Plessa and the Surrounding Areas During World War 2

During World War 2, all of Greece was occupied by the Germans and their allies, the Italians. In Dec 1942, Plessa was burned by Italian forces in retaliation for the ambush deaths of several Italian soldiers. The event has been documented by one of the eyewitnesses Athan. Manetas in  his book “The Burning of Plessa”. In the book one there is one mention of the Kamoutsis family. What follows is a rough translation from the book.

“The day of the ambush, farmers in the area saw the fighting and by the same evening began to evacuate their flocks. Throughout this region, fear reigned. The 38 year old, Efthimios Dimitrios Kamoutsis having a sheep corral in Ntovrovítsas area, didn’t want to move nor did 75 year old Kostas Efstathios Tsellos and his 40 year old son Eustace. The latter, at the prompting of his father-in-law of George Theoch. Theocharopoulou and his brother-in-law law Theochari, finally agreed to move. He promised that he would move the herd west of  Ntovrovítsas  to Mesovoúni. By the next day, Saturday December 19, the entire village had learned what happened to them.

After the ambush, the  Italian army, battalion strength, gathered nearby the ambush area. They came from Lidoriki and Amfissa.  They also disembarked in Eratini and other Italian military forces were sent from Nafpaktos.   At the battle site, they found nothing other than the dead and the destroyed car. Some investigated the area and surroundings and then they arrested Efthimios  Kamoutsis outside his corral along with Kostas  Efstathios  Tsellos. Tending his flock was  his 22 year old  Efthimios John Baroúcho was located on the eastern slope of Mesovounou.

Some of the Italians approached them unawares.  Efthimios  Baroúcho  who was nimble, and who had  bitter experience with the Italians because they had captured  him  in  Vounichora  and  had beaten him in Amfissa a few days earlier,  escaped  running.   Efstathios Tsellos, not wanting to leave his flock,  remained  and was arrested by the Italians.  Efthimios Kamoutsis and  Efstathios Tsellos, both fathers of 3 small children were tortured and killed. The Italians left their bodies beside the highway that leads to Amfissa, a few  meters  after  the  intersection (Union Eratini).

In retaliation for the death of their ten soldiers, the Italians executed a total of ten innocent Greek citizens.  They were Efthimios D. Kamoutsi and Efstathios K.. Tsellos (who were killed where they were captured), along with eight others* who were executed as a group outside Lidoriki at “Tragoudáki” next to the road leading to the field of  Skaloula Andritsou….

efthimiosdimitrioskamoutsis1942

The bodies of the two men executed in ltovrovitsa,  Efthimios  Kamoutsis and Efstathios Tsellos remained unburied and after the departure of the Italians their relatives were afraid to collect them. The brother of  Efthimios Kamoutsis,  Panagiotis  Kamoutsis,  went Monday to Lidoriki to ask the Italians for permission to receive  their bodies, but fearing arrest he  did not approach them.

On Monday evening residents of our village went to the village cemetery, but soon learned that P. Kamoutsis had not  been authorized to transport the bodies back to the village. The next day, more adventurous villagers brought the bodies to the cemetery where they were buried.”

Several Kamoutsis families also lived in Vralia a few miles away. In 2013, the village erected a plaque in their community center that memorializes the complete burning of their village by Germans on July 24, 1943.

“Η ΒΡΆΙΛΑ ΜΑΣ ΚΑΗΚΕ ΟΛΟΣΧΕΡΩΣ ΑΠΟ ΤΟΥΣ ΓΕΡΜΑΝΟΥΣ ΚΑΤΑΚΤΗΤΕΣ  ΣΤΙΣ 24 ΙΟΥ ΛΙΟΥ 1943

ΣΥΛΛΟΓΟΣ ΒΡΑΙΛΙΩΤΩΝ”

 

*The names of the other villagers who were executed by the Italians:

  1. Konstantinos E. Tsellos.They had arrested him as mentioned before in Ntovrovitsa, led him to Eratini and there the Italian police released him. Upon returning, he learned of the execution of his son and returned to Ntovrovitsa to receive his son’s body. But there he was arrested again by the Italians and taken to Lidoriki.
  2. Athanassios Panagiotopoulos from Malandrino, who was a prisoner of the Italians.
  3. Nikolaos Daskalopoulos community president, and 4.  Anastasios Vlachos, rural constable from Tolofóna. These two were  arrested on the grounds that they had not warned the Italians that rebels were staying at Tolofóna.
  4. Efthymios Leonidas
  5. Efthimios Kríkos
  6. Aristotle Pázasfrom Panormos and
  7. Efthymios Lalos,a native of the village Panormos, ranchers  in the region who were, arrested for, supposedly feeding the rebels.