The Second World War started in Crete on 20 May 1941 when the Germans attacked from the sky. It was the first time in history that an air-borne invasion was taking place. Noone ever had attempted a similar assault before. It was called “Operation Merkur and was the brainchild of the german Air-Marshal Kurt Student. The Germans started their assault in the morning by bombing the island. What followed, was dreadful…Some years later, Student admitted that “For me the Battle of Crete…carries bitter memories”. Unfortunately many people lost their lives From the beginning of the assault locals of all ages, women and men, all fought even with their bear hands. The Cretan resistance has been characterised as one of the most heroic and tenacious that took place during WWII.
Many memorials dedicated to the fallen are scattered across the island, but the main two are: the Souda bay and the German war cemetery.
Hundreds of British, Australian and New Zealand soldiers rest in the Souda Bay war cemetery, most of whom were killed, defending the island. The cemetery is enclosed with trees and shrubs reaching gently the waterfront.
The German war cemetery is located in the area of Maleme where a large number of Germans were killed.It is one of the two German cemeteries in Greece and contains the graves of 4465 soldiers. It is divided into four areas associated with the main battlefields.
Both cemeteries are open to the public.Having a tourist guide with you,who can give you all the important information regarding the battle of Crete and the following events, is the ideal way to visit them.