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Hristo Lagadinov from Uhrana 1943-1944 with George Mladenov editor of Vardar .

The picture is taken Aug. 1951 in the IRO camp of the city of Lavrion Greece.

IMRO Militia And Volunteer Battalions Of Southwestern Macedonia, 1943-1944. By Vic Nicholas Table of Contents Early Beginnings..................... The Call to Arms..................... Leadership, Structure and Motives. Objectives and Ulterior Motives.... Violence and Bloodshed............. German & ELAS Attacks........... IMRO Volunteer Battalions......... The Last Hoorah!............................ Photographic Appendix.............. Footnotes...............................

MACEDONIA'S SECRET ARMY: The IMRO Militia And Volunteer Battalions Of Southwestern Macedonia, 1943.1944. They came from mountain villages. They came from the little hamlets on the plains. They came from the small provincial towns that stud the mountainous districts of south western Macedonia. They came with steely determination and the pictures in their mind of the suffering of their families and their people under 30 years of Greek misrule and occupation. They were a collection of sturdy embittered peasants who were to become a fearsome fighting force and who would rule south western Macedonia and the Kostour (Kastoria) district in particular with an iron fist. This formation was eventually to be extensively used quite effectively in conjunction with German forces during anti-guerrilla sweeps and drives. They were also used regularly as guard troops. They were to write in their own blood the final glorious chapter in the history of the IMRO.^ this local Macedonian fighting force was to be cruelly destroyed with the utmost brutality and ultimately suffer the final ignominy of being written out of history. This is their story. A story that encompasses courage, emancipation and finally defeat and suffering. Early Beginnings The Kostour (Kastoria) district was the epicenter of the internecine warfare of the Macedonian struggle at the turn of the century. It was here, more than anywhere else, that Greek mercenaries committed grave atrocities on the local Macedonian population! who dared to organize themselves for a future devoid of occupiers and a future full of hope and freedom. Every village had its share of heroes and martyrs. The exploits of the local heroes such as Vasil Chakalaroff, Pando Kliasheff and Lazo Pop-Traykoff3 were passed -on in village folk-lore and they were revered in an almost saintly manner by the local Macedonian population.

government endorsed persecution and cruel mindless violence by Greek nationalist bands sowed the seeds of revenge that kept brewing within the local Macedonian population that was waiting for an opportune moment to forment.Rallying Around the Committee Flag It is generally accepted that the initial bands were formed on the 5th of March 1943 in the district of Kostour (Kastoria) by the Italian occupation authorities who armed the local Macedonian villages to help combat the growing communist threat presented by the ELAS andartes8 raiding the Italian forces in the district. Zhelegozha (Pendavrison). J_0 However. 6 During the 1920's and 30's. including the fanatically pro-Bulgarian districts of south-western Macedonia. ^ The Call to Arms .The violence perpetrated on the villages in this district by the Greek mercenaries after 1904. bad administration.9 A company of 80 was established in the town of Kostour (Kastoria) on March 5th under the command of Zhivko Shekrov and Luka Dimanin with Risto Naskov ably assisting. the ELAS forces in late 1942 launched a series of attacks on the villages Drenichevo (Kranahori). The Balkan Wars of 1912-13 saw the partition of Macedonia.4 cemented into the peasants collective psychosis a distinct feeling of 'otherness'5 and an undying enmity towards Greeks. Within 3 days. Grache (Ftelia) and others. that the village was raided in February 1943 by an armed IMRO detachment dispatched from the town of Kostour (Kastoria) to capture two communist activists who . More importantly. Breshchani (Avgi). and it's impact and implications was to be far reaching. This illogical distribution of territory which bore no correlation to the ethnic back-ground and self determination of the population living there further exacerbated the already bad situation. The ELAS attacks and the arming and retaliatory measures taken by the local Macedonians has gone down m history as the Kostour (Kastoria) uprising. with the lions share going to Greece. Starichani (Lakomata). it has since come to light in a written history of the village Trsye/Lerin (Trivounon/Florina). for no strategic reason other than to terrorize the Macedonian population. a further 34 volunteers from the village of Kumanichevo (Litya) arrived to bolster the militia's numbers.7 That opportunity would come in the shape of the second world war.

Most of the villages were armed to company strength (usually between 25-30 men. Their enemies knew them by the name of'comitadjis'. Canada and even as far afoot as Australia for stretches lasting up to seven years at a time before returning to their villages. however. Most. share croppers. and thus harboured deep patriotic convictions. They were farmers. timber cutters and itinerant immigrant workers (sojoumers) who would ply their trade in Bulgaria. USA. 'Ohrana' in Russian is defined as 'security' or 'guardian'. although larger villages quite often had companies in excess of 50 men).U In fact. shephards. The memoir further states that the majority of the boys of this detachment were natives of the village of Setoma/Kostour (Kefalaria/Kastoria). Others took arms for the sake of tradition. took up arms to avenge wrong doings and violence inflicted on their families by Greeks and Grecophiles and was motivated by the prospect of a long awaited opportunity to avenge the blood of their kith and their kin. So there was evidently some clandestine arming of Macedonian peasants prior to March 1943. and these roles were specifically what the Italian occupation authorities had in mind for this fledgling force of armed village militias. orchardists. farmers sons. The force comprised of men and boys from all the peasant occupations in the district. The companies were known by the colloquial name of'chetas'. a Russian loan word also being the name of the czarist secret police of Russia.11 The colloquial name given to the bands armed in March 1943 was 'Ohrana'. The Italian Military Command had also armed the village of Chetirok (Mesopotamia) in February to the strength of 30. France. The majority of the participants in this battle formation wore no uniforms.were hiding in the village. artisans. L2 Their reasons for taking arms varied. Some of the men were pre-war members of IMRO. just . in that they wished to follow in the heroic foot steps of their fathers and grandfathers who forged a legendary reputation as redoubtable fighters against the Turks and Greeks during the turn of the century revolutionary struggle. the men preferred to be known by the name used by their forebears — 'komiti' or 'komitadji' — rather than 'Ohrana' which was thrust upon them.

