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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 25 May 2019
2 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 25 MAY 2019 NEWS Events for the 78th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete CHURCH SERVICE & DOXOLOGY The Battle of Crete & Greece Commemorative Council in conjunction with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia are hosting a Church Service and Doxology on Sunday 26 May at 10 am at St Efstathios Cathedral, 221 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne. For more info, call Tony Tsourdalakis on 0419 856 736. OFFICIAL PARADE & WREATH LAYING CEREMONY The Battle of Crete & Greece Commemorative Council is hosting the Official Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony commemorating the 78th Anniversary for the Battle of Crete on Sunday 26 May, 11.30am at the Forecourt of the Shrine of Remembrance. Call Jim Papadimitriou on 0411 224 532. CEREMONY The Australian Hellenic Memorial Foundation is hosting a Ceremony on Sunday 26 May at 1am at the Australian Hellenic Memorial in the Domain Gardens. Call Peter Andrinopoulos on 0416 020 865. OFFICIAL LUNCHEON The Pancretan Association of Melbourne and the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne are hosting the Official Luncheon in honour of our last surviving ANZAC Crete Veterans on Sunday, 26 May, 2pm at the Cretan Village, 90 Cathies Lane, Wantirna South. Call John Nikolakakis on 0413 440 033. OLIVE TREE VISIT The Battle of Crete & Greece Commemorative Council in conjunction with the Victoria – Greece Parliamentary Friendship Committee are hosting a visit to the ANZAC Olive Tree in the Gardens of Parliament House, in the presence of the Hellenic Armed Forces on Monday 27 May 2019 at 10am. Call 0419 856 736. ANNUAL MEETING The Women's Auxiliary of the Ringwood RSL are hosting an afternoon meeting on Wednesday 5 June at 11.30am at the Ringwood RSL. Call 0407057236. PILGRIMAGE TO GREECE The Year 8 and Year 9 students from Oakleigh Grammar School will be conducting a Pilgrimage to Greece to honour the fallen ANZACs. Their trip will take place from the 21 June to the 12 July and will entail social, cultural, historical and educational elements. The students will have the opportunity to visit the majority of the Major Commonwealth War Memorials from Thessaloniki in the North down to Crete in the South. For more information please contact Natasha Spanos on 0449 232 783. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM L-R Kon Karamountzos being interviewed on the Jon Faine morning program ABC Radio. Survivor’s tale of the German massacre Greek Australian ABC Radio producer and journalist Kon Karamountzos talks to Neos Kosmos about his discovery and meeting of an 86 year-old survivor of a German massacre during the May 1941 Battle of Crete. FOTIS KAPETOPOULOS Kon Karamountzos, ABC Melbourne radio producer was researching the infamous Massacre of Kondomari when he met Vassilis Papadopoulos a survivor of another little known massacre in Rethymnon. Nearly eighty years later Vassilis Papadopoulos, 86, can't get his mother's final words out of his mind, "If anyone survives this, please look after my children." Germans carried out many mass executions and massacres in Greece. In Kondomari, in 1941, during the Battle of Crete the Germans rounded up thirty to sixty men between eighteen and fifty years of age and executed them. Published by Ethnic Publications Pty Ltd (ABN: 13005 255 087) of 169 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122. Printed by Streamline Press Pty Ltd, 155 Johnston Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065. NEOS KOSMOS Published since 1957 Contacts Reception Phone: (03) 9482 4433 Fax: (03) 9482 2962 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Phone: (03) 9482 4433 Email: email@example.com Web: www.neoskosmos.com Letters Email: firstname.lastname@example.org NEOS KOSMOS - English Publisher: No. 6196 Address: Level 1, 169 Burwood Road, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122 Subscriptions Phone: (03) 9482 4433 Email: email@example.com Fax: (03) 9482 2962 Letters should not be more than 200 words and they must indicate your full name, address and a daytime telephone number for verification. By submitting your letter to us for publication you agree that we may edit the letter for legal, space or other reasons and may, after the publication in the paper, republish it on the internet or in other media. Christopher Gogos Editor-in-chief: Sotiris Hatzimanolis English Editor: Mary Sinanidis Journalists: Nelly Skoufatoglou, Eugenia Pavlopoulou, Zoe