Monday, March 03, 2008
Last year, on receipt of information of the occurrence in the village of Garvan, Macedonia, a great popular demonstration was held. Twenty men of the village had been murdered in cold blood by the authorities. Further information raised this number to twenty eight, and brought details of these imparalleled inhuman executions, and how a woman had died on the spot from terror at the sight.
The Golgotha of Garvan
During the month of March, last year, a report reached us of a terrible tragedy enacted in Macedonia. Twenty peaceful Bulgarians had been seized in their homes in the village of Garvan, Radovish district, tied with ropes and barbarously shot by the authorities.
This case of butchering innocent men is neither the first, nor is it a casual one. It is a common result of the Serbian Government's policy. It is an illustration of the tyrannical and cruel regime ruling in Macedonia since the country was occupied by Serbia in 1913.
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Garvan is a village situated on the borders of the Konesh-Mountains, between the rivers Lacavitza, tributary of the Bregalnitza, and the Vardar. The village lies in the valley of Lacavitza, twenty miles from the town of Radovish. It contains sixty houses and five hundred inhabitants. During the long struggle against Turkish oppression the inhabitants were noted for their enlightened and high national spirit.
The village Garvan and the neighboring villages Sccrusha and Zagoritza havfeta number of devoted men, who suffered to death for the liberty of their country. Many were carried off under arrest to
leave their bones in Turkish prisons, others were exiled to distant islands never to be heard of again.
It has been the destiny of Garvan to endure the alien's tyranny in later times, even today.
The village has been under the Serbian yoke since 1913. Three times has the village experienced the particular inhumanity of the Serbian regime.
After the war between the allies, the village was burnt down by the Serbians, because it had assisted the Bulgarians with its militia.
In 1914 seven men of the village were seized, rosed to the wall of the Monastery St. George and crushed to death by the failing of the undermined wall.
In 1923, March, occurred the incident with the twenty eight men, as above.
How was this slaughter of innocent men carried out by a legal organized authority?
At the commencement of last year Matcovitch, appointed by the Serbian Government Great Jupan for the frontier region Shtip-Radovish, was instructed to operate against the revolutionary bands.
After the inspection of the region, Matcovitch, at theheadiOf a detachment of soldiers and machine guns, arrived in Garvan on the end of 'March, last year (1923),-about. 10 A. M, when the men were at work in the fields. He ordered the Assistant-Mayor to call in all the men; .meanwhile, the soldiers searched the houses and shamefully ill treated the women.
In an hour's time the men were collected, amongst them youths from 12—14 years old. To allay their fears they were told that they were about to receive communications received from Belgrade.
The women came to the place where the men were collected and loudly complained of the ill-treatment they had received at the hands of the soldiers.
Matcovitch spoke to the men of the activity of the revolutionary bands, and ordered the women to be withdrawn. Twenty eight of the men were led out of the village on the pretence that they were to be escorted to the town of Shtip.
The men fearing that the worst was about to happen to them, begged in vain to be liberated, but were driven off with whip and buffs of the riffles.
The men driven off, Matcovitch" placed guards arround the village to prevent the women following.
Despair seized the men when the escort led them away from the road to Shtip, they fell on their knees and begged for mercy from Matcovitch, assuring him of their innocence.
Groaning, begging, beaten mercilessly, the miserable lots of men were led to a meadow some three miles from the village. There Matcovitch asked them again: „Will you reveal where the commitadjis are and who are their concealers?
In vain the poor men denied knowledge of revolutionary bands and begged for mercy. „1 know", declared Matcovitch, „who the comitadjis are, you are such and you are those 1 am looking after" and
ordered his soldiers a few paces back and shoot down the lot.
The soldiers retired as ordered, but hesitated to shoot, and repeated to themselves in low and loud voices that they could not perpetrate such a horrible act. On this Matcovitch ordered the soldiers off the ground, and commanded the machine guns to advance. These did their work: in a few minutes the twenty eight men were bloody corpses.
The scene on the ground was horrid, the soldiers with bowed heads turned away from it. Matcovitch alone looked pleased with the work he had accomplished.
