committed against Thracian Bulgarians


From a poll conducted by

Professor Dr Lyubomir Miletic

on the ruin of the Thracian Bulgarians in 1913


Sofia Press, 1987




Kindly provided by Georgi Iliev


From 'The Ruin of the Thracian Bulgarian's in 1913' by Lyubomir Miletic, Sofia 1918. (in Bulgarian) pp. 9-13, 24, 25, 30-33, 37-49, 54-60, 121-123, 239, 242-245, 253-255, 257-261, 282-285.




THE BALKAN WAR OF 1912-1913 AND THE ROLE OF THE BULGARIANS (In Lieu of an Introduction)  (Senior Research Associate Georgi Markov) . . . . . . . 5


THE RUIN OF THE THRACIAN BULGARIANS IN 1913 — Prof. Dr Lyubomir Miletic . . . . . . . 12


1. The Turkish-Re-occupation of the Adrianople Region . . . . . . . 13

2. The Malkara and Kesan Districts . . . . . . . 15

Bulgarkoy . . . . . . . 16

The Fate of the other Villages . . . . . . . 25

3. The Uzunkopru and Hayrabolu Districts . . . . . . . 25

4. The Mustafapasha (today Svilengrad) Region . . . . . . . 27

5. The Lozengrad (today Kirklareli) District . . . . . . . 30

6. Ortakoy (today Ivailovgrad) Region . . . . . . . 35

The village of Arnautkoy (today Gougoutka) . . . . . . . 35

7. The Dedeagach (Alexandroupolis) and Gumuljina (Komotini) Regions . . . . . . . 37

Bulgarian Suffering after the Battle of Ferrai . . . . . . . 37

8. The Armagan Massacre . . . . . . . 43

9. After the Re-occupation . . . . . . . 46




(In Lieu of an Introduction)



The five centuries of Ottoman domination held back the historical development of the Bulgarian people and caused enormous and lasting demographical, economic, political and cultural damage. Islamisation and Turikicisation tore apart the martyred nation which had been subjected to long physical annihilation. At the time when Renaissance had reached its peak in civilised Europe, in its south-eastern part children were taken away from their mothers to become janissaries and be trained to kill even their parents. While the Christian states were warring with each other the Ottoman conquerors besieged Vienna in 1683; it was only then that measures were taken to unite the forces and check the dangerous invasion. The continuous contradictions between the Great Powers however was a stumbling block to the full liberation of the Balkan Peninsula. After the victorious Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 the San Stefano Peace Treaty, which crowned the liberation of almost the entire Bulgarian nation, was revised at the Berlin Congress so that Macedonia and Adrianople Thrace were again placed under the sultan's rule.


On the eve of the First Balkan War 1,210,000 Bulgarians lived in the Macedonian area and another 350,000 — in Adrianople Thrace. [1] The unequal struggle headed by the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organisation reached its climax during the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising of 1903 which was cruelly suppressed by the Turkish troops. Tens of thousands of refugees set out for Bulgaria seeking survival and protection.



1. Central State Archives, facsimile 568, op. 1, a.u. 849, Il. 4-12.





Even though the neighbouring Balkan states protected the interests of their compatriots, living within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire, the mistrust inherited from previous centuries prevented them from reaching an acceptable agreement. It was only in the autumn of 1911, after Italy had opened a front in the Ottoman provinces of Tripolitania and Cirenaica, that tough negotiations commenced with Serbia at the Bulgarian diplomacy's initiative. Having overcome numerous difficulties these negotiations brought about an allied treaty under the patronage and arbitration of the Russian Emperor Nikolay II (February 29, 1912). The last tense negotiations between Bulgaria and Greece concluded with the signing of a defence alliance (May 16, 1912). A verbal agreement was reached with Montenegro. As the strongest of the member states, Bulgaria headed the Balkan Alliance. The military conventions, drafted later, assigned the key role to the Bulgarian Army since it had to advance along the main strategic line towards the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul (Constantinople). For its part the Sublime Porte considered it to be its major enemy.


The massacres of the Bulgarian population by the Turkish authorities in Stip and Kocani roused public opinion in Bulgaria. In the summer of 1912 a wave of protest meetings swept the country, demanding either radical reforms in the so called 'European Turkey' or calling to arms. In early September 1912 the Sublime Porte ordered the mobilisation of 100,000 reserves in Adrianople Thrace and their concentration at the Bulgarian frontier. The imminent danger made the Bulgarian government declare nationwide mobilisation of the armed forces on September 17, 1912 which aroused unprecedented support throughout the country. Those wishing to participate in the liberation march far exceeded the quantity of available weapons. A total of 600,000 men marched under the banners.


According to an agreement reached between the allies the





Turkish ambassadors to Sofia, Belgrade and Athens were presented a joint note demanding administrative autonomy in the regions inhabited by Bulgarians, Serbs, Greeks and Montenegrins. The Sublime Porte did not bother to answer but instead broke off diplomatic relations with the Balkan allies who had dared raise the question of rights before their former masters. On October 4, the Turkish High Command ordered their troops to enter Bulgaria. On the morning of October 5, Bulgaria and its allies declared war on the neighbouring empire though many military experts in Europe predicted their defeat.


In the fierce fighting for Lozengrad (October 9-10, 1912) the Bulgarian soldiers won their first major victory causing the enemy's left wing to flee. It was once again proved that valour and confidence for the right cause can succeed over an enemy armed with the most up-to-date weapons. Having drawn fresh reserves from Asia Minor the Turkish High Command decided to check the Bulgarian advance along the Lule Burgas-Bounarhisaar defence line. A general fighting broke out between the 1st and 3rd Bulgarian armies and the 1st and 2nd eastern armies. The war eventually turned in favour of the Balkan Alliance. The enemy armies were defeated and sustained losses amounting to 30,000 killed and wounded with 2,800 taken prisoners, 42 guns, and a considerable number of rifles and ammunition. The Bulgarian armies' victory cost 20,162 killed and wounded. The enemy recovered from the terrible blow at the Catalca fortified position 40 km away from Bosporus.


After the fighting was over a medical commission investigated the circumstances of those wounded and caught by the enemy and reported that they had been killed in the most atrocious way. [2]


Apart from the 'scorched earth' tactics a bacteriological



2. CSHA, f. 176, op. 2, a. u. 1197, Il. 92-93.





war was waged by the enemy in an attempt to keep its capital. The advancing Bulgarian troops came across bodies of cholera victims thrown into wells thus becoming the primary source of the horrible epidemic. [3] The cholera epidemic took its toll of 3,000 Bulgarian soldiers and disabling 18,000 men. On October 31 the grand vizier Kyamil Pasha contacted Tsar Ferdinand with the request for an armistice and preliminary peace. In an attempt to dictate peace in the capital of the defeated enemy the Bulgarian monarch ordered the attack on the Catalca position. On November 4th and 5th the 1st and 3rd armies attempted to break through the enemy fortifications but failed due to the lack of heavy artillery, the spread of the cholera epidemic and the irregular supply of foodstuffs and ammunition.


Arising from the peace treaty signed in Catalca on November 20, a peace conference was held in London on December 3rd. A conference of the Great Powers' ambassadors was concurrently held under the chairmanship of the British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey. The series of proposals and counter-proposals made it clear that the Sublime Porte would neither withdraw to Midye-Rodosto or to Midye-Saros Bay nor did it intend to give up Adrianople. Due to the breaking of direct negotiations the Great Powers were able to interfere with a note of January 4, 1913 in which they advised the surrender of Adrianople. On January 9 a Supreme State Council was convened in Istanbul. It endorsed the above note and the conclusion of the armistice. On the following day the Young Turks staged a coup d'etat. The belligerent pan-Turkic adherents felt confident enough to tip the balance in their favour. The military operations were resumed on January 21, 1913.


The enemy marched from the Bulair fortified position on the Gallipoli Peninsula but in a bloody battle it was checked



3. Scientific Archives of the BAS, f. 17 c, op. 1, a. u. 176, Il. 92.





and driven back by the troops of the 4th army and sustained losses of 6,000 killed. At the same time the landing at Sarkoy was routed by the Macedonian-Adrianople voluntary corps. Outraged by their defeat the Turks killed all the wounded and captives in the presence of the Young Turks' leader Enver Bey. [4] At the same time the enemy's wounded and captives were taken care of on an equal footing with the Bulgarian soldiers. Officers were even provided with money to meet their daily expenses.


While the Adrianople garrison was holding out peace was confined within the fortress walls. The Bulgarian 2nd army seized the fortress on March 13, 1913, capturing 14 pashas, 2,000 officers, 60,000 non-commissioned officers and men who surrendered 16 banners, 600 guns and a large quantity of rifles and machine-guns. [5] Bulgaria bore the brunt of the First Balkan War for it had mobilized more forces and sustained losses equal to those of all its allies. [6] At the main Thracian theatre of war the enemy admitted its defeat and fled to the capital because after the seizure of the Adrianople fortress and the freeing of the 2nd army by the heavy artillery the Catalca position would certainly have collapsed. On April 1, the military operations were suspended. The Sublime Porte was again forced to send its delegates to London on May 17, 1913 where a peace treaty was signed by virtue of which the new border between Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire followed the straight line from the town of Midye on the Black Sea to the town of Enos on the Aegean. The Thracian Bulgarians were jubilant seeing the whole of Thrace free for the first time. The days of exultation however were numbered.


When Bulgaria was involved in the Second Balkan War



4. Central Military Archives (Veliko Turnovo), f. 50, op. 2, a. u. 28, Il. 38.


5. CMA, f. 48, op. 1, a. u. 3, Il. 86, a. it. 5, Il. 205-206.


6. CSHA, f. 176, op. 2, a. u. 1369, Il. 185-191.





it was forced to defend its rights against four opponents — Serbia, Greece, Montenegro and Romania — the ruling circles in Istanbul took advantage of its extremely difficult international and military situation. On June 30, the Ottoman Empire suddenly launched an offensive from its fortified positions in Catalca and Bulair under the pretext that it was taking its territory up to the Midye-Enos border as stipulated by the treaty. Encountering small numbers of Bulgarian soldiers it did not stop where the international law had decreed but continued its devastating march, sowing death and destruction in the Bulgarian settlements. The plan of the Sublime Porte envisaged the 'complete purging' of Eastern and Western Thrace from Bulgarian population in order to prevent the Bulgarian troops' advance to Istanbul and the Straits. An allout organized annihilation of Bulgarians was launched.


