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  • Crete was one of he numerous places that were ravaged during the 2nd Word War. Half of its villages were burnt to the ground and their male population executed. Everyone from the age of 16 to the age of 80.

    Once as the firing squad was preparing to execute some villagers, an 80 year old man stepped out of the line and called the intepreter. He had something to say to the Head of the squad. He took off a ring he was wearing and gave it to the German Head of the squad and said to the interpreter "Tell him to keep this ring and remember that once he killed an eighty- year-old man who had done him no harm". And he went back in line to be shot with the others.

    Many of the Germans who had served as soldiers in Crete during the war came back afterwards. One of them visited a village where he had been part of an execution squad when he was 18years old. From the moment he set foot in the village square an old woman, all dressed in black as Cretan elderly women usually are, started following him. He got scared. Had she recognised him? Was her son or husband one of the people he had shot? At some point she started calling him to stop. He didn't want to make a spectacle of himself so he did. "Why are you running away from me, son?" the old lady said. "I only wanted to give you this jasmin flower from my garden. Welcome", she said and handed him a jasmin.

    Photo : warning placard erected after the destruction of Kandanos, a Cretan village, in 1941. It says "In retaliation to the brutal murder of German paratroopers in an ambush by armed men, Kandanos was destroyed".
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