Saturday, October 28, 2006
Ohrana in Southwestern Macedonia (1941-1944) (1) (humbly translated by Pavel Makedonski withabridgements from the book of Dobrin Michev)Hajdushki Pesni (I)by Pejo JavorovNa Goce Delchev - Pejo Javorov, 1903
Den denuvam - patishta potajni,
nosht hoshtuvam - patishta neznajni,
nemam tato, nito mama
-tato da rugae,mama da ridae...
to Pirin planino!
S vrag vraguvam
- mjara spored mjara,
s blag blaguvam
- vjara zarad vjara.
njamam bratec ni sestrica
-bratec da me hvali,
a sestra da zhali...
- neka si boguva,
tsar tsaruva - veka li tsaruva?
-mene da ochakvai da me oplakva...
(The poem Hajdushki pesni (I)
has been written in 1903 by theclosest friend and biographer of the founder of IMRO GoceDelchev - the poet Pejo Javorov. He many times accompaniedGoce in his raids in Ottoman Macedonia. He sings in that poemfor Pirin mountain that is preferred instead of black Constantinople(Tsarigrad, Istanbul) wine, for his sword that is instead of strongAdrianople(Odrin, Edirne) raki, for his gun that is instead of slim girl fromSolun.)...On 6th of April 1941 Germany invaded Yugoslavia and Greece. Bya detour of the defensive line "Metaxas", the German armies reachedSolunon 9th of April. The same day the Greek general Bakapoulos - thecommanderof the Greek army group "Eastern Macedonia" signed itscapitulation. His soldiers gave their guns to the Germans but have notbeen taken as prisoners of war. On 17th of April the German armies penetrated into Thessalia. Threedaysafter that the Greek general G. Cholakouglou, the commander of theGreekarmy group "Western Macedonia" together with the generals BakapoulosandDemistihis, without the approvement of their government, signed thecapitulation of the Greek army.
On 27th of April 1941 the armies of theWermachtentered the Greek capital Athens. Until the end of the month the wholecontinental Greece has been occupied. On 31st of March the last Greekdefence has been crushed - on the island of Crete.In a telegram from 17th of May 1941 to the Chief representative of theThirdReich in Athens Altenburg, the German fuerer Adolf Hitler described inthefollowing way the occupation of Greece :"On the territories that wouldbeoccupied by the Germans, the rule has to be done by a militarycommandmentin agreement with the Chief representative. But as it is possible, wehave touse the Greek administration and to avoid establishment of the Germanone."
In accordance with the directives of Hitler, a collaboration Greekgovernmenthas been created with Prime Minister general G. Cholakouglou and theGreekadministration has been used in the benefit of the German occupator.Hitler ordered Greece to be named Elliniki Politia (Greek state) andthewhole former state administration to be used. Bulgarian army did not take part in the war against Greece andYugoslavia.But Bulgaria gave its territory as a start base under the harsh demandof Hitler.By the proposal of Hitler, three Bulgarian divisions entered intoVardar Macedonia in order to administer it and to release the German forcesthere.On 18th of April 1941 the German foreign minister Ribbentroptelegraphedinto Sofia in order to determine the territories that could beadministered bythe Bulgarian army. By that telegram, the Bulgarian army can administer Eastern Thrace until the line Svilengrad - Kyupryulyu - Dedeagach, Eastern Macedonia between the rivers Mesta and Struma, the islands of Thasosand Samotraki, Vardar Macedonia until the river Vardar and Western Outskirts with Pomoravie until the line Pirot - Vranjak - Skopje. Inthe telegramhas been stressed that the Bulgarian administration there is"temporary".
On 21th of April in Vienna a meeting of Ribbentrop with count Chano -theItalian foreign minister occured. On that meeting the Italianpretensions inMacedonia have been determined, and the demarcation line of the Italianoccupation zone has been obtained. Later that demarcation line becameknown as "Wien line". It begins westward from Kachanik, goes nearLeshok,Zhilka, after that in the East from Zheljazna rka, Novo selo,Mamudovac,Meshenishte, in the West of Podmole is going on the Ohrid lake. Afterthatit is crossing the lake until the eastern bank of Peshteni, it is goingthrough Galichica, northern of the village of Nevla (Pavel - that is ontheterritory of Prespa), and eastern of Kozjak and on the ridge of Babamountain is ending on the old Greek-Yugoslav border. The WesternMacedonia has been given from the Germans for Italian occupation -with the towns of Tetovo, Struga, Debar, Kichevo and Gostivar, and thevillages in South of Ohrid - for creation of the so-called "GreatAlbania".By the "Wien protokol" also to Italia have been given the area of Gjumendzhe, the area of Voden (that is Edessa), part of the areas of Lerin, Ber and Kostur, and part of the area of Kozhani in southwesternMacedonia, as also Epirus, Thessalia, Pelopones, Evbea and theislands of Kiklades.