Later German accounts mention that he was a strong. the Commander-in-Chief of the German forces in the Balkans . to be attached to the German occupying forces as "liaison officers". which was occupying south eastern Macedonia and Thrace. These were supplied by the Italians and were resplendant with shoulder patches bearing the inscription "Tiranska Cheta" (Tyrants Company) and the letters IBK-SIS above the inscription which stood for "Italo-Bulgarski Komitet . Structure and Motives Prior to the formation of the armed militias in early 1943. 19 .16 The main leaders and organizers during the early phase of activity from 1941 to 1942 were Tsvetan MIadenoffFY and Andon Kalcheff in the Lerin (Florina) region and Georgi Sarakinoff in the Voden (Edessa) region.Field Marshal List . Kalcheff was educated at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Kalcheff was born in the village of Zhuzheltsi/Kostour (Spilea/Kastoria) in 1910 and immigrated along with his family to Bulgaria in 1921.15 Leadership. Kalcheff studied in Germany obtaining a Doctorate in Finance. the controversial. In 1940.JJS Kalcheff was to eventually obtain the rank of Major. All the Bulgarian officers brought into service were locally born Macedonians who had imigrated to Bulgaria with their families during the 1920's and 30's to avoid persecution.their plain clothes. stately and overall very impressive man.Svoboda Hi Smrt" (Italo-Bulgarian Committee " Freedom or Death) . Kalcheff returned to Bulgaria and was immediately mobilized into the armed forces and commissioned as an officer. but dynamic leader of the interwar IMR0. All were members ofIMRO and followers of Ivan Mihailoff. 14 Only the companies based in the towns of Kostour (Kastoria) and Rupishcha (Argos Orestikon) wore uniforms.consented in May 1941 to a handful of officers from the Bulgarian army. It was Kalcheff who would lead the whole military organization in south western Macedonia in 1943 and 1944. However. they wore a white arm-band with the word "Komiti" hand written in black ink for the purpose of identification. From 1931 to 1940. From a well known IMRO family dedicated to the ideals of a united and free Macedonia.

Bay Kale. Bay Kuze and Risto Naskoff .JJS Kalcheff was to eventually obtain the rank of Major. but dynamic leader of the interwar IMR0. 19 All the liaison officers had their own little headquarters which .16 The main leaders and organizers during the early phase of activity from 1941 to 1942 were Tsvetan MIadenoffFY and Andon Kalcheff in the Lerin (Florina) region and Georgi Sarakinoff in the Voden (Edessa) region. Naso Kachamata from Lobanitsa (Agios Dimitrios). From 1931 to 1940. Later German accounts mention that he was a strong. Mihail Ristovski and Dinto Soulov from Chereshnitsa (Polikerason). In 1940. Nikola Georgieff from Kondorobi (Metamorphosis).all from Ezerets (Petropoulakion). From a well known IMRO family dedicated to the ideals of a united and free Macedonia.20 By 1943. Lerin (Florina). Kalcheff studied in Germany obtaining a Doctorate in Finance. They were attached to the German military kommandanturen (military commands) to facilitate their connection with the local population and they also aided in the activities of the Bulgarian club established in Salonika. Boris Stoyanoff from Gabresh (Gavros). It was Kalcheff who would lead the whole military organization in south western Macedonia in 1943 and 1944. in addition to the liaison officers in service at the German headquarters. stately and overall very impressive man. Bulgarian interpreters were also sent to assist in the towns of Kostour (Kastoria). Vasil Yanakieff from Maniak (Maniaki). Dimitar Ivanov Mihailoff. Kalcheff returned to Bulgaria and was immediately mobilized into the armed forces and commissioned as an officer. Paskal Kalemanoff "Dobrolitski" from Dobrolishcha (Kalohorion). the main local village company leaders in the Kostour (Kastoria) district were Pando Makrieff from the village Chetirok (Mesopotamia). Kalcheff was born in the village of Zhuzheltsi/Kostour (Spilea/Kastoria) in 1910 and immigrated along with his family to Bulgaria in 1921. Voden (Edessa). Vangel Kalaydjia from V'mbel (Moshohorion). the controversial.All the liaison officers had their own little headquarters which were directly answerable to the army headquarters in Sofia. Kaylari (Ptolemaida) and the city ofSolun (Salonika). Moreover. Kalcheff was educated at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

(17) Izglibe (Porya). (5) Starichani (Lakomata). Bulgarian interpreters were also sent to assist in the towns of Kostour (Kastoria). (31) Ezerets (Petropoulakion). (32) Snicheni (Kastanofiton). (21) Visheni (Visinea). (23) Chemovishcha (Mavrokampos).20 By 1943. the main local village company leaders in the Kostour (Kastoria) district were Pando Makrieff from the village Chetirok (Mesopotamia).all from Ezerets (Petropoulakion). (35) Pesiak (Amudara). Kaylari (Ptolemaida) and the city ofSolun (Salonika). (28) Zhelegozhe (Pendavrison). Luka Dimanin from the village of Drenoveni (Kranjonas). (19) Tiolishcha (Tihio). Bay Kale. (18) Kondorobi (Metamorfosis). Vasil Yanakieff from Maniak (Maniaki). (3) Blatsa (Oksya). (38) Mangila (Ano . (14) Kumanichevo (Litya). 21_ (1) Chetiro (Mesopotamia). (13) Bobishcha (Verga). Bay Kuze and Risto Naskoff . (33) Semasi (Kremaston). (26) Lobanitsa (Agios Dimitrios). (22) Pozdivishcha (Halara). They were attached to the German military kommandanturen (military commands) to facilitate their connection with the local population and they also aided in the activities of the Bulgarian club established in Salonika. Lerin (Florina).were directly answerable to the army headquarters in Sofia. Dimitar Gochev from Kumanichevo (Litya) and many others. (2) Zagorichani (Vasilias). Nikola Georgieff from Kondorobi (Metamorphosis). (12) Gabresh (Gavros). Lazar Miadenoff from Rupishcha (Argos Orestikon). Moreover. (24) Drenoveni (Kranionas) (25) V'mbel (Moshohorion). (15) Churilovo (Agios Nikolaos). Paskal Kalemanoff "Dobrolitski" from Dobrolishcha (Kalohorion). Voden (Edessa). (6) Gorentsi (Korisos). Dimitar Ivanov from Zagorichani (Vasilias). Mihail Ristovski and Dinto Soulov from Chereshnitsa (Polikerason). in addition to the liaison officers in service at the German headquarters. (30) Ludovo (Kria Nera). Ivan Minov from Zhelovo (Andartikon). (10) Kosinets (leropigi). Naso Kachamata from Lobanitsa (Agios Dimitrios). (4) Tikveni (Kolokithou). (36) Bela Crkva (Asproklisya). (27) Breshcheni (Avgi). (37) Shkrapari (Asproneron). (11) Drenichevo (Kranohorion). (16) Olishcha (Melisotopos). (20) Sheshteovo (Sidherohorion). Boris Stoyanoff from Gabresh (Gavros). Vangel Kalaydjia from V'mbel (Moshohorion). (8) Zhuzheltsi (Spilea) (9) D'mbeni (Dhendrohori). (29) Chiflik (Ayia Ana). (34) Markoveni (Ambelohorion). (7) Dobrolishcha (Kalohorion).