The Great Powers did not give due attention to the indiscriminate atrocities in Southern Thrace. Having lost the war Bulgaria was punished as a state but why should the massacre of women, children and old people be tolerated? Having felt omnipotent in the forcible debulgarianisation two years later the Young Turks' leaders ordered the massacre of one and a half million Armenians. The previous genocide had bred another of a larger scope and destructive effect. Crimes against mankind date back to the early years of the Ottoman Empire which had survived on the yataghan's blade for centuries on end. Whenever a giaour raised his head in defence of freedom and justice he was decapitated so that the others might be kept in total submission. Not only did such an 'argument' fail to persuade anyone but it also made all promises of a future democracy worthless. So many Bulgarian revolutionaries were once exiled to Diyarbakir (Turkish Kurdestan) that it has become a synonym of prison. Historical experience however





testifies that no matter how thick the prison walls might be, freedom finds' its way through to people's minds and hearts.




    Senior Research Associate at the

    Institute of History with the

    Bulgarian Academy of Sciences








Excerpts from the account of Lyubomir Georgiev Miletic (Jan. 1, 1863 — June 1, 1937), philologist, ethnographer, public figure, member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Born in Stip. Graduate in Slavic philology from the Zagreb University (1889). Deputy Chairman (1911-1925) and Chairman of the Managing Board of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1926-1937). Corresponding member of a number of foreign academies and honorary member of the East European Institute in Rome. L . Miletic studied many linguistic phenomena, the living Bulgarian dialects and particularly the special features of the Bulgarian tongue. He worked in the sphere of ethnography, history and folklore.


This is what Miletic noted down back in June 1915 in the preface to the book 'The Ruin of the Thracian Bulgarians in 1913' (Sofia, 1918, in Bulgarian): 7 wrote this book as a contribution to the detailed history of the great events of 1912-1913.1 support my statements by numerous quotations from eye-witness accounts by direct participants most of whom I had questioned myself. These investigations which I carried out with great energy and effort were the result of a purely personal endeavour in which I was guided by a keen sentiment of compassion for our unfortunate compatriots.' (Ibid, p. 5)






1. The Turkish Re-occupation of the Adrianople Region


In early July 1913 the (Second Balkan) war between Bulgaria and its erstwhile allies Serbia and Greece was at its height. Greek troops were already pressing into Bulgarian territory towards Djoumaya, while Romanian troops had entered Northern Bulgaria; at the same time the Bulgarian administration in the Adrianople region was still reassuring the Bulgarian population of Thrace that there was no imminent danger from the Turkish side. The general view then was that the Turks, bound by the London Peace Treaty, would only go as far as the Enos-Midye line. With this conviction, the population and administration calmly went about their business until the last minute when it became clear that the Turks were advancing, and were already looting, murdering and burning on their way.


The Turks carried out their re-occupation of the Adrianople region, which had obviously been planned even before the beginning of the Second Balkan War (between Bulgaria and its former allies), in early July 1913 in a cunning and skilfully-executed manoeuvre, so that by the time our lax administration realised what was up, the Turkish invasion was over. Initially the Turks, not quite sure as to the resistance they would encounter on the part of the Bulgarian population and whether they might not cause a pro-Bulgarian reaction in Europe, decided to execute their plan as quickly and as quietly as possible. Simultaneously they achieved another important goal by arriving before the frightened Bulgarian population could flee: they managed to carry out the re-occupation without preparing supplies, mainly food supplies, for their troops because, as eye-witness reports further down show, the first concern of the Turkish military commanders on taking over Bulgarian villages was to collect the livestock and all the food in





storage, and then to make the Bulgarian population complete the work of harvesting, threshing and storing the produce. Having done so, the Bulgarian population was expelled across the nearest Bulgarian border with just the clothes they wore, and without their cattle. Their possessions were handed over to the plunder-hungry Turkish population, which had fled Thrace at the beginning of the 1912 war and had now returned in the wake of the Turkish occupying forces. All this was done in a planned fashion in fulfilment of a general directive from the military authorities. In order to guarantee the success of the plan and to avoid any armed resistance by the Bulgarian population, the Turkish commanders gave orders for the confiscation of all the weapons owned by the local population, down to the last rusty bayonet. Knowing the lack of discipline and laxity of the Turks, it is surprising to see from the data given below how precisely and thoroughly the plan was carried out. Apart from totally plundering the Bulgarian population, the Turks inevitably committed the usual atrocities against the defenceless Bulgarian population. The most violent detachment was the one that marched on Adrianople via Kesan. The atrocities it perpetrated are rare even in Turkey's history of excessive bloodshed. The troops which marched on Lozengrad and Malko Turnovo from Corlu and the Vize region behaved comparatively more humanely. Beyond doubt the re-occupation plan envisaged the complete clearing of the newly-taken region of Thrace of its Bulgarian population, evidently to prevent any future Bulgarian claims to the region on the basis of nationality. During the signing of the Constantinople Peace Treaty, the Turkish government tried covertly to legalise the mass expulsion of all Bulgarians, which also involved the confiscation of their land and estate. The Bulgarian delegates recognised Turkey's right not to let the Bulgarian population within 15 km of the border. [1] This was a trap, because once recognized in principle, the 'exchange', that is to say the expulsion of the Bulgarian population from the border zone, was applied by the Turkish government to the whole of Turkish Thrace, taking advantage of Bulgaria's powerlessness and the new political morality demonstrated by small and large Christian states, of which some broke newly-signed political agreements and others allowed such treaties to be broken without making any serious protest. But Turkey went much further in its





non-observance of the treaty: it did not apply it to the property and estate of the population: not only was the Bulgarian population expelled from the whole of Turkish Thrace, but no property was exchanged or compensation paid as envisaged in the treaty's amendment. The Bulgarian government promptly nominated a commission, which after sitting for almost a whole year in Adrianople without doing anything, was finally dissolved. The Bulgarian government did not dare respond in kind by expelling the entire Turkish population from the new territories and confiscating its property.


The deliberate Turkish invasion across the Enos-Midye line was carefully concealed even from the Turkish officers until the very last minute, even though it was a public secret in Constantinople. The Turkish major Nail Bey, a teacher at the Military School in Constantinople and head of the troops who took over Malko Turnovo, when asked by Raiko Popov, mayor of Malko Turnovo, why they crossed the border, replied: 'Do you take us for fools? When Romania crossed your borders despite all treaties, we waited on the Midye-Enos line for two days, and were about to set up camp, when suddenly the order came for us to carry on.' This happened on June 30.


Let us now see what happened to the rural population of the Adrianople region, in particular those villages which remained under Turkish rule and from which after the Treaty of Constantinople the Bulgarians were, after terrible suffering, mercilessly expelled across the border into Bulgaria.


In order to keep some kind of chronological order, we shall begin with the regions which were subjected to the first blows of the Turkish invasion.



2. The Malkara and Kesan Districts


If one goes south from the Adrianople kaaza (administrative subdivision of a sanjak, or, district) towards Dimotica (Dhidhimotikhon) and Uzunkopru, the Bulgarian villages become sparser, which makes the southernmost kaazas of Kesan and Malkara surprising with their comparatively denser Bulgarian population, among whom also live Mohammedan Bulgarians





(Pomaks) who had settled there in the past three or four decades. There are five main Bulgarian villages in the two regions: Bulgarkoy, which is five kilometres east of the town of Kesan, and Lezgar, Kadikoy, Pisman and Teslim. There were also Bulgarians in the villages of Harlagun and Yailagun, both nearby to the east. In Lezgar and Yailagun there were both Orthodox and Uniate Bulgarians. This Bulgarian population was the first to feel the blows of Turkish vengeance. The village which suffered most of all was Bulgarkoy, as its population was the largest, the most prosperous, and had a high national consciousness.


Below I give a detailed account of the terrible fate that befell the inhabitants of this until recently flourishing Bulgarian village.





The people of Bulgarkoy who had run away, upon hearing that the Turks had gone and left only two guards and four men to watch the cheese they had been making on a Greek's farm, were reassured and gathered back in the village. In order to tempt them even more, the Turks had let some cows and oxen loose, about 10 to 15 per cent of the total, and some people went out to look for their cattle. During the night the soldiers came back and surrounded the village. While it was still dark, shots could be heard from the Kesan road, which were a warning that the Turks were coming back. The village mayors and some of the notables went to find out what they wanted. A lieutenant with a company ('tabor') of men, which included a fireman's squad ('yangin-alayi") surrounded the village. During that time-many peasants succeeded in fleeing back into the woods. Lieutenant Nesat Effendi ordered everyone to take their weapons and everything they had taken from the Turks in the previous war outside the village. The anxious villagers started carrying things, whether they had taken them from the Turks or not, even bringing embroidered Bulgarian tunics just so that they could be written down as having given something. 'I myself went there,' said Old Dimiter, 'and took my son's Turkish army uniform — first he had been a Turkish soldier, and then he was recruited in the Bulgarian troops in Serbia.





I brought them the clothes, and explained about my son Atanas...' There were no quality weapons in the village, mostly Crimean and some hunting guns. Meanwhile heavily-armed patrols crisscrossed the village, taking the villagers to an agreed place outside the village, saying that their commanders would give them a speech on how to start living again with the Turks as they had done before. The villagers even encouraged each other to go outside the village to hear the speech. Merchant Spas Dobrev said that he was almost ready to go himself, but knowing Turkish verbosity from the time of the liberation, was not interested and went back home. Old Dimiter noticed that an officer gave him a doubting look when he handed in his son's uniform, and so he got away by saying that the elders wanted him back in the village in order to inventorise the possessions he was about to hand in. He locked himself in his house and decided not to go out anywhere.


