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Memorial for Fallen Homeland National Resistance, the “Brave As An Eagle” sculpture near Pastra is a tribute to the world war two resistance fighters of the island killed by the Germans during the occupation in WWII. It is in a very peaceful setting where you can sit in tranquillity with your own special thoughts overlooking the beautiful valley below.

The people of Cephalonia were actively involved in the Greek Resistance and fought for the country’s liberation throughout World War ll. The Germans committed terrible crimes on not only the Italians but some of the Greek population that was also made to pay in a most brutal manner. Enemies became allies as many local Greeks hid Italian soldiers of the “Acqui" Division, to save them from death. On the 16th of September 1943, the German air force raged over the city of Argostoli committing it into flames! This German action was caused by them wanting revenge against the noble and brave Greek population who were openly on the side of the Italian soldiers.

Despite strong opposition from the Italian artillery, the German units succeeded in landing at Cape Akrotiri. Meanwhile, on the arrival at the front line the 12th Company of the Gebirgsjäger, patrols were sent out on reconnaissance and destroyed the bridge at Kimonico to prevent attacks from the left flank. This halted the passage of the Italian troops marching towards Kardakata. By dawn on the 17th of September, the bridge still remained impassable. They managed to regroup in Divarata, having to abandon their heavy weapons at the Kimonico bridge.

The Italians resisted until 22nd of September. During this period roughly 1,300 Italian soldiers were killed in several dive-bombing raids. More than 5,000 Italians were massacred by the Germans and approximately 3,000 were drowned when the ship taking the prisoners to concentration camps hit a mine off the island. Several Greek partisans were also killed fighting alongside the Acqui Division.

Pastra is a village and a community in the southeastern part of the island. It was the seat of the municipality of Eleios-Pronnoi. The community consists of the villages Pastra and Kremmydi. The village is situated at an altitude of 280 meters at the foot of Enos. The image of the high mountain dominates in the landscape. On leaving the village of Kremmidi the memorial is located on the right just before entering Pastra. The name Pastra arises from the Pastra family, who were the first to settle here and now is the majority among the approximately 170 permanent residents.

In Pastra, there is one of the miraculous icons of Our Lady in Kefalonia. It is Panagia Gravaliotissa or “the Lady with Lilies”. Each year, in the Annunciation, the residents put forward the icon, found in 1720, lilies are planted in the courtyard. They leave them there until the celebration of the church, in August, but already in the evening, the dry lies by long weather have bloomed again! On that day, the 14th of August a big festival takes place in the village.

Copyright ©2019 John Reali