and other villages with smaller companies. The Italian officers who were in command of the Italian force for the whole Kostour (Kastoria) district and as a result also the nominal commanders of this early security formation were Division Commander A. (42) Maniak (Maniaki). Some of the Lerin (Florina) villages armed in 1943 were: Trsye (Trivounon).-. with a further 130 men under the leadership of Dimitar Ivanov based at the village ofZagorichani (Vasilias).. The Voden (Edessa) district also had a father 700 Macedonian militiamen under arms..000 of these men were in the Kostour area alone..600 men under arms. a British Liaison Officer of the Special Operations Executive parachuted into south western Macedonia in 16 September 1943. German (Agios Germanos) and others. However. (43) Bapchor (Pimenikon) . They even managed to arm some villages from the Lerin (Florina) district which border the Kostour (Kastoria) district as well. Captain Patrick Evans. Srebreno (Asproyia). Lagen (Triandafilya). Nered (Polipotamos).25 Kalcheff s success in arming villages was based on appealing to simple concepts that the average Macedonian peasant could readily identify with. was also used as an outlying base for an Italian garrison and Carbiniera (police). including the sizeable companies based in the town of Kostour (Kastoria) with some 200 men under the command of Lazar Miadenoff and 180 men in the town of Rupishcha (Argos Orestikon) led by Paskal Kalemanoff. describes in his top secret . (41) Setoma (Kefalarion). Prekopana (Perikopi). Venieri and his assistant officer known by the name 'Ravalli'..22 In the Kostour (Kastoria) and Lerin (Florina) counties there were 1. Kalcheff and his followers were able to easily exploit the deep rooted anti-Greek sentiment that was brewing within the vast majority of Macedonian peasants.23 g^ •^ -.Perivolion). in order to convince the peasants to take up arms as part of the greater Axis cause required some shrewd propaganda. Over 1.. (40) Doleni (Zevgostasion)... The village of Zhelevo (Andartikon) in addition to the large militia company numbering in excess of 70 men..24 The headquarters for the IMRO committee was set-up in Kostour (Kastoria) itself. (39) Marchishcha (Kato Perivolion). Banitsa (Vevi). Turye (Korifi). Not only did they manage to arm the greater majority of villages in the county in which Macedonians lived. from which Kalcheff and his supporters would visit all the villagers in the district.

who made the Slav language illegal in Greece and fed people on castor oil for speaking it. However. Therefore you must take arms against the Andartes". and defensive. citing a deposition given by a woman captured by the ELAS andartes in an attack on Prekopana (Perikopi).report Kalcheffs modis operand!.28 The men recruited to the 'Ohrana' village bands were not lacking in soldierly qualities by any means. The reason for this distrust is that in the Macedonian peasant's mind Britain is linked with the King of Greece and the King with Metaxas. in terms of pedigree. many of them having gained a working knowledge of the languages in their period of incarceration.26 The Slav-Macedonians fear and distrust Britain on the whole. more importantly. Most of them had served as conscripts in the Greek army. set-piece guerilla . and also the Macedonian political prisoners held by the Greek authorities in the prisons and internment camps situated on the islands of Makronisos.e. the Greece of Metaxas]. Cephalonia. This move was an apparent public relations success and opened doors to villages and individuals which hitherto viewed the 'Ohrana' operatives in great skepticism and as agents of the Gestapo. once the British had shown themselves forthcoming and not standoffish. Thasos and others. though they have usually shown them friendly to British officers and or's in the mountains during the occupation. During the occupation Bulgar propaganda was quick to exploit this angle of the situation. They surpassed all other units with their durability and their ability to withstand extreme cold. 'Kaltchef and some others came to our village from Kastoria and they gathered all the people together and told us "The Andartes are with the British and the British will bring back the King and an old Greece [i. their fathers and grandfathers invented hit and run. Some of the released men promptly volunteered their services to the IMRO committee office in Kostour (Kastoria).27 Another action that was successful in gaining and winning the peasants trust was the initiative of Kalcheff and other committee members for the negotiated release of Macedonian prisoners of war held by the Italians and Germans. which successfully pushed back the Italian invasion force in 1940 and fought heroically in the sub-zero temperatures of the Albanian mountains. offering their services as Italian and German interpreters and liaison personnel.

