Operation Kreuzotter

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Mr Holmes
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Operation Kreuzotter

Postby Mr Holmes » 06 Oct 2005 11:07

Hello all, (hopefully this post is in the right section, otherwise could a mod please move it? :-))

I am currently reading Munoz's "Herakles & the Swastika" and on p. 36 he writes as thus:

The last major anti-guerilla operation to be launched in Greece was codenamed "Kreuzotter" (Otter Crossing). It was begun on August 5th and lasted till the 25th. The operation concentrated on the Karpenisi area and also included the region south of Karpenisi and west of Amfissa. This region was held by the German 104th Jaeger Division. Volunteer Battalion "Agrinio" took part in this operation, advancing with 104th Division troops from the Agrinio-Makrynia area towrds Thermo and Aetopetra, entering Berikos on August 7th.

(bold mine)

I am interested in this piece of information for the following reasons:

a) Karpenisi is my mother's birth place (well a village close by: Kontiva)

b) When I was actually there a few years back, a little old lady was telling me that Italian troops had slaughtered some Greek troops in the next village and that "you can hear the soldiers' wailing at a spot just a little further away fom here". There must be some truth to her story telling, except that it was probably not Italian troops but either the German detachment or the Greek Volunteer detachment who committed this "atrocity" (ie. if it ever occured).

This leads me to my turning to all of you and begin begging:

1) Does anyone know of this Operation?

2) Are there any pictures available? (A long shot, I know, but worth asking)

3) Are there any more in-depth accounts of this operation? Unfortunately, Munoz does not state anything regarding any actual combat taking place in Karpenisi (/Karpenision), so any information is MOST welcome.

4) Was there an atrocity committed in Karpenisi either during the time of this particular operation or throughout the whole period of the Occupation?

5) Is there any information on the German 104th Jaeger Division?

Please, if anyone has any information, I will be most indebted to you.

As you all know, information concerning the Greek occupation (in terms of Collaborators) is most difficult to come by, and any piece of information that may be gleaned from here and there is most valuable.

I thank you all in advance.

Nick

Larry D.
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Postby Larry D. » 06 Oct 2005 14:20

The U.S. post-Nürnberg Case VII trial (the "Hostage" or "Southeast" Case) is full of testimony and documents concerning Unternehmen "Kreuzotter" I und II.

There are also a lot of Heeresgruppe E and XXII. Gebirgskorps records for July 1944 covering it. Unfortunately, I don't believe there is a published unit history for the 104. Jäg.Div.

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Postby Mr Holmes » 07 Oct 2005 10:37

Larry D. wrote:The U.S. post-Nürnberg Case VII trial (the "Hostage" or "Southeast" Case) is full of testimony and documents concerning Unternehmen "Kreuzotter" I und II.


Hello Larry and a million thank yous in order for the information. Unfortunately, after a Google search, I am only able to find German references to the term (this puts me in the unenviable position of major disadvantage... it is something I whould try to learn [i.e. the German language]). Would you know of a handly link or book that details that particular post-Nürnberg case? Again, any information is greatly appreciated.

There are also a lot of Heeresgruppe E and XXII. Gebirgskorps records for July 1944 covering it. Unfortunately, I don't believe there is a published unit history for the 104. Jäg.Div.


Unfortunate indeed. :-(.




-edit-

Apparently, the Germans tried to burn the local monastery there too as this sites very brielfly relates (very touristy site, my mother was born in a village not too far from that particular monastery)
http://www.avarishotel.gr/english/infoenglpro.htm


I remember my cousin in 1988 telling me that a German who tried to set alight the monastery "spontaneously combusted". Again, the local myths which have a kernel of the truth in them.


-edit 2-

Oh and this link gives a very brief mention of the Italian government set up there:

http://www.katsanos.com/Karpenisi/Karpenisi_history.htm

However, I thought that the Italians (ie. most of them) withdrew in 1943... this government is supposed to have been co-set up by them in 1944??

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Postby Larry D. » 07 Oct 2005 12:51

S.D. wrote:

Would you know of a handly link or book that details that particular post-Nürnberg case?


