TERROR

Immediately after the shameful and treacherous agreement was signed in Varkiza the Greek government took rigorous measures against all of the progressive and active cadres who participated in the armed units of ELAS and NOF. This by itself was not enough for them; they also commenced a terror campaign against the Macedonian people, who had not been seen to date. The Greek reactionary government set itself a goal to ensure they were spiritually and physically no threat to the government and to change, to its own benefit, the ethnic composition of Aegean Macedonia. To achieve this goal, it began to introduce severe methods and rigorous measures against everything that was Macedonian.

At every step, the Macedonians were accused of being Bulgarians, 'komiti' and 'contra-chetnitsi' and collaborators of the occupiers. The Macedonians were also accused of being secessionists and dangerous to the security and integrity of Greece. The reactionary government of Greece began with propaganda against the Macedonians using the full force of the propaganda and government resources.

They began to carry out daily tortures, mistreatments and killings of Macedonians as well as brutal assaults of Macedonian women and girls by terrorist bands, organizations, and local affiliates led and paid by the official government. Innocent people were jailed, death sentences were handed down, livestock stolen, private property was stolen, the plundered houses and barns were set alight. Things went so far that the Macedonians were banned from entering the cities so that they were no longer able to sell their produce and to buy other products.

This was not enough for them either; they put limits on the hours that villagers could work their fields and on their movement from one village to another and in many instances they locked the residents in their own homes. They paid spies, agents and gendarmes, who at night would go from one house to another and listen at the windows to find out in which language the villagers spoke with their families. If they learned or heard that Macedonian was spoken in some household, the whole family was dragged to an interrogation, torture, beating and in many instances the head of the household was jailed.

Only a few days after the Varkiza Agreement, the groups of bandits began to attack the peaceful Macedonian population over the whole territory of Aegean Macedonia.

In February 1945 the groups of bandits of Andon Chaush began with terror in the Drama region and carried out many brutal atrocities against the peaceful population. In the same period these bands with the help of the instrumentalities of the government also carried out attacks in Ser, where many progressive Macedonians were arrested and massive mistreatment and thefts took place. The situation was similar or worse in the other parts of Aegean Macedonia.

On 1 June 1945 one Greek and one English military unit in the village of Prekopana in the Lerin region carried out massive atrocities and wounded a Macedonian resident and arrested 10 residents from the village. On 6 June 1945 the members of the national guard entered the Macedonian village of Gornichevo, also in the Lerin region, and carried out dreadful evils, raping four women. The same happened on 13 June of the same year where Greek soldiers entered the village Setina and brutally raped three women.

In July 1945 the village Popli, in the Prespa region, was blockaded and the population was gathered in the school building. They were interrogated, beaten and mercilessly tortured to force them to give up their dearest, husbands or sons who were in the mountains. The tortured wives were loaded onto a truck and were taken to gaol, and released after two days.

After significant activity by the members of the People's Front organization in Lerin, the terror and persecution against the Macedonian population got worse in the period October-November 1945.

On 10 October 1945 in the village of Rudari 15 residents were beaten and jailed; on 15 October the same year 17 were arrested from the village Shtrkovo; and on 20 October 1945 65 residents were arrested from the large Macedonian village German.

On 18 February 1946 a group of five Greek gendarmes entered the village of Dolno Kotori and arrested those women whose husbands were not home but were in the mountains and those men whose sons were not home. The following were arrested: Sultana (Stojanka) Naumova, Dimitroula Stefanova, Krsta Veljanova, Katerina Popdimitrova, Ilija Nedin, Mite Veljanov, Tanas Opodiminitov and Dimitar Nedin. These people were jailed in the Council building where they were mercilessly tortured and interrogated the whole night and the following day they were taken to the Lerin gaol.

These and similar attacks were also undertaken in the following villages: in June 1946 in the village Besfina five residents were jailed and imprisoned in the village Breznitsa; from the village Bukovik in the Prespa region 10 residents were arrested; and in the village Orovnik, also in the Prespa region, Nikola Sterjov was killed without cause.

On 31 March 1946 on the day of the parliamentary elections in Greece, the gendarmes and the army from the village Breznitsa blockaded the village Rulja with the aim of compelling the villagers to participate in the elections and vote. The following day on 1 April 1946 a blockade and raid was undertaken again in the village and 15 villagers were arrested and taken to the Lerin gaol. The same action was undertaken in the village Shtrkovo, from which 10 were arrested, and from Grazhdano and German more than 100 villagers were arrested.

As a result of these brutal tortures, arrests, rapes, beatings and killings which were imposed on the peaceful Macedonian population, the Macedonians were forced to escape the country or to arm themselves and take to the mountains to save their lives.

All of this led to an urgent need to from a self defence force and the formation of the Macedonian organization NOF to protect and organize the people in self defence from the monarcho-fascists and their bands.

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Lerin in Mourning
 















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