Operation Kalavryta

Massacre of Kalavryta, Extermination of Male Population - Total Destruction

By Municipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

Municipal Museum of Kalavritan Holocaust

The map of "Operation Kalavryta" by German Occupation ForcesMunicipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

During the WWII, Greece was occupied (April 1941 - October 1944) by Axis forces and it was divided in German, Italian and Bulgarian occupation zones. During this period, armed and unarmed groups of Greeks, from across the political spectrum, organised the Greek Resistance. In order to wear down the Resistance that had developed in Kalavryta and bend the civilian's morale, the German Occupation forces organised and executed, military operations on the mountainous area of Kalavryta. The largest one, was on December 1943, when the German Army's 117th Jäger Division began a mission known as "Unternehmen Kalavryta" (Operation Kalavryta), intending to encircle Greek Resistance guerilla fighters.

Operation Kalavryta Operation Kalavryta by Karl von Le Suire, General Commander of the 117th Jager Division, German Occupation ForcesMunicipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

A classified order for the intiation of "Operation Kalavryta", signed on November 25th, 1943 by Karl von Le Suire. Then, on December 13th, 1943 the order was specialized by Lieutenant Colonel Wolfinger by defining objectives as the identificationand eradication of guerrilla groups in the greater area, detection of communists, arms and propaganda material and finally tracking the 5th Company of the 749th Division (First Lieutenant's Schober company was captured by the guerrillas groups during the battle of Kerpini, 6km away from Kalavryta on 16-18th October 1943). On November 29th, Stukas bombed a neighbouring village, named Skepasto. On December 5th, 1943 the plan was put into practice. Fully armed motor-driven and hiker forces started from five different Peloponnese cities (Patras- Aigio - Korinthos - Pyrgos and Tripolis) and moved following a predefined radial route. The main objective of the operation was Kalavryta.

Mega Spilaio (1943/1948)Municipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

The Beginning of the Holocaust.
Days before their entrance in Kalavryta, the German Occupation Forces started massive executions in the villages of Kerpini, Roghi, Zaclorou, Souvardo, Vrahni and in the Mega Spilaio Monastery.

The Primary School of Kalavryta (1906/1910) by Gazis N.Municipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

Kalavryta.
On Decenber 9, 1943, the motor-driven forces from Patras and Aigio marched into Kalavrytta. MajorEbersberger, commander of the Operation gave a short speech to the citizens. He promised that their goal was to search for the captives from the Kerpini Battle. From December 9th until December 12th, 1943 German Occupation forces looted and burnt a hotel(Helmos) and five houses (belonged to partisans).

Kalavryta. The School. (1906/1910) by Gazis N.Municipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

Moments of a farewell and of a violent escape.
On December 13th, the German Occuparion Forces gathered the families in the school. These stairs led the families to the main corridor. Soldiers had the order to separate the families inside the building. Men and boys (over the age of 12) were led to a hill. Women and children were hostages inside the building. The city was already on fire. According to the orders, the aim of the internment was to keep the women and children as hostages so that they could retaliate on the them if there was any kind of uncalculated reaction on the part of the men.

Place of Execution (1947-03-24)Municipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

Place of the Execution.
This hill, an amphitheatrical place on the outskirts of the town, was chosen by the German Occupation Force to be the place of the last act of the "Operation in Kalavryta".

Narration 4 (2005-01) by Municipal Museum of Kalavritan HolocaustMunicipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

Final report on retaliation at "Operation Kalavryta" Final report on retaliation at "Operation Kalavryta" by 117th Jager Division, German Occupation ForcesMunicipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

Final report on retaliation at Operation Kalavryta by the 117th Jager Division. The report has two main parts.Firstly it records the destroyed places and secondly the number of executed men. A) The following sites were destroyed: Rogoi, Kerpini, Kerpini’s railway station, Ano Zachlorou, Kato Zachlorou, Souvardos, Vrachni, Kalavryta, Monastery of Megalo Spilaio, Monastery of Agia Lavra, Agia Kyriaki, Avles, Vysoka, Fteri, Klapatsouna, Pirgaki, Valitsa, Melissia, Monastery of Omblou, Lapanagi, Mazi, Mazeika, Pagrati, Morohova, Derveni, Valtos, Planerro, Kalyvia (4 km west of the Mazeika). B) 696 Greeks were executed. Moreover, the troops of the 117th Jager Division, during the "Operation Kalavryta" took from the banks of the city and from the region 260 million drachmas, 12.5 million drachmas out of circulation, more than 1.9 thousand animals (cattle and sheep), 79 horses, mules and donkeys. During the operation, German troops destroyed 14 hunting rifles, 5 pistols and 1 flare gun.

City of ruins (1945/1946) by Agency of United PhotojournalistsMunicipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

City of ruins (1945-1946).
By the Agency of United Photojournalists
Municipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust.

Pantheon by Municipal Museum of Kalavritan HolocaustMunicipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

The Pantheon of Executed men from "Operation Kalavryta" (5th until 14th December 1943), as it is exhibited in the 5th exhibition room of the Municipal Museum of Kalavritan Holocaust.

Names of executed and survivors by Municipal Museum of Kalavritan HolocaustMunicipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

Names of Executed men and Survivors from "Operation Kalavrita", On the left are displayed the photos of 28 survivors (13 from Kalavryta and 15 from the surrounding villages) from the executions that took place from 5th to 14th December 1943.

Memorial Day (1958)Municipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

Memorial Day (1958)
Municipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust.

Place of Execution (1964) by Agency of United PhotojournalistsMunicipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

Place of Execution (1964).
By the Agency of United Photojournalists
Municipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

City of ruins (1945/1946) by Agency of United PhotojournalistsMunicipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

City of ruins (1945-1946).
By the Agency of United Photojournalists
Municipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust.

Lamentation (1945/1946) by Agency of United PhotojournalistsMunicipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

Lamentation (1945-1946).
By the Agency of United Photojournalists
Municipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

Orphans (1945/1955)Municipal Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust

Orphans.
Group photo of the orphans of the city of Kalavryta, sent to American donors.

Credits: Story

This exhibit was created by the Municipal Museum of Kalavritan Holocaust.
For more information visit: www.dmko.gr

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps