The Brutal Nazi Massacre of a Cretan Village in Pictures


On June 2, 1941 a brutal massacre took place in the village of Kondomari, just west of the city of Hania. The Battle of Crete had just completed and the Allied forces surrendered the island to the invading Nazis. Despite the outcome, the battle changed the course of World War II history and was epic on so many levels, including the fierce resistance that the Nazis encountered from the local Cretan population.

The Nazis were dumbfounded by the resistance, never having experienced such ferocious fighting from civilians anywhere else in Europe.

As retribution for so many German losses, General Kurt Student ordered a long series of mass reprisals against the people of Crete. The massacre at Kondomari was the first, starting what would be a brutal campaign of terror, attempting to instill fear in the local population.

The massacre was photographed by a German army war correspondent named Franz-Peter Weixler whose negatives were discovered several decades later in the federal German archives and show a macabre and detailed chronology of what transpired on that fateful day in the tiny Greek village that lost most of its male population. Almost 70 men were assassinated by firing squad that day.




  1. Λώστας on

    Ενας σώθηκε σε μία εκτέλεση. Ηρθε ο πατέρας του οικιοθελώς, να τον αντικαταστήσει, και άρχισαν τον καυγά, διότι ήθελε να πεθάνει αυτός και όχι ο πατέρας του. Μετά από αυτό οι γερμανοί δεν το εκτέλεσαν.

    • Nazi revisionists attempt to let the Wehrmacht off the hook by claiming that it was the SS who committed all the atrocities, when, in fact, the doctrine of cold blooded race superiority suffused the entire German culture. We can’t understand this sort of barbarity from the land of Beethoven and Schiller until we understand the power of certain irrational doctrines that took hold of the early Nazi movement and formed its creed of race superiority. The roots of Nazism can be found before WWI in the demented writings of the influential occultist, Lans Von Liebenfels (Google him) who published “Ostara” magazine in large numbers, a magazine that was avidly read by Hitler and his early cohorts.

  2. Not only did these monsters commit this attrocity, they went as far as to document it photographically. Disgusting. Did they think that future generations would marvel at their glory…of mowing down unarmed civilians? And, today, their progeny rule Europe? How far we've regressed…

    • The photos were taken against orders by a German propaganda agent who was trying to expose Germans to the atrocities they had committed. He took these negatives and had them processed, but then was found with them and sentenced to fifteen years in prison for crimes against the state. During the trial they also found him guilty of helping several Cretans to escape the island, which almost tripled his sentence from 15 to 40 years. The somewhat infamous negatives were confiscated off him but were found after the war (and after the photographers death).

  3. Mariette van der Woude-Georgiadis on

    this village was not far from were I used to live and where I have friends. This is horrible all those atrocities that were done and no restitution to the Greek people, I say Angela Merkel start coughing up the monies due to Greece and an apology to the Greek Peaple that were the survivors of this atrocity

  4. Very disturbing pictures. We must never forget the atrocities of war, war is real and it is disturbing. How many in Greece now can hold a Nazi flag and call themselves a political party is just as disturbing

  5. Lori nevratakis on

    War crimes killing innocent people and documenting it it is disgusting. The people of Crete and Greece in general have suffered by the hands of the Germans it is now time for the Germans to pay for those crimes of war. This is just one of many atrocities that occurred during the invasion of Greece. In my book if they are made to pay for the war crimes Greece should not have to pay back anything on the current loan and the Germans need to suck it up. Fuck the EU Greece doesn’t need them they need us. My husband was born in Crete may 1941 in the village of Males he and his family were lucky enough to survive . Proud to be Greek not German.

    • The photographer, a German, defied orders to take the pictures because he opposed the murder of the villagers. He tried to persuade the officer in charge not to kill anyone and saved two or three of the Cretans from being shot. He was a good man. The military didn’t want the slaughter recorded, but he wanted to expose the atrocity. He was punished for his actions, as I’m sure he knew he would be.

  6. Angello Malefakis on

    I am happy that you posted the pictures. We all learn from our history. I did know that my Daddy was a guerilla in WWI and was affiliated with such a group to fight the Germans. I am proud and happy that he did. If it was me that day, I too will fight. It is like Spartacus says, I want to be a free man, and not a slave. I believe in that principle! We all must unite and fight back. It is a long, long, long time ago and I don’t know what happened in the years since but Germany needs to pay back in monetary form those that they killed. They did it to the Jews. They need to do to the people of Crete. If they have not paid, it is time that they pay up! In turn, our government in Greece must represent the people rather than those that have taken the money out of the country. Greece must survive. Must grow. Must prosper. Finally, must remember the past. The past is the indicator to the future!

  7. Art. 43 HLKO
    In order to establish order in an occupied country/ in war, international law allows to shoot partisans. This includes whole villages, if they provide shelter to partisans. This was and is a common way to fight partisans, e.g. today in 2015 Ucraine Western army bombs whole cities and villages in the Eastern Ucraine, for the suspician that pro-russian soldiers are among the civilians. We are talking of douzens of thousands of dead civilians here.

    • You are incorrect. If you kill entire villages of people it is a war crime. The Germans at Kondomari killed old men as well as young men. It’s possible there may have been some andartes among them but the Germans didn’t care whether they were innocent or not, they just wanted to wipe out every man in the village, nearly 70 of them. As I said, that’s a war crime. Student and the officer in charge of these killings should have been hanged. What were the andartes doing, anyway? Simply defending their land against the invaders. When the Germans bombed Heraklion at the start of the invasion, the Luftwaffe machine-gunned civilians fleeing from the city. These people weren’t fighting the Germans, they were just trying to escape the bombs. Did the Germans really believe, as has been reported, that the people of Crete would welcome them with open arms when innocent men, women and children had been blown to pieces? The Cretan people have always resisted the invader. And guess what? All the invaders are gone and the Cretans are still there. Don’t excuse barbaric wartime acts as being within international law because trying to be an apologist for the inexcusable is absurd. This massacre was an evil, disgusting crime and if I was a German, even after all this time I would feel the deepest shame for Kondomari.

  8. General Kurt Student who was ultimately responsible for this and other war crimes in Crete was put on trial in 1947. He was sentenced to just five years jail but was released in 1948 apparently for medical reasons and lived a further 30 years. So much for justice.

  9. I’m glad you posted the pictures and the story. History cannot be forgotten. We have, obviously, to be remembered again and again that war is hell and turns people, all over the world, no matter what nationality or ethnicity, into monsters. I’m German, and I’m ashamed looking at these pictures. In German schools we are reminded from year 7 on about the terrible German history – and learn that this must never ever happen again.

    War is hell.

  10. Stella Pappas on

    These photos should be published again and again for the world to see the atrocities of this war. Shooting unarmed civilians also occurred at the village of my parents, Skine, Crete. Retribution for the kidnapping of a German general also occasioned the burning of the entire village. This meant the villagers scattered to live in caves, as did my mother, or under the trees with flimsy sheets for protection from the elements. Some of the more fortunate villagers had relatives in other villages with which to stay. Rebuilding poor impoverished homes went on for decades and many people still live in those homes. The small payments of German retribution have never been enough to compensate for the misery and destruction.

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