Greece During World War II
Memories from the holocaust of Ierapetras western villages by Stefanos Gerontis
The book “The burned villages. Memories of the destruction of the western villages of Ierapetra in 1943” contains twenty narrations of villagers from Ierapetras western villages.
The project “Memories from the holocaust of Ierapetras western villages” aims at keeping alive the memory of a mass civilian extermination campaign by nazi forces in September 1943 at Viannos and Ierapetra districts, thus improving this and following generations knowledge of what took place and its consequences on the lives of people that had the luck to survive. Under the general perspective given by modern historical scientific practices that take under serious consideration and thus research oral testimonies, Lasithi Prefecture chooses in the project to take full advantage of oral testimonies of witnesses, descendants of martyrs and villagers of the site, while they are still among us. This site is a basic mean of disseminating these testimonies and aims to contribute in them reaching as much possible organizations and individuals.
The Book is compilation of personal stories, it is free. Just provide the email address. http://www.holocaust-lasithi.eu/en/index.php
The following is an excerpt from Memories from the holocaust of Ierapetras western villages by Stefanos Gerontis
Narrative by CHRISANTHI KASOKERAKI ALEXOMANOLAKI
We were five siblings. I was the oldest. I was born in 1922. I was nine when my mother gave birth to my second sister. My youngest sister was born when I got married, at the age of sixteen. I was twenty years old in1943; my son was two months old and my older daughter two years old.
The Germans and the Italians came and spent two or three years, I am not really sure. The Italians did no harm. They used to take a goat or a chicken, but they did not hurt us.
The events in Simi
When the Germans came to Simi there was a movement of rebels as a response and they killed the three Germans that were in the guardhouse in Kato Simi. There were some villagers there that wanted to exterminate the Germans for they were taking their goats, and And they went there one night and their men from the village killed the three Germans in the guardhouse. There were three guards in Simi. But the other German troops in Viannos were looking for them. And when they didn’t get any response they started thinking they were dead. In the meantime, our people from the hideout of Mpantouvas came down they were taking the money and we were the victims). They must have thought that the Germans would come to search for the guards. There are two mountains and the road passes in between. So, the rebels of Mpantouva came and took position on each side of these two mountains and they were waiting for the detachment from Viannos to arrive. After a while, the Germans passed by insouciantly. It must have been a detachment, but I don’t know exactly how many people there were. Our men saw them and started firing. They killed a few and later on they came down and took their weapons. They had them all killed, there must have been about sixty men. I can not be certain for I was not there. I have only heard those saying so. In the meantime, they contacted their commander and he came and said that: “all living beings” would be killed; no woman or man would survive. We were here, carefree as we knew nothing. We had done no harm. Who could come now and inform us? Were there any telephones then? Nothing. And we were sitting,