Execution of Major General Franz Krech

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Execution of Major General Franz Krech
Part of the Greek Resistance
Result Execution of Major General Krech; Reprisals against civilians, the Peloponnese declared as a 'combat zone'.
Greece Platoon of 8th Regiment of the Greek People's Liberation Army Nazi Germany 41st Fortress Division
Commanders and leaders
Greece 2nd Lt. Manolis Stathakis Nazi Germany Maj. Gen. Franz Krech  
unknown 26 soldiers
Casualties and losses
unknown 4 dead and 5 wounded

The Execution of Major General Franz Krech took place on 27 April 1944 by a platoon of the Greek People's Liberation Army (ELAS), during the German occupation of Greece in World War II. It led to harsh reprisals by the occupying forces and contributed to the declaration of the Peloponnese as a combat zone.


A platoon of the 8th (Laconian) Regiment of ELAS, under the career 2nd Lieutenant[1] Manolis Stathakis[2][3], ambushed the German Major General and commander of 41st Fortress Division Franz Krech[4] in the area of Laconia on 28 April 1944.

The result of the attack was the death of Krech and four members of his escort. The day before the German Major General Heinrich Kreipe had been kidnapped by British and Greek agents in Crete. The American OSS and the British SOE, with the collaboration of the Greek National Liberation Front (EAM) spread information, for reasons of propaganda (Operation Hemlock) but also to prevent reprisals, that Major General Krech was executed by the Gestapo as a dissident and publicized a forged letter calling on the German soldiers to desert.[5]. It was also reported that Krech, along with Kreipe, would participate in an anti-Hitler "Free German" movement.[6]


On 1 May, the Germans executed 200 (the majority of them were communist prisoners) at Kaisariani. According to Hellmuth Felmy's apology in the Nuremberg trials, the head of the collaborationist Security Battalions in the Peloponnese, Colonel Dionysios Papadongonas, who was befriended with Krech, ordered on his own initiative the execution of further 100 members or suspected members of the Resistance.[4] At the same time, the Germans killed another 25 in Athens. In total, at least 325 people were executed, and more executions followed in the wake of 117th Jäger Division's march from Molaoi to Sparti. Hellmuth Felmy justified the number of the killings with Krech's status as a divisional commander. The orders for reprisals were given by the Higher Military Commander of the Peloponnese, Major General Karl von Le Suire.

In May, the Peloponnese area was declared as an "operational zone", i.e., a war zone.[7][8] Krech was posthumously promoted to Lieutenant General (Generalleutnant) by Hitler and buried in Athens.


  1. ^ Yiannis Priovolos, Μόνιμοι Αξιωματικοί στον ΕΛΑΣ, οικειοθελώς ή εξ'ανάγκης, Alfeios Publications, p. 515
  2. ^ Yiannis L. Lefas, Ο ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΚΟΣ ΣΤΡΑΤΟΣ ΠΕΛΟΠΟΝΝΗΣΟΥ (Δημιουργία - Ανάπτυξη - Ήττα), Alfeios Publications, Athens 1998, Vol. II p. 151
  3. ^ Τίμησαν με εκδήλωση μνήμης το Μανώλη Σταθάκη στους Μολάους 01/09/2014 apela.gr, retrieved 16/4/2015
  4. ^ a b Από τη Βιέννη στα Καλάβρυτα. Τα αιματηρά ίχνη της 117ης Μεραρχίας Καταδρομών στη Σερβία και την Ελλάδα, Estia, 2004, p. 512
  5. ^ Patrick K. O'Donnell, 45 Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs: The Unknown Story of the Men and Women of World War II's OSS, pp. 235-6
  6. ^ Nikos Papanastasiou and Hagen Fleischer, Το «Οργανωμένο χάος»: Η γερμανική κατοχική διοίκηση στην Ελλάδα. In: Ιστορία της Ελλάδας του 20ού αιώνα. Vol. IIIa: Β΄ Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος, Κατοχή, Αντίσταση 1940-1945. Athens: Vivliorama, 2007, p. 138
  7. ^ Από τη Βιέννη στα Καλάβρυτα. Τα αιματηρά ίχνη της 117ης Μεραρχίας Καταδρομών στη Σερβία και την Ελλάδα, Estia, 2004, p. 554
  8. ^ 1944: Μάχες του ΕΛΑΣ στην υπόδουλη Ελλάδα Του Ιάσονα Χανδρινού, εφημερίδα των Συντακτών ανακτήθηκε 19/3/2014