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George S. 07-10-2011 11:58 AM

Foreign Armed Bands in Macedonia
 
Foreign Armed Bands in Macedonia

(1903-1907)



By Nick Anastasovski

July 10, 2011





THE ENTRY OF armed foreign bands into Macedonia, particularly after the suppression of the 1903 Ilinden Rebellion, was an extension of the religious struggle in its most extreme form. By itself, religious and educational propaganda failed to achieve desired outcomes. Paramilitary armed bands became a far more effective tool to mould Macedonian villages into a particular nationality through forced church adherence.



Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia each equipped and sent armed bands into Macedonia 'to forward the rival interests of these land-lustful states'. (1) The systematic campaign conducted by the neighbouring states brought a new era of misery upon the Macedonian population. In pursuit of their aims, terrible acts of violence and murder were committed, entire villages were set ablaze and destroyed.



Armed bands represented the extremes of foreign propaganda in Macedonia, and funded by the state budgets of Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria, (2) they represented the government policy of their respective states of origin. These paramilitary units aimed at forcibly transforming Macedonians into 'Greeks', 'Serbs' and 'Bulgarians', destroying the Macedonian revolutionary movement, and creating a sense of instability and insecurity in order to prepare Macedonia for its partition.



The influx of armed bands into Macedonia complicated an already difficult environment. A reign of terror fell upon Macedonia whereby law and order deteriorated to such a degree that H.N. Brailsford commented in 1905 that 'Macedonia has passed during some eighteen months through a period of anarchy without parallel in its recent annals'. (3)



Similarly, the contemporary commentator, Sir Edwin Pears, stated in 1911 that, according to the records of English and French consular reports, Macedonia was 'in a condition of anarchy which during the same period had no parallel in Europe'; (4)



There was a systematic rise in the number of murders committed by armed bands in the years preceding the 1903 rebellion. So, from 1 March 1903 to 28 February 1904, there were 350 murders, from 1 March 1904 to 28 February 1905 there were another 468 murders, and from 1 March 1905 to 14 December 1905 there were 685 more murders in Macedonia. (5) Austrian consular reports confirm that the greatest number of murders and terror inflicted upon the population was due to the activities of the Greek bands. (6)



The rise in murders did not go unnoticed by those foreign governments that maintained diplomatic missions in Macedonia. The Russian government intervened and appealed to the Greek foreign ministry to stop armed bands from entering Macedonia. Great Britain and Austria-Hungary also protested, and the appeal was made to the three interested Balkan States (Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria). (7)



Foreign-armed bands also engaged in battle against one another, particularly the Greek and Bulgarian bands. No such animosity existed between Greek and Serb bands, reflecting the political agreement between the two states. (8)



The Macedonian revolutionary movement came under fierce pressure, as it was no longer engaged in battles solely against Ottoman forces and bashibouzouks, (9) but was to become simultaneously engaged in combat with Greek, Bulgarian and Serbian bands.



Foreign bands focused upon forcing entire villages to adhere to their respective church organizations and generally avoided encounters with Ottoman troops. In fact, the Ottoman authorities tolerated foreign paramilitary bands in Macedonia, particularly Greek bands after 1903. (10)



Greek bands



PARAMILITARY BANDS FROM all the neighbouring Balkan States were guilty of inflicting violent cruelty upon the Macedonian civilian population, but it was the actions of the Greek bands that left the deepest scars.



The first armed Greek bands to enter Macedonia belonged to the 'Ethniki Hetairia' (The National Society) and crossed into Macedonia in 1896 under the leadership of Greek army officers. (11) According to the French Vice Consul in Bitola, Greek bands were operating in Macedonia 'to imitate the example of the Bulgarian revolutionaries with the intention of establishing the principles of their pretensions to Macedonia'. (12)



Largely active in the southern regions of Macedonia and supported by the Greek Consuls, the armed bands of the National Society entered Macedonia to prove that the 'Greeks too had interests in Macedonia, and not just Bulgarians'. Fearing that Hellehism was in danger of losing Macedonia to the Bulgarians, armed Greek bands terrorized Macedonian Exarchate villages to accept the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate. The National Society was active in the years up to the 1897 Greek- urkish War, but was to be discredited and dissolved later that year due to 'the plundering and rape committed by the bands'. (13)



