Fallschirmjäger memorial

Crete, Greece

Fallschirmjäger memorial

The Fallschirmjäger memorial (German: Fallschirmjäger-Denkmal) is a German war memorial for German parachutists who fell during the ten-day Battle of Crete in World War II. The memorial, known to Cretans as the German bird (Greek: Γερμανικό πουλί, Germaniko pouli) or the Evil bird (Greek: Κακό πουλί, Kako pouli), was erected in 1941 by the occupation forces and is located about three kilometers west of Chania on the road to Agii Apostoli.

The invasion of Crete in May 1941 was the first major airborne assault in history. Despite their victory, the elite German paratroopers suffered such heavy losses that Adolf Hitler forbade further airborne operations of such large scale for the rest of the war. The memorial was erected at the end of a stone staircase leading to the top of a small hill. It consisted of a tall pedestal built from stone blocks, atop which stood a concrete diving eagle gripping a swastika in its talons.

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