Priests at funeral processions were gunned down by German soldiers, as were women and boys and girls. The barbarism prompted a backlash. Published September 25, 2005
In the stirring new documentary film "The 11th Day," an old woman in black talks about the pretty colors falling from the sky on a day in May.
Then, she was a young girl hiding in an olive grove, when the bombing of the Greek Island of Crete finally stopped. Villages and cities had been ruined. Survivors were trembling and afraid.
Suddenly, the sky cleared. The silence was audible. She looked up.
"I was only 15," says Kaliopi Kapetanakis, remembering sitting in the olive tree while talking to a friend. "Oh, I said, `Look. The whole sky is full of umbrellas.'"
They weren't umbrellas. They were parachutes, carrying more than 8,000 of Adolf Hitler's elite paratroops, the Fallschirmjager, the Sky Hunters. They were the tip of the German spear.
Hitler's plan was to take Crete, protect his southern flank and then quickly turn his attention to the east, to the invasion of Russia. With the Greek army decimated in Albania, the operation was to take only a day or so. His war planners didn't take into account the will of the Cretan people.
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