Although Greek bands recommenced incursions into Macedonia during 1903, the year of the Ilinden Rebellion, it was in the very next year that a 'Macedonian Committee' was formed in Athens under Dimitrios Kalapothakis, publisher of the newspaper “Ethnos”. The Committee recognized that the old methods of educational and religious propaganda were not sufficiently effective to advance the Greek cause in Macedonia. In support of this view were the Greek prelates in Bitola, Kostur, Seres, Nevrokop and elsewhere who 'flooded the Patriarchate at Constantinople with reports of the weak position of Hellehism in Macedonia ..! Greek consuls in Macedonian cities sent similar reports to the Government at Athens.' (14)



The role of the committee was to organize and direct the Greek struggle in Macedonia. With the financial support of the Greek government it organized the formation of armed bands known as “andartes”, whose purpose was to enter Macedonia to advance the Greek cause.



The headquarters of the armed struggle in Macedonia was the Greek Consulate in Solun where a new Consul General, Lambros Koromilas, had been installed. Shortly after his arrival in Macedonia in May 1904 Koromilas compiled a report to the Greek government, 'in which he stressed the need for a well organized armed defense of Helleriism in Macedonia and for an intensive propaganda designed to promote the Greek national spirit'. (15) Greek Patriarchate bishops worked with fanatical activity and were 'largely responsible for the atrocities committed by the Greek bands, and went so far as to draw up proscription lists of Bulgarian schismatics who had to be assassinated'. (16)



From autumn 1904, Greek bands began to conduct systematic incursions into Macedonia. These bands, largely consisting of men recruited from Crete, were formed and armed in Greece and led by officers from the Greek army. The bands would threaten non- Patriarchate villages and pressure them to declare themselves as Greeks and accept Patriarchate jurisdiction.



Threatening letters were sent to villages to encourage their return to the Patriarchate fold. In one such letter from 1908 sent to the village of Arapli (Solun region), the 'Greek Macedonian Defense' states:



“You must understand that your only option for survival is for you to become Greeks... if in your village there are people who are not convinced that you are from a Greek background, then we will teach you...We will burn you and your children, even your pet cats. I will not leave one of you alive... We wait no longer.” (17)



In a similar letter to the village Nihor (Ber region), dated 19 Apri11908:



“I wrote to you previously and have waited until today that you declare yourselves as Greeks. Expecting that you would do so, I have left your village unpunished. But understand well, if within ten days you do not I become Greek Orthodox, beware; as what will happen to you has not before occurred anywhere. Bayonets will enter all of you, you will all, perish along with your families. If within ten days you do not all, become Greeks, do not expect to survive... we will come one night and burn you like mice; we know each of you individually; your only escape will be to flee to Bulgaria!” (18)



Greek bands developed a notorious and feared reputation as the most brutal in the Bitola region, and especially in the Mariovo district. (19) According to Stojche Petkovski, who was born in Makovo village in 1920, and has never left, women and children were not exempt from the brutality of roaming Greek bands:



“Nikola Damianovski's mother was murdered because her family were with the Exarchate party and another young mother was murdered in the village -when her family found her, her baby was still feeding from her breast. In the neighbouring village of Rapesh three young children aged between ten to fifteen years of age were buried alive, the Greek cheti were sadistic in these parts - everyone knows stories about their murdering. Most villages in this district were with the Patriarchate out of fear.” (20)



Even the church building, was not immune from attack. In Makovo the church was burnt down because it was under Exarchate domination. (21) Born in the village of Makovo in 1913, Petko Atanasovski added that Greek bands often came to the village 'to check whether Bulgarian bands had visited' and, in order to demonstrate their fearlessness, they set fire to a Turkish tower in the village. (22) In the nearby Mariovo village of Beshica during 1907-08, a total of eighteen people ranging from 17 to 65 years of age, including a 50-year-old woman Mitra Spasova, were murdered by Greek bands. (23)



The suffering experienced in the Mariovo district at the hands of Greek armed bands was expressed through traditional folk songs calling for the revered regional IMRO leader Giorgi Sugarev and his detachment to rescue the people from their terror:



Zaplakalo e Mariovo Entire Mariovo cried

Za toj mi Giorgi Sagarev: For Giorgi Sugarev:

Kade si strasheff voivodo, Where are you fearsome voivoda

Od Grci da ne kurtulish! To rescue us from the Greeks!



