German Forces Completely Destroy Cretan Village of Kandanos as Reprisal for Popular Resistance
The Razing of Kandanos (Greek: Καταστροφή της Καντάνου) or the Holocaust of Kandanos (Greek: Ολοκαύτωμα της Καντάνου) refers to the complete destruction of the village of Kandanos in Greece and the execution of several of its inhabitants on 3 June 1941 by German occupying forces during World War II. It was ordered by Generaloberst Kurt Student in reprisal for the participation of the local population in the Battle of Crete that had held advancing German soldiers for two days and constituted one of the most atrocious war crimes committed during the occupation of Crete by Axis forces in World War II.
Kandanos has been settled since Dorian times with the same name, and was important through Byzantine times. The town and surrounding area suffered particularly badly from German occupation during World War II. Resistance fighters had held advancing German soldiers for two days, preventing them from reaching Paleochora to secure it. In retribution the occupiers razed the village to the ground and erected a sign:
Here stood Kandanos, destroyed in retribution for the murder of 25 German soldiers, never to be rebuilt again.
The town was rebuilt however, and the sign retained in a war memorial. Several of the Byzantine churches and their frescoes were restored. Germany donated a waterworks after the war to the village and former soldiers stationed there returned in reconciliation.