The Greek island of Kefalonia in the Ionian Sea is considered a vacation paradise by many, including Germans. Dream beaches and turquoise water attract tens of thousands of tourists each year. The architecture is a reminder that Kefalonia belonged to Venice from the 13th to the late 18th century. To this day, the island is a mix of Italian and Greek influences. But the island's two cultures are also connected by trauma.
Far away from the holiday beaches, on a hill in the capital, Argostoli, is a memorial to one of the bloodiest episodes in the island's history. In 1943, following the breakup between Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's fascist Italy, allied Axis powers in WWII, the German Wehrmacht massacred about 5,200 soldiers from the Italian "Acqui" division. The Kefalonia massacre is considered one of the Wehrmacht's greatest war crimes in southern Europe.