Another brutal example of violent terror occurred in the Lerin region. The mountainous Exarchate village of Rakovo had approximately 7-8 men kidnapped by a Greek band and taken up into the mountain where they were decapitated and their heads delivered to the village as a warning to others to renounce the Exarchate church. From that moment onwards the village adhered to the Patriarchate. (24)



There is also the story of Kochishta. Kochishta was a small village of 15-16 homes in the Bitola region, located along the hillside approach the upper villages. Kochishta was not considered an upper village, even though it was above the Pelagonia plain and was not a chiflik village. According to Stojan Vasilevski, who was born in Kukurechani but whose heritage is from Kochishta, the village church Sveti Atanas was 'neither with the Exarchate or the Patriarchate parties, there was only a Macedonian party in the village'. (25)



One particular night in 1907 a Greek band attacked the village. Two villagers (Ilo Trajkovski and Krste) secretly owned rifles and they engaged the Greek band long enough to allow the villagers to escape into the mountains. The people returned to their village the following morning to find that it had been largely destroyed by fire, however the church was left untouched. The village was deserted after this incident and the people moved into neighbouring villages. (26)



Bulgarian bands



BULGARIAN BANDS ALSO operated in Macedonia and were particularly active during the years 1904-1905. As with the Serb and Greek bands, they also sought to win over villages to the Exarchate by forceful means. There was, however, another aspect to the presence of Bulgarian bands in Macedonia, which involved 'assuming control of the organization and to subsume it to the requirements of the Bulgarian state'. (27)



The Bulgarian bands did not only single out Patriarchate villages in order to bring about an allegiance to the Exarchate, but they also attacked villages which were loyal to the IMRO, regardless whether they were under Exarchate or Patriarchate jurisdiction. They singled out lMRO members in the villages using torture and murder, and even against teachers and priests who worked with the organisation. (28)



The attempted infiltration of the IMRO by the Bulgarian state dated to the pre-Ilinden period, and intensified after the Ilinden Rebellion. Bands entering Macedonia from Bulgaria were known as Supremisists and were supported by the Bulgarian military. Often led by Bulgarian army officers and equipped with the latest standard-issue Bulgarian military rifles, (29) Bulgarian bands did not engage in indiscriminate murder of civilians as did Greek bands. (30)



Interviews conducted in the Bitola region did not reveal stories of multiple killings in a single village as perpetrated by Greek bands. Ljuba Stankovska (born in Gorno Aglarci) was aware that a Bulgarian band set fire to Patriarchist homes in Bilyanik, as her grandfather was the band's guide. (31)



Giorgi Dimovski Colev, historian and respondent, was aware that Bulgarian bands were active in the Bitola region, and knew of the cheta leader Toma Davidov operating in the area. (32)



Nikola Giorgievski from Gorno Aglarci recalled that a Bulgarian band contacted the village and instructed the Villagers, 'Do not declare yourselves as Macedonians, you are all Bulgarians'. Nikola stated that people followed the advice of the bands – ‘What could they do? They feared them; and feared losing their lives.' (33)



Serbian bands



SERBIAN BANDS APPEARED in Macedonia in the beginning of 1904, under the direct control of the Serbian government and military circles. Serbian paramilitaries were sponsored by the government and 'after 1903 Serbian activity in Macedonia went beyond the educational and religious sphere into political action and the direct financial aid of guerilla bands'. (34)



The- following year, in 1905, Serbian armed action in Macedonia intensified and the systematic dispatching of bands was placed under the authority of the 'Serbian Defense Chief Committee' (Spska Odbrana Glavni Odbor) in Belgrade. A strategically placed committee was also situated in Southern Serbia at Vranje near the Macedonia border. (35)



In support of Serbian policy in Macedonia, in 1905 there were eleven bands of more than a hundred men active in Macedonian territory. Serbian bands were active along the border regions, (36) particularly in the Kumanovo and Kriva Palanka areas, where the Serb campaign was directed at Macedonian Exarchate villages.



