Place of Holocaust

On the hill of Kapi, 500 m east of the city, one of the darkest pages of the occupation period took place: the Massacre (or Holocaust) of Kalavrita. On 13 December 1943, at 2:34 p.m., the Holocaust was the end of the Holocaust. (as the hands of the church's stopped clock still show), the Germans led the entire male population and teenagers over the age of 13 up the hill and executed them with continuous machine gun fire.

The place of execution was not chosen at random; on the contrary, it also comes to underline the brutality of the German conquerors. It was a sloping and amphitheatrical location, where they would have easily trapped the inhabitants unable to escape the fire, while they would have died with a full view of their houses engulfed in flames. They would have lost their lives watching their town disappear. The commander of the German detachment initially misleads the Kalavritans, even giving them his oath of military honor that he would not kill them. But it was a well-planned assassination.

The soldiers of the German 117th Commando Division, before executing the men, set Kalavrita on fire and locked the women and children and the elderly in the primary school, setting it on fire as well. They managed to escape, were miraculously saved and poured out into the streets, but the sight that awaited them on the hill and the tragic outcome was also like death. Their fathers, brothers, husbands, sons and grandsons lay dead. The blood flowed. An endless pile of lifeless bodies. The place, as if it were thickly strewn with poppies. Kneeling and embracing, kissing, kissing again, mourning and wailing. The women, the living dead, choked by the clouds of smoke from the burning city, hold the most tragic group funeral the next day, dragging their dead with blankets (given as a distraction by the Germans). They stagger to the cemetery and make graves by hand, desperately digging the frozen earth of December. Untold drama, endless dirge, endless orphanhood and vultures fluttering over the city, also squawking incessantly. A scene of devastation.

Today, on the ridge of the Kapi, a large white cross is raised, there are columns with the names of the families of the executed, a catacomb with small candles -numerous of the dead- and the stone sculpture of the pained Mana, eternal symbol of the Municipality of Kalavrita, of martyrdom and the brotherhood of peoples.

Kalavrita was reborn, thanks to these heroic figures, to the Kalavrita women and mothers who fought to stand upright and raise their children. But they will never forget. The blood of the executed will smell the soil, will stir the memory. Every year, on December 13, after the memorial service in the city's cathedral, a mourning procession is held to the Place of Execution on the hill, where a memorial service and an invocation of the fallen is held.

To this day, no responsibility has been attributed, no compensation has been paid by Germany, and none of the perpetrators of these crimes has ever been brought to justice.

With data taken from the "Historical Photographic Album of 2003 for the 60 years of the Kalavrita Holocaust")

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