On 24th of April 1941 in Sofia has been signed the agreement "Clodius -Popov" for the obligations of Bulgaria in the administered areas of German possesion. It is remarkable, that only Bulgarian obligationsexisted in that agreement. The Central Macedonia with Solun (Thessaloniki), Solun area, parts ofthe areas of Gjumendzhe, Voden, Lerin, and Ber, and the area of Kateriniare occupied by the Wermacht. In the German occupation zoneentered also the northern bank of White Sea, Athens with Pirea, and the islands of Crete, Lemnos, Mitilini, Hios, etc.
After and in the time of the German military action, the MacedonianBulgariansmet the German and Italian armies as liberators from long years of Greek and Serbian oppression. Arcs of triumph have been erectedin towns and villages, decorated with the Bulgarian three-colouredflagsand spring flowers. On 13th of April, 1941 by initiative of the Bulgarian Macedonianpopulationand with the support of IMRO (VMRO) has been created Bulgarian CentralActionCommittee for Macedonia. Its aims have been to take the power untilBulgarian armies coming, to organize the food distribution amongst thepopulation, etc.In the next days the Action Committee and his General secretary VassilHadzikimov began actively to organize action cammittees in the towns and villagesof thewhole Macedonia. In such a way have been created committees in Veles, Resen, Debar, St Nikola, Kochani, Tetovo, Gostivar, Struga, Lerin, Gjumendzhe, Voden, Enidzhe Vardar, etc.
The creation of Action Committees in SouthwesternMacedoniais opposed by the German and Italian occupation authorities, and alsoby theremained Greek administration. The secretary of the Central ActionCommitteeVassil Hadzikimov went to Solun to organize there also Bulgarian ActionCommittee, but he discovered there that the Bulgarian club has been alreadyorganized. The Cetral Bulgarian Action Committee for Macedonia send a memorandumto theBulgarian government. But in the same time the Bulgarian government istakinglong and difficult negotiations with the Germans and Italians forMacedonia. King Boris III represented the lawful Bulgarian demands in his visit inBerlin.But Hitler turned down the solving of the Macedonian question byargumentingwith the Italian pretensions. Bulgarian government tried to persuadethe Italians for some concessions, but without success. Ribbentropconfirmed thatwhat is given to Bulgaria is given only in order temporarily to beadministered. The final decision would be taken after the war taking in mind theundertakenroles in the war...
Ohrana in Southwestern Macedonia (1941-1944)
(5) (humbly translated by Pavel Makedonski withabridgements from the book of Dobrin Michev)"Lele moja, pushka ognebojka!More tnka Solunska devojka."from the poem Hajdushki Pesni -1 (1903) by Pejo Javorov("Oh, you mine long gun that flames hurls!You are the nicest of the slim Solun girls."from the poem Komitadzi Songs -1 (1903) by Peyo Yavorov)... continued ......(Pavel - as I am a lazi person, I have decided directly to goto the time of the establishment of Ohrana. It is very difficultand time consuming to translate a book. At first I thoughtthat it could be easier...)Birth Of Ohrana - 5th of March 1943On 5th of March 1943 a great band of Greek andarts attacked the villageofDobrolishta, Kostur area. They wanted to catch the brothers Paskal andSterio Nikolov Dobrolitski - prominent members of the Bulgariannational movement in that area. But the brothers heroically defendedthemselves and managed to escape into Kostur. Together with anotherMacedonian Bulgarian patriots they created there "Bulgarian -Macedonian Revolutionary Committee" in order to organize the armed defence of theterrorized Macedonian Bulgarian population. That was the famous"Ohrana".In the organizing Committee took part Pando Makriev, Luka Damjanov,Hristo Radukov, Kuzo Kirjakov, and Nikola Shesteov.