350 men, young and old, gathered outside the village, including the village priest Pavel. The commander asked if there were more people in the village, and on receiving the reply that there were no more than a dozen, ordered the villagers to stand in a group, after which he ordered the soldiers to fire volley at them. Those who had remained in the village — this was at noon on Sunday, July 7 — heard two volleys of shots. Everybody fell to the ground, and those with lighter wounds started to run away. Using bayonets, the soldiers finished off those lying there, and set off in pursuit of those who were fleeing. Only eight got away with their lives: Karafil Stoyanov (age 39), Nikola Stoyanov (50), Hristo Todorov (30), Ivan Mitrov (35), Kiro Vulchov (30), Ivan Kostadinov (25), who was lightly wounded and killed later as he fled towards Lozengrad, and Nikola Ivanov (25). I had the occasion in Dedeagach (today Alexandroupolis) to meet one of the survivors, Karafil Stoyanov, who told me how the men of Bulgarkoy had been massacred: 'We were sitting near the officers. They told us to wait and to stay where we were. The bugle sounded and the soldiers gathered opposite. An officer went up to them and told them something. Then he returned to us and told us to move closer together and to go down on to the road. We stood in a closely-packed group. Then the officer asked us whether there were people from other villages among us. We replied that there were. There were Bulgarians from Lezgar and Pisman there. The





officer walked twice between the two rows of people, villagers and soldiers, who were about ten paces away from us. Then he gave the order to fire. When they shot we all threw ourselves to the ground, wounded or not. The second time they fired — which was immediately after the first, I jumped up and bolted to the right, northwards (the officer was on the left), and followed the river until I reached a pool. Two others were running along with me, and the three of us lay down in the water with only our heads above the surface. There were briars and blackberry bushes growing over the water, and we stayed there from noon until about 10 in the evening. During that time we heard shots from the village, but no shouts or screams. In the evening, when the three of us got out of the water — Ivan Mitrev, Kiro Vulchov and myself, we saw that the whole village was in flames and we proceeded eastwards towards the woods and the Malkara region. There we found the women and children who had fled the village and about 50 men. We hid in the woods there for 48 days, and then went to Kesan where we gave ourselves up to the Turkish authorities. There we stayed for 8 days until the order came for us all to be sent to Gallipoli (Gelibolu).'


I learnt details about the terror that ensued in the village itself by questioning, apart from Old Dimiter and the merchant Spas Dobrev who now live in Dedeagach, many other men and women who have been accommodated in the village of Sahinlar, near Dedeagach, all of whom had from the beginning to the end undergone the terrible ordeals to which the surviving population of Bulgarkoy had been subjected. Here I shall give the most typical accounts of the above-mentioned eye-witnesses.


Old Dimiter, as we have seen, had succeeded in getting away under the pretext that the village ciders needed him, to which the officer impatiently and reluctantly shouted: Well, get on then! 'When I heard the shooting,' he said, '1 realised that they were going to massacre us. About ten minutes later, they started setting fire to the village. First they set fire to Georgi Varsamiev's house, which was near the place where they had shot the people. Then they went to the square and set fire to the pubs, and the mayor's and my own coffee-shop, which is separated from my house by a stone wall. Luckily, my house didn't catch fire. We hid inside — myself, my wife, and a widow with five children. I watched as two





fifteen-year-old lads were killed outside my house: one was Dimiter Hadjikirov, and the other was Dimiter Savov. They had hidden in the attic of the opposite house, a pub, where there were about 40 women. The women started running around, screaming and wailing in terror... The soldiers rounded them up behind my house to search them for money. One soldier shouted: 'Do not harass the women!' (kadinlari dokunmayasi!). I heard all this. After taking what they found on the women, they left them, and the women ran off into the mountains. About 25 women were killed that day, including [2] Maringovitsa Kalya (age 40), Sultana Aleshova (25), Maria Petkova Kalovitsa (70), Demyana Nikolova (22 ) — she threw herself into the fire to avoid getting raped; Zlata Hristova (20), who was killed with her baby in her arms near the village, both of them shot; Petkana, the wife of Priest Pavel, who was also shot down, Nedelya Georgieva (50), Yanka Mihaleva (55) and Yanchova Katrana (Katerina) (40). At one spot by the river Kamus, 13 slaughtered women were found. 'I didn't know what to do,' said Old Dimiter. 'If I went outside, they'd kill me, and if I stayed indoors I'd burn. Fortunately my house and that of the widow Varsama Peyova, who was hiding with us, didn't catch fire. It got dark. At around 10 or 11 the woman saw through the window — it was a full moon — eight soldiers in single file were coming through the lower gate towards the front door. I also went outside and saw them. They smashed the door in with a rock. We left through the back gate and entered the neighbouring houses which were still burning. We managed to get out of the village by running from house to house. Then we followed the river upstream into the mountains above Teslim. There we found about 500 women and children hiding in the scrub. We spent about two weeks there. We crushed wheat to survive. The goats had been scattered all through the forest: we slaughtered goats, but didn't have any salt. Meanwhile Turkish muhaciri (refugees) from the neighbouring villages went around the village collecting food and chattels. Bashi-bazouks also came-from the town (Kesan), and Turkish women came from the villages, carrying off whatever they could get hold of .The soldiers who had butchered us on Sunday left the next day. On that day "and during the night (July 7) all women were raped. By July 10 the entire village was deserted, plundered and burnt. On July 17 a Turkish officer came from the





Greek village of Tetekoy with some soldiers and started hunting us out in the woods to massacre the remaining men. They hunted us down like rabbits, shooting and killing about 20 people. Grouda Ivanova (25) with her three children was also killed then in the vineyard near St. Atanas Monastery. The soldiers captured about 100 women and took them to the village of Teslim. All Bulgarians had fled from the village, which hadn't been put to the flame.'


Let us now trace the abduction of these 1,030 people of Bulgarkoy from Kesan to Gallipoli. In Old Dimiter's coffee-shop in Dedeagach, where he told of his experiences, about 15 women of Bulgarkoy listened and often added their own details and corrections. In their view, the Turks intended to take them to Asia Minor and to keep them there for a certain period, possibly in order to prevent the news of the atrocities in Bulgarkoy from leaking out immediately. The unfortunate peasants themselves are convinced that they were to be converted to Islam in Anatolia, the women being scattered among the Turkish villages. Whether this was the case cannot be said, but it is certain that even today children from Bulgarkoy of both sexes are scattered among the Turkish villages of Kesan country, converted to Islam, as we shall see below. Old Dimiter gave me a detailed account of how they reached Gallipoli, how they crossed the Dardanelles to the Asian coast, and how they were subsequently rescued:


'We spent two nights in the open on the way to Gallipoli from Kesan. We spent the first night in the village of Mavrovo, which is on the Enos-Midye line. From there we reached the Turkish village of Idilhan, stopping to spend the night outside the village. Some Turks from the village and the neighbourhood arrived and together with the soldiers dragged away women and girls — even 10 or 12 year-old girls — and molested them through the night, bringing them back afterwards. The men stood to one side, not daring to move. There were no killings. It was a terrible night. From there we set off for Bulair. On the way we were met by people from other villages who wanted us to stop so that they could do the same thing to the women again. We begged the soldiers to let us carry on to Bulair, which was nearby, and it was still 4 or 5 hours to nightfall. But the soldiers wanted us to sleep where we were ... We carried on regardless, reached Bulair, and





stopped outside the village. We met a Greek boy from Bulair, whom we told of our harassment and the fact that they wanted us to stop far away from the village. He went and told the authorities in Bulair. Some police came and ordered us to go into the village, which is Greek and Turkish. They prohibited anyone from bothering the women, and stopping the disgrace that had been going on ever since we'd left Kesan. This was the night of September 2. The next day we carried on to Gallipoli. which we reached around evening. When we arrived there, a police chief (yuzbasi) didn't let us down to the harbour, but turned us back to the lighthouse on a rise beside the sea. He sent a guard to prevent anyone from coming to see us. The Catholic priests and the Greek bishop who came were turned back by the soldiers. We stayed there for an hour or two, and at sunset they led us down to the harbour, where boats had been prepared to take us to Asia Minor. They gave us half a loaf of bread each and ferried us across. The sea was calm. They took us to Cardak, the town opposite Gallipoli. Here we remained outside the town, in the field for a whole month. There was no shade or anything-it was terribly hot. They gave us half a loaf of bread a day. The town is completely Turkish, with only Turks living there. They let us go there to buy various things. About half a dozen of us had a bit of money on them. The women managed to do odd jobs here and there, such as grape-picking, shelling maize and cracking nuts, for which they earned a penny or two a day. The women went to the town with sacks to buy bread.'


'In Cardak there was a Greek named Dimiter, from Bulair. He saw our plight and felt sorry for us, and so he wrote a letter and took it to Lapsa, to Yani Chorbadji, a rich Greek merchant and an acquaintance of the consul in Canakkale at the Dardanelles. Yani wrote a letter to the consuls, telling them of all the people in Cardak. Meanwhile, the Turks had started to distribute us among the Turkish villages again — mainly the women. Sitting on the seashore we saw a boat approaching. It brought the Turkish and Italian consuls and the Lapsa district officer. They questioned us, and chose me (I speak Greek) and another man to give a brief account of our plight. They fold the Turkish district officer to bring together all our people, including the women sent to the villages, on the quay. The consuls asked me where we wanted to





go. I replied that we wanted to go to Varna, because some of our sons were in the Bulgarian Army, and also because other survived relatives of ours might have gone there. They told us to wait three or four days, while they telegraphed for a ship to come and pick us up. And six days later, the Bulgarian ship Kiril arrived, and the Turkish consul came again. He and Yani had ordered 1,200 loaves of bread in Galipoli, five tins of cheese, 3 or 4 baskets of~ olives, 5 or 6 tubs of sardines and about half a dozen sacks of figs for the children. This was for our journey. There were also about half a dozen baskets of grapes. Then they saw us off. First we sailed to Gallipoli, where we picked up the bread. We called at Istanbul for two hours or so, reaching Varna on September 29 or 30; the sea wasn't very calm. Two died on the way to Varna. In Varna, we were quartered in the Aquarium and the Orphanage. That's where we spent the winter. In the Aquarium the floors were of cement, and it was very cold. Many children died of cold there, about 60 in all. there was also smallpox. There were few families in the Orphanage, about 10 in all. Other refugees from our parts had come to the Aquarium. There were about 40-50 households from Pisman, who had also gone through Cardak and again been taken by the consul to Varna, but before us, around the 8th of August. We spent three months in the Aquarium, and then they moved us to Dedeagach. They shipped most of us by sea, aboard the Ferdinand. We hung around there for about two months, and on 15 April we were housed in the former Turkish village of Sahinlar. Most of the women and widows were taken away to look for a Jiving in Stara Zagora, Chirpan and Sliven. About 40 or 50 widows stayed here. In all, about 220 men of Bulgarkoy survived, of whom 140 had been enlisted in the army at the time, which was how they got away. In the second war three of them were killed and one died during the war. In all, some 1,100 people of our village were massacred, died or disappeared. One of the two priests, the younger one, is in Sahinlar now.'


