Database of German military and paramilitary units in Greece 1941-1944/45

Project executing organisation: Institute of Historical Research/NHRF
Duration: May 2019 – December 2021
Funding: German Federal Foreign Office, German-Greek Future Fund
Scientific project manager: Dr. Valentin Schneider, guest researcher IHR/NHRF
Supervisor: Dr. Leonidas Kallivretakis, Research Director IHR/NHRF

 

Thematic of the project

Most of the earlier and recent studies on the German occupation of Greece during World War II focused mainly on military action, war crimes and mass violence, from persecution, arrests, torture, and concentration camps, to extermination. Although these studies have identified and highlighted a significant part of the German forces, there are still some dark areas in the related history. In practice, in terms of the total presence of occupation troops stationed in Greece during the war, the precisely located units represent only a fraction of the total numbers. Other military units are mainly characterized as “German units”, “German troops”, “German authorities” etc. However, the impact of these unknown units on the daily life of the Greek population was often just as important, for example through the requisition of houses and foodstuff, the imposition of forced labour, and other arbitrary measures.


Illustration Map German archives

Lagenkarte Ia vom 5.8.[1942] – Verlegungen in den Raum Athen/Kreta,
Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv, RH 26-22/49, fol. 659.

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Aim of the project

Considering the important place held by German occupation in the collective memory of the Greeks today, the research project “Database of German military and paramilitary units in Greece 1941-1944/45”, which is being conducted at the Institute of Historical Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation, aims to identify and record all the German military and paramilitary units stationed for shorter or longer periods of time in Greece between April 1941, the date of the German invasion, and October 1944, the date of the retreat of the German troops (and May 1945 for some remote areas and islands). This database will be a useful tool for deepening the historical knowledge of the period in Greece, as it will

  • help to identify German units involved in war crimes,
  • further specify the numerical scope of the occupying forces,
  • shed light on the structure and evolution of military and paramilitary units.

Once completed, the database will be made accessible to the public and serve as a tool not only for academic research but also for local and regional history initiatives, school programs, etc.

 

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Dynamic mapping

The recorded data will be fitted into a dynamic GIS environment application (GIS: geographic information system) that will allow the visitor to make personalized use of the database, for example by searching for the itinerary of a given unit, or the evolution of the occupation density of a specific location or area in successive periods of time. Through timecoding and geocoding of the available data, the application will also allow researchers to put qualitative data derived from other sources (for example from personal testimonies or intelligence reports of resistance organisations) into the broader context of the local structures and the evolution or movement of the occupation troops.


Illustration German Occupation Normandy

Valentin Schneider, La présence allemande en Normandie,
1940-1948 – Approche croisée d’une cohabitation franco-allemande forcée,
PhD thesis, University of Caen, 2013, document no. 185, p. 1078.

 

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Methods and sources

Various published and unpublished sources will be used to form the main structure of the database. The hierarchy of the German Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS will be scanned “from top to bottom”, from the largest structures and command authorities to the regiments and companies level. An extensive use will be made of the war diaries and their annexes of the different units, kept in the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv in Freiburg (and partly in the archives of the Academy of Athens). Documents relating to the losses of the units held by the former “Deutsche Dienststelle (ex-WASt)” in Berlin will be used to complete the database. Tables of military organization will then serve to precisely quantify the theoretical strength of the identified German units and put these in relation with the population numbers of the occupied areas. More data will be drawn from local Greek archives and libraries, and especially from books and testimonies relating to local history. These documents are mainly useful because they contain information about the German units at companies level and below.

Illustration List Occupied Athens

Truppenliste der in Athen anwesenden Einheiten (10.4.1944),
Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv, RH 34/263, fol. 1.

 

Another important source for this research is the specific knowledge of local historians and witnesses, which will help to accurately identify the different German troops. Often, this information remains unknown and unpublished.

We invite anyone with relevant information, such as the names of German soldiers or local commanders or military and paramilitary units, as well as the names of vessels used by the Germans, together with the name of the occupied area and the date of the Germans’ appearance, to send us a message to the email address

godb@eie.gr

These bits of information will then be compared with the data retrieved from the military archives and integrated into the database accordingly.

 

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Funding – Duration

The realisation of the project “Database of German military and paramilitary units in Greece 1941-1944/45” is financed by the German Federal Foreign Office through funds of the German-Greek Future Fund.
The project started in May 2019 and will be completed in December 2021.

Logo German Embassy Athens GR

 

 

 

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The research team

ResearchGroup_photo

 

Dr. Valentin Schneider

Scientific project manager – email: vschneider@eie.gr
Valentin Schneider holds a PhD in History (Université de Caen, 2013) and a PhD in Politics & International Relations (University of Nottingham, 2016). He specializes in the everyday life in Europe during and after the Second World War and is an expert on military occupation, war captivity and burial culture. His research in France led him to consider the German occupation also from a quantitative perspective. He has curated various exhibitions for institutional organizations in France and is the author of several books.

More information: www.valentinschneider.eu

 

Anastasia Chartomatsidi

Research associate – email: achartomatsidi@eie.gr
Anastasia Chartomatsidi was born in Athens in 1991. She is a PhD candidate in Modern Greek History at the Department of History and Archaeology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She received her Master’s Degree in International History from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she completed her thesis entitled “The British left’s attitude towards the events in Greece between the December Events (Dekemvriana 1944) and the signing of the Varkiza Agreement (February 1945)”. Her research interests are Modern Greek History and European History.

 

Natalia Tsourma

Research associate – email: ntsourma@eie.gr
Natalia Tsourma was born in Athens in 1993. Se holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from the Department of History and Archaeology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (2016). She completed her postgraduate studies with a specialization in Modern and Contemporary Greek History at the Department of History and Archaeology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (2019). She has been involved in the programs “Oral Histories: The Fix Building” of the National Museum of Contemporary Art and “Memories of Occupied Greece” organised by the Free University of Berlin and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Her research interests include the history of the 20th century, the history of crime and forensics, and the history of urban space.

 

Lukas Hennies

External collaborator – email: luhennies@uni-osnabrueck.de
Lukas Hennies, M.A. is a member of the Department for Modern History and Historical Migration Research at the University of Osnabrück and holds a PhD scholarship granted by the Hans Böckler Foundation. His work focuses on conflict and historical migration research in the 20th century and the development of digital methods with the aim to process, model and evaluate historical big data. Most recently, he worked on the historical card index of the Geheime Staatspolizei Osnabrück and on an interactive web map showing the movement and trajectories of Displaced Persons (DPs).

More information: https://www.geschichte.uni-osnabrueck.de/hennies_lukas/profil.html

 

Dr. Leonidas Kallivretakis

Research Director, Supervisor on behalf of the IHR/NHRF – email: leonkall@eie.gr

Curriculum vitae: http://www.eie.gr/nhrf/institutes/inr/cvs/cv-kallivretakis-en.pdf

 

 

 

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Contact

For any questions about the project “Database of German military and paramilitary units in Greece 1941-1944/45” or if you would like to contribute with personal information, please write to: godb@eie.gr

 

 

 

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Links

German Embassy Logo

German-Greek Future Fund
www.griechenland.diplo.de/1676028

 

German Embassy Logo

Osnabrück University, IMIS – Institute for Migration Studies and Intercultural Studies
https://www.imis.uni-osnabrueck.de/startseite.html

 

German Embassy Logo

Institute of Historical Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation
http://www.eie.gr/nhrf/institutes/ihr/index-en_IHR_about.html

 

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