The first Committeehas been ruled by Pando Makriev from the village of Chitirok, Nikola Georgiev from the village of Kondorovo, Pascal Dobrolitski from thevillage of Dobrolishta, and Luka Damjanov from the village ofDrenoveni.(Pavel - by the report of the commander of the Fifth Bulgarian Divisioninnearby Bulgarian administered zone in Bitola - general Bojdev -the Committee has been ruled by Pando Makriev, Kuzo Dobrolitski,Nikola Dobrolitski, Luka Damjanov and Paskal Dobrolitski.) On the next day - 6th of March - from the name of the Committee, Pando Makriev send an appeal for help to the Bulgarian commander in Bitola -colonel Ivan Marinov. In that appeal has been written that theMacedonianBulgarian population raised for struggle against the terror of theGreekadministration and andarts. Pando Makriev asked for a help withguns, shoes, cloths, as also experienced commanders to be sent. Theappeal has been signed by Sterio Nikolov, Paskal Dobrolitski, LukaDamjanov, Hristo Naskov, Kuzo Shestoverov, and Apostol Dobrolitski. The Committee send also a delegation into Bitola to meet with colonel Ivan Marinov, asking for a fast and immediate help. Bu colonel Marinovrefused to give to the Committee guns, as "there was not an order fromabove".Another delegation of the Kostur Committee went directly to Sofia. Inthatdelegation have been included Paskal Paskalev, Paskal Dobrolitski,Kostadin Ivanov, etc. The delegation has been received by the Bulgarian Prime Minister Bogdan Filov. The people from the Committeewaved before Filov an old flag saved from the time of Ilinden rebellionin 1903 and told him about the atrocites of the Greek administrationandthe Greek bands. The delegation asked for an immediate help fromthe Bulgarian state. Instead to support the delegates, Bogdan Filovtold them how difficult is the political situation. he send them tomeet withthe Military Minister general T. Daskalov. From his side, he send thedelegation to the Foreign Minister Ivan Popov. But there the ForeignMinister refused a help - "because Bulgaria has been an ally of Germanyand Italy and cannot interfere into the deeds of the german and Italianmilitary authorities in Southwestern Macedonia."
So official Sofiarefused political and military support for the Committee. Going fromministry into ministry, without positive result, the delegation met therepresentatives of the Central Committee of VMRO - Asen Avramov andDimiter Tsilev. They did not gave some substantial promises for ahelp, but issued an declaration, in which critisezed "the responsiblefactors" for their "sheep-like attitude" towards the "unfortunatepeople".Gathering of food for the population has been organized. The studentcorporation "Shar" (that has been under the influence of VMRO)organized that action. Also because of the cautious politics of thegovernment, that corporation began to consider enlisting ofvolunteers (from its members and members of VMRO) that to besend in help in Southwestern Macedonia.
The Central Bulgarian - Macedonian Revolutionary Committee beganfastly to organize revolutionary committees in towns and villages.Very soon more than 10,000 Macedonian Bulgarians have beenincluded into those committees. Main committees have beenorganized in the towns of Kostur and Hrupishta, and also committeesin more that 40 villages - Chetirok, Zagorichane, Blatsa, Chereshnitsa,Izbegli, Tikveni, Starichani, Gorentsi, Dobrolishta, Zhuzheltsi,Dumbeni,Kosinets, etc. Very active support in the organizing of the committeesgave the Bulgarian liasson officer for connection in Lerin, puruchik(lieutenant) A. Kalchev.After its creation, the Central Bulgarian - Macedonian RevolutionaryCommittee connected itself with the Italian military authorities inKostur.It succeeded to persuade them a Bulgarian administration to be createdin the Bulgarian Macedonian villages, also Bulgarian schools to becreated, and Bulgarian churches to be opened. (Pavel - later will bedescribed the role of the leader of VMRO
Ivan Mihajvlov for thatchange of the Italian attitude.)Together with organizing of committees in Kostur area, their Central Committee began forming of armed chetas. Such armed chetas havebeen created in the towns of Kostur, Hrupishta, as also in 40 villages-Cherirok, Zagorichane, Blatsa, Tikveni, Starichane, Garentsi,Dobrolishta,Zhuzheltsi, Dumbeni, Kosinets, etc.