A 5-volume "blue" series was published by the U.S. government in the 1948-49 period, I believe, that summarizes the 12 post-Nürnberg trials conducted by the U.S. authorities in Germany. The full transcript with all prosecution and defense exhibits is available on microfilm from the U.S. National Archives. It's in Record Group 38 and consists of approximately 46 rolls (reels) of 35mm microfilm. If you will go over to the Holocaust and War Crimes sub-forum on this web site and search for all threads that mention Case VII, Case 7, Southeast Case, Hostage Case, etc., you should find information regarding the 5-volume book. But I should caution you that the 4,000 - 5,000 pages in the publish book is a synthesis of the hundreds of thousands of pages of trial transcripts and exhibits generated by the 12 trials. Therefore, there was a huge amount of editing and "Kreuzotter" may not have made the cut. Anyone doing a thorough investigation of "Kreuzotter" would need to examine both the trial records and the German military records that I mentioned in my earlier post. However, your interest appears to be more personal than historical, so you might consider just skipping everything and instead fly to Greece and spend a month studying Greek accounts of what happened in the local libraries in the Karpenisi - Amfissa area. The trial and German military records will provide historical facts, but not personal accounts of what happened at small unit level or photographs. The trial records, however, would focus on atrocities.

--Larry

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Postby Mr Holmes » 07 Oct 2005 13:38

Again Larry, I thank you for your time in answering my queries.

I'll see what I can do (at least hopefully later on in life) to peruse through the so-called "blue" series... hopefully there is either a concordance or index of sorts. I will go through the Holocaust section of the forum in the hope that more light may be shed on the shed. Thanks for the advice.

It is understandable that Op: Kreuzotter may not have made the series, however, this should not deter my impetus to find sources on the subject.

My interest in the subject is both personal and historical. Personal, obviously through my attachment to that particular area (as well as of Corinth of which Volunteer battalions and an SS unit were stationed for instance) and to find out what went on there in 1944 for personal edification.

But also historical. Any source of importance and possibly even posted here, may inspire someone to write even a short excursis on the topic at hand, thereby adding more to the literary corpus of the Axis Occupation of Greece, of which I must say, there is only a very negligible amount. Most referencing in the Greek language seems to be more of a devotional/romantic type, with little or no regard to actual in-depth event analysis. So you can sense, I hope, my frustration at obtaining even the smallest amount of data. We are talking about a very apathetic people.

Interesting that you pose the solution of a trip to Greece to explore there. I might actually be going there next year for a short while, and I may take you up on that. However, I must confess, I did not see a library there (in Karpenisi, or Corinth for that matter), unless they are contained within the municipality building.

The trial and German military records will provide historical facts, but not personal accounts of what happened at small unit level or photographs. The trial records, however, would focus on atrocities.


If there no or little amounts of pictures from the operation, then there would be little one could do to rectify the situation. Since there are no books focusing on the 104. Jäg.Div., then I would little or no history from the smaller unit level. However, I am certain, that in the trials, the interrogators would be seeking contexts for the operation and so something may be gleaned from that.

Again, I thank you for your advice.

Sincerely,

Nick

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Postby Larry D. » 07 Oct 2005 14:56

Nick wrote:

However, I am certain, that in the trials, the interrogators would be seeking contexts for the operation and so something may be gleaned from that.


Yes, that is true. About half of the 12,000 page trial transcript is devoted to German atrocities in Greece. In addition to numerous German witnesses, a dozen or more Greek witnesses were brought to Germany to testify. However, I can no longer recall whether any of the Greeks testified in regard to "Kreuzotter". It has been many years since I read through it.

--Larry

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Postby Mr Holmes » 08 Oct 2005 10:04

Larry D. wrote: About half of the 12,000 page trial transcript is devoted to German atrocities in Greece. In addition to numerous German witnesses, a dozen or more Greek witnesses were brought to Germany to testify. However, I can no longer recall whether any of the Greeks testified in regard to "Kreuzotter". It has been many years since I read through it.

--Larry


Well, after 6,000 odd pages, I don't blame you! 8O

You have however, given me firm ground from which to undertake my research in this matter, and I appreciate it immensely.


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