Similar to the Greek bands, the Serbs attempted to 'encourage' villages to renounce the Exarchate. The historian Dakin claims that by April 1905 'they had persuaded twenty-four villages to petition for Patriarchistic registration'. (37) Systematically penetrating from the north towards central Macedonia, 'the principal goal was to secure by force of arms Serbian predominance in those parts of Macedonia on which she had designs and which would provide her with an outlet to the Aegean'. (38)



Serb bands established control in the northern districts of Macedonia, mainly in the villages north of Kriva Palanka, Kumanovo and Kratovo. (39) Villages were forced to adopt the Patriarchate church and the Serbian party, and during a single week in early 1905 twenty villages were forced to transfer jurisdiction and accept the Serb party. Serb bands operated under the patronage of the Serb Consul in Skopje, whilst the Ottoman authorities quietly tolerated their activities in the villages. (40)



NOTES:



1. E.F. Knight, “The Awakening of Turkey”, London, 1909, p. 101.



2. According to the historian R. Clogg, 'initially these rivalries were played out in ecclesiastical, educational and cultural propaganda. But at the turn of the century, this war of words gave way to armed struggle between guerilla bands supported and subsidized by the governments of the respective motherlands'. R. Clogg, “A Concise History of Greece”, Cambridge University Press, 1992, p, 70.



3. H.N. Brailsford, op. cit. p. 214.



4. Sir E. Pears, “Turkey and Its People”, London, 1911, p. 233.



5. From a report by Richard Openheimer, Austrian Civil Agent in Macedonia, dated 31 January 1906 (Number 15), from D. Zografski, editor, “Avstriski Dokumenti” 1905-1906 [Austrian Documents 1905-1906] Vol I, Skopje, 1977! pp, 126-127; see also G. Todorovski, “Makedonskoto Prashanje i Reformite vo Makedonia” [The Macedonian Question and Reforms in Macedonia], Skopje, 1989, p.204. The Bulgarian historian, Anastasoff, provides far higher figures. He claims that in the first eleven months of 1905, there were 1,010 murders of civilian villagers (Anastasoff refers to them as 'Bulgarians'): 330 due to Albanian bands or individuals, 195 to regular Ottoman troops, 451 to Greek bands or agents, and 34 to Serbian bands or agents. Sir Edward Grey, the British Minister of Foreign Affairs, declared in the House of , Commons that from 1 January 1906 to 30 September 1906 there were 1,091 political murders in Macedonia. The information was supplied to Grey by consuls in Macedonia. The political murders were broken down into the following: 577 Christians were killed in the vilayet of Solun, 431 Christians were killed in the vilayet of Bitola, and 183 Christians were killed in the vilayet of Skopje. C. Anastasoff, “The Bulgarians”, New, York, 1977, pp. 167-168.



6. Dr Raici from the Austro-Hungarian Consulate in Bitola refers to the Greek activities in Macedonia as 'Greek nationalistic terrorism'. D. Zografski, editor, op; cit. pp. 166-168.



7. G. Todorovski (1989), op. cit. p; 206.



8. D. Dakin, The Greek Struggle in Macedonia. 1897-1913, Thessaloniki, 1966, p. 312. The British Consul General in Solun, provided figures of political crimes committed in 1907. These figures testify to the relationship between the Serbs and Greeks, as there were no murders between the two groups. According to R. Poplazarov, op. cit. p. 153, clear demarcation lines were agreed upon, separating the zones of activity for Serb and Greek bands in the Bitola kaza and the Skopje sandjak.



9. “Bashibouzouks” were armed Muslim irregular fighters that typically engaged in undisciplined banditry.



10. R. Poplazarov, op. cit. p. 157.



11. The 'Ethnike Hetairia' was founded in Athens in November 1894. It was an irredentist organization with over three-quarters of its support derived from Greek army officers. It was an exclusively Greek organization whose basic aims were 'undeniably bound up with the Greek territorial claims in Macedonia'. K.A. Vakalopoulos, op. cit. p. 201. Furthermore, a 1896 British Consular report by Charles Blunt also confirms that Greek bands crossing into Macedonia were 'under the leadership of Greek army officers'. Letter by Consul General Charles Blunt dated 13 September 1896, FO 294/22.



12. K. Bitoski, “The Attitude of the Kingdom of Greece Toward Macedonia 1893-1903”, Skopje, 1982, p. 147. That Greek bands entered Macedonia for the purpose of 'establishing the principles of their pretensions’ is clear, as Vakalopoulos asserts, 'in some cases [the bands] reached as far into the, interior as Demir Kapija -this reflected the maximum extent of Greek territorial aspirations in Macedonia at that time', KA. Vakalopoulos, op. cit. p. 202.



13. G.M. Terry , “The Origins and Development of the Macedonian Revolutionary Movement with Particular Reference to the Tayna Makedonsko-Odrinska Revolutsionerna Organizatsiya from its Conception in 1893 to the Ilinden Uprising of 1903”, Unpublished MA Thesis, University of Nottingham, 1974, p. 111.



14. E. Kofos, op. cit. p. 34. Commenting on the weak position of the Greek Patriarchate in the Bitola eparchy, the Greek Metropolitan of Bitola stated; 'we must recognize that the field upon which we stand is not as certain as we may think. From the outside today we may appear stable, however in reality our position appears as the graves that Jesus Christ commented on: on the outside they are beautifully adorned, whilst inside are full of bones and uncleanliness'. K. Bitoski, citing Greek Patriarchate documents, op. cit. p. 111. Since the Greek government took control over southern Macedonia, the town of Seres is also known as Serrai.



15. D. Dakin, op. cit. p. 118.



16. E.F. Knight, op. cit. p. 102. High ranking Greek Patriarchate clerics took a leading role in the affairs of Greek armed bands. The infamous Bishop of Kostur, Germanos Karavangelis, actually patronized the Greek armed struggle and actively assisted it. R. Clogg, op. cit. pp. 74- 75.



17. Letter dated 20 March 1908. K. Bitoski, op. cit. pp. 242-244. The Macedonian village Arapli was renamed by the Greek authorities as Sindos in the 1920s.



18. Letter by Captain Joanis Ravnalis. K. Bitoski, ibid, pp. 244-245. The new Greek name for Nihor appears to be Nihoruda, whilst Ber has been renamed Veria by the Greek authorities. Trajan Micevski of Novaci was aware that a Greek band had threatened and pressured the Exarchate village of Novacito to return to the Patriarchate fold. Trajan Micevski (born 1930 Novaci, Bitola region), interview conducted in Novaci on 22 March 2000.



19. Respondents in the Bitola region were generally aware that Greek foreign bands were most active in the region, compared to Bulgarian and Serb bands. Those interviewed were also aware of Macedonian revolutionaries actively operating in the region and the majority of those interviewed knew of at least one individual fighting in the ranks of the IMRO, either coming from their village or from a neighbouring village.



20. Stojche Petkovski (born 1920 Makovo, Bitola region), interview conducted in Makovo on 18 March 2000.



21. Stojche Petkovski interview, ibid.



22. Petko Atanasovski (born 1913 Makovo, Bitola region), interview conducted in Makovo on 14 March 2000. According to interview with Konstantin Nicha (ibid), Greek bands also entered Vlah villages to intimidate pro-Romanian villagers into remaining with the Patriarchate. In retaliation for the murder of Vlahs by Greek bands, Romania expelled a number of Greek subjects from the country. A diplomatic conflict followed which saw peaceful relations between Greece and Romania broken off in October 1905. H. N. Brailsford,op.cit.p.218.



23. During the same period in the neighbouring village of Manastir there were three murders, a 27 year-old male and a 45-year old father were murdered, together with his 23-year old son.

Bulgarian Exarchate document number 01.0491.0007.0062/0189-0190, dated 4 November 1909. Regarding Greek armed terror in Mariovo, see R. Poplazarov; op; cit. pp. 152-160.



24. Kocho Duakis (born 1934 Petoraci, Lerin region) interview conducted on 20 January 2001 in Melbourne. Following the division of Macedonia Rakovo was renamed as Krateron by the Greek authorities.



25. Stojan Vasilevski (born 1937 in Kukurechani, Bitola region), interview conducted on 4 March 2002 in Melbourne. Stojan's father Riste was born in Kochishta in 1904. Stojan recalled hearing stories about the village from his grandfather Ilo (Stojan's father's uncle).



26. Stojan Vasilevski interview, ibid. Following the devastation of Kochishta the bulk of the villagers settled into the nearby chiflik village of Kukurechani after agreeing to do so through the two village begs (the two begs were related, otherwise there were four chiflik-owning begs in the village), Each beg took half of the new village inhabitants as workers on their respective chiflik land. Of the remaining Kochishta villagers -two families resettled in Krklino village, one family in Dragozhani, one family in Sekirani and one family moved to Bitola. Stojan's family resettled in Kukurechani. Stojan Vasilevski descibed the beg that his family worked for as 'not creating any problems for us'. The beg resided in Bitola and only came to the village at harvest time, when he would stay for a few days in his kula (there were four kuli in the village, one belonging to each of the four begs). He traveled to the village with a horse-driven cart, the driver would return to Bitola. The beg also owned chiflik land in the nearby village of Trn. He had two daughters and one son (Hussein). They all returned to Turkey several months before the outbreak of the First Balkan War in 1912 after selling off the chiflik land. Although there were no pechalbari in Stojan's family (Kochishta was not a pechalbarstvo village), they did buy land from the beg, with money saved from selling sheep and goats in the Bitola marketplace (from the period when they lived in Kochishta).

A small portion of land in Kukurechani was made up of rayatsko land and belonged to a handful of families, Stojan's traditional family name (soi) was Trajkovci, however, after moving to Kukurechani, it became Kochishti after their original village.



27. M. Apostoloski, D. Zografski, A. Stojanovski and G.Todorovski, editors, op. cit. p. 181, and I. Mihailov, “Macedonia A Switzerland of the Balkans”, St Louis, 1950, p. 70. In an open letter by the Regional Committee of the Seres Revolutionary region dated December 1907, outlining the policy of Bulgaria in relation to the Revolutionary Movement, Bulgaria was accused of bringing armed foreign national propaganda into Macedonia and turning it into an arena of incessant destruction. 'In order to diminish the significance of the organization and deflect it from the road of its natural development, Bulgaria uses all means to create discord among the activists of the Internal Organization, aiming in this way to turn it into an instrument… [Bulgaria] has the need of acquisition of new territories for political and economic exploitation, so it uses all kinds of methods and means to infiltrate the organization and direct it from within in conformity with its own interests', H. Andonov-Poljanski, editor (1985), op, cit. p. 539.



28. See I. Katardzhiev, “Borba do Pobeda”, Vol I, Skopje, 1983, pp. 664-670.



29. Each rifle also had the Bulgarian Kingdom’s coat of arms inscribed upon it. From a telegram dated 22 March 1905 from Heindrich Miller (Austrian civilian agent) in Solun to the Austrian Foreign Minister. D. Zografski, editor, op. cit p. 35.



30. The fate of the village Zagorichani in the Kostur district is well known and particularly tragic. On 25 March 1905 Zagorichani was surrounded and attacked at dawn by an armed band of 300 men under the command of Vardas. Old and young alike were massacred and the village was set ablaze. The European press reported the event and it was made public that the notorious Greek Metropolitan of Kostur, Germanos Karavangelis instigated the massacre. Karavangelis hailed the massacre as a great victory. The attack upon Zagorichani was committed with the complicity of the Ottoman authorities. Other Greek terrorist bands committed despicable atrocities in the southern and central regions of Macedonia in 19005-1906. Most were veterans from the Cretan campaign or volunteers from Athens, and worked closely with the Greek consulates and the Patriarchate church. Another notorious bandit was Pavlos Melas who was known to subject innocent civilians to horrendous acts of violence. Melas was killed in Macedonia in a rare Greek skirmish with the Ottoman Turks.



31. Luba Stankovska (born 1923 in Gorno Aglarci, Bitola Region), interview conducted on 15 March 2000 in Dedebalci.



32. Giorgi Dimovski-Colev, historian and lifelong resident of Bitola (born 1929, Bitola), interviewed on 13 March 2000 in Bitola.



