MASSACRE OF DISTOMO

For the massacre of Distomo many books have been written and many will still be. Our approach would be unfair if it would be based exclusively in some of them or was made from a merge out of them. We preferred the novelish like, and at the same time based on the central events, approach of the below material extracted from the text that the Distomitian Stathis Stathas wrote, on the occasion of publication of a triptych leaflet, by the Municipal authority, for honoring the 50th anniversaire of the slaughter of Distomo, in 1994.  


He starts like this ...
"At 10 June 1944 the place knew one of the wildest slaughters that became known throughout the world ever. Two hundred eighteen of our fellow-citizens were killed by the Nazies of Hitler without ever knowing the cause of this maniac action. Betweeen them, old men and women, pregnant women, not even baptized babies, offered their blood for the freedom of our homeland, for peace, for civilization. "  

BACKGROUND - Saturday of 10 June 1944. 

"...The news from the front was good. One more day of work and hope was rising. The day of freedom and peace was close. Four days before, on 6 June, the allies had been in Normandy. The German conquerors understanding  their empire reaches finally to an end, are occupied with mania of destruction. They carry orders of genocide."One German killed - fifty Greeks, ten Germans - one village "

They wanted to terrorise the residents in order to cease the strengthening of the organised guerrilla teams that acted in the region. Thus in the plan of liquidation enterprises, that horrible morning, a column of seven cars with German soldiers (* 2nd company of 2nd battalion of 7th Constitution of 1st Division of S.S seated in Livadeia), were moved from Livadeia towards Distomo. From these, the first two vehicles that were ahead enough, were Greek ordained, full with German soldiers dressed as black marketers. They would first hit the unsuspected rebels that would approach the cars and afterwards they would be strengthened by the force that followed. From Karakolithos and afterwards they start spreading death. They kill five and they arrest twelve farmers as hostages while they were harvesting in the fields. In the crossroads of Distomo - Arahova they meet 60 more trucks full of German soldiers that were coming from Amfissa towards Distomo. They enter Distomo. The residents are still unsuspected. However, seeing  the hostages they start to worry. The dodge column was the biggest they had ever seen. The headman calls the Chairman and the priest of the village and asks them for information on the movements of the rebels in the region. Not being possible to learn, after they had placed outposts in the elevations around the village, for the control and intimidation of the peasants, they are delivered in pillages.  

The midday the two ordained Greek cars with the disguised German soldiers were directed to Ossios Loukas abbey. Short before the village Steiri they accepted attack from a department of rebels of E.L.A.S -Hellenic Public Liberating Army- (11th company of 3rd battalion, 34th constitution), that had set up an ambush. The battle was hard and kept almost two hours. The guerrilla department retrieted in front of the volume of German forces that had reached from Distomo when the first gunshots were heard. However, the losses of Germans were big. From the two first cars a soldier and a driver were saved. 40 German soldiers were killed. The head officer Teo *, was heavily wounded and a little later, he ends dead in Distomo. After the clash the German column had returned to the village. The soldiers after that, immediately execute the 12 hostages in front of the Public school.(right photo)  

At that point the tragedy of Distomo begins. The residents, that did not accomplish to slip from Diaskelo earlier, the only unguarded crossing towards the sea, are closed terrified in their houses. Wild soldiers run through the deserted streets of the village with the lance of arm. They enter the houses, they kill, they burn, they slaughter and rape. Women, men, children, old men and women, even infants of few days old, passed through the same scary Golgotha. Owfull are heard the lamentations and cries of those who die. As new Herods, the Hitler civilizers  exterminate the bantlings of Distomo.

Tragic scenes of the remnants on the streets.

The wriggling of mother and wife 

Nazis are resting after the massacre

 


A writing by the Nobelist Yiannis Ritsos for Distomo. *

*It is so unfair to match in English the words he uses and the message he tranfers
 that it might be inproper to be translated. However we have tried below.

" Here's the bitter soil of Distomo. 
Oh, passenger you, wherever you step on be careful - 
here aches the silence, and aches the stone of every road, 
from even the sacrifice and the cruelty of man.
Here a simple column, of marble, 
all in all covered by descent names,
and the Glory ascents them
sob by sob, stair by stair, greatest stairway.

These occured in Distomo. It would also occur more. But the night fell and the murderers were afraid and left. Now  the peacefulness of the cemetery is unfolded over the village for a long time. Slowly afterwards, Distomo started to wake up. And  then the lamentations  of the deserted children that cried out for their parents and also the yells of the old people were  heard. Some strange laughters and songs were also heard of those that were driven mad in front of the horror that had suffered.

During the night the little children had been on the dark streets trying to reach to the near villages.  There was a caravan of little children that looked for a human hand to sweep their teardrops from their small faces and to give answer to the terrible question : Why ? "

Her children were hidden into the barrel when they were discovered and rush shooted. Mother, mad from the pain, spends hours over the leaking from the bullets barrel, lamenting. 

From the book of Yannis Basdekis " DISTOMO " we transport in brevity the below information. 

"The violences were continued the next days with particular ferocity, where the Hitler soldiers looted everything that had remained. On 26th of June they come back and hit again. The climax, was the rape of a 50 year old, blind and intellectually invalid woman by a soldier team.  They first  stroke her on the  head with the butt of their guns breaking all of her teeth and unconsious as she was, they bursted out above her, their dirty carnal passion toys". 

 

Stathis Stathas continues. 

"The slaughter of Distomo was a crime of those that bring the victims into  the honorary place of martyrs and their sacrificers in the eternal contempt. "It is a contemptible event for the culture of those that aspired to control the world that showed that the up to today world culture had not any influence at all in their criminal souls" (Nyremberg).

After the war and the defeat of Germans, the Governor of German forces that committed the world crime of Distomo, Hans Zampel, was conceived in Paris and was expelled by the French authorities to Greece, however while he was detained and was to be in trial he was demanded by the Government of West Germany and he was sent there, where accordingly to information, he remains free till today ." 
DISTOMO 1994.

The photo that was famous in all over the world, 
when published into the American magazine LIFE, Nr 10 at 27-11-1944

The modern monument for reminding to the newer generations


The bones of the massacred residents of Distomo



Modern atrwork representing the massacre

 


 

 

 

( * )The investigation and the enrichment of the events and elements of the slaughter are affair of the  world community and of every freely thinking citizen. Various researchers already and particularly Germans, such as the historian, Dieter Begemann, circulate new elements on the slaughter of Distomo. 

According to them, the unit that undertook this inhuman enterprise was the 4th Division of Tank (PANZER) Grenadiers of S.S. Police. Teo that is reported as an officer,  he was very probably their interpreter and also his Greek origin is investigated.

The officer who gave the order for the massacre of the innocent Distomotians was the man pictured at the left named Fritz Lautenbach.

*Confirmation for the above was printed in the 29/1/2003 issue of the WAR PRESS by Despina Konstantinakou