Most importantly. Therefore. due to the IMRO involvement both locally and externally. and did not need to be taught how to ambush and disable a larger fighting force. They were guerilla fighters9 par excel lance. Kachauni and Prosfiges — especially the Pontian refugee sub-group. Objectives and Ulterior Motives The 'Ohrana' bands were originally formed by the Italians with the intention of serving as 'anti-Andartes' squads and also with the ulterior motive of dividing the population as part of the "divide and rule" philosophy employed by occupiers since the dawn of time. the ideology and objectives of the bands were formulated by their own commanders and NCO's with only minor consultation with the Italian liaison officers. In a general context. However.Sorovich (Amindeon) road and other important thoroughfares that required guarding from ELAS attacks on supply columns. Mihailov was not accepted in Rome. To flush out spies (shpioni) and neutralize the behavior of the Vlachs. IMRO's involvement in 'Ohrana' in 1943 was of a more or less indirect nature .30 All efforts possible were to be made to prevent the forcible recruiting of young Macedonian peasants by the ELAS 9th and 10th Divisions based in western Macedonia as well as self-defense against raids from ELAS and the Greek nationalist bands also operating in the area. deprive the communist ELAS fighters access to villages and a steady food supply and create a protective ring around the main roads that linked the key towns. Ante Pavelic.29 The agenda of the bands. was to curtail the arrogant and lawless behaviour of their own brethren who had become Grecophiles — the notorious 'Grkomani'. the leader of . however. far from merely being collaborationist formations. but Mihailov's long time friend. hearths and kin from Greek excesses.chiefly through Ivan Mihailov's support for Ante Pavelic's mission to Mussolini and afterwards with an amount through the Macedonian Popular Bank. to facilitate the re-incorporation of Greek occupied Macedonia back into a re-formed and united Macedonia at the appropriate time in the future and to put to an end the reign of Greek terror. the bands. such as the Kostour (Kastoria) . the bands main objective was simply to guard and protect their villages. The principal Italian objective was to divide the population.warfare forty years earlier. set their own agenda based on their own goals and the whole movement took on a life form all of its own.

The delegation requested 1000 rifles. coupled with the fact that the Italians wished to neutralize the potentially hostile Macedonians and thus have one less enemy. a delegation of the Kostour Brotherhood in Sofia set out for Kostour (Kastoria). Croatia's importance as an axis ally and Pavelic's respected standing with the Italians and the Germans was the deciding factor in favor of the Macedonians. The delegation included the president of the brotherhood Spiro Vasilev and the members Georgi Kiselincheff. Pavelic visited Rome meeting with Mussolini and his Foreign Minister and son-in-law Count Galeazzo Ciano. In early 1943. In the report they described the terrible and unhappy lot of the Macedonian peasant population as well as the creation of the MacedonianBulgarian action committees and the militia formations and their armed resistance to the ELAS andartes terror. 20 light and heavy machine guns and the necessary quantity of munitions so that all volunteers be armed. Dr. Tome Bakracheff. According to a source from the old pre-communist Bulgarian National Security Service. The report also pointed to the high combat spirit of the people and the militiamen and insisted that Bulgaria must also give political support to the insurgents. the change in attitude of the Italian occupation authorities towards the Macedonian population was due to the decisive intervention of Ivan Mihailov through Ante Pavelic.the independent Croatian state convinced Mihailoff that he could represent the interests of IMRO and the Macedonian population of south western Macedonia in his mission to Rome.Dimitar Palcheff and Nikola Trifonoff. the Italian occupational authorities in south-western Macedonia tended to favor the Greek nationalist formations and quisling administration as well as the Albanian nationalist bands. Pavelic managed to succeed where the previous Bulgarian delegations had failed in persuading the Italian army to arm the Macedonian population in order for it to defend itself from the raids of the Greek Andartes and Albanian nationalists. Prior to this intervention. 31 In the beginning of April 1943. Upon their return to Bulgaria they compiled and presented a comprehensive report to King Boris detailing their mission.32 Violence and Bloodshed The formation of the Ohrana' bands and the growing confidence of the local Macedonian population enraged the minority . on the initiative of the leadership of the IMRO.

was seemingly just another day in the life for the peasants of the (Kostour) Kastoria district.Turkish refugee Greeks and the Grecophiles. they were still . A young comitadji entered his cell. Chuka (Arhangelos). who were very active at that time in terrorizing the Greeks. key communist cadres and agitators were also jailed. others by bashing it in with the heel of his boot. but. What followed was a heavy four day battle where the ELAS guerrillas were forced to retreat to Langa in the far south of the county and regroup after being shaken at the ferocity of the combined Italian/Ohrana offensive. In 1943 old Mr Karageorgiou was thrown into prison in Argos by the comitadjis. "when" and "where".by and large . 34 The 28th of April 1943.remarkably humane by the standards of those violent years and in direct comparison to their adverseries. and in the old days under the Turks had been Chairman of the 'Greek Committee' which provided a focus for local Greek unity against both Turks and comitadjis. These punitive actions on certain occasions led to violent retribution against particularly notorious prisoners held by the militiamen as noted by Evans: An incident which sheds some light on the Macedonian problem in Greece is one which appeared in summer 43. attacked the ELAS positions at the villages of Nestram (Nestorion). who up to this time held sway over the population with acts of violence and threats of persecution. Also. In early April. a battle formation consisting of 300 Ohrana bandsmen and an Italian force of two battalions. Now. were rounded up and jailed in Kostour (Kastoria) and Rupishcha (Argos Orestikon). It was now only a matter of time before ELAS would strike back in order to restore lost credibility. Stensko (Stena). some say by smashing his head against a wall. the threats from the refugee Greeks and the Grecophiles was reduced to impotence and even ridicule. It was not a question of "if. Chiflik (Ayia Ana) and other surrounding villages. began to beat him and ended by killing him. 33 While the militiamen were definitely forceful in their methods and on certain occasions over stepped the boundaries. Many leading refugee Greeks and Grecophile Fanatics who had persecuted Macedonians in the pre-war Metaxas junta years and even earlier. An old gentleman called Karageorgiou was living in Argos Orestikon. with the 'Ohrana1 in firm control in all the districts of the county. when news . he was the head of a much respected family in that district.

