Kos - Linopotis

Until September 1943, the Greek island of Kos belonged to Italy and thus indirectly to Germany, since together they constituted the Axis powers. In line with the military adversity of the Axis powers, Italy surrendered on 8 September 1943 and British forces arrived in Kos to defend the island against a possible German invasion. On October 3, the germans invaded Kos and were superior to the british and italian forces that surrendered on october 4. When the Germans attacked Kos, there were 148 Italian officers on the island, some of whom died during the fighting while others were wounded and sent to Germany as prisoners of war. The 110 remaining officers were interned in the former Italian army barracks in Linopotis, about a mile west of Kos town. There they were interrogated and also asked if they wanted to serve in the german army instead of becoming prisoners of war, seven chose to serve for the germans. Others were informed that they would be sent to prisoner-of-war camps on the European mainland. On October 6, under the pretext of going to waiting ships to take them to the Greek mainland, they were instead massacred in a field at Linopotis. They were buried in mass graves.

Current status: Monument (2017).

Location: 36° 53'18" N 27° 17'08" E (cemetery).

Get there: Walk from central Kos town.

My comment:

A year after the massacre and when Kos was liberated by the British, 66 bodies were found buried in the Catholic cemetery in Kos town. The bodies were returned to Italy for a final funeral. The bodies of the other 37 officers have not yet been found. At the Catholic cemetery there is a memorial dedicated to the massacre and the victims. There have also been discussions about establishing a memorial monument at Linopotis, but this seems to be difficult because it is located on private land. This has also made further excavations and the search for remains more difficult. At the museum of modern history and Italian architecture in Kos town there are objects belonging to the victims found in connection with smaller excavations made in Linopotis.

Follow up in books: Smith, Peter C: War in the Aegean: The Campaign for the Eastern Mediterranean in World War II (2008).