages. It is a further fact that it is much more comfortable to shoot to death entirely harmless women, children, and old men than to pursue an armed band with a manly desire for vengeance and to kill them to the last man. The use of such methods must necessarily lead to the demoralization of a genuine combat morale.

I shall follow up this affair on the basis of the Fuehrer directive, dated 10/29/1943. The Reich Foreign Minister has been requested by me today, already, to inform the highest competent military authorities of my attitude and in the interest of our foreign policy in this area to ask for a most thorough investigation.

[Handwritten] N. has been informed that F. has asked for a very thorough investigation.

[Handwritten] We will most certainly do that!

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Post by David Thompson » 26 Jun 2005 05:19

From Arad, Yitzak, Shmuel Krakowski and Shmuel Spector (ed.), The Einsatzgruppen Reports, Holocaust Library, New York: 1989.

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 120; October 21, 1941

-200-

Military events

Greece

Two villages near the Strymen estuary that were proved to have given support to [partisan] bands were burnt down. All the male inhabitants (202) were shot. At the time of the burning, ammunition and also some explosive material exploded in every house.

Telephone cable Athens-Saloniki cut.

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