Other women, widows, had also come from Sahinlar, while the rest were accommodated in Dedeagach. The widows were a sorry sight, so deeply had the horrors they had undergone been inscribed on their faces, and the hunger from which they had suffered had so affected their appearance that it was hard not to weep on seeing them. They thought that I was in a position to do something





to help them, and they all repeatedly asked me at least to lobby for the bread ration that the refugee commissar in Dedeagach had stopped giving them for some time now, saying that they had to earn their living by working, even though there was no work to be found. When I asked the commissar, Mr. Rosenthal, if that was true, he confirmed everything, and I realised that we were truly incapable of properly and humanely organising a charitable cause, even when it was a matter of such unfortunates as the poor women of Bulgarkoy, these wraiths of human beings. Some of them had so fallen in spirit and in their physical health as a result of traumas and the poverty of a year and a half that it was more than outrageous to require them to earn their own living by working in a tobacco factory, which incidentally, had not yet been opened. I questioned the women to find out details about their sufferings, and here list some of the more typical cases.


Katerina Georgeva, 26, mother of two children — Yani, 6, and Dimiter, 3. 'When they massacred the men, among whom was my husband Georgi Petkov (30),' she related, 'I was in the house where a lot of women had gathered. They broke into the house, and we ran away, while the Turks shot at us. My grandmother Maria Petkova (70), remained in the house, along with my children. She was killed. My children were taken to Kesan along with the other children. They say that my children are still alive today, the younger one with some Greeks in Kesan, and the elder in Gallipoli, also in a Greek home, but nobody knows in which house. I feel wretched about my children, sir, I am as you see me, no clothes, without money, on my own, with nobody to help me find out something about my children.'


Kostadina Georgieva (36): 'When we fled from the village, I had a four-year-old boy. Andrea. He got lost in the village. I've no idea whether he's alive or been eaten up by the dogs. We heard that one of our villager, Bogdan the Elder, took him in. He was killed by the Turks, but we don't know what happened to the child. My husband Kostadin Petrov was killed in the crowd.'


Kostadina Hristova (65): 'They killed my husband Hristo Dimitrov. My daughter, Petra Georgieya, is a widow now; they killed my son-in-law and this here is my granddaughter Kostadina (8).'


Vila Shtilyanova, spouse of priest Shtilyan Nikolov, who was





killed in Teslim. Her son Nikola (12) was left behind in Kesan. Greeks-took him in along with his younger brother, and later she journeyed all the way from Dedeagach to Kesan to track him down; she found him and took him back.


Maria Ivanova (55): 'I had three sons: Kostadin — 36, Atanas — 27 and Todor — 22. All three of them were shot there. I had a 20-year-old daughter, Kalinka. They caught her in the woods and violated her terribly. In Varna she died, so upset she had been by it all. Her husband was in the army; so he survived. The two got together in Varna. They were only together for one week. She cried all the time. She told him everything. He kept consoling her, telling her not to worry, but she kept on saying: 'I might as well be dead, I'm not a Christian any more!' And she died a week later. The Lord took her. I had seven children in all — three daughters and four sons. The three I told you about were shot, and the fourth, Dimiter, was a soldier on the Serbian border, and so survived. Things were difficult for Nedelya, my second daughter, who was married and with child: she gave birth in the forest, and we left the baby there. Later, when we got to Kesan, the Englishman Albert who owns a flour factory hid her, and then sent her and two other 18-year-old girls to Enos, where they stayed on his farm. Only now, in January 1914, did they come to Dedeagach. The younger one and myself wandered to Gallipoli and Varna where, as I said, she died.'


All these women had terrible stories to tell. One 18-year-old girl, Irina Kostadinova, fled with her brother towards Lozengrad: her brother was killed, and Turkish officers caught her and took her to a house in Adrianople where they kept her for three months. Thence they sent her to Uzunkopru, where she had inlaws. When the Turks expelled the people of Uzunkopru, she came to Plovdiv where she fell ill: she had become pregnant and soon died of 'shame and torment'. An 8-year-old girl, Dimitra Kiryakova, was caught near the windmills outside Kesan by Turkish soldiers, who 'tormented' her — she lived for three days after that, and then died with no one to bury her.





The Fate of the Other Villages


The Bulgarian villages in the Malkara region also suffered, though not as badly. Part of the population of Lezgar, Pisman, Teslim, Harlagun and others managed to escape before the advent of the Turkish troops. A woman from Lezgar told me in Dedeagach how she ran away with her 8-year-old daughter from the field, as she was wearing her summer clothes, and she now shivered with cold (it was December 1913); in the meantime her husband, who had gone back to the village to take his two other daughters, was caught up by the Turks and kept there all summer f to work. In the end, together with others from the village, he was thrown out, with just the clothes he wore on his back. He turned up in a wretched state with just one child — the other had died from the misery of the journey. In the same way the Bulgarians of Harlagun who had not managed to escape were held until the end of harvest-time, and were in the end expelled by the Turks bare-handed. The kaimakam (lieutenant) after appropriating all their corn, told them to go to Bulgaria, where everything would be returned. After much wandering and great hardships, attacked on the road between Mustafapasha (Svilengrad), Ortakoy (Ivailovgrad) and Soflu (Souflion), about 180 families reached Soflu and settled in the village of Handja (on the river Maritsa near Soflu) which had been abandoned by the Turks during the first war, in 1912. Fifty other families, brought to the new border by the Turks, were accommodated in the former Turkish village of Ivabik (Uvabuyuk, Mustafapasha region). They got good land. In the deserted Turkish village they found 13 houses in good condition. They told me that there were not many killed from Harlagun, but about a dozen people had died of fright and anguish.



3. The Uzunkopru and Hayrabolu Districts


The Turkish force which had destroyed Bulgarkoy devastated everything Bulgarian in the Kesan and Malkara districts and then moved on to the Uzunkopru district. Here again the Bulgarian authorities had no premonition of the Turkish invasion. Only when Bulgarkoy went up in flames did the panic spread to the





In front of the remains of Vulko Sarjev in the Armagan Valley.




Voivoda Dimiter Madjarov kneeling by the scattered remains of two of his comrades-in-arms killed in the battle of Fere (Feredjik, Dedeagac province in Greece).





Uzunkopru kaaza. On July 6 the county chief Ivan Zdravkov and the rest of the Bulgarian population fled the town. They had not gone a long way before they saw the villages of the district in flames: Copkoy, Turnovo (now Bairamli) and Ermenikoy.


Entering the village of Turnovo, the Turkish troops set fire to a recently-completed church which had cost the villagers 2,500 liras. Here too the Turks first demanded bread and food, then tortured the more wealthy for money, arid finally rounded up the women and girls and molested them.


It should be noted that the Gallipoli Turkish unit did not spare some Greek villages in the Kesan and Uzunkopru regions, either.


In the Greek villages of Arnautkoy (Gougoutka, Ivailovgrad region), Kavadjik (row Levkimi in Greece), Hedili and Karabunar the Turks killed many people, violated women and tortured the wealthier people for money.


It is worth noting in particular that the Christian Albanians who were in the path of the cruel Gallipoli unit under Enver Bey suffered badly too. The worst fate befell the village of Zuluf, 6 hours from Adrianople, in the Havsa kaaza, famous for its wine and prosperity. About 687 people were killed here. Earlier we mentioned that according to the priest of Inece, father S. Popandreev even after that terrible massacre there were people of Zuluf in the prisons of Adrianople, along with other Christian Albanians from Ibriktepe. In Zuluf women were raped by soldiers, and after that most of them savagely put to death.


As everywhere else, in the Uzunkopin district the remaining population was forced to do the fieldwork and bring in the harvest, and afterwards was driven away.


Enver Bey's force continued its march towards Adrianople, setting fire to the Bulgarian villages and massacring the population. The villages of Comlekkoy, Novo Selo and others were burned. The Bulgarians fleeing from the village of Tatarlar in Adrianople district were caught up by Turkish cavalry six kilometres outside the village, and a number of them were simply hacked down on the spot. About 20 people were slaughtered like sheep before the others' eyes. The rape of women and girls, of whom many also died, was terrible. All the women of Osmanli were also violated. This happened on July 11.






4. The Mustafapasha (today Svilengrad) Region


Enver Bey's unit continued its march from Adrianople through Mustafapasha, heading towards the old Bulgarian border, while other units headed west towards Ortakoy (Ivailovgrad). Apart from Mustafapasha itself, some of the Bulgarian villages whose populace had not succeeded in fleeing suffered very badly. The Bulgarian population of Mustafapasha was comparatively large.


It had about 1,300 Bulgarian Exarchist families, and about 45 Bulgarian Patriarchist families.


The morale of the Turkish troops, which had entered Adrianople timidly, was boosted considerably when found out that the re-occupation would be successful without arousing any serious protests from the Great Powers. This heightened morale among the Turkish officers and men was expressed in cruel persecution, killing and plundering of the Bulgarian population which had not managed to cross the old Bulgarian border. In the wake of the troops came the Bashi-bazouks. The terrible news that the Turks were burning and slaughtering spread like lightning, but nevertheless the people of some villages did not succeed in escaping. As we have seen above, on July 11 the Bulgarians from the village of Tatarlar in Adrianople district were caught up by cavalry, and 20 of them were simply slaughtered before the fleeing populace. In the village of Karaagach (now Phtelia), the Bulgarians were taken by surprise on July 10, when the Turks entered the village and started massacring. About 20 people were killed, including Old Matei, Hristo Ivanov and Georgi Domouschiev. Old Miho, an eye-witness, managed to escape. The villages of Izpitli, Kadikoy, Kurtkoy, Mezek and Germen (now Ormenion) were burned as well as Karaagach; the inhabitants of Kurtkoy (now Vulkovich) fled with their belongings and cattle up to the old border above the village of Alvandere (now Malko Gradishte), where they stopped in the hills. Shots could be heard from Musfafapasha, which the Turks had already entered. The villagers of Alvandere, in order to frighten the Turks and prevent them from entering their village, started firing loudly. The refugees from Kurtkoy, when they heard shots from Alvandere as well, thought that the Turks had cut them off and already entered





Alvandere. A terrible panic ensued, with people running on all sides towards the border, leaving the carts with their belongings and some of their cattle behind. Only 15 carts and a few animals were saved. The Turks arrived soon afterwards, looting and burning the village. When I passed through Kurtkoy, the peasants were zealously building new houses. About 10 had been completed, but they had no roofs because of the lack of tiles. Above the village stood the walls of a large Turkish barracks building which had been destroyed during the first war in 1912. The villages of Devedere (now Kamilski Dol), Komarli Mustrakli (now Moustrak), Dervishka Mogila and Kaika suffered badly. As we shall see, the fate of Devedere was particularly hard.