where the Greek andartes massacred (according to the memoirs ofMakris . woman and children. it hastened the speed of recruitment and considerably swelled the ranks of the Ohrana. ELAS in it's treatment of Macedonians. in actuality.38 Captain Patrick Evans noted that: . by making a brutal example of the Macedonian militiamen of Starichani. The peasants felt a great need to be armed to avoid the fate of Starichani.most Macedonians felt bitterness or distrust towards the ELAS formations.not much better than the Quisling Greek government and its armed supporters. and as a direct result .filtered through that ELAS had attacked the village of Zhelegozhe/Kostour (Pendavrison/Kastoria). The massacres also heavily underlined the propaganda of Kalcheff and his followers by bringing to life the very fears they were propagating. 3 5 On the 1st of May 1943.a leader of the Greek participants) 150 men. An old Macedonian woman known as "baba Zoya" was killed by the ELAS marauders when she was burnt to death during this raid. 3 6 The massacre at Starichani was the single largest atrocity committed by Greeks on local Macedonians since the famous massacre perpetrated by the Greek mercenaries at Zagorichani/Kostour (Vasilias/Kastoria) on 25th March 1905. Despite ELAS containing a sprinkling of Macedonians in its ranks and espousing a left wing ideology of creating a new world order. 600 ELAS Andartes attacked the village and rounded up 40 men — including the priest — and executed them all on the spot without provocation or trial. The village was then pillaged and burned. ELAS launched an even more brutal attack on the village of Starichani/Kostour (Lakomata/Kastoria). which was an Ohrana stronghold. It was commonly perceived by Macedonians that all the Grecophiles and spies had joined ELAS. and burned all the Macedonian effect . These callous attacks cemented in the local Macedonian populaces mind negative images ofELAS. was . ELAS was determined to sow the seeds of fear into the Macedonian peasant population in the district who were actively participating in Ohrana. 3 7 If the object of the massacre at Starichani was to frighten the Macedonians into non-participation in the Ohrana bands. ELAS's brutal actions drove many villages into the arms of the axis forces to save themselves from further horrors.

except in villages permenantly garrisoned by Andartes to display Greek sympathies^ 39 The ELAS attacks continued. Rupishcha (Argos Orestikon).. According to a report from the Bitola district governor from 10th of May 1943 the Italian military authorities continued their passive approach towards the ELAS Andartes and nationalist Greek bands who were behaving aggressively. Sveta Nedela (Ayia Kyriaki) and others. During the attack on Ezerets alone. Nestram (Nestorion). as well as murdering prominent local Macedonian activists and the relatives of the militiamen. . 13 people were abducted. On 2nd May 1943. the andartes launched a series of attacks on the villages of Trsye (Trivounon). but also the nationalist formations of Colonel Poulos..4j_ Due to the cruelties of the ELAS Andartes squads and the other nationalist Greek armed formations over the local Macedonian population. the militiamen succeeded in repelling the numerically superior ELAS andartes formation in a heroic defensive action. B'mboki (Stavropotamos) and other villages also in the Kostour region refused point blank to surrender their weapons and also repulsed the ELAS andartes. It was not just the communist ELAS which was thrown into action against the Ohrana militiamen at this time.. the situation continued worsening.42 In a different report it was indicated that Venieri was deliberately siding with the Greek nationalist bands and by his actions was further worsening the situation of the Macedonian population. Instead of assisting the militiamen fight against the ELAS andartes.40 During the attack on Kumanichevo (Litya) in the Kostour (Kastoria) region. Local Macedonian youths were abducted during the raids on the villages Zhupanishcha (Ano Levki). Nestram (Nestorion) and Ezerets (Petropoulakion) and forcefully abducted Macedonian youths. the so called "Poulos Verband" based in Kailar (Ptolamaida) and the infamous Greek nationalist organizations PAO and EKKA who commenced a reign of terror over the Macedonian village population.".. Also. Chetirok (Mesopotamia). plundering and setting them on fire. They continued attacking the Macedonian villages. It was unprofitable anyway. the Macedonian militiamen in Zagorichani (Vasilias). The district governor pleaded for more effective protection of the local population as well as the supplying of foodstuffs in order to relieve the famine of the Macedonian population.

Drenichevo (Kranohorion). the organization of a police service and the order of command at the HQ in Kostour (Kastoria).the Italians defied all logic by attacking the villages of Grache (Ftelya). Marinov also personally oversaw the hand over of a supply of 960 rifles and 3 machine-guns with the necessary munitions to the MacedonoBulgarian Committee in Kostour (Kastoria).44 Italy ^s Capitulation and the Mission of Ivan Mihailov In Italy at the end of July 1943. . the commander of the Fifth Army and the Army Headquarters insisted that ministry intervene in Rome to stop the Italians randomly destroying Macedonian villages. The German occupation authorities were suddenly confronted with the specter of having to garrison large sections of the Greek mainland. certain political events were taking place which were to shape the course of the war and especially the military-political situation in the Balkans. which was to effectively take Italy out of the war. In a report titled "Kostoursko Denes" (Kastoria Today) from 11th August 1943. The subsequent military capitulation of Italy on the 8th of September 1943 which signed an armistice with the allies that required all Italian forces to lay down their arms. Spiro Vasilev and the remaining members of the delegation assisted in the organization and strengthening of the village companies. To do this properly. ethnic minorities and other disaffected groups to assist with the policing and garrison duties.43 While reporting on the difficult situation of the Macedonians in Kostour (Kastoria) region. The delegation also assisted in the appointment ofNCO's. immediately created acute logistical problems for the Germans and a nightmarish situation for the Macedonians. Zhelegozhe (Pendavrison) and Nestram (Nestorion) with artillery inflicting severe damage. Spiro Vasilev stated that the Italian military authorities were not fulfilling the obligations as was originally agreed with the Central Macedonian Committee in Kostour. the German authorities would more than ever require the support of anticommunists. and the government of Marshal Badaglio was created. Colonel Ivan Marinov requested that the Bulgarian army be allowed to occupy the Kostour region in accordance with the German and Italian commands. After reporting information of this attack to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mussolini was brought down from power on July 26th.

