August 13th, 1944: German troops began the pillage and razing of Anogeia in Crete


740 metres up on the north face of Mount Psiloritis in prefecture of Rethymno lies proudly Anogeia. A village with a history that is powerful and tragic at the same time. Burned by the Turks in 1822 and by the Germans in 1944.

History of Anogeia

Burned by the Turks in 1822 and by the Germans in 1944,this village has a heroic story to tell.

The holocaust

Highlight of the Resistance of the struggling people of Anogeia was the destruction and flattening of the village. In August 1944 it took place the third holocaust of Anogeia (1822, 1867, 1944). It began August 13 and lasted until the end of that month.

During German possession Anogeia emerged as one of the finest examples of continuous resistance presence. Anogeia distinguished the internal unity, their organization, their discipline and determination.

Before the Battle of Crete, residents of Anogeia laid boulders on Nida Plateau in order to prevent German aircraft and paratroopers from landing.

Armed irregular groups of Anogeians participated in the battle, fighting in Heraklion and Rethymno. After the capture of Crete, Anogeia emerged as a stronghold of the local resistance.

Anogeians sheltered British, New Zealander and Australian soldiers and assisted them to escape to Egypt.

On 7 August 1944, a German detachment went up to Anogeia in search of forced labour workers. Several dozen locals were taken hostage and forced to march towards Rethymno. At a location near Damasta,

Anogeian guerrillas attacked and eliminated the German detachment, freeing all hostages.

On the following day, in an attempt to save Anogeia from German reprisals, a group of Anogeians under the commands of Cpt Bill Moss carried out the Damasta sabotage, killing around 30 German soldiers and destroying an armoured car

Soon after the news of the Damasta attack reached Generalleutnant Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller, the commander of Crete who one year earlier had orchestrated the Viannos massacres, he issued the following order:

Since the town of Anogeia is the centre of English espionage on Crete, since the people of Anogeia committed the murder of the Sergeant Commander of the Yeni-Gave, as well as of the garrison under his command, since the people of Anogeia carried out the sabotage of Damasta, since in Anogeia the guerrillas of the various resistance bands take refuge and find protection and since the abductors of General Kreipe passed through Anogeia using it as a transit camp, we order its complete destruction and the execution of every male who is found in the village and around it within a distance of one kilometre.

Friedrich Wilhelm Mullers Order 13 August 1944CHANEA 13TH AUGUST 1944

In the early morning of 13 August 1944, German battalions with a strength of around 2000 men moved towards Anogeia.

Sentries installed in nearby villages noticed them and notified the people of Anogeia, allowing men to flee to the mountains for safety.

Upon entering the village, the German forces gathered the women and children and then forced them to march to the village of Perama.

There, approximately 30 kilometres (19 miles) away, women and children were dispersed in nearby villages of the Mylopotamos region.

Around 25 villagers, including women, elders and disabled, who refused to abandon their homes, were summarily shot.

The village houses were then systematically pillaged, burned and finally dynamited.

The pillage and destruction continued for a total of 23 days until early September, turning Anogeia into piles of rubble.

READ MORE: Serbia negotiates with Cyprus for purchase of 11 fighter helicopters.