New film about 1943 Kalavryta massacre angers victims’ descendants

New film about 1943 Kalavryta massacre angers victims’ descendants

A long-awaited movie about a Nazi massacre in Greece during World War II has provoked strong reactions among descendants of the victims of the incident.

As reported by the Peloponnisos newspaper, local organizations and descendants of the victims of the Kalavryta massacre accuse the filmmakers of falsifying historical events and reviving myths that serve the interests of others.

On December 13, 1943, German troops shot almost 700 male villagers aged 14 and over (13 survived) and burned the town to the ground, as a reprisal for the execution of 79 German soldiers taken prisoner by resistance fighters six days earlier.

The massacre is the subject of a new film, “Echoes of the Past” (or “Kalavryta 1943” in Greek), directed by Nicholas Dimitropoulos.

The move is set to premiere on November 11.

The Association of Victims of the Kalavryta Holocaust has said it has filed a lawsuit against the makers of the film, which was coproduced by Greek public broadcaster ERT and stars, among others, the late Swedish actor Max von Sydow.

A five-second section from the film’s trailer has angered descendants as it revives the myth of the “good” Austrian German soldier, who on his own initiative and disobeying orders, opens the door of a burning building to allow the women and children trapped inside to escape.

They say the story of the “good” soldier has been refuted by all eyewitnesses.

Charilaos Ermedis, president of the Association of the Victims of the Kalavryta Holocaust and a former deputy mayor of the town, told Peloponnisos that both he and other Kalavryta residents had warned the filmmakers about the myth when they came to the town to research the film 2.5 years ago. Ermedis added that the filmmakers had promised not to include it in the movie.

He said that the association had warned the filmmakers at the time that they would take legal action if the film did not respect the memory of the victims and their descendants.

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