Moreover. Also. In it he informs that the Hauptbahnfuhrer of the SS. In accordance with this initiative. Mihailov formulated plans which envisaged that the volunteer corps would not only protect the populace from the ELAS Andartes raids. Himmlers HQ undertook concrete steps for the formation of the IMRO companies. A de facto cease fire came into affect. the "Shar" student corporation initiated the concept of the creation of IMRO volunteer corps in order to aid the population of south-western Macedonia. Kurtev. Heider had established contact with the military attache of the Reich . Ivan Mihailov and his cohorts from the Central Committee of IMRO decided without the authority or knowledge of the Bulgarian government to commence direct negotiations with the Wehrmacht. in Sofia talks were held between high-ranking functionaries of the SS and the IMRO Central Committee members V. or Security Police) where he spoke to Hitler and Himmler and other top German leaders. it is apparent that Mihailov received consent to create two to three battalions consisting of volunteers armed with German weapons and munitions. Greek nationalist bands and Greek administration in south western Macedonia. Kostour (Kastoria) and Voden (Edessa) districts under German control. these battalions were to be under the operative command and disposal of Reichsfuhrer-SS Himmler. It was also anticipated that the IMRO volunteers would form the core of the armed forces of a future Independent Macedonia in addition to providing administration and education in the Lerin (Florina).47 After reaching an agreement with Mihailov in Berlin. but also to spear-head moves for the creation of an spear-head moves for the creation of an Independent Macedonia under a German aegis.45 It was apparent that Mihailov and his associates had broader plans than the initial student initiative. Tsilev who maintained extensive links with the Germans. Additionally.46 Around 1st August 1943. Ivan Mihailov left Zagreb incognito for Germany where he was to visit the main headquarters of Hitler and the headquarters of the SD (Sicherheitsdienst. G.The immediate and pressing problem facing the Macedonians was the loss of the Italians as a benefactor and the back-up security this provided. prior to the Italian capitulation. From the scant available German information. Nastev and D. This could be evidenced by a letter of the German minister plenipotentiary in Sofia from 10th October 1943 to Wilhelmstrasse.

48 During the same period as his mission. In preparation for this aim. under the orders of the Central Committee. Delius. In it we read: "About a month ago (November 1943) the German command has commissioned the IMRO . In this way. Dimchev met with Ivan Mihailov who explained to him the nature of the tasks of the volunteer companies and provided Dimchev with a .in the embassy. Despite the confidential character of the negotiations between Mihailov and the SD. bandsmen and terrorists who had been active in the past. he clarified that he is commissioned from the SS HQ in Berlin to organize and head volunteer squads from IMRO supporters from Bulgaria as well as local volunteers. who recently lives in Zagreb. on 20th December 1943 its agent "T" sent a confidential report to the chief of the Intelligence Department at the Army headquarters. Colonel S. Lerin and Voden under German supervision.Ivan Mihailov. who after being clothed and armed would be sent to fight the ELAS guerrillas in south western Macedonia. Kutsarov. Dimchev was one of the leaders at that time of the Macedonian Youth Union (MMU) in Bulgaria. "49 In regard to the organizing of the volunteer companies of IMRO.Dr. Kurtev and G. the SS representative also consulted with the representative of the German intelligence in Bulgaria . began organizing all the company leaders. Once in Zagreb. the IMRO Central Committee members V. He turned his attention to the political aspects of the tasks given to him and the necessity for close contacts with Neubacher in Belgrade. Nastev who were living in Sofia. In his conversations with him. they were sent to the designated districts to take the fight up to the Greek guerrillas and organize the local population into armed squads. to take the administrative control of Kostour. After receiving instructions as to the nature of their respective missions. Reserve Lieutenant Georgi Dimchev set off for Zagreb in the beginning of September 1943. the Bulgarian government obtained certain information about them via the Bulgarian legation in Zagreb and the Military Intelligence.

Doino Kotori (Kato Idrusa). 51 By May 1944 bases of company strength spmng up around the country side and the area around Kostour (Kastoria). Zeienich (Sklitron). Prekopana (Perikop). ELAS was on the rampage attacking villages across Macedonia perpetrating calculated acts of terror. Margarita and many others.plan of their organization and command. Drenichevo (Kranohorion) and a few others who had been seduced by communist propaganda and had defected to ELAS ranks and the newly formed S. Ekshi Su (Xino Nero). Brezhnitsa (Vatohori). the Germans taking up where the Italians left off. Pesoshnitsa (Ammohori). Turie (Korifi). Vladovo (Agras). V'lkoyanovo (Liki). Sekulevo (Marina).53^ The active villages in the Voden (Edessa) district most frequently mentioned were: Mesimer (Mesimerion). Banitsa (Vevi). Nisiya (Nision). companies were also organized in the sub-prefectures of Kailyari (Ptolamais). Orizari (Rizarion). Yavoryeni (Platani). Armensko (A'lona). Neret (Polipotamos). Srebreno (Asprogiya). Soon after the villages in the Voden (Edessa) and Lerin (Florina) districts were also armed and prepared for service.O. 5 4 Meanwhile. Lagen (Triandafilea).N. Teovo (Karidya). Aytos (Aetos). Pod (Flamurya). reformed. The exception being the villages of D'mbeni (Dendrohori). re-organized and re-armed the village companies in the Kostour (Kastoria) district.52 The participating villages that were armed and mobilized in the Lerin (Florina) district included: Sorovich (Amindeon). the local lake. Gugovo (Vrita). brigade. Voshtareni (Meliti). All the villages in the Kostour district who had participated with such distinction the year before were again ready for service. Moreover. Vrbeni (Itea). Enidje Vardar (Yianitsa) and Gumendzhe (Goumenissa). 50 German and ELAS Attacks In early March 1944. Popozheni (Papayianni). Germanos (Aghios ). The expansion and re-arming of the militia extended into Lerin and Voden by Kalchev's loyal cadres. Slatina (Hrisi). and the vital Klissura Pass were soon in the militia's control. Oshlyani (Agia Fotini). Nevolyani (Skopia).F. On 151 March 1944 the village ofVeschitsa (Angelohorion) was raided and a . Oshchima (Trigonon). Ostrovo (Amisa). Orovo (Piko). And many others including the town of Lerin (Florina) which also had its own sizeable company.

