It’s September 1944. On the fourth of the month, the German troops depart Messinia along with the neighbouring regions of Lakonia and Ileia, heading towards Tripoli and Korinth. The city of Kalamata is defended by a force of six hundred men from the security battalion and two hundred from the military police under the control of the regional governor Dimitri Perroti.
The next day, the communists arrive in the city. Their leader is Nikos Belogiannis who’s been sent from Athens to demand the surrender of the city to the communists. The regional governor, with the consent of the rest of the local authorities, explicitly and categorically refuses the demand. And so at dawn on the 9th of September, the red brutes fell upon Kalamata.
Fatefully the defenders were rich in fighting spirit but poor in effective weapons with most defensive posts and quarters of the city falling into enemy hands by the end of the first night. By midnight the only defensive position still left standing was the centre of Kalamata, where the command of the military police had its headquarters. The surviving fighters, the frightened civilians and the leaders of the region had gathered in the centre of the city. The noose was slowly closing around them. Time was running out and there was an urgent need for decisive action. It was discussed and then unanimously agreed that as the situation was hopeless; everyone would retreat firstly to the railway station and from then on to the still free town of Meligala. In a short time after the decision, the retreat was carried out with over one thousand nationalists reaching Meligala. This is where the critical battle would take place!
The battle started on September 13 with the hordes of Aris Velouchiotis launching a frenzied mass attack. The defence of the heroic Meligala was very well organised. There were around seven hundred fighters divided around defensive posts ready to fight in a traditional Greek way. The leader of the nationalist forces was D Papadopoulos. The summary of the first day of the battle was bad for the communists as not only was their attack repelled but the nationalist resistance forced them into a disorderly retreat leading to the capture of twelve of their machine guns.
The next day, before the religious holiday of the Holy Cross, the communists carried out another attack supported by artillery and mortar fire. However while the defence of Meligala was holding strong, there were nine dead and twenty three wounded. That night there was a stock take of ammunition and it was evident that they would soon be running out. It was obvious that the following hours would be the final stand in the defence of the town. Yet not one fighter moved from their position, not one backed down. Faithfully following the ancient Greek military tradition, the nationalists were determined to fall together!
The communists launched their attack early on the morning of the 15th of September. The defenders of the town and of the honour of the People fire their last shots. The invaders of Meligala judged by the infrequent firing of the defenders that the ammunition of the nationalists was running out and they double their efforts.
Simultaneously, the loud speakers are heard “Surrender! Your efforts are useless. Aris (Velouchiotis, the leader of the Greek communists) gives his word of honour that no-one will touch you”. As if it was possible for these dishonourable people to have honour.
Around midday the leader of the nationalist forces D. Papadopoulos, who was running from defensive post to post encouraging his fighters, is badly wounded in the stomach and is taken away. That was the beginning of the end. At 12.30 all gunfire ceases. The ammunition had run out! A short time later, the communists enter Meligala! Their first target was the hospital. There they murder all the patients, forty one in total. Then they begin butchering the nationalists wherever they found them, on the road, in the village square, in the houses etc.
They then gather all the civilians and remaining fighters in a high walled, closed off area known as the Bezesteni. They force them to take off their clothes and shoes, except their undergarments. They are kept standing there completely vulnerable, semi-naked while outside communists who have come from surrounding areas gather. Like crazed vultures they come into the Bezesteni and pick out whoever catches their eye, grab them and slaughter them in full view of all the captives despite the cries of the panicked women and children.
The blood thirsty “Leader” watches the scenes on horseback so that he has a clear view and laughs sadistically. He laughs at the torture of the Greeks and urges those who hesitate to go and have a “snack” A human “snack”! Totally debased!
At the same time, other communists who had a greater talent for stealing entered the empty houses and took whatever they found. As if that wasn’t enough, when they were finished their orgy of plunder, they set fire to the houses! Their orders from their perverted arch criminal leader Velouchioti were clear: Don’t leave a stone standing in Meligala! Fire and axes!
The plan to exterminate the Greeks was proceeding at a rapid pace. The perverted brute Velouchiotis personally examined the area surrounding Meligala to choose the best place for the slaughter. It was a reservoir sixteen metres deep and four metres wide, an unfinished attempt to supply Meligala with water. It was called Pigada and is found south-west of the town. He returns to the Bezesteni, gathers the communists and reveals his plan. They immediately begin to carry it out. The prisoners are tied together in threes with chords and wires and are directed on foot to the place of their martyrdom, which is around two kilometres away. Anyone who hesitates is savagely punished by the communists with whips, whoever falls is stabbed on the spot along with the two people that are tied together with them. Along the way the frenzied communists scream hysterically “Death! Death to the fascists!”
On the edge of the Pigada, the executioners were waiting. They were the most fanatic, the most brutal, the least trustworthy, they were the ones who know how to work the knives and tin cans the best, the most experienced butchers of the Greek people. As soon as the prisoners arrive there, they are untied and directed to the edge of the Pigada. The butchers in quick movements seize their victims from their hair and slice them deeply in the neck. Afterwards they throw them in the Pigada. The first slaughtered died immediately from the fall but when the pit started to fill with bodies, the rest of the victims fall half-dead on top of them and died a slow, tortuous death. New bodies are constantly being thrown in.
This huge human slaughter lasted for three days. The final body count is horrendous: one thousand Greek patriots, of both sexes and of all ages were thrown into the Pigada. If we count the five hundred who were murdered elsewhere, there were one thousand five hundred victims who fell prey to the criminal appetites of the guardians of pan-slavism!
This dear readers was, in short, the story of a never before seen in Greek history crime of the communists. The greek state did it’s duty until 1974. After this, the official event honouring and remembering the brutally slaughtered victims at Meligala became a “celebration of hate” and it continues without the presence of state or political representatives from the “parliamentary spectrum”. Thankfully due to the continued presence of the fighters in arms of Golden Dawn and the relatives of the victims, the memorial is carried out as it should be. The wheel is turning slowly dear readers, the giant of Hellenism is waking up and there where we’d become disheartened we suddenly see a blinding light that shines on the future of our dearest country. It is the light of the Golden Dawn of Hellenism and it is the duty of all of us to follow it!
Written by G. Dimitrakopoulou, retired educator,
Translated by XA Sydney