The following are the names of the victims of this unparalleled crime :
1. Tane Ivanoff ........... 50 old.
2. Petroush Ivanoff ........... 47 old.
3. Dtmitre Ivanoff ........... 41 old.
4. Petroush Atanasoff ........... 21 old.
5. Georghi Mileff ........... 32 old.
6. Efrem Trayanoff ........... 30 old.
7. Stefko Trayanoff ........... 39 old.
8. Petroush A. Velianoff ........... 35 old.
9. Kostadin Zdraveff ........... 18 old.
10. Christonean Potzeff ........... 57 old.
11. Gheorghi Doneff ........... 31 old.
12. Tasse Eftimoff ........... 52 old.
13. Trayan Tasseff ........... 23 old.
14. Stoye Kotzeff ........... 34 old.
15. Pane Kotzeff ........... 28 old.
16. Stoyan Philippoff ........... 25 old.
17. Done Vassileff ........... 29 old.
18. Ivan Vassileff ........... 35 old.
19. Mone Vassileff ........... 12 old.
20. Mite Zdraveff ........... 19 old.
21. Dimitri Koleff ........... 37 old.
22. Atanas Koleff ........... 13 old.
23. Bogatin Gheorghieff ........... 13 old.
24. Petre Gheorghieff ........... 40 old.
25. Yane Potzeff ........... 59 old.
26. Eftim Petrousheff ........... 20 old.
27. Vassil Simeonoff ........... 11 old.
28. Constantine Tzvetcoff ........... 31 old.
29. Tzoita Tomeva *) ........... 65 old.
It will be seen that among the executed there were youths of 12, 13 and 17 years. This fact speaks for itself.
His work done, Matcovitch proceeded to terrorize other villages, leaving the guard round the village to prevent any one coming out of it. The guard was withdrawn on the seventh day after the execution; then only the terrified people of the village and those of the neighboring villages were enabled to visit the scene of horrors and tend to the dead.
The details of what had occurred and how it had occurred were given to the villagers by the soldiers themselves, who were present at the inhuman slaughter, in which twenty eight Macedonian Bulgarians fell victims to the ruthless Serbian regime in Macedonia.
*) died from terror.
A year is past, no inhabitant of Garvan, still under the stroke of the awful day, dares approach the spot. When obliged to pass by, they bow low, uncover their heads and put up a prayer: May God show mercy to their innocent souls!
On the day Macedonia sees the end of her sufferings and enjoys a place in the sun, a monument will surely be raised to new Golgotha, on the spot on which suffered so many innocents, and besides it will grow up a great heap’ of stones, thrown by the passers by with a curse upon the inhuman Jupan Matcovitch. Meanwhile the men and women of Gar-van will wear mourning and the children will listen to the story of the atrocity, looking forward to witness its merited recompense.
Theft news of what had occurred in Garvan was received by the Macedonian emigration with horror. Their souls were stirred to the highest degree and on the 15-th of ftpril they organized an imposing public demonstration in the capital and in the towns oughout Bulgaria. On the eve of the day all the Brotherhoods in the capital issued special appeals calling upon ail Macedonians to take part in the public protest.
The following are extracts from some of these appeals.
From that of the Radovish Brotherhood appeal:
"Dear Fellow citizens I You have heard of the
horrible occurrence in the village Garvan, not far from our birth place. Your heart fails you when you think of how these peaceful men, tied up with ropes, met their death, shot down by the Serbian machine guns, at the command of the Jupan Matcovitch.
The spirits of these Bulgarian martyrs call upon you to come and protest."
From that of the Shtip Brotherhood appeal:
“Every day terrible, unheard news of atrocities committed by the Serbian satraps in Macedonia, our beautiful land, reach us. Incapable to master the revolutionaries, they seize our innocent brothers and sisters and murder them in masses without compunction.”
From the Krushevo Brotherhccd appeal:
“You have heard of horrors committed upon twenty eight innocent men of Garvan by official Serbia by the hands of the blood thrust Jupan Dobritsa Matcovitch.
This barbarity has caused you the greatest pain and grief and made you shed many tears. Do not fail to attend the demonstration of protest to be held by the emigrants of the capital against the tyrans who are shedding the b.'cod of our brethren and sisters.”
From the Koukoush Brotherhood appeal:
“We, who shall never forget the year of 1913, when we were driven from our homes, who witnessed our children burnt in our houses, our mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers iltrested by the savage Greeks, cannot be indifferent in the face of the bar-
barities committed in Qarvan by the Serbian allies of our destroyers.
Every one of the Brotherhoods issued its appeal calling upon their members to take part in the demonstration of protest: This demonstration took place on the 15th of April, last year (1923).
All the Brotherhoods took part in it, many thousands of men, women and children marched ; every Brotherhood under its flag covered in black, and loudly protested against the prevailing rule of terror in Greek and Serbian Macedonia. No less than 40,000 took part in the protest demonstration.
