Photos: Reuters/ Yannis Behrakis
Golden Dawn’s success in the 6 May elections was certainly a surprise. The percentage of neo-Nazis exceeded all expectations set in the polls and gave them 21 seats.
If we could assume that voters in Athens and cities with large numbers of illegal immigrants had a good reason, then why in the countryside, many commentators ask. Most surprising, however, is the fact that Golden Dawn managed to win hundreds of votes in two of the cities, which suffered the most from Nazi violence: Kalavrita and Distomo.
68 years ago, on 10 June 1944, the village of Distomo became the scene of one of the most brutal war crimes during the German occupation of Greece during World War II.
For more than two hours, members of the Waffen-SS detachments of the 4th SS police tank - grenadier division were going from one door to another, killing peaceful residents of the village in revenge for a partisan attack. 218 men, women and children were killed. According to the testimonies of survivors, "SS soldiers killed with bayonets babies in their cribs, stabbed pregnant women and beheaded the village priest."
In this village, 335 residents honoured Golden Dawn - the party glorifying Hitler and his acts - with their votes.
The pictures by Reuters’ photographer Yiannis Behrakis are filled with a sense of mourning and silent anger against violence exercised upon innocent people.
Surviving residents of Distomo touched the glass boxes storing the remains of their relatives in the mausoleum in the village.
Among the wreaths, there was one sent by the German State as a tribute to the victims.