Reliving the past: Operation Marita and the German invasion of Greece in April 1941, through the eyes or reenactors

Interviews, Then and Now, WW2, WW2 in Greece

By Pierre Kosmidis

Photos submitted by Kampfgruppe “Süden” Hellenic Reenactment Group, Kampfgruppe ”Bulgarien”, Asociaţia Deutsches Freikorps and used by permission

The German invasion of Greece, codenamed “Operation Marita”, was initiated in the early hours of Sunday, April 6, 1941.

The German forces attacked “Metaxas Line”, a series of concrete fortifications, located mainly along the border with Bulgaria and faced stiff resistance by the Greeks.

Over seven decades after these events, a group of Greek reenactors, named  Kampfgruppe “Süden” Hellenic Reenactment Group are bringing back to life the epic struggle that took place on these exact locations, in a bid to relive History, keep the memories alive and offer today’s generations a glimpse of the past.

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www.ww2wrecks.com has reached out to Mr. Giorgos Skaniakos, a member of Kampfgruppe “Süden” Hellenic Reenactment Group regarding the reenactors’ activities:

“Since 2016, our team is actively involved in the events commemorating the “Battle of the Forts” as they are known in Greece, organised by the Municipality of Sintiki, the Region of Central Macedonia, Stenopos and other entities.

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Our reenactment activities are held under the auspices of the Ministry of National Defense.

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Our team represents the German invasion forces and their attempt to conquer the Forts of “Metaxas Line”.

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During the event, the battle is represented by groups of reenactors from Greece and abroad. Thousands of spectators from all across Greece visit the event and witness a first-hand reenactment of the events, as they unfolded in 1941, based on military reports from both sides, veterans’ accounts and historical research.

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Apart from the reenactment activities, we are also presenting a variety of WW2 equipment, in order for the visitor to get a full image of what was happening then.

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In addition to our group, reenactors from “Stenopos” and “Ieros Lochos (Sacred Band) 1942-1945 reenactment and memorial group” represent the Greek army.

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We also have reenactors coming from Bulgaria and Romania. The Kampfgruppe Bulgarien team from Bulgaria and the Deutsches Freikorps Association from Romania represent the German forces, whose education, knowledge and friendly attitude and enthusiasm, won the appreciation and admiration of everyone.

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With our participation in the “Roupel 1941, the reenactment” event and in other similar activities, we aim to preserve the historical memory and to show to the young generations the bravery of the Greek defenders of the Forts, who stood against a better equipped opponent and sacrificed themselves to defend their homeland.

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These events are also a tool to promote tourism in these areas, as thousands of persons are coming each year to see the reenactment activities.

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We also want to raise awareness and attract the new generation in reenactment, as a vivid way to learn about history. 

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The purpose of our activities is the historical representation, the preservation of the historical memory and our activities are purely amateur (in the sense of non-professional).

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We have no relationship or affiliation with political, ideological, social parties, organizations, movements, and we wish not to be involved with anything other than what we are doing, historical reenactment. 

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