On the 10th of July the Turks succeeded in entering Mustafapasha, where only about 15 old people remained, who were cruelly put to death, after which they set fire to the town, as we shall see below.


Details about the terrible fate of Mustafapasha only became known at home as the Bulgarian re-occupation drew near in late September. I myself did not succeed in visiting the town during my first journey late in 1913, as it was inconvenient getting from the station to the town, which is some distance away; in any case, I had been informed that the town had been so ravaged that there was no suitable place to put up during the night. In order not to miss the train to Soflu, I postponed my visit to the town for another occasion. At the same time, our press had just published two descriptions of the devastation of the town by S. Razboinikov, the former mayor (in Mir, issue 4006, 19 Sept. 1913) and by A. Kiprov (Bulgaria, issue 26, 20 October 1913), which give a full picture of the horrors that were perpetrated there, and from them I acquired sufficient information for the following account of the events in Mustafapasha.


As we have noted, the populace of Mustafapasha, on hearing that the Turks had entered Adrianople, quickly fled the town and crossed the old Bulgarian border. Only old people and a few young men who had not succeeded in fleeing remained. The very day after the Turks arrived (10th July) they rounded up all the men in the town, who numbered about 25, and locked them up for eleven days, subjecting them to horrible torture. Some of them managed to bribe their way out, while the rest were handed over





to the notoriously bloodthirsty Turk, Karagoz Ali, who took them to the abattoir and slaughtered them. Granny Gospodinovitsa, who was in the town and survived, related that Karagoz Ali amused himself by slaughtering the wretches one by one, making the others watch as they waited for their turn. One young man, S. Shopov, continuously prayed to be killed the quicker so as not to watch those horrors, and Karagoz Ali, smoking a cigarette, told him: "Don't worry, my lad, your turn will come too.' One of the inhabitants, Todor Kiraza Petrov, who had remained in the town and was hidden and thus saved by some Turks he knew, gave the names of those slaughtered at the abattoir or killed in their homes: the old teacher D. Vuglyarov (70), Ivan Bourgoudjiev, Anastas Metlarov, Vangel Kostadinov Kroushev, Yanaki Todorov and his brother Ivan Todorov, the teacher Yanaki Iliev, Mihail Zhekov, Nedelko Tekeliev, the brothers Argir and Hristaki Popov, Alexander Shopov, Dimiter Hadjipetrov, Old Vulko the miller, Old Srebryo the miller and Old Boicho. Old women were also killed in the cruellest manner, after being tortured for money. Mr A. Kiprov's 84-year-old mother was killed in her house on July 13th and her body thrown down the well, where it was found on September 16. Her clothes were found in the yard, soaked in blood, and part of her scalp had been cut off.


The old teacher Vuglyarov was killed in the high street, and his head was carried around the streets for several days, Anastas Metlarov was killed in a house where he was hiding, and his body was also thrown down the well. Priest Slav found his 80-year-old mother's head. The heads of four old women were found in the yard of Yanaki Iliev, one of the victims of the abattoir.


When they entered Mustafapasha on July 10, the Turks only partially set fire to it, so that for the greater part it was saved. When the Turks found out that according to the treaty between Bulgaria and Turkey Mustafapasha would remain permanently in Bulgaria, they urged the Greeks to leave for Adrianople, and then burned down the entire town. The few houses that still stood were dismantled, and the building materials conveyed to a new town the Turks were building near the border, to become something like New Mustafapasha. The destruction was so great that it was





difficult to recognise the yards, and there was no trace of the houses, nor of the big, solidly-built public buildings — churches, schools, the hospital, the barracks, mosques, large warehouses — all had been razed to the ground. All trees in the marketplace had been cut down, along with the mulberry woods around the town.


Apart from Mustafapasha, the villages of Aladag (now Pustrorog), Enia (now Mladinovo), Mezek, Kurtulen, Devedere, Cermen and Karaagach were also burnt down. The worst affected Bulgarian village in the district was Devedere (now Kamilski Dol), which I personally visited on my second journey in the spring of 1914, when I rode from Hibibchevo via Alvandere to Ortakoy, and from there via Maluk Dervent to Soflu.



5. The Lozengrad (today Kirklareli) District


The Bulgarians were most numerous and most prosperous in the Lozengrad district (together with the Kovcaz nahiye, with about 25 Bulgarian villages). In Lozengrad itself the Bulgarians were equal to and even outnumbered the Greeks, while in the district only the centre of the nahiye Skope (Eskipolos) and the villages of Petra (Kaiad) and Polos had Greek populations. In Skope, apart from 700 Greek families, there were also about 150 Bulgarian patriarchist families.


How the Turks behaved with the Bulgarian population in the Thracian villages can best be seen by the account of the aforementioned priest Stoyan Andreev from the village of Inece, a purely Bulgarian village of 350 households. On July 8 at 10 a.m. the Turkish troops who were marching towards Lozengrad, entered the village.


This is Father Andreev's account:


'We had heard from refugees from the southernmost villages of Karamasli and Enimahle that the Turks were coming. Because the refugees were only men, frightened single men, who had fled before they had seen the Turks, and whose wives had stayed behind in the village, we thought that the Turks would behave decently, and so did not flee. We assumed that the Turks had become





more reasonable, that they were just occupying territory, and would leave us in peace. We were grossly deluded. The village of Kavakli, on the other hand, acted more sensibly: the villagers fled the day before the Turks arrived. Other villages who were naive like ourselves were Dokuzuk, Enimahle, Karamasli, Kuyundere, Karahadir, Arpac, Osmanli, Selioglu, Tatarlar, Geckenli and Musul.'


'Before the Turkish soldiers came, about 40 or 50 of us, village notables, came out to greet them, to bid them welcome. In the meantime our village was surrounded by many more. Some of the villagers tried to escape, but unsuccessfully, because whoever tried to flee was promptly shot down. We saw this with our eyes when we were outside the village: Atanas Arabov (55, a shepherd), made a run for it. and the Turks shouted 'Dur, dur!', he kept on running, and they shot him. In the same way they shot a little boy, Stanoe Apostolov, aged 8. They also shot six-year-old Stoyan Nikolov. while Ilia Prodanov (55) was bayonetted to death. Then they shot Gergin Georgi, Blagoi Tsenov and Atanas Tananov. When we saw all this we realised that we were lost, that the Turks were hostile and wouldn't spare us. '


'One Turkish officer, a lieutenant, approached us. We bade him welcome, and he said: 'Well, what're you going to do now that all the troops have come?' And indeed, the infantry also started arriving — at first only the cavalry had come. We said nothing, thinking we were trapped and would be massacred. The infantry arrived, closing an even tighter circle around the village. It was noon by the time they had encircled the village. When we went back to the village, some officers came and went straight to the church.


'At the time all our cattle, about 3,000 heads, was outside the village by the river Tekedere. The officer said: 'Hand over all your cattle.' We replied: 'The cattle's by the river.' They went and rounded it all up. The small animals were also there — about 11,000 sheep and goats. The Turks, after taking the cattle, said that whoever had flour should bring it and put it in the church and the village shop in the centre of the village. The villagers got over with this quickly, for it had been said that whoever disobeyed the order would be shot.'


'Dusk came. Another order was given: nobody should leave





their homes; whoever did would be shot. In the evening the Turks sent soldiers with sacks to gather all the poultry, of which there must have been 30,000 chickens and turkeys.'


'In the morning, another order was issued: everyone who had grain should store it in the village barn. To get the job done quickly, the Turks sent an army cart, and with it carried about 10,000 Turkish kilos of wheat. That job took three or four days. In the meantime the Turks had camped around the village, with only 250 Turkish men and officers inside the village to transport the grain. They were quartered in half a dozen houses, 30 or 40 men to a house.'


'When the grain had been collected, they asked if there was any more livestock. To check, they went from house to house, and got from the stables about 300 mounts with saddles and harnesses., Afterwards they demanded that every shepherd bring all the wool he had. The shepherds brought out about 8.000 okas of wool. Then they let us be for a few days. After that they started seeking out the wealthier villagers. When they found out who they were, in the evening they started sending soldiers to the houses to torture them for money, and in this way they took a lot of money. A harder man, named Peter Ouzounov, did not give away any of his money. One evening the officers hung him up by his legs down three times to make him give them money. In the end he broke, got out 52 napoleons and handed them over.'


'On July 20 the soldiers started setting up threshing-floors, and brought in cartloads of wheat-stacks from the fields to some 50 threshing-floors. And so the soldiers themselves threshed all the new corn. They fed the husks to their horses. They cut down all the trees on the village common — willows, mulberry and fruit- trees for the soldiers to make huts, as the tents were insufficient. There were about 200 hectares of church land, from which they chopped wood for cooking etcetera.'


'When they finished with the threshing, a commission of officers and Turks from the nearby villages of Kisilca, Muselim, Pasacri and Tekesilar went from house to house. They took out literally all the possessions of our peasants, loaded them or military carts and sent them to the Turkish villages. They went through the whole village, house by house. Crying and screams could be heard throughout the village. All they left for the people was a





cartload or two of millet, which they had brought in from the fields before the arrival of the Turks. In order to stave off hunger, the wretched peasants ground the millet with poles — there was no cattle left — some boiled it, others ground it with hand-mills to feed themselves. Many died from the diet, such as Georgi Stoyanov's boy, Ivan Mihov, Stoyan Nikolov, Naiden Stoyanov, Rada Todorova and Veneta Panayotova. The church was not plundered. All the possessions the people had left were the clothes they stood in and a few rags that were no good for anything. They said: 'That's what your Bulgarians did to us, and now we're doing the same to you to get even.'


'This went on until September 22, when they expelled us to Bulgaria. But before that let me tell you about the atrocities you asked about.'


