Day in History. June 10, 2022. 78th anniversary of the Distomo tragedy

… I first learned about the tragedy of Distomo when I read in the second half of the 1980s. a book on the history of Greek resistance to fascism.

In 1990, having come to his relatives, who had repatriated shortly before to Greece, Livadia in Viotia (Boeotia), he touched the tragedy of the village of the martyrs of the death of Distomo – he visited the memorial in memory of this tragedy.

…Busy tourist route to Arachova and Delphi. Opposite, on the other side of the road from the memorial, there are taverns. Carefree tourists sharing their impressions of the Greek wonders of the world they saw. Polyphony Babylon. … Did any of them “disturb” the goodness of their conversation with the memory of Distomo?

…June 10, 2014. This day in modern Greek history, our Greek memory is dedicated to the tragedy of Distomo. Since that time, 70 years have passed. On June 10, 2014, millions of Greeks remembered hundreds of residents of Distomo who were martyred at the hands of the German fascists, one of the most horrific crimes of the Nazis in Greece occupied by them. About the Greek village of the martyrs of Distomo in Viotia (Boeotia). … 70 years have passed, but as if it happened today. The Germans brutally, inhumanely exterminated 228 villagers, including women and children.

In their animal revenge on the inhabitants of Distomo, they did not stop at nothing, giving free rein to all their bestial instincts. Burnt village. A rural clergyman beheaded by the Nazis. Before being subjected to destruction, girls and women were dishonored by German executioners. … A terrible picture. The blood runs cold in the veins.

… A quarter of a century earlier, the pictures of the extermination of the peaceful population of the Greeks of Pontus by the Young Turks and Kemalists were the same in their inhumanity and atrocities. Then these animals, intoxicated with impunity, in human form, gave free rein to all their bestial fantasies. Civilians were burned in Orthodox churches, destroyed in the most terrible manifestations of the bestial grin of hatred by an obscurantist crowd of Muslim fanatics.

… The Turkish executioners, remember, had pedantic German mentors.

… The tragedy of Distomo. This is one of the largest massacres of the unarmed population in modern Greek history, known as the “Massacre at Distomo” (“ΣφαγήτουΔιστόμου”). But we all need to know that there were many “Greek Distomos” destroyed “on the vine” along with their inhabitants. The murder of the inhabitants of the Cretan villages of Kandanos and Kondomari (06/2/1941), the Greek village of Laki in the Crimea (03/23/1942), the tragedy of the Holocaust of Kalavryta in the Peloponnese (12/13/1943). … Tragic dates.

… On the morning of June 10, 1944, the German SS unit, heading from Livadia (Λιβαδειά) to Arakhova (Αράχωβα) in order to cleanse the region of partisan forces. At Distomo, this unit joined up with another Germanic group, which began its advance from Amfissa (Άμφισσα) towards Styri (Στείρι). Residents were ordered not to move away from the village until the return of the German forces.

Near the village of Katavotra (Καταβόθρα), the Germans were attacked by ELAS partisans. Further, after a short and fierce battle, the partisans were forced to retreat, leaving 15 dead and the same number of wounded on the battlefield. German losses were 6 dead and 15 wounded. … The Germans considered that the offensive of the ELAS detachment was connected with information from the inhabitants of Distomo. Returning to Distomo, they made a trial. By order of their commander, Lieutenant Hans Zabel, Distomo was burned. 228 of its inhabitants (117 women and 111 men) were brutally murdered. Among them, 53 children and teenagers, 20 babies. …According to the representative of the Red Cross Swiss Georg Wehrly, who visited Distomo a few days later, the number of people killed in Distomo and the surrounding area reached 600 people.

The apparent atrocity became immediately known from the news of the BBC’s foreign broadcast radio station and caused indignation in international public opinion. The German command in Athens held the inhabitants of Distomo solely responsible, as they, as stated in the report, “disobeyed military orders.”

After the Germans left Greece, the Greek War Crimes Branch of Nazism was able to find the person responsible for the Distomo massacre, Hans Sabel, who was found in Paris, where he was arrested. The French authorities handed him over to Greece, who arrested him and put him in prison. In August 1949, Zabel acknowledged the full scale of the German atrocities in Distomo, but in his defense he said that he had carried out the order of the higher leadership. During his imprisonment, he was temporarily transferred to West Germany on another matter, but he never returned to Greece to bear responsibility for the consequences of his terrible criminal acts. The war criminals, their name list, who were guilty of the tragedy of the village of Distomo, were never brought to justice. … So to this day, the relatives of the martyrs of the death of Distomo are unsuccessfully suing the German justice regarding the triumph of historical justice – they call on Germany to give an answer according to the Greek accounts of justice and history.

We, millions of Greeks all over the world, must not forget anything, consign to oblivion the crimes against our people!

Forgiving does not mean forgetting! During the years of the occupation of Greece, the Italians and the “brothers” Bulgarians also “distinguished themselves”,
which, at times, “eclipsed” the cruelty of the Germans. … Why is the Greek state still sluggishly raising the “question of compensation” before Germany without much result? Why is Germany in no hurry and dodges in every possible way from
legitimate claims for damages from relatives of the victims of the German genocide, terrible in their hatred of the crimes of the Nazis of the village of the Greek martyrs of Distomo? …Because the Greek state dealt with these issues in such a way, not in a real way! The reasons are that in post-war Greece all Greek collaborators were not convicted, put on trial, and subjected to a fair assessment of public opinion. Greek Civil War 1946-1949 , lost by the left forces, did not contribute to the process of cleansing the Greek society, the Greek political establishment from the entire “gray” public, filth, who “hugged”, “fraternized”, coexisted very nicely with the invaders. … When I visit Greece, I meet with Manolis Glezos, “the first partisan of Europe”, who consistently raises the issue of compensation by the Germans for the terrible damage suffered by the Greeks from the crimes of the Nazis. … Hundreds of thousands of those who died of starvation in December 1941 – January 1942 – on the conscience of the Germans. Thousands of people brutally massacred the peaceful Greek population. All of them, the Greek martyrs of the crimes of the Nazis, appeal to the conscience of the modern rulers of Germany.

It is necessary to write a fundamental work “The crimes of the fascist invaders in Greece in 1940-1944.”

…June 10, 2014. 70th anniversary of the tragedy of the Greek village of Distomo. …To be remembered.
…There is no statute of limitations for crimes against humanity.

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