German War Cemetery
More than 15000 German soldiers lost their lives during the Second World War in the Greek territory. The German military cemetery in Maleme (Deutschen Soldatenfriedhof in Maleme) is one of the two cemeteries in Greece where the graves of German soldiers are. The other cemetery is the German military cemetery Dionysus - Rapentozis in Attica.
The German cemetery is near Maleme airport on the north coast of Crete, 20 km western of Chania city and one kilometer above the village of Maleme. From here one can see far into the deep blue bay of Chania. Towards the west olive orchards line the hillsides all the way down to the winding Tavronitis river. Far beyond one can see the outline of the Monastery of Gonia. In the south the “White Mountains” Range rises up to 2.450 m. The basic idea of the memorial was to design the graveyard for the fallen soldiers according to the four main battle grounds of Maleme, Chania, Rethymnon and Heraklion.
The cemetery was founded in 1974 by the former German commander Gericke. At this area are buried 4.465 German soldiers who lost their lives in the island of Crete most of them were paratroopers who died during the invasion.
The care of the cemetery is done by the “The German Graves Commission” (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge eV), a private association based in Kassel, ordered by the German government. The association has taken care of such cemeteries across the world.