SS forces “bayoneted babies in their cribs, stabbed pregnant women, and beheaded the village priest.

Sigh……

Maria Pantiska, a Greek woman from the village of Distomo, still weeps for her mother, who was killed by German soldiers five moths previously in what would become to be called the Distomo Massacre. On 10 June 1944, over the course of two hours, Waffen-SS troops of the 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division under the command of SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Lautenbach went door to door through the village, setting fires to homes and killing Greek civilians as part of a ‘retaliation measure’ for a partisan attack upon the unit. A total of 214 men, women and children were killed in Distomo. According to survivors, SS forces “bayoneted babies in their cribs, stabbed pregnant women, and beheaded the village priest.” Following the massacre, a German Secret Field Police agent accompanying the German forces informed the German authorities that the attack on Distomo was unwarranted. An inquiry was convened. Lautenbach admitted that he had gone beyond standing orders and the tribunal found in his favor, holding that he had been motivated, not by negligence or ignorance, but by a sense of responsibility towards his men. Distomo, Boeotia, Greece. November 1944. Image taken by Dmitri Kessel.
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