Scrapbookpages Blog

July 16, 2014

New Jersey schools teach students about “Greek atrocities in World War II”

This morning, I read an article in the on-line NJSpotlight newspaper, which is about Paul Winkler, who is entering his 40th year leading the nation’s first Holocaust education program.

The article included the quote below:

The [New Jersey Holocaust] commission is best known for its Holocaust curriculum, but it has also developed curricula on 13 other acts of horror throughout modern history, from the Native American genocide through Darfur. The most recent was a 20th anniversary presentation about the mass killings in Rwanda, as well as curricula on Greek atrocities in World War II and Soviet leader Josef Stalin’s gulags.

The Greeks committed atrocities in World War II?  How could that be?  Only the Nazis committed atrocities during World War II, never the Allies.  I hurried to Wikipedia, as fast as my fingers could take me, to find out the truth.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about atrocities in Greece in World War II:

In early December 1943, the German Army’s 117th Jäger Division began a mission named Unternehmen Kalavryta (Operation Kalavryta), intending to encircle Greek Resistancefighters in the mountainous area surrounding Kalavryta. During the operation, 78 German soldiers, who had been taken prisoner by the guerillas in October, were executed by their captors. The commander of the German division, General Karl von Le Suire reacted with harsh and massive reprisal operations across the region. He personally ordered the “severest measures”—the killing of the male population of Kalavryta—on 10 December 1943.

So it seems that students in New Jersey schools are not only learning about the Jews killed by the Nazis, they are also learning about reprisals, which were legal during World War II.  There were reprisals against the Greek Resistance fighters, who were illegal combatants in World War II; the purpose of these legal reprisals was to stop the illegal killing of German soldiers who were fighting on the battlefield.

The most famous reprisal during World War II was the one at Oradour-sur-Glane.  I have written several blog posts about Orddour-sur-Glane, including this one:

If the New Jersey schools want to teach students about atrocities during World War II, the reprisal at Oradour-sur-Glane is the best example of the Germans fighting legally against the illegal combatants in World War II.


  1. The best reprisals example for Greece is Kondomari incident.
    After Greek general Georgios Colakoglu surrendered and signed Peace Treaty with Germany, the civilians of Crete Island continued ambushing German paratroopers. This was how they were supporting “New Zealand” troops located on the island.
    I wrote an article in Russian about that episode:

    Comment by Gasan — July 16, 2014 @ 9:40 pm

  2. World War I saw the establishment of “reprisal camps,” in which POWs were retained for the express purpose of killing or otherwise mistreating them in reprisal for (anticipated) breaches of protocol by the POWs’ countries. I don’t know just how much reprisal was in fact visited on the unfortunate denizens of these camps, which were maintained by BOTH SIDES.

    They were not (officially) operated during World War II, which is not to say that reprisals were not performed, with or without official sanction. The POW camps that continued to be operated AFTER the war by the victorious Allies were not reprisal camps – they were revenge camps.

    Comment by Jett Rucker — July 16, 2014 @ 9:00 am

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