-^.58 The large company numbering 200 men that was based in the town of Kostour (Kastoria) along with the Rupishcha (Argos Orestikon) company numbering 180 men was outnumbered and were forced to withdraw from the Kostour area in the second week of May.villager Georgi Krechkov was executed. Also. and Voden (Edessa) districts.55 On 27th March 1944 the village ofVeschitsa (Angelohorion) was raided and a villager Georgi Krechkov was executed..<. On the 16th of March ELAS raided the village of Petrovo/Gumendzhe (Agios Petros/Goumenissa) where they rounded up and executed 9 villagers.55 On 27th March 1944 ELAS guerillas attacked the village of Tikveni/Kostour (Kolokinthou/Kastoria) destroying the bridge and burning most of the village to the ground. This move was a "Green light" for the local guerrilla regiment of the 9th ELAS Partisan Division to launch a series of attacks aimed at taking control of not only the towns and hamlets in the region. 1944. 5 6 The Militiamen from the Kostour and Voden districts were actively involved in the German anti-guerrilla sweep "Operation May Thunderstorm" which was launched on May 4th 1944 in the region south of Voden (Edessa). Macedonia. but an urgent .^'. They were ably supported by several IMRO volunteer companies from the Kostour (Kastoria) !. the brothers Kozov from the village of Likovishcha/Ber (Lukovitsa/Veria) were summarily executed. on the same day a further 6 villagers were executed in the ELAS raid on the village of Tresino/S'botsko (Orma/Aridea). . but the vitally important Klissura Pass as well. Also.. The German forces involved in this operation amounted to around 600 men from the 4th SS Division in the form of the Battle Group "Lange". the brothers Kozov from the village of Likovishcha/Ber (Lukovitsa/Veria) were summarily executed. On the same day.^. on the same day a further 6 villagers were executed in the ELAS raid on the village ofTresino/S'botsko (Orma/Aridea). It withdrew towards the direction of Salonika. On the 16th of March ELAS raided the village of Petrovo/Gumendzhe (Agios Petros/Goumenissa) where they rounded up and executed 9 villagers.57 In the beginning of May 1944 the Waffen-SS company that had been in the Kostour (Kastoria) area was unexpectedly withdrawn. On the same day.

three hour battle. These were organized by the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) and were to carry the name "IMRO Volunteer Battalions". The attack was so quick and fast. Konstatin Popov and others. A volunteer company of the Kostour militia. but quickly pushed ahead and attacked the town head on. Georgi Begimov. The company had begun receiving rifle and machine-gun fire when it reached the Rupishcha (Argos Orestikon) area. formed from volunteers from the hamlet of Zagorichani (Vassiliada) and the village of Banica (Vevi) from the Lerin (Florina) region was the first to advance on Kostour (Kastoria). there was also formed three volunteer battalions. 5 9 Soon the Klissura Pass was reached without incident and recaptured. Dobri Boumbalov. when the "Vermio" Detachment (belonging to the ELAS 9th Partisan Division) attacked a force that had been organized by Major Andon Kalchev at the village ofYavoryeni (Platani).message to the German Military Commander in Salonika managed to convince the German command of the need to supply replacement German troops with which to regain control of the town of Kostour (Kastoria) and the Klissura Pass as well.but in the months ahead.62 Prior to their arrival. entering the town on May 29th 1944. killing 50 of the IMRO militiamen during the fierce. It was a disaster that would not be forgotten . ELAS accounts boasted that their losses only included 5 dead and 30 wounded. 60 This major success was offset two days later. they had met up with Georgi Dimchev and Dimitar Tsilev both officers of Macedonian origin in the Bulgarian Army stationed in Bitola and together they arrived in Voden (Edessa) on 16th June 1944. Major . The Kostour militia was turned around and sent forward.61 IMRO Volunteer Battalions In addition to the village companies in these counties. The IMRO cadres who set off for Voden were Ivan Motikarov. Metodi Kerpachev. Ivan Ilchev. that the headquarters' company of the ELAS unit which had made its residence in the town was captured by the militiamen. worse was to follow. Stefan Bochvarov. now reinforced by a German rifle company. The delegation of IMRO cadres and army officers met up with the German Kommandant. They were formed after the arrival of the IMRO cadres from the Sofia IMRO HQ who arrived initially in Voden. Atanas Pashkov. near Voden (Edessa).

This was in accordance with the agreement Ivan Mihailov and IMRO struck with Hitler and Himmler for the formation and arming of volunteer companies and battalions. Dimchev was a local hero. Together with 30 volunteers. but also from the adjacent counties of Enidzhe Vardar (Yianitsa) and Gumendzhe (Goumenissa). they set off for the town of Kostour and proceeded to form the volunteer corps from the enthusiastic volunteers. which was also referred to by it's town of origin "Vodensko Battalion" (Edessa Battalion). The men who were responsible for the formation and leadership of this Battalion were Georgi Dimchev and Atanas Pashkov. but. having been born in the village of Bozec/Enidzhe Vardar (Atira/Yiannitsa) and his assistant Pashkov and other volunteers were most successful in gathering volunteers not only from Voden (Edessa). The key figure in the organization of the Kostour Battalion was Captain Ivan Motikarov who was ably assisted by Hristo Lagadinov. The move was an apparent success for everywhere that the Waffen-SS company and the "Kostour" volunteer company went was soon cleared of ELAS guerrillas."Kostour".64 The IMRO Volunteers in Kostour wore Italian Army uniforms with arm bands that were Red and Black with the inscription: "Volunteer Battalion Kostour" in yellow lettering.67 . The civilian population was so afraid of this battle group that their very presence in an area was enough to quiet any civilian protest.65 One "Marksman" Company from the Kostour Battalion was detached in the summer of 1944 and assigned to a reinforced company of the 4th SS Police Armored Infantry Division which was making a sweep of the area.Heider of the Waffen SS with whom they discussed the formation of the volunteer corps. commonly referred to as the "Kostoursko Battalion" (Kastoria Battalion). They assembled a force of 800 enthusiastic men who were armed and ready for service for the fatherland. 66 The second to form was the 3rd IMRO Volunteer Battalion "Voden". The Kostour Battalion consisted of 500 volunteers who were drawn from the surrounding communities who were to assist the local village companies in defending themselves.63 The first formed was the Kostour (Kastoria) Battalion which was designated as the 1st IMRO Volunteer Battalion . The Reserve Company of the Battalion was located in Kostour itself and was supplied with machine-guns and even mortars.