'On the first day, July 8, the Turks caught 26 people of middle rank and three notables, and locked them up in the stable of an inn. They also locked up a woman, Karamfila Ilieva Arabadjieva, with her husband. The people who were locked up were: Peter Ouzounov, Ivan Koyvaliev, Ivan Nikolov, Ilia Yorgakev, Kostadin Yorgakev, Ilya Georgev, Simeon Georgev, Kaloyan Ponev, Yane Mitrev, Kostadin Buchvarov, Kostadin Hristov, Vassil Avramov, Apostol Kostadinov, Todor Kostov, Andon Georgiev, Kostadin Dermendji, Andon Dermendji, Georgi Kaloyanov, Yurgaki Petrov and Hristo Georgiev and the above-mentioned woman with her mother. These people, it seems, were named by the local Turks. They are the more decent Bulgarians, and they were imprisoned accused of having killed Turks, when it was common knowledge that these same Turkish refugees had fled to Constantinople, and so could not have suffered from our village. The woman was accused of having killed 40 Turkish soldiers and one Turkish officer with an axe. In prison, these people were badly tortured and beaten so that they would confess, but none did as there was nothing to confess to. The woman was given the chance of naming other Bulgarians who had killed Turks. As she couldn't name such people, she was tortured. They beat them three times a day from the beginning up until September 14, when they also imprisoned me, and all bound together, they drove us all the way to prison in Adrianople.'


'One week after taking us away, on September 22 to be precise,





one hour before dawn, the Turks told all our peasants to go out and wait in their yards. We had no idea, one man of Inice said, what was going to happen. We were all out in our yards. They drove up army carts, one for every three households, and told us to load our belongings on to the carts. Of course, nobody had any possessions to load up. An hour later the order was given for all the peasants to be led outside the village, followed by soldiers with fixed bayonets. And so they drove us all to the mountains of Malko Turnovo, which is 12 hours distant, and left us there, empty-handed and hungry. Only one man. Yani Mihailov and his wife Maria and their three children were kept in the village to be converted to Islam. This same Mihailov had been imprisoned and tortured from the very beginning, and being told that his life would be spared if he converted, he said fearing for his life that he wanted to become a Moslem. The Turks acted in the same way in the surrounding Bulgarian villages, and drove them off to the mountains of Malko Turnovo. which had not yet been occupied by Bulgarian troops. There are thousands of unfortunate Bulgarians in the mountains there now, and they will die of starvation and cold if nothing is done to help them soon.'


As I have mentioned, the Turkish military commanders re-occupying Thrace acted according to detailed prior instructions on how to take the entire possessions of the Bulgarian population and to use it to finish the field-work before carrying out the final part of their fiendish plan, which was to entirely clear the Bulgarian population out of Thrace. The plan, which was excellently carried out in Inice. was executed in the same way in the other villages, with minor adjustments depending on the local situation and to some extent on the humanity of the executors themselves. It is astonishing that the Turks are capable of carrying through such a plan so craftily and uniformly. This could be seen by the detailed evidence I gathered from inhabitants of many of the Thracian Bulgarian villages, as set forth below.






6. Ortakoy (today Ivailovgrad) Region


The Village of Arnautkoy (today Gougoutka)


Arnautkoy was a wholly Bulgarian village of 111 houses and 446 inhabitants, 34 km from Ortakoy. In Ortakoy I met priest Hristo Yanakiev (61), born in Arnautkoy, from whom I learned the details of the terrible fate that befell his village. Priest Yanakiev did not stay until the end, but fled to Ortakoy before the burning of the village. I got further details from Mr Kostadin Neftyanov, manager of the agrarian bank in Ortakoy. who had visited Arnautkoy and learned about its unhappy lot. and from Dimiter D. Kairyakov, also native of Arnautkoy, who gave me a list of the dead.


On July 9 the people of Arnautkoy, foreseeing the danger posed to them mainly by the Turkish population of the surrounding Turkish villages, set out for the old Bulgarian border with their carts and cattle, reaching the Bulgarian village of Popovo (Papaskoy). But the Turks of the surrounding villages craftily encouraged them to return, assuring them that they would protect them from any Bashi-bazouks that might appear. The people of Arnautkoy believed them and returned. Three or four days passed, and these same Turks rushed into the village and started robbing them. The peasants were all prosperous farmers. The people of Arnautkoy are good silkworm-breeders and tobacco-growers. They have tended up to 200 ounces of silkworm eggs, and obtained about 10,000 kg of cocoons. .'Priest Yanakiev was there when on July 15 Bashi-bazouks came in from the Turkish villages of Derekoy, Demirler, Alaguzel, Gulekoy, Akoasar, Essekoy and elsewhere. 'There were many of them', he recalled. 'Like ants, some arriving, others leaving. They looted everything — sheep, cattle, people's belongings, leaving nothing behind. People were beaten up. The peasants dispersed to the surrounding villages, some even came Jo Ortakoy. They chased everyone away so that nobody could see who had taken what. The looting lasted for a week. Then I fled to Ortakoy.' According to Neftyanov, the Turks first took the cattle from the common; then a Turkish deputation from the neighbouring Turkish villages came demanding 100 liras to guard the village. The villagers paid up, but at the same time decided to disperse, and for the men to flee for their lives. Almost the entire male population escaped into





the hills, while the women remained in the village. D. Kairyakov said that after that a company of Turkish infantry, came into the village, committing terrible atrocities and burning the village. According to Neftyanov, these were not ordinary Bashi-bazouks, but Bashi-bazouks dressed in army uniform. They probably included many of the prisoners whom the Bulgarian government had just released, and who as we have seen, wore uniform and took part in looting and violence against the Bulgarian population of other villages too. They started torturing people for money and raped women, even little girls. These horrors lasted a whole week (today there are said to be many women still suffering from the after-effects of those events). The Turks from the surrounding villages did the threshing with their own animals, and after taking everything from the village, rounded up the women in the garden of the present mayor Stoyan Buchvarov, near the church, and there they shot 45 women and children, and butchered about 20 other women and children in different parts of the village. Two more women were found dead on the road to Kazakh in a valley, one of whom had been hacked in the back of the neck. It is certain that many women and girls of Arnautkoy were also abducted, but this cannot be precisely established. In Buchvarov's house the women lay in a heap, the bodies forming a mound as they had pressed one against another, and later on when the villagers returned they simply heaped earth on top, since the corpses were frightfully decayed. The mound is still there today. There is no family in Arnautkoy which has not lost at least one of its members. The men and some of the women managed to escape in the woods. Only about 16 men were killed. The total number of victims. young and old, is 75. The village was burned; of 111 houses, 102 were completely destroyed. Only 9 houses, the meanest of all. remained. The school, a fine two-storeyed building, was burned down. The church was only burned on the inside, and the walls and roofs are in good condition.


Now most of the people of Arnautkoy live scattered in the neighbouring Turkish villages, whose inhabitants fled before the Bulgarian re-occupation. These are the villages of Derekoy (now Beli Dol), Sensikoy, Gorni Akchahissar, Dolni Akchahissar and Gulerkoy (Rozino). The Ortakoy Colonisation Commission is letting them live there until the village of Arnautkoy is re-built.





Here are the names of 56 of those killed in Arnautkoy:


1. Men: Tasho Kolev (age 56), Petko Yanakev (47), Dimo Safev (73), Dimo Rostov (46), Kosta Petkov (51), Margarit Raev (63), Atanas Kolev (36), Vulcho Tashev (66), Stoyan Manolov (78), Rolyo Trandafilov (51), Peter Todorov (36), Angel Dimov (73), Atanas Mitrev (61), Rolyo Rirov (59), Rolyo Georgiev Moutafov (76) and Mito Rolev (43).


2. Women and girls: Vulka G. Terzieva (46), Maria P. Yanakeva (41), Lenitsa Petkova (13), Roussa P. Nedelkova (67), Romna D. Panayotova (22), Romna Safeva (57), Vulka P. Dincheva (51), Romna Parashkevova (23), Elena Parashkevova (35), Malta Vulcheva Georgieva (31), Kera Georgieva Vulcheva (65), Zlata Stoyanova (25), Tona Petkova (23), Fila R. Petkova (23) , Todora M. Raeva (57), Tona Margariteva (26), Kera A. Roleva (31), Todora Gineva (63), Tona M. Parusheva (59), Vulkana Georgieva (13), Anastasia H. Yaneva (55), Rada Angelova (24) , Hrissona M. Ivanova (23), Stana I. Mitreva (61), Rera Ivanova (19), Roussa P. Angelova (29), and Maria H. Todorova (31).


3. Children: Anastasia Petrova (9), Dimo Petkov (3), Stana Dimitrova (3). Todor Ilchev (1), Petra D. Panayotova (1), Hristo Kolev (5), Angel Gcorgev (3), Rera Vulcheva (1), Dimo Georgev (5), Peter Dimov (4), Kolyo Atanasov (6), Stana Mihaleva (3) and Mira Hristova (1).



7. The Dedeagach (Alexandroupolis) and Gumuljina (Komotini) Region


Bulgarian Suffering after the Battle of Ferrai


We do not know exactly what terrible ordeals the Bulgarian people went through in the dark, distant past of Turkish rule in similar situations, fleeing before savage, brutal hordes, but in my view the sufferings of the unfortunate Bulgarian refugees as they escaped from the hands of the Bashi-bazouks at Ferrai until they reached the Bulgarian border at Yatadjik (now Madjarovo) on the river Arda, and of the other refugees fleeing in a different direction and falling into the hands of the Turks, exceed in horror the worst mass slaughters to which the Bulgarians had been subjected





even in the historic Batak massacre. Because in the latter, the people killed were from limited area and it took place within a short period of time, whereas here the sufferings and killings affected a larger population of both sexes from about 17 Bulgarian villages, and went on with the utmost mercilessness for long period of time.


In order to gain a better idea of the sufferings of the fleeing Bulgarian population, and of the loss of life sustained on the way, especially during the crossing of the river Arda, I shall cite eyewitness accounts by people who themselves were among the refugees and suffered.


