Friday, 23 August 2013

August 23rd 1944 ...

August 23 is a day of remembrance for Skiathos ...


It is the anniversary of the burning of the island by the troops of the Nazi occupation on August 23, 1944 and the execution of nine men and one woman, who was burnt alive in retaliation for the large participation of residents in the resistance struggle.

Betsy Barnard in the 'Skiathos Calendar' describes what happened ...

The Greek resistance on the island captured a German caique lying in the inner harbour and took a German officer prisoner. Reprisal was inevitable. The Germans returned and shelled the town and set fire to it. In all 30 houses were burnt down and another 177 were either burnt or damaged. The bay at Koukounaries was also burned as a reprisal. 

The locals fled to the hills and prayed to a saint for help in their time of need, and a great storm ensued which helped extinguish the fires, and the German forces departed for Volos

In the Town hall, there is a framed letter of thanks from general Freyburg to the people of Skiathos, who suffered the burning of their town in August 1944 as well as Koukounaries bay, in reprisal for their resistance activity. 

This is the church bell at Kechria monastery, a gift from Germany from that day - that was put to good use after the war ...


Tonight there will be a concert at the Bourtzi, in remembrance of the events on that date ...

4 comments:

  1. A very touching story of a dark time in history. Hard to imagine that such a beautiful peaceful island could have endured such terror.

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    1. Many stories here of huge heroism, by Islanders assisting UK Australian Canadian and NZ pilots, via the pelion, through Skiathos to safety in Turkey.
      Resistance activities, and reprisals, undertaken on these islands. When I first visited here a German voice would bring silence, and an icy glare.
      If your house was burned by the Germans - its details remain on the documents, and sales contracts to this day. You never know who has walked these shores before, what happened and why and then someone will tell you a story.
      I think I am very lucky not, to have ever been in that position in my lifetime. Very thankful to those that were, and that we have such freedom today - again thanks to their sacrifices ...

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  2. Very moving indeed.

    Is the burnt out house in the Plakes area a reminder of those times? Or simply a more recent disaster?

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  3. A more recent disaster, one day that house will be mine :) ...

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