Earlier this week at Agia Roumeli in the Sfakia region, officials, friends, and the family of Cretans captured in World War 2 by Nazi soldiers and delivered up to the extermination camp at Mauthausen, Austria, most of whom never returned.
A ceremony was officiated by Archimandrite Athanasios Karachalios of the Holy Metropolis of Lambis, Syvritos and Sfakia. After the religious ceremony, the Mayor of Sfakia Manousos Hiotaki unveiled the monument to the fallen.
Also on hand to honor the families and the lost loved ones were the President of the Local Community, Agia Roumeli Ioannis Tzatzimakis, and Chania’s Executive Councillor in the field of Tourism and E-Governance Kyriakos Kotsoglou.
The granddaughter of one of the heroes, Efstratios Tzatzimakis, Georgia Tzatzimaki, gave a moving speech before officials layed a wreath at the memorial.
Others paying their respects included Hellenic Coast Guard Warrant Officer Ionannis Tzouganakis, Forest Service Commander Xenophon Tsilimigakis, and Ioannis Fotakis from the Forest Directorate of Chania, and others.
The solemn ceremony concluded with a traditional cretan song followed by moments of silence, andthe Greek National Anthem.
The Mauthausen concentration camp were intended to be the toughest camps for the “incorrigible political enemies of the Reich”. There, slave laborers worked to supply munitions and arms for the Nazi war machine. It is unknown how many prisoners were literally worked to death in the camps, but a high estimate is about 320,000 souls. The Nazis gave the camp the nickname Knochenmühle, which translated means the bone-grinder (or literally bone-mill).
More than 1,000 Cretans were sent to Mauthhausen, and many times more, including women and children were butchered in reprisals for the Cretan resistance to Nazi occupation over the course of the war.
The editors of Argophilia would like to join in conveying our eternal gratitude in memory of these brave souls.