Thomaidou, Anastasia Tsirtsakis Contributors: Fotis Kapetopoulos, Theodora Maios, Yiorgos Bring, Billy Cotsis, Con Stamocostas, Dean Kalimniou, Andreas Chrysafis, Marcus ÖSterman, George Stogiannou, Con Stamocostas, Terry Liberopoulos, Alex Anyfantis Graphic design: Vangelis Karakasis, Anthony Rallis Mail: PO Box 6068 Hawthorn West, Victoria 3122 Karamountzos first heard of "this mass execution of civilians from a friend Nick Michalakis." He saw photos of German paratroopers smiling while shooting civilians. Five Germans had been killed there and reprisals were brutal. "The Germans had a ratio - for every five Germans they killed twenty-five Greeks. "It was I thought the first mass execution of civilians by Germans in Crete and I was interested," Karamountzos says. When Karamountzos went to Kondomari he was disappointed that the locals were uninterested in talking. "They had a blasé attitude to it and I started to think that the whole trip was a waste," he says. Contemplating "the waste of time and trying to work out what else could be covered", he was invited to the military museum in Rethymnon. He decided that "given I had nothing else to do, I may as well go see what I might pick up as a radio producer." Karamountzos was talking to the staff when someone suddenly said, "He's arrived." He looked up to see an old man who was introduced to him as Mr Vassilis Papadopoulos. "He walked in with a walking stick and the military staff became silent," says Karamountzos. "It was a sign of respect and soon I was to find out, that he was a survivor of a massacre that occurred before Kondomari," he says. Karamountzos let Vassilis talk. "He opened up and often stopped to say 'I do not want to remember,'" Karamountzos says. Karamountzos saw "the pain in this man's eyes" and imagined what an eightyear-old victim of a massacre must have felt like. Vassilis was "initially in wonder and amazed to see paratroopers landing." His first meeting of a German was when a soldier pushed a machine gun into his face asking about the whereabouts of Allies. "This kid did not know what a machine gun was, I mean we grew up with war films on TV he had never seen anything like that. "He had no tangible evidence of the danger he was in," says Karamountzos. The morning of 20 May, 1941, German soldiers went into villages to scare people away as they prepared for the airborne landing. Many of the villagers fled to the mountains. "Vassilis' family, his mother, father, brother, grandmother and aunt and some others went towards the sea and hid under a bridge, they camouflaged it but they weren't aware that the Germans were about to land," says Karamountzos. Australian solders on the hill, tried to defend Crete and Vassilis and his family were caught in a fire-fight between the Germans and the Australian troops. "The Germans then rounded up the villagers shot them then burned their bodies, many were still alive were burned alive," Karamountzos retells Vassilis' horror story. A motorbike courier ar- rived and handed the Germans a paper and Vassilis' family were dragged to the beach at gunpoint. "Vassilis said that when an elderly couple fell over in exhaustion a German simply pulled out a pistol and shot them in the head where they fell," Karamountzos says. We both stop for a moment to contemplate the coldness, the ordinary yet immense cruelty of the Nazis. The Germans then opened machine gun fire. Vassilis lost his mother, aunty and grandmother. The Australians tried to stop it by firing at the site and the Germans. "The banality, the waste… this is what this eight-yearold witnessed," sighs Karamountzos. "They sat on the beach waiting for people that were wounded to die, clearing the sand from their faces hugging them as they passed away," says Karamountzos as his voice cracks. Vassilis left his mother's body on the beach and to this day he laments that he could not do what all should, that is bury their mother. The Australians troops led by Major Ian BessellBrowne from the 2/3rd Field Regiment tried to save the villagers and Vassilis still refers to the Australians as "heroes and patriots". The Australians and New Zealanders betrayed by the stupidity of their New Zealand commander of Creforce, Major-General Bernard Freyberg ended up as Allied prisoners of war, or fled to the Cretan mountains to fight alongside the Greek Partisans. "How can I do justice to a story of such significance?" asks Karamountzos. "This story has weighed on me, I see the pain in this man's eyes daily, it motivates me to record these stories for the future because we need to know what fascism and what war really are," adds Karamountzos.
18 May 2019
01 June 2019