In Lerin area chetas have beencreated i the villages of Srebrino, Zhelevo, Zeleniche, Ekshisu,Banitsa,Prekopane, Mokrene, ets. In Voden and in Voden area in Ohrana havebeen included about 700 men.Altogether the Committee managed to arm about 1,600 men, that createdthe so-called "Ohrana". They have been distributed into stationarychetasfrom 20-30 men each, leaded by vojvodas. Those chetas had the taskto guard the villages from the attacks of the Greek armed bands, thedetachments of EAM and ELAS, and from the Greek nationalisticorganizations. Also several ladger chetas for quick action have beencreated. Their task has been to chese the Greek armeg groups in theregion. All chetas have been subjugated to the Central Committee inKostur, and have been directly commanded by it.Until the end of April 1943 in Kostur area have been organized 15movable chetas in the vicinity of the villages of German, Orovo, Zhelevo, Breznitsa, Vumbel, Dobrolishta, Pozdivishta, Chetirok, Kostur, Zagorichane, Drenichevo, Zhegozhe, and Hrupishta.
In thosemovable chetas for quick response have been included 598voluntreers. Besides those chetas there is also a stationary cheta in Kostur,2 stationary chetas in Hrupishta, 3 - in Dobrolishte, 4 - in Chetirok, 5 -in Gorentsi, and 1 - in Argos, Orestelon, Kalihori, and Karisos.Altogetherin them are included 526 men.
In Kostur in the Ohrana are organized200 men under the commandment of vojvoda Lazar Mladenov, inHrupishta - 180 men under the commandment of Paskal Dobrolitski,in the village of Zagorichane - 130 men under the commandment ofvojvoda Dimiter Ivanov, in the village of Zheljava - 80 men under thecommandment of Ivam Minov, etc. The chief commander (vojvoda)of all chetyas of Ohrana is Pando Makriev.The armed militia Ohrana had its offices in Kostur ( withrepresentativesNikola Georgiev and the brothers Kuzo and Nikola Shesteov, VassilPaskalev Jankov and Paskal Jankov Paskalev), and in Hrupishta(representative - Lika Damjanov).The armed men of Ohrana weared hats with the sign "IBK-SIS-Cheta ofTirana" -(Italo-Bulgarian Committee "Liberty or Death" - Cheta of Tirana).In Kostur has been created Ohrana commandment - it has been placed inthebuilding of the former Greek police. The movement between all villagescontrolled by Ohrana could be possible only by written permission ofporuchik A. Kalchev or with a pass from the Bulgarian club in Solun.The Bulgarian government took firstly very reserved position towardsOhrana.So in a telegram of the Bulgarian Prime Minister Bogdan Filov to theBulgarian legation in Rome is written: "Because the Italian commandmentin Kostur cannot manage with the attacks of the Greek andarts, itpermittedthe local population to be armed, without informing the Bulgariangovernment. The Bulgarian government has its fears, that the events can strenghtenthe repressions of the andarts and their atrocites towards theBulgarianpopulation that could result in a wave of mass escape into Bulgaria. Thereare now in Bulgaria more than 8,000 refugees from Western Macedonia."B. Filov ordered to the ambassador to ask the Italian government fordefence of the Bulgarian population on Kostur area. Similar has beentheletter of undercolonel Kostov - head of the investigation team of thegeneral Staff to tye Ministry of the Internal Affairs from 18th ofMarch 1943.
By him the creation of Ohrana is due to the "Italian attempts to throwthe Bulgarian population in Kostur area in an open struggle with theGreekandarts". And he continues: "The General Staff wants those Italianattempts to bedeclined, as they could lead to more sufferings of the Bulgarianpopulationthere." Similar has been the letter of the Commander of the GeneralStaffof Bulgarian army general Lukash to the officer for connection in Solungeneral Zhilkov.Until the Bulgarian government cannot take a position for the creationofOhrana, in Kostur area more than 10,000 men are jumped for an armedstruggle against the Greek terror. They chased away the Greek administration, police, Greek mayors, teachers and priests. Then they created their ownrule of the area. In order to understand more for the phenomenon, andin order to create a contact with the leaders, to Kostur went thecommander ofthe division in Bitola colonel Ivan Marinov. He was together with theItalianconsul from the town of Kastaneli, and with the representative of theBulgarianForeign Ministry d-r Dr. Dimitrov. The group visited Kostur ans alsotheItalian commandant there colonel A. Venier, and his deputy lieutenantReval.Colonel Ivan Marinov have advised the members of the Committee to becareful with the Italian authorities, and when that is not absolutelynecessary, not tointerfere in their struggle with the Greek andarts. (Pavel - inprinciple thecreation of Ohrana has been a people's rebellion against the Greekterror inSothwestern Macedonia.) ...