*  *  *


Chanko Mitrev of the village of Yanouren (now Oreon, near Xanthi) described in Soflu in detail what he and his family went through between Dedeagach and Ferrai, and from there to the Bulgarian border. They travelled all day from Ferrai to Urumcik; on the way the Turks of the neighbouring villages stole their cattle. During the night in Urumcik, the Turkish officers leading the Bashi-bazouks forced the notables of every village to pay them some money. They reached Ferrai by noon. As the people proceeded, those who lagged behind due to exhaustion or sickness were killed. Ahead of the refugees were only six Turkish cavalrymen, with more on cither side, and the most behind, but the total number of Turks was not greater than 400 or 500. After the Bulgarian chetas (bands) had dispersed the Bashi-bazouks, some people managed to get away, and whoever could ran off into the hills. The majority who did not want to leave their cattle and carts, were subsequently attacked by Bashi-bazouks and killed, while the captured women were taken across the Maritsa. Chanko Mitrev continued:


"When we took to the hills, Rousse Slavov came back towards us and reached us. Under the protection of Slavov and Madjarov, those who had got away from Ferrai, and others who had not succeeded in reaching Dedeagach, from different villages, headed for Bulgaria. For about three or four days we assembled at the meeting-place of Kurtbali, a hill in the Duganhisar mountains. Not everybody knew about it, and so about three or four thousand people remained in the mountains. When we set off, we were hit





by a cold downpour mixed with snow — it was terrible. We continued blindly through the forest for most of the night. Many mothers left their children on the way. The chetnik leaders followed behind and picked them up. Rousse, who had gathered 4 or 5 children, tried to find the mothers. But none of them came forward, ashamed that they had committed a sin, and afraid that they would have to carry them and leave them behind again. Rousse did not agree to leave the children behind, and made various chetniks take them... Hunger set in, and there was no bread. Nobody had enough food with them, and some tried to eat acorns. Nobody could light a fire to roast the acorns in case the Turks spotted them. We passed through Turkish villages in the night.


"As we approached the border on the Arda, Bashi-bazouks came up from all sides. They were from the Ortakoy and other districts. We were an hour away from the Arda when the Bashi-bazouks caught up with us. Again Rousse Slavov and Madjarov engaged in battle. They had ordered everyone to charge ahead, as the bullets had finished, and whoever could get through would be saved. We all surged forwards. The number of children that were left behind then! We waded across the Arda. Whoever found a shallow part crossed, while the others drowned. I can't tell you how many women, children and girls drowned in the Arda then! Where I crossed the river it was up to my waist. We linked our hands in groups of five or six. Whoever didn't hold on was swept away by the water. As we crossed the river, the Bashi-bazouks kept on shooting at us. When we got out on the other side many more people were hit by bullets.


"When we had crossed the river we were met by Bulgarian soldiers. They started shooting too. We thought that they were Turks. When they realised what was going on the Bulgarian soldiers ran up to the river and pulled out whoever they could. And those of us who could helped save the others. My 20-year-old son himself pulled two 8-year-old children out of the river. He carried them like corpses, one recovered, but the other died. Nobody knows which villages the children were from.


"The Turks stayed there on the opposite bank and kept on firing. They hung around there for about four days, picking up the goods that had been left behind. Some people had left their horses there. Many wounded women and children remained behind too,





many of whom were killed, and the women raped. It was horrible — cries to God for help and gunfire — it was a terrible business!


'When we had crossed into Bulgaria, they accommodated us m various districts. Now we've come back here to Soflu and beg from Greek homes...'


*  *  *


In Duganhisar I met Mitre Stamatov Arkoumarev, 31 years old, born in the same village, one of the most outspoken chetnik: in Madjarov's band, who did a lot to protect the people fleeing towards the Arda and who himself was seriously wounded. He had previously been on the regional revolutionary committee, working with the chetnik leaders Arnaoudov and Vulcho Andonov, who first founded the Duganhisar organization. Before that, Mitre Stamov was a shepherd. He was a volunteer in the 1912 war, and took part in the capture of Yaver Pasha. When the Bulgarian troops withdrew in 1913, he joined Madjarov's chetnik detachment, with which he fought in the battle of Okuf on August 7, and he distinguished himself especially at the last battle of Ferrai on September 23 to save the people from the Bashi-bazouks. On September 26 he fought at Balvadji, between the villages of Pisman and Cukuren against Turkish troops with Rousse's detachment, as we have seen above in the account of the capture at the Maritsa of many women and girls from Pisman. Afterwards, when the people assembled at Rayovitsa and Kour-baluka to head for the Bulgarian border, Mitre joined Madjarov in protecting the people, his wife and children remaining in the crowd with his brother. When they approached the Arda, near the village of Yatadjik, his wife and children vanished along with his old mother. 'At the time', said Mitre, 'I was nearby with Madjarov's men, fighting to protect the people right by the Arda. All through the night we carried children across on our backs: I alone carried 27 children. The next morning my brother Groud told me that my wife and the two kids and my grandmother were missing. A man from Pisman found me at Akbasi, from which the population had saved itself, and told me that my wife and children have been killed. Someone else too had said to pass the news on to me. Although I made a lot of queries, I didn't find out anything."





The chetnik leaders Madjarov and Angel Todorov (from the village of Okuf) added to the above picture more similar facts: 'On October 4 we brought the people across, and on the 8th of October we went back, ahead of the Bulgarian re-occupation troops. As soon as we crossed the border on the river Arda we saw hideous sights. In the village of Yatadjik we found a girl from Manastir wounded in the leg, and an old woman and some little children who couldn't tell us who they were or where they were from. They looked at us in terror. We left the children there. Velyo Balamezov (from Haskovo) of Madjarov's detachment tied up the girl's wound. Vulko Groudov, from Balikoy, found his 4-year-old daughter in Yatadjik; she ran from her father and everyone else, unable to recognise him in fear. Her father caught her and put her on his donkey. Andrei Georgiev of Okuf, found his wife south of Yatadjik. She had been wounded in the leg and left behind, dead. The Turks had found her, tortured her, cut off her breasts and in the end killed her. Further to the south, in a valley, were the bodies of about 100 women and children; among them were little children that had been held upside down and beaten against the ground until they were dead. Other children, little babies in swathing clothes, had been crushed by having heavy rocks placed on top of them. Most of the bodies, which had started decaying, were those of women and children. To the south, on a rise one and a half hours from Yatadjik, we found a wounded 12-year-old boy — the bullet had gone through both his legs, and the wound was full of maggots — it was frightening to look at. His sister had been with him, but on hearing voices had run away and hidden in the forest. The boy told us his sister was there; we called her name in Bulgarian in the woods, but she didn't turn up. He also said there were other people in the forest, but they didn't show either. We cut down two trees, made a stretcher and carried the boy to Papazkoy (Popovo), where we left him to the villagers to look after. We were unable to dress the wound. As the soldiers were following behind us, we ordered that the army surgeon dress his wound. What happened with the child afterwards we don't know. He was from Pisman, and his father was Hadji Novak's brother-in-law to whom we gave the word.'


'Later, in the Tahtadjik mountains, we found dead children left





by the wayside at Kurbaalik, at the assembly-point — for example, there were two dead babies in nappies, abandoned. At a nearer spot there was a new-born baby, left there naked.'


*  *  *


The Bulgarian troops, who marched along three routes, also saw similar hideous sights everywhere, but unfortunately there was nobody who realised that everything should have been recorded and photographed. As some of the commanders of the re- occupation detachments told me, it did not occur to them to take cameras with them.


This was confirmed by Dr. Anastasov, who was with the 27th regiment and whom I met in Mustafapasha on November 22, 1913. He told me that the route his regiment had followed was strewn with the corpses of massacred Bulgarians. They saw the largest number of corpses at Kocasli, near the village of Kodjakoy. Here they found the corpses of whole families, children and girls who had been raped and then killed. There were large number of corpses by some vineyards, and even more in a valley. The doctor suggested that Lieutenant Sh. form a commission to look around these areas, to ascertain what atrocities had been perpetrated and to record them. But he was ignored, under the pretext that the officers were tired. There was not a single camera in the regiment.


The above evidence allows us to conclude how many refugees died in those godforsaken places, about which nobody was able to report anything afterwards. Many of the missing people can be ascertained from their villages, but not all of them, because not all the people of a village came together afterwards, but lived in different places, thus making it impossible to figure out the accurate number of people killed and missing. As we shall see further on, on February 20, 1914 a sensation was caused by the news that the decayed corpses of 37 women, girls and children, massacred about a month earlier, had been discovered in a valley near the village of Avren, Kusukavak district. Who were these wretches, and where were they from? At the time I tried to answer that question, [3] and I still hold the same views today.






8. The Armagan Massacre


Before the population that had fled at the battle of Ferrai headed for Bulgaria, some of them, mostly from Sicanli, stopping for a rest in the Armagan-Cesmesi valley near Kurbaalik in the Duganhisar mountains, was attacked by 200 Turkish soldiers who were about to set on fire and loot the only surviving Bulgarian village, Pisman (Pessani). The Turkish detachment, which had left the village of Badouren (Patara), attacked the people, first shooting, and then stabbing whoever they caught up with bayonets and daggers. Most of the victims were from Sicanli, as I myself was able to ascertain from travel permits and other documents I found on some of the refugees, some of which, still well preserved, I took with me (on December 1, 1913). In the end the Turks captured a number of women — about one hundred — whom they drove to the river Maritsa. This happened on September 25. The captives were first taken to Pisman, where they spent the night. The Turkish force set fire to the village and killed some old people who were still there. The next day some of the same force, recovered after the rest, went back to hunt down the population which had fled the village. After a short skirmish, the villagers retreated as their cartridges had finished, and the Turks managed to capture about 30 women and girls of Pisman. With a great deal of booty they took them to Kavadjik. Then Rousse's detachment, which had found out late about this, blocked their path and made a surprise attack on them near the Turkish village of Cukuren, dispersing them and freeing the unhappy women, and even taking some sheep and goats.


I heard shocking details about the massacre in the Armagan valley in Ferrai, Dedeagach and Gumuljina, and as some people said that although two months had passed since then (25 September), the corpses of the victims, which included many children, still lay there unburied and also no commission had yet been to the 'Valley of Death1, as some called it, to establish exactly what had happened. I decided to go there to see for myself, even though it was winter and I would have to ride across a difficult terrain in the mountains over Duganhisar. And so on November 29, 1913 I set out from Dedeagach for Duganhisar via the village of Dervent, whence I set out on the next day accompanied by D.





Madjarov, the former chetnik leader, and the photographer Georgi Traichev, for Armagan.


