Site of Sacrifice

On the way to the ‘Panos Polkas’ Helmos Ski Center, just one kilometre outside the city of Kalavrita, visitors come upon the Holy Site of Sacrifice. It is a site sacred to the nation as it is the place of the Kalavrita Holocaust, also known as the Kalavrita Massacre. It is the site where the entire male population of Kalavrita perished in the hands of the Nazis, a massacre followed by the total destruction of the city by the German troops during WWII, on December 13, 1943. That event is considered to be the most heinous war crime to have taken place in Greece during the Nazi Occupation.

Starting at the coastal area of the Achaia Prefecture, northern Peloponnese, and bent on a mass murder mission known as ‘Unternehmen Kalavryta’, the Wermacht troops headed towards Kalavrita, burning down villages and murdering civilians along their way. Once they had reached the city, they locked all women as well as children under 14 years of age in the city’s elementary school and rounded up all men on a field just outside the city. On that field, , the Nazi troops murdered in groups innocent civilians whose number, according to the Red Cross came to approximately 800.  There were only 13 survivors who managed to escape from being victims of that gruesome crime by silently remaining still under the dead bodies of their compatriots and thus were spared the death shot meant for each one of them.