On this day on August 22, in 1944 German forces engage in the mass murder of the civilian population of nine villages located in the Amari Valley on the island of Crete during its occupation by the Axis powers in World War II.
Known as the Holocaust of Kedros (and as the Holocaust of Amari), the massacre was a reprisal operation mounted by Nazi German forces.
The operation was carried out on 22 August 1944 by Wehrmacht infantry and was followed in the coming days by the razing of most villages, looting, pillage of livestock and destruction of harvests.
The number of Greek fatalities was 164. The operation was ordered by Generalleutnant Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller, commander of the garrison of Crete, to intimidate the population and deter local guerrillas from attacking the occupation forces during their imminent retreat to Chania.
Eventually Müller was captured by the Red Army in East Prussia and later extradited to Greece. He was tried in Athens along with Bruno Bräuer, commander of the ‘’Festung Kreta’’ between 1942 and 1944, for the atrocities committed on the island.
Both were convicted, sentenced to death on 9 December 1946, and executed by firing squad on 20 May 1947.
No one else was brought to justice and no reparations paid to the survivors. The village of Smiles was never rebuilt. The anniversary of the destruction of the villages of Kedros is commemorated with events held by turns in a different village every year.