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April 18, 2006

How Germaniko Pouli got its name

Germanbird2006aWe now live in the area of Germaniko Pouli just outside Hania. In Greek, Germaniko Pouli - Γερμανικο Πουλι - literally translates as "German Bird". The area gets its name from a large statue of a diving eagle erected by the Nazis during the Second World War as a memorial to German troops killed in the airbourne assault on Crete.

I was curious to find out where the statue was, and surprised we hadn't seen it, as our area seems quite small - it doesn't appear as a named place on any of our detailed maps. A little research on the internet turned up the fact that the memorial had been badly damaged by storms in 2001, and the lease on the land had run out, leading to some doubt as to whether it would be restored or be pulled down.

Germanbird2000It was one of the those subjects where the internet was practically useless for research. There was only really one site about the memorial which detailed an appeal for funds to help restore it in 2001, and then several other sites that were essentially re-hashes of exactly the same information. It was like asking questions in an echo chamber. I did find some pictures of it from before it was damaged, and that finally helped me recognise it along the side of the main road.

The remains are literally metres from our house. It was the steps up to it that I recognised from the photographs on the web, and you reach it via the street next to ours. The top of the monument is virtually level with our terrace roof.

Claire and I went to visit it, and it is now in a state of considerable disrepair. All that is left is the plinth, and the inscription on it is badly damaged. There is graffiti all over it it, and some of the stone blocks are crumbling. I took some photos of it which can be found, as ever, over at Flickr - German war memorial at Germaniko Pouli in Chania.


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