(by Hermann Frank Meyer)
The bloody traces of the 117th Platoon in Serbia and Greece
ISBN 960-05-1112-8

Estia Bookstore
Euripidou 84-Athens 105-53

A Brief Review by Professor Nina Gatzoulis of the Modern Greek Studies Program at the University of New Hampshire

In this book Hermann Frank Meyer, visited Greece for the first time in 1963, intending to find traces of his missing father who was a German officer of the Vermaht during WWII. He follows the course of a regular division of the Vermaht, which was created in 1941 in Vienna and acted in Serbia and Peloponnese, Greece. Initially this division was to undertake the imposition of order in Serbia and the defense of Peloponnese from a likely landing of allied forces. However in a short time it was mixed in intense clashes with the revolutionary forces (antartes) and the enterprises of reprisals:
…the evening of November 7, the priest called all the inhabitants in the little square in front of the church…A bank clerk from Kalavryta said that the Germans surely won't harm us, because there were no rebels (antartes) amongst the inhabitants of Roges. Someone else however, who had participated in the battle of Crete against the Germans, mentioned something that he had experienced during that time. He said that two whole Cretan villages were burned in retaliation of two German soldiers who were killed by the Greek guerillas…"
The book deals with the entire period of the German occupation in the Peloponnese, also with the role the Italians played during WWII, the task of the Britons, as well as with the Greek resistance organizations, which formed during that period. It also makes reference to the Greek battalions of safety, which collaborated with the Germans.

Object of this study also constitutes the reasons that led to the imposition of "reprisals", and the persons in charge of these enterprises, as well as the way the question was faced from the juridical authorities in Greece and Germany at the postwar period. Thus the slaughter of non-combatant population in the frame of enterprise "Kalavryta" was inevitably the fundamental subject of this book. The multitude of victims of enterprise "Kalabryta", obviously makes it the bigger crime of that war that committed by the Vermaht onto a non-Slav-speaking state at the duration of Second World War.

Meyer's work does not only reveal unknown aspects of the tragic story of Kalavryta, but also historical facts of that era from Peloponnese and the entire country of Greece, as well as a part of south-eastern Europe. And in this, not only it covers a void and compensates the biases, the apathy, and the indifference on what happened during that time even though a German wrote the historical events.

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