Memory and forgiveness in the flow of history as war dead are honored

President Karolos Papoulias’s schedule includes commemorations of historical events in Greece’s modern history such as the exodus at Mesolongi and liberation of Thessaloniki, national holidays, heroic battles, wars and occupation. On September 29, 1943, the German occupation army executed 49 people in Paramythia, Thesprotia, in a reprisal that cost the lives of 10 Greeks for every German killed. This year, the president attended the memorial events held by the Municipality of Paramythia, a service in the church of Aghios Donatos and then a ceremony at the Heroes’ Monument, where an eternal flame has been lit. There the names of the dead were read out in the presence of their relatives. Also there to express his sympathy was the new Federal German Ambassador Dr Wolfgang Schultheis, who recently submitted his credentials to the president. Papoulias, who made moving speeches at the events, was declared an honorary citizen of Paramythia by the mayor, Vassilis Lolos. «I have a duty to history,» said Papoulias, «to distinguish between Hitler’s Germany that was responsible for all these acts of barbarism, from the democratic Germany of today that mourns these events with us and cannot answer why these inhuman and paranoid crimes were committed.» The government was represented by Deputy Public Works and Environment Minister Stavros Kaloyiannis.