The Germans believing they could strike fear into the hearts
of the Greeks were very brutal towards them. They killed many
thousands, wiping out entire villages at times. The massacres at
Calabrata, Doxato, Distomo, Sparta, and Athens among others will speak for
all time at what the Greeks suffered under the occupation. It will
also put light on what a people are willing to suffer in order to fight for
their freedom from occupiers.
The occupation became extremely brutal in 1944 as the German
forces withdrew Greece. The Germans began massive retributions
throughout Greece, murdering and wiping out entire villages. Many
Greeks have long passed relatives who were murdered during this period.
An example of the brutality of the Germans in their withdrawal
can be clearly seen in the village of Kourkouli in Euboea, Central
Greece. The German soldiers asked to be fed by a couple in the village
and they happily obliged. When the Germans were finished eating the soldiers killed
the ladies husband in front of
her and her children's eyes! Other women were then locked in their houses
which were placed alit so that they burn alive. The villagers recount
how the Germans stud by laughing at these events as they occurred. The Germans then proceeded to burn the
entire village to the ground as they withdrew!
It should be noted that the Bulgarian occupation of northern
Greece was even crueler then the Germans and the Italians in the
other areas of Greece. The Bulgarians had a plan of ethnic cleansing
in northern Greece attempting to change the ethnic Greek character of the occupied
area. The end result were massacres that were just as large if
not larger then the other Axis powers.
As a result of the great sacrifices the resistance movement
made towards the liberation of Greece, it is commemorated on November 25th
in Greece. This day is especially important in the resistance movement
as it is the day when the bridge at Gorgopatomos was destroyed by the Greek
resistance hampering the German supply lines in Greece.
The Axis finally withdrew all their forces from Greece in
October 1944. All throughout Greece the church bells rang and people danced
in the streets in jubilation as the Axis flags were replaced by the flag of
Greece, the occupation had finally come to an end.