33. Nikola Giorgiovski (born 1927 in Gorno Aglarci Bitola region), interview conducted on 17 March 2000 in Gorno Aglarci. Nikola Giorgievski, further added that later during the Balkan Wars when Serbian soldiers entered the village and asked the inhabitants what their nationality was, they replied 'Bulgarians' - 'However they soon were forced to declare themselves as Serbs!'



34. B. Petrovich, op. cit. p. 546.



35. S. Pribitchevich, op. cit. p. 134.



36. Encounters between the IMRO and the Serbian bands largely occurred in the northern border region between Macedonia and Serbia, particularly in the Kumanovo district during 1904. The historian, G. Todorovski (1989), op. cit., examines the conflict in the northern border regions through British diplomatic documents.



37. D. Dakin, op. cit. p. 241. Dakin claims that the Serbian bands were received so well that 'on the whole they adopted gentle methods, avoiding force, paying for their food and distributing arms that the villages could have their own defenses', (Ibid, p.142). Research conducted by the author in northern Macedonia during 1991 indicated that Serbian armed activities were of a violent nature in the Kumanovo, Kriva Palanka and Kochani Regions and Serbian brutality continued in these areas well into the twenties and thirties of the twentieth centyry. Ivan Mihailov, a Macedonian revolutionary of the late Ottoman era stated that Serbian armed bands that appeared in Macedonian villages near the Serbian frontier were made up of ordinary agents of the Serbian Ministry of War and the Interior. 'The Serbian bands had to rely exclusively upon bayonets and money in order to assure for themselves shelter within the poor border villages.' I. Mihailov, “Macedonia: A Switzerland of the Balkans”, St Louis, 1950, p. 69. The British diplomat, Sir Robert Graves commenting on Serbian armed action in northern Macedonia, stated that 'no great success attended this movement'. Regarding the incorporation of the north central part of Macedonia into the Yugoslav kingdom after the Balkan Wars, Graves added that this 'was due, not to a propaganda which never had any hold on the people; but to the good fortune of the Serbs in finding themselves on the winning side at the end of the Great War'. R. Graves, “Storm Centres of the Near East: Personal Memoirs 1879-1929”, London, 1933, p. 224.



38. M. Apostoloski, D. Zografski, A. Stoyanovski and G. Todorovski, editors (1979), op. cit. p. 182.



39. S. Dimevski (1989), op. cit. p.121.



40. From a Consular Report by the Austrian consul (Para) in Skopje to the Austrian Foreign Minister, dated 24 March 1905. D. Zografski, editor, op. cit. pp. 35-36. In an earlier report, to the Foreign Minister, dated 11 January 1905, similar details are provided regarding the activities of Serb bands in northern Macedonia. The report outlines that the Serbs were forcing villages into the Patriarchate; that they forced villagers to declare themselves as Serbs; that they were attempting to “Serbianise” villages; and, that the bands operated under the patronage of the Serb Consul in Skopje. Ibid, pp. 9-13.



Nick Anastasovski



Nick Anastasovski has made use of over sixty primary and more that one hundred and thirty secondary sources as well as numerous other documents to put this book together.

With 520 pages and a large format, “The Contest For Macedonian Identity 1870-1912” is a well researched and easy to read book that everyone should own. It is an excellent defensive weapon to use in the protection of the Macedonian identity.



“The Contest For Macedonian Identity 1870-1912” is the ninth Macedonian book published by Pollitecon Publications. It is available in Australia for $35 plus $10 postage.



In North America the book can be purchased from the Canadian Macedonian Historical Society’s web page [url]www.macedonianhistory.ca[/url] for $ 45 Canadian. See [url]http://www.macedonianhistory.ca/html/books.html[/url]



The Contest For Macedonian Identity 1870-1912



By Nick Anastasovski



Published by

POLLITECON PUBLICATIONS

PO Box 3102 Abbotsford NSW 2046

Australia Ph: (02) 9715 7608

Fx: (02) 9713 1004

Em: [email][email protected][/email]

Web: [url]www.pollitecon.com[/url]



Editor & Publisher: Victor Bivell



Front Cover: A Macedonian family from the Reka region of western Macedonia circa early 20th century.



