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
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