Τετάρτη 1 Αυγούστου 2012

Τhe holocaust of Krushevo - THE EVENTS OF 1903 IN MACEDONIA as Presented in European Diplomatic Correspondence

as Presented in European Diplomatic Correspondence.

61 The American Consul Pericles Lazzaro to the Consulate General and the Embassy
Thessaloniki, September 10th, 1903
[NAUSA, roll 2, vol.1 from July 5, 1902 to February 2, 1910, ff.26r-29r, inclosed in Nos 605 XI].

The most important events since my last report are: The taking and burning of Kruchevo, the burning of Smilevo and the fights around Neveska. In the other Macedonian Vilayets, except Monastir, the rev[olutionary] movement is more sporadic and less intense.
The reb[el]s to the number of 250 (corrected figures) entered Kruchevo on Aug. 2nd and held the place till the 12th, date in which they left through a road not watched by the T[urkish] troops. One version is that the Turks had not guarded that road because they did not have enough men (5.000 regulars were camped before Kruchevo) the other version is that Bahtiar Pasha, the general commanding the forces recd [received] a bribe of tq.1.000 in order to allow the reb[el]s to escape. After the B[ulgarians] left, the Turks bombared Kruchevo for 7 hours without however doing much damage. One hour before sunset on the 12th Bahtiar Pasha entered the town and his troops began a systematic looting of the place under the eyes of their officers confining themselves to the Greco-Wallachian quarter which contains five houses with riches accumulated throughout generations. Sums of money had been confided to the care of the women, who concealed it about their persons; but the soldiers roughly stripped the women of all money garments and secured the money together with costly jewellery and other objects of value. Many wives and daughters were treated in the most shameful manner. Details Which are not fit for reproduction, I personally secured from eye witnesses and sufferers. Four days the soldiers remained in the town, thoroughly looting and then burning each house separately (the houses are isolated, lying in gardens). 368 residences and 290 shops were burned. The large Greek church was polluted rifled and burned. On the unarmed citizen 68 women men and children were massacred. The extraordinary part is that not a Bulg[garian] was touched and that soldiers did not even enter the B[ulgarian] quarter. This quarter is poor, besides the troops had gathered from the Greeks all the booty they could carry. Heavy booty such as furniture, etc. was heaped outside the town and removed later by T[urkish] peasants in over 2.000 cartloads. This booty is now offered for sale in Monastir and Prilep. -Bahtiar Pacha having been called by Hilmi Pacha to account for the conduct of his soldiers, tried to obtain from the remaining inhabitants of Kruchevo the signature of a document stating that the looting and killing had been done by the B[ulgarian] reb[el]s and that no complain could be made against the T[urkish] soldiers. But notwithstanding the pressure, nobody of consequence seems to have signed this paper-.
The case of Kruchevo is typical, because it shows that the tactics of the B[ulgarians] consist in compromising Greek towns, and that the Turks have neither learnt anything, not forgotten any of their old tricks.

Reports show that about 35 Bulg[arian] and Greek villages have been plundered and burned by the T[urkish] troops in the Monastir Vilayet since the recent outbreak. The number of T[urkish] villages treated likewise by the B[ulgarian]s is about 20. Many hundreds of bodies are lying unburied all over the country. Smilevo has had the same fate with Kruchevo, and there also no difference was made between those who had remained loyal to the Gov[ernment] and those who were in sympathy with the rebels.
On Aug. 26th 400 reb[el]s entered the Graeco-Wallachian town of Neveska, near Klissura (Exisou station) on their way they came across a detachment of 150 soldiers, of these 20 only succeeded in escaping, the others, it seems, were killed by the reb[el]s. After ransoming the town the B[ulgarian]s fortified themselves in the stone barracks which are outside Neveska. Four battalions of troops having arrived the next day from Kastoria and Florina, the reb[el]s retreated with hardly any losses, as far as I can make out.
I reproduce here in extense the copy of a letter emanating from the Committee and s[ign]ed by all the foreign Consuls at Monastir.

Monastir, October 18th, 1903
[F.O.195/2157, ff.681-683, Summary of an enquiry held at Krushevo by an English gentleman, attached to P.McGregor to R.Graves October 21st, 1903, ff.679r-680r].

...The Greek priest deposed to having buried 47 persons belonging to his community, including 7 women. All these had been killed during the engagement. The insurgents had left the town before the troops entered. On taking possession of the town, the insurgents had killed about 20 persons, including 3 Greeks and 2 Turkish women. The Bashibozuks burnt 400 buildings, including 180 houses. He had heard of two cases of violation. The troops and Bashibozuks pillaged the town, killing whoever refused to give them money.

The Roumanian priest deposed to having buried one one woman belonging to his community. The insurgents had extorted £11.200 from the inhabitants and had burnt homes and shops. No Vlakh woman was violated. The troops and Bashibozuks pillaged the town for two days.
The Bulgarian priest said that 16 of his community had joined the insurgents. 36 Bulgarians were killed while fleeing on the entrance of the troops. Of those arrested by the Authorities 5 were shot on the way to Monastir. There were no violations and there was no general massacre. Two Bulgarian houses were burnt.
The Servian priest said that none of his community were killed or violated, but they were robbed of £T.500.

A Greek deputation deposed that the insurgents murdered eight Turkish officials and killed a Turkish woman and three children with hatchets. The insurgents took £T.1.200 and burnt thirty houses. Forty-seven Greeks were killed, but there was no general massacre. Many people were killed in their houses by the troops. The Bashibozuks murdered several persons for the sake of their money. No case of violation was proved. The Greek community had petitioned the Authorities for an increase of the garrison for a month previous to the attack, but no attention was paid to their request.

Hilmi Bey, a sublieutenant in the 4th battalion of the 21st regiment, said that some days after the entrance of the troops there were still insurgents in the town and that firing consequently continued. Five of these insurgents finally surrendered. The Greek church was burnt by the Komitajis. The Bashibozuks entered the town after the troops.
Ali Bey, Commanding the above battalion, denied that there had been either assassinations or violations. He had found four mule-loads of dynamite in the town. He had also found a bag of jewellery on the body of a dead Komitaji and had caused the contents to be distributed among the lawful owners.
A Bulgarian deputation confirmed the stories of murder and pillage by the troops. There were no insurgents in the town when the troops entered.
A second Greek deputation declared that the Greek church was burnt by the soldiers. (This is confirmed by the Greek Metropolitan of Monastir).
The Mudir of Krushevo, who arrived five days after the troops, said that 366 houses and shops had been burnt and that 64 persons had been killed. A paralytic woman and a child had been burnt. Thirty three corpses had been found in the forest. No case of violation had been proved. It was the case that the town had been pillaged by the troops and Bashibozuks. On the day of his arrival several houses were still held by the insurgents and the houses in question had to be shelled. The official lists of killed furnished to him by the priests mentioned only 32 men and no women.

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