ISBN 978-0-9804763-0-9



@ Copyright 2008



About the author:



Nick Anastasovski was born in 1965 in Bitola, Macedonia. He arrived with his family in Australia in early 1966 and grew up in the western suburbs of Melbourne. He graduated from La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in Sociology and Philosophy. He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Victoria University in 2006 for The Contest for Macedonian Identity 1870-1912 (under the title of Contestations over Macedonian Identity 1870-1912). In recognition of Nick's academic performance, he was awarded Outstanding Final Year Research Student in the School of Social Sciences at Victoria University in 2006.



In North America this book can be purchased from the Canadian Macedonian Historical Society’s web page [url]www.macedonianhistory.ca[/url] for $ 45 Canadian. See [url]http://www.macedonianhistory.ca/html/books.html[/url]
From email from Rstefov

christos200 07-17-2011 03:41 PM

in reality the bulgarians attacked the greeks Familys and trie to convert them that they were bulgarians. But the greeks in 1900 decided to enter with armed bands into macedonia to protect the greeks. Maybe the bulgarians did the same thing on your people.

julie 07-17-2011 03:47 PM

[QUOTE=christos200;105537]in reality the bulgarians attacked the greeks Familys and trie to convert them that they were bulgarians. But the greeks in 1900 decided to enter with armed bands into macedonia to protect the greeks. Maybe the bulgarians did the same thing on [B]your people[/B].[/QUOTE]

and who are "your people"??
what is our ethnicity?

Are you saying we are Bulgarian?!
You are not going to last long on this forum
We are Macedonians.

christos200 07-17-2011 03:51 PM

1)well, you say you are macedonians.

2) i didnt say you are bulgarians. i said that maybe bulgarian armed forces may have tried to convert you that you were bulgarians.

Soldier of Macedon 07-17-2011 09:11 PM

Christos, I am really in no mood for another racist idiot. We don't just say we are Macedonians, we are the Macedonians. That is the first and last time you will be informed of this fact. I could care less what some racist from Athens wishes to re-name my people or homeland with. It is irrelevant to us. And you will be too should you decide to behave like 90% of the other Greeks that have slimed in here.

George S. 07-18-2011 05:27 AM

christos you have to accept us who we are not what someone says we are or we ought to be.I find someone who calls as bulgarians when were not as insulting & belittling.If you can't work out who your neighbour next to you is then clearly you are missing something on top.Your govt Greece thinks that our region is not macedonia but skopje clearly they have problemIt's like calling your country greece as athens & not what it should be called.
So i'm sick of morons who pretend that they are above everyone else & can intimidate people regarding their identity or even make jokes of their identity.If you are intelligent as you claim then you must work it out who we are macedonians.

Soldier of Macedon 07-18-2011 06:11 AM

[QUOTE="GeorgeS"]So i'm sick of morons who pretend that they are above everyone else & can intimidate people regarding their identity or even make jokes of their identity.If you are intelligent as you claim then you must work it out who we are macedonians.[/QUOTE]
One of the smartest things you've said G.

And it ain't exactly rocket science either (realising who the Macedonians are). Even a fumbling idiot would realise the obvious, if they pretend to be less than that, then they have come to the wrong place, a situation that will be appropriately addressed as it arises.

christos200 07-18-2011 07:30 AM

1) i didnt say you are bulgarians.

2) in my opinion the name of your country should be slavomacedonia.

3) i dont want to offend anyone and also i am not racist.

Volk 07-18-2011 07:36 AM

[QUOTE=christos200;105612]1) i didnt say you are bulgarians.

2) in my opinion the name of your country should be slavomacedonia.

3) i dont want to offend anyone and also i am not racist.[/QUOTE]

worry about the name of your country, no ones has any interest of what you or your racist brethren think we should name 'our country', it has a name idiot, its called Macedonia, look at a map over 2000 years old and you will see the same name.

I dont want to offend you but I think the 1.3 million turkish orthodox settlers in greek occupied Macedonia should be re-settled in Athens, its only fair dont you think.

Then you can ponder about re-naming your country in my opinion it should be Eastern European albo-slavo-turko-grekonia (Athens)

or EEASTG (Athens) for short

christos200 07-18-2011 07:46 AM

i want to say, because my grandfather was from minor asia, that the ones who came after the destruction of smyrne, in macedonia and athens werent turkish orthodox but greeks.


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