First I should like to mention some details about the Armagan massacre which I heard in Gumuljina from Hristo Damyanov (age 40), of Sicanli, who had been among those attacked in the Armagan Valley.


'After they burned our village, our people fled to Dedeagach. from where they took us with the rest of the people to Ferrai. During the battle we of Sicanli, who had stuck together, went off into the mountains. There were also people from Kizlar, Atkoy and Manastir with us. I was in the Armagan valley where about 800 men, women and little children had stopped to rest and eat when we were attacked. They were regular troops, with some darkies and Circassians. As soon as they started firing at us., we ran off right and left along the river, and most people headed for the hamlet. I stayed behind and went left along the gully towards Baduren, but seeing that Turks were coming from that direction, 1 hid in the undergrowth and stayed put. From there I saw just opposite me how the Anatolians stopped Petko Mitrev (60) and his daughter Zlata (16) and killed them. First they hit him with a rifle-butt, and then they stabbed him in the back. I was nearby and saw everything well: first of all three men stopped them and searched them for money; then they let them go and shot at them, and after that they went back to finish them off with daggers and bayonets. Down in the river they killed Georgi Sedmakov; he was hit in the neck and had his arm cut off. As I sat there in the undergrowth I could see them catching up with them, searching them and finally shooting them. I also saw them kill Nedyalko Matoushev, Delko Vulkov, and Vulko Sarchev (20).'


Damyanov's eye-witness account gives us a very fleeting idea of the massacre in the Armagan valley. He only saw what went on near him; however the very few examples he gives of the murders was very valuable information, especially for me, as I was able with its help to establish the names of some of the victims whose bodies still lay there.


On December 1 I reached the Sardjov hamlet, which is actually a farm. To the left of the fence we found on a rug a skeleton, not quite decayed, of a child which must have been about one year old. Outside the fence we found the remains of two girls aged 5





or 6. They had been eaten by dogs, and only half of the skulls had survived; one girl still had her smock on, and her underclothes were intact. Beside them were two copper kettles and two embroidered towels. The hair of the two girls was tangled together. Nearby we discerned another skull, the remains of a small child's backbone and a smock. As I found out later, the two corpses were what remained of 10 children whom the frightened fleeing people had left behind and whom a kind-hearted shepherd, Sardjo Mitrev, had taken in to look after, however the Turks killed him a few days afterwards, as we shall see below.


At about noon we reached the Armagan valley, which is overgrown with thick shrubs. Here we came across signs of the massacre at every step: skeletons, of which many were of children which had been eaten by dogs, and separate skulls scattered around; stockings, smocks, and various clothes — ripped women's chemises and red scarves. Down by the river were more scattered women's clothes, especially red ones, twisted rear aprons of the kind worn by the women of Sicanli and Manastir, women's belts, strings of beads and chemises. In one place there were scattered Turkish documents with stamps and travel permits, of which I collected a dozen of the better ones. [4] Further down we found the corpses of three babies, half-decayed, with the skull of one missing. When we headed upstream, to the left in the undergrowth we found the bodies of a man and a young woman; the woman's skull lay a little further away and had been stripped white by dogs. The man had fallen on his back, stabbed in the back, and his clothes had been shredded and his shirt was bloodstained. Of course, the bodies exuded a terrible stench, but Mr. Traichev and I endured it as long as was required to clear away the surrounding undergrowth in order to make a more or less clear photograph possible.


When the Turks of the Gumuljina district realised that Western Thrace would remain under Bulgarian rule, they started to loot shops, the richest of which were in Gumuljina and Iskece (now Xanthi). First they looted the tailor's shops, which sold ready-to-wear Turkish clothes, and used them to clothe their 'militiamen' who had come from the demarcation line to be disbanded, as well as many of the local Turks of the town. The tailors of Gumuljina alone, all Bulgarians from Petkovo and Karloukovo





(Ahircelebi district) have lost about two and a half million levs alone. And the losses of Bulgarian tailors in Iskece, most of them from Daridere (now Zlatograd) and Raikovo (Ahircelebi district), were enormous — amounting to, so they say, five million levs. Grocer's goods were also looted. The loot was sold at very low prices. Even on the day that our cavalry detachments entered Gumuljina, loot was being sold on the high street. Renegades of the Young Turks organization had come specially from Salonica to buy. Here a dubious role was played by the Banque Salonique, whose director, a young man, was a great Turkophile. Through the Jewish merchants Karaso and Nahmiyaz (now a supplier for the Bulgarian army), the bank supplied the Jews with money with which to buy up most of the looted goods very cheaply, e.g. an oka (1283 grams) of wool for only 4 pence (instead of the usual price of 9 to 12 pence). The Turkish ringleaders were in a hurry to make money, which they deposited in the Ottoman Bank. The unsold goods, e.g. tobacco, was sent by train to Adrianople.


The same happened with the expensive and much-sought fleecy rugs, woollen cloaks and homespun cloth, copper, wax, cheese and butter. One month after the arrival of the Bulgarians the store of the Banque Salonique contained a large quantity of looted Bulgarian copper. And when 1 was there the Jewish and Turkish homes in Gumuljina and Iskece still had many of these goods stored up. Of the big Jewish merchants only Karaso had fled to Constantinople.



9. After the Re-Occupation


Despite the indescribable atrocities committed against the Bulgarians by the Turks with the open support, and even at the initiative, of the so-called "autonomous government", the Bulgarian occupation authorities, on re-establishing themselves in the Gumuljina district, were extremely tolerant towards the Turks, their first concern being to take measures to prevent the desperate Bulgarian population from settling accounts with its persecutors. There are only two or three cases of harsh retribution, and these occurred two or three days before the new Bulgarian authorities had fully established themselves in the region. Furthermore, our





military authorities, acting in the spirit of the Treaty of Constantinople and the additional 'capitulation' conditions, had gone so far in their zeal as to arrest and imprison many of the suffering and worthy Bulgarians, acting on accusations levelled by Turks. In Gumuljina, where it did not occur to anybody to take to task the instigators of the massacres and the looting and burning in the villages of Manastir, Sicanli, Kuzlar, Jusuyuk, Kalaycidere etc., were imprisoned while I was there twelve men from Duganhisar and elsewhere, such as Angel Stoev of the Slavov's cheta (he comes from the destroyed village of Basklise, Soflu region), who carried out marvellous selfless exploits in saving the Bulgarian population throughout the summer until the arrival of the Bulgarian troops; Angel Mitrev, Stoyu Vulchev (of Duganhisar), Kosta Petkov and Stamo Nedelkov (of Merhamli) and others. In the royal edict issued on October 16 to the population of the new lands, a full amnesty was declared for 'all persons who took part in hostile activities or committed political offences before the peace treaty.'


From this text it is clear that the amnesty does not apply to ordinary crimes, and by no stretch of the imagination to crimes committed after the signing of the peace treaty on September 16. It was only three days before the arrival of Bulgarian forces in the Gumuljina-region that the criminal attack was made on the people hiding in the woods outside Manastir, after which the Bashi-bazouks abducted 42 women and children. Probably our authorities did not have a precise idea of the dates of the 'bloody events' which are mentioned in the edict. The story of the commission sent to perform an autopsy on the body of a Pomak in Merikos, the village inhabited by the most bloodthirsty Pomaks — those who took part in the crime at Manastir, is most characteristic evidence of the extent to which our authorities in the Gumuljina region were informed of the area's most recent past.


Thus our second period of rule in the new lands has begun under the aegis of the greatest tolerance.


And even if one accepts the indiscriminate decision not to allow any investigations against the Turkish criminals, this does not mean that the question of material compensation for the plundered Bulgarian population should not be raised. Unfortunately, even in this respect there is no evidence of justice or humanity, as the until recently prosperous Bulgarians have been left to wallow





in the ugliest poverty, forgotten by the world, without the slightest attempt being made to restore at least some of their stolen property. I saw our fellow-countrymen in the sorriest state. Gumuljina, Iskece, Dedeagach, Soflu, Ortakoy, etc, were full of miserable 'refugees'. They have been accommodated in some empty houses in these towns with no possessions or anything. I had the occasion to visit some of their homes, and saw that most of them sleep on the bare floor, without blankets, and wearing the summer clothes which they fled in, blue from the cold and from poor food, living for months just off dry bread. Some of them have also been accommodated in villages, but there the conditions are not much better.


Such was the situation in December 1913.





1. Article 9 of the Treaty of Constantinople, signed on September 16 (29) by the Bulgarian delegates Gen. Savov, G. D. Nachovich and A. Toshev, and Turkish delegates Talaat Bey (Foreign Minister), Mahmud Pasha (Navy Minister) and Halil Bey (Chairman of the State Council), state that the Bulgarian communities in Turkey would enjoy the same rights as other Christian communities in the Turkish Empire, and that Bulgarian subjects of Turkey would retain all their movable and immovable property and would not be hindered in exercising their human rights and their right to own property. Those who had left their homes as a result of recent events would be allowed to return within a period of two years.


However, Article 18 also says that affixed to the treaty are two protocols concerning the frontier. Paragraph C of this protocol states that the two governments agreed to facilitate the exchange of the Bulgarian and Moslem populations between both sides together with their property in a zone of not more than 15 kilometres along the entire common border. The exchange would be carried out by entire villages. The exchange of rural and urban property would be effected under the auspices of the two governments and with the participation of the elders of the villages subject to exchange. Mixed commission appointed by the two governments would carry out the exchange and provide compensation if the necessity of such arose from differences in the exchange of goods between villages and individuals (translated from the French).





2. Women from Bulgarkoy who had come from Sahinlar to Dedeagach to be present at Old Dimiter's account helped to list the massacred women.


3. Cf. Slovo, No. 39. 22 February 1914 and my article 'Whose Are the Bodies of the Massacred Women and Children Found in the Gumuljina Region?'


4. All these Turkish documents turned out to belong to people from Sicanli. Their names are: Georgi Doichev, Nikola Georgiev, Vulko Petkov, Dimiter Georgiev, Kera Georgieva, Rizo Vulkov and Stano Ivanov. There are several travel permits for each person. It would be interesting to know whether they are still alive.




Compiled by Dimiter Dochev, Stoyan Stoyanov, 1987

Introduction by Georgi Markov

Translated by Sofia Press team

Artist: Nikolai Tsachev

c/o Jusator, Sofia




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