German Cemetary

More than 15,000 German soldiers lost their lives during World War II on Greek territory. Their graves were spead about 437 communities and numerous islands in the Aegean Sea. Thanks to the kind concessions of the Greek goverment, the recovery and collective burial of the dead German soldiers by the German War Graves Commission (Volkbund Deutsche Kriegsgraeberfuersorge) could already take place after April 1959. Working on this recovery was finished by December 1960.

The coffins with the mortal remains of the dead from the island of Crete were taken to the local Monastery of Gonia. The Treaty on War Graves between Greece and the Federal Republic of Germany in 1965 eventually saw the extension of the graveyard of Maleme, Crete, where the dead finally have got their last resting-place.

On the North coast of Crete, 20 kilometres West of the port of Chania and one kilometre from the village Maleme, you can find the German Military Cemetary of Maleme. From here one can see far into the deep blue bay of Chania. Towards the West olive orchards line the hillsides all the way down to the winding Tavronitis River. Far beyond one can see the outline of the Monastery of Gonia. In the South the "Lefka Ori" Range ("White Mountains") rises up to 2,450m. 

The basic idea of the memorial was to design the graveyard for the fallen soldiers according to the four main battle grounds of Chania, Maleme, Rethymnon and Heraklion.

The yard is entered via the stairs that lead up to a square. Bordered by the entrance building on one side and walls on the others, it was cut into the mountain.
Some benches in the shade of an old olive tree invite the visitor to a moment of tranquility and contemplation. Though an open passage, in which you find the books with the names of the dead and an exhibition in three languages about the formation of the memorial and about the service of the German War Graves Commission, the road take you up to the walled graveyards.

Reclining granite tablets, with the names and dates of two persons killed in war each, mark the graves planted with see-marigold.

On the memorial, in the midst of the burial ground, the names of 360 soldiers who died on the island but could not be recovered are engraved on metallic plaques.
Numerous veterans and friends of the dead took part in the construction work.

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