2031 – Athos and the Second World War – part 2

In blogpost 1218 I published some pictures from the 2nd World War: most information was obtained from the German book “Athos – Forhölle des Paradis” by Erich Feigl from 1980. During my visit to Athos this year we were invited by monk T from Simonospetras, who is of German origin, and who has been collecting old pictures on his computer. I am very happy that he wanted to share these pictures from the second World War with us. Some of them are published before on this weblog, but not in the quality that I can show now. And some of them are new, like this first picture of Oberfeldwebel Hans Nageler, in his office in Karyes:

Hans Nageler in his office in Karyes
detail of last photo

The occupation of Athos by German troops started on the 6th of April 1941 and lasted until the 29th of May 1944. There were three groups of soldiers stationed on  Athos:

The house in Karyes, probably where mr Nageler had his office

A. “Feldgendarmerie”, first stationed in Karyes, from Februari 1944 in Simonaspetras, consisting of 8 soldiers, with the names: 

  1. Hans Nageler, Oberfeldwebel, Austrian, 
  2. Heink, Oberfeldwebel
  3. Gobana, Oberfeldwebel
  4. Nitsche, Feldwebel
  5. Lorbecher, Unteroffizier
  6. Heinrich von Fürer-Heimendorf – soldier 
  7. and 8.: names are unknown

B. “Beobachtingsgruppe”, stationed in Prodromou, with a concrete/stone flak position above in the hills, consisting of 4 or 5 soldiers

  1. Böse, Feldwebel
  2. 3. 4. and 5.(?) unknown

C. Wissenschaftliche Kommission “Sondercommando Rosenberg”, traveling over Athos from 5-5-1941 til 8-8-1941, consisting of 4 Germans and 2 Greek members:

  1. Prof. Dr. Franz Dölger, Sonderstab Athos,
  2. Pg. Anton Deindl, Religionswissenschafter, Sonderstab Athos,
  3. Dr. Otto Treitlinger, Wissenschaftlicher Hilfskraft, 
  4. mr Kreß, Stabfeldwebel, spezial Fotograf
  5. Dr. Siotis from Athens and
  6. mr Tsingiritis, interpreter 
Iviron beach 29-05-1944

The last day of Germans troops on Athos: 

with Gebauer, Nageler, Heink, Nitsche, the interpreter Aristomeni, father Jaochim and Lorbecher. The interpreter Aristomeni has a lot of female features (!?).

Father Joachim, of Rumenian-Austrian origin,  here in 1982. After the war he was a good friend of mr Nageler. Behind him a portret of the Rumenian king Michael.

Oberfeldwebel Hans Nageler (R) and Unteroffizier Lorbecher (left-with binoclulars) drinking a glass in a friendly atmosphere: although the army was called several times because of partisan activities, there was never any gunfire during the German occupation on Athos.

The photo’s above are from April 16th 1944, the Easter celebrations on Athos. We see a special guest, Dr. Markull, the German “Militair verwaltungsoberrat” in Macedonia. The representatives from Lavra, Konstamonitou, Dionysiou and from Panteleimonos, father Basilios (with round glasses) are also present. 

Father Basilios played a special role in the occupation of Athos during WW2. He is the one who came with the initiative to ask Hitler to place Athos under special protection, to prevent the Germans robbing valuable pieces of art, old books and icons. He was the one who wrote the letter to Hitler on 13/26 April 1941, signed by the Holy Epistatia. Hitler granted this request and nothing was taken from the Holy Mountain.  I understand that father Basilios was punished later for his role, but I do not have any futher information about this misfortune…

The only sad exception on the relatively calm occupation of Athos by the Germans was on July 9, 1942, when at its own initiative eight German soldiers plundered the monastery of St. Xenophon.

The others persons on the first photo above are:

mr Palmos, head of the Greek police,

mr Gerhajas, “Wirtschafts-verwaltungsrat”,

Dr. Hecht, Kriegsgerichtsrat – war judge (front left) and behind him

Hans Nageler.

Easter in Karyes 1944 with the Axion Esti icon procession
Another photo of father Basilios from Panteleimonos (on your right)

comment of G.H.: “11th photograph: The second monk at left, with Fr. Basilios at right and the German soldier in the middle, is probably the late bishop Cassian [Cassien (Bezobrazov), 1892-1965] of the Russian exarchat at Paris and lecturer of the New Testament at the Institut Saint-Serge, Paris.”

Mr Nageler and two other soldiers on a kaik near Dafni (Xeropotamou)

The small marine unit (Beobachtungsgruppe) of Feldwebel Böse in Ouranopolis (formerly known as Pyrgos), on 23th of March 1944 with (Greek?) field policeman from Karyes – in different uniforms – and a unknown woman and a man. The building (arch) in Ouranopolis still exists today, to the left of the coffee shop of Tsirbas (thanks monk T for your comment wv 12/12).

detail from the last photo

Mr Nageler and a second German soldier in a room with a portret of the Rumenian king Carol I 

detail of photo above

Good relations between Russian monks and German soldiers: father Benjamin (a Kosak from Don) spoke fluently German. 

Three German soldiers posing in front of a portret a Adolf Hitler om the wall: Christmas 1943

The famous incident with the Junckers Ju-57 on the beach of Agiou Pavlou: the water plane had to make an emergency landing and one of the crew members was a “luftwaffenhelferin” – a woman. The compromise willing monks build a small hut on the beach where she could stay, in this way she would not touch the holy Athos ground with her feet! 

Two German soldiers rifles and with a monk near a kellion – farm

Mr Nageler and and mr. Lorbecher with a monk and a novice

Two German soldiers in Karyes

Two soldiers in the olive grove near Stavronikita

Mr Nageler and an a soldier at kellion “97”.

German soldiers in front of the building that is now the konaki of Simonospetra in Karyes, build in 1876, with a small dog. At that time it was probably the seat of the Greek Governor, that was taken over by the Germans.

detail of the last photo 

At the konaki: a group of five soldiers.

Three soldiers on mules

The last photo from the second World War that was shared with us by monk T: the interior of the Serail, Skiti Agiou Andreas church.

Wim Voogd, 9/12/2018

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3 Responses to 2031 – Athos and the Second World War – part 2

  1. theodosios says:

    Last image should be Serai, Skiti Ag Andreas, not Panteleimon.
    The house with year “1876” above the door is actually the Konaki of Simonos Petras in Karyes. Probably it was then the seat of the greek Governor, so the germans just took it over.
    Not sure if the interpreter “Aristomeni” is a woman, too.
    The building (arch) in Ouranopolis still exists today, to the left of the coffee shop of Tsirbas.

  2. G.H. says:

    11th photograph: The second monk at left, with Fr. Basilios at right and the German soldier in the middle, is probably the late bishop Cassian [Cassien (Bezobrazov), 1892-1965] of the Russian exarchat at Paris and lecturer of the New Testament at the Institut Saint-Serge, Paris.

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