Never had Sofia assisted such an impressive public protest, and the day was called „The Macedonians' Day". The demonstration was opened at half past nine in the public square in front of the „Renaissance Theatre" and „The Carpenters' Trade Hall" by a speech from Mr- Kousseff, President of the Macedonian National Committee. From a second raised platform spone Mr. Bandon, President of the Rumanian section of the Union of the Macedonian Emigration. Mr. Yordan Atanassoff, member of the National Committee, also spoke. The procession on its way through the town stopped in front of the Sobranye, where Messrs. Tzancoff, Tchkatroff and Murmeff spoke simultaneously from three different platforms, it finally reached its objective, the Monument Levski; there Arseni Yovkoff and Vassil Shaldeff spoke and the following resolution was passed :
Today, the 15th of April, 1923, the emigration of Sofia, impartial to religion or nationality, called this protest demonstration to consider and take counsel as to the terrorist condition of things in all parts of Macedonia, and particularly the recent slaughter of the peaceful inhabitants of the villages Garvan and Brest, perpetrated by command of official Serbia, after hearing the orators representing the Nationalities living in Macedonia found:
1) That the treaty of peace, which prescribed the fate of Macedonia, was concluded without the consent of the people (which for many years past have energetically struggled for their independence) and has failed to introduce peace in the Balkans, because it divided an ideal economically and politically complete country, depriving the people of its natural right to liberty and independence.
2) That the Serbian and Greek regimes in Macedonia are incapable to establish there induring conditions either for the peaceful culture and development of the people or the security of human life. This being evident from the failure to apply the treaty providing for the protection of the minorities, who are subjected with impunity to assault, plunder, violation and murder, as witness the recent slaughter of the twenty eight men of Garvan, and other in the village of Brest.
That a regime, which cannot secure protection / to the peaceful population must inevitably force it 0 take up arms in self-defense.
In view of the above the Emigration
1) To protest against the bloody regime and the systematic murders committed daily in Macedonia, a disgrace to humanity, which serve to foment troubles in the Balkans;' against the violent Treaty providing for „ voluntary" emigration concluded between Greece and Bulgaria, in the conclusion of which Bulgaria had no choice; against the Creek and Serbian Governments' unjustifiable and arbitrary colonization politic, which permits the banishment of innocent women and ' children to distant islands, and the seizure by force of their ancestral property to be handed over to strangers to the land ; against the non-application in Macedonia of the clauses of the Peace treaties, by which are secured to the, Macedonians a minimum of national culture and educational rights.
2) To ask the Governments of the leading civilized Nations in the name of humanity, to appoint an international enquiry in Macedonia to ascertain the injustice prevalent in our motherland and the need for it of freedom and independence within its geographical and economical limits.
3) The present resolution to be presented to the League of Nations, The International Bureau for the Protection of the Rights of Nations, the President of the United States of America, to the Governments of the leading Powers, to the Second and Third Internationals and to the Associations working for freedom and for greater social rights.
This resolution has been communicated to the European papers through their Special correspondents in Sofia. It has been telegraphed to the Governments of the leading Powers, to the Secretary of the League of Nations and (b other institutes striving for peace.
Alas, the work has been far in vain! No reply has been received, no; initiative has been taken on the part of humane .Europe even to condemn the existence of this unparalleled evil condition of things.
The Powers conquerors, allies of Serbia, talk of peace and humanity, but leave Macedonia torn up pieces under unbearable foreign rule and take no interest In the situation arid avoid inquiry into the atrocious conditions of things ruling there.
It is evident; that others are responsible besides the Serbians and Greeks for the situation in Macedonia. Those who calmly look on and raise no voice are equally responsible with the direct evil doers. By their silence they associate themselves with such. The crime in Macedonia ist the crime of Europe, of the civilized world.
We subjoin here one of many letters received from Gavan:
On the Serbian Jupan Matcovitch's arrival here, he at once ordered the inhabitants to collect in the village square in order that they may receive communication of instructions from Belgrade. At the time most of the villagers were out at work in the fields.
On learning this, the soldiers plundered the houses, seized the men, discovered and ill-treated the women. The Jupan had the men secured with ropes and let out to a spot an hours' distant from the village and ordered them to reveal the whereabouts, of the commitadjis. They all denied any Knowledge of such and declared their selves ready to die if such knowledge was proved against them. The jupan received this answer with derision and assured the miserable men that he knew that they themselves were the comitadjis and commanded the soldiers to shoot them down. The soldiers refusing to execute the barbarous command, it was given to the machine guns men, who did the work. For six days the bodies of the executed men lay on the bloody spot untended and unhurried."