On This Day June 2, 1941: Brutal Nazi Massacre of Cretan Village

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.

Weixler’s photographs 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.

The Nazi firing squad assassinated almost 70 men.