Lerin and Voden Battalions. 70 It was envisaged that these battalions would form the vanguard of the whole Macedonian military effort in Western Macedonia and would spear-head the drives and sweeps against the ELAS guerrilla forces. while the 2nd "Lerin" Battalion was still in the process of being organized and trained.and was considered the most prestigious of the three battalions. In one report of Colonel . . The Kostour (Kastoria) Battalion was to gain a fearsome reputation in the sweeps and drives it participated in and for courage under fire . beaten and shot in public. jacket with straps and the hat which featured prominantly the symbol of the Macedonian revolutionaries .V. In order to I prevent the further recruitment of new volunteers by the IMRO militias or battalions.71 The Last Hoorah! After ELAS had failed to succeed in its attempts to discredit the volunteer IMRO militia bands in the eyes of the local population.signifying "BulgaroMacedonian Volunteers .the skull and cross bones. Above that a red with black cross. the anti-fascist bands of EAM and ELAS instigated a drastic program of systematic violence in the villages against relatives of the volunteers."Lerin". plus the regular pay and allowances like German forces received was a great aid in keeping the morale of these volunteers up and in no case was any of these volunteer bases ever successfully attacked by the Communist guerrilla bands. On the sleave there was a shoulder patch with the Latin intials B. which needless to say.The Voden Battalion wore re-cut Italian uniforms consisting of trousers. They were considered an elite fighting force in much the same manner as the German SS. Regular rotation of these volunteers to different bases and regions. and their houses were plundered and burned.69 The last to form was the lind IMRO Volunteer Battalion .68 There were also plans to form a seperate Volunteer Battalion in the town ofEnidzhe Vardar (Yiannitsa) based on the models of the Kostour. They were arrested. but the German high-command refused permission for its formation.D. By 15th August 1944 the 1st "Kostour" and 3rd "Voden" Battalions were already in active service. ELAS forcibly mobilized all the Macedonian peasants of fighting age into its Greek units. much like its counterparts in Kostour and Voden was referred to simply as the "Lerinsko Battalion" (Florina Battalion).Voden".

Mirchev to the staff of the army from 5th June 1944. On 12th June 1944 the combined IMRO "Marksman" Company / 4th Waffen-SS Police detachment pounced on the village of D'mbeni (Dhendrohori) in the Kostour (Kastoria) district to assail two ELAS units which were stationed there. The collateral damage consisted of one civilian killed and three wounded in the cross-fire. which included elements of the 4th SS Division.73 On 3rd July 1944 Operation "Stone Eagle" was launched in the northern Pindus Mountains against elements of the 8th and 9th ELAS r Division.000 men. it was reported that the ELAS Andartes took captive the band led by Kosta Kachaunov near the village of Turye (Korifi) . while the other ELAS unit was billeted in various houses in the village. When the ELAS guerillas realised that they were surrounded. They were led by three Macedonian NCOs and one German officer. one house and fifteen barns were set ablaze. The German forces numbered some 12-15.consisting 28 militiamen. 72 The battle group stealthily surrounded the village at dawn and prepared to close in on the ELAS units by taking up key strategic positions prior to the engagement. The ELAS units managed to escape the encirclement during the engagement. One German was heavily wounded. In order to frighten the local population. they began firing and they attempted to withdraw from the village. 639th Security Regiment and the 104th Jdger Division. The attacking battle group consisted of 80 IMRO Battalionists and 50 heavily armed German storm troopers kitted out in their distinctive camouflage uniforms. A heavy engagement ensued that lasted an hour. One of the ELAS units was hiding in the village school-house. D'mbeni was a large Macedonian village which had become a centre of communist activity in the mountainous forests in the north-western region of the Kostour district. the ELAS andartes then proceeded to slaughter all the militiamen in cold blood. The operation lasted two weeks until the 17th July. Nine ELAS guerillas were killed as were three Germans. Also. The participating Macedonian formations included the 1st IMRO Volunteer Battalion .

The Klissura Pass was already in guerrilla hands. taking part were the 3rd Police Volunteer Battalion from Verria which was made up of Italians and even some German raised Albanian Balisti. so the withdrawal had to be made under enemy fire. the German liaison officer attached to the battalion. In addition to these forces were also three security battalions from Kozani. Accounts from ELAS sources admit to the ferocity of this offensive. Also. In the ensuing battle. 20 IMRO militiamen were reported killed in action and 300 militiamen were captured. two IMRO companies were wiped out in the heroic defense of Voden (Edessa) by a combined ELAS 9th and 10th Partisan Division attack. ELAS accounts also boast of capturing 4 machine-guns and 150 automatic rifles.77 Photographic Appendix ."Kostour" from Kastoria and the 2nd IMRO Volunteer Battalion "Lerin" from Florina. admitting that on account of this Axis attack. This order was carried out. The ELAS commander gave orders that the captured prisoners not be shot. 74 On 21st of August 1944 ELAS successfully attacked the IMRO stronghold at the village of Chereshnitsa / Kostour (Polikerason / Kastoria). The end in Greece was coming quickly now and finally the Battalion was ordered to begin a withdrawal from Kostour (Kastoria). plus two of the Kostour Battalions IMRO assigned officers and 22 militiamen were killed.75 On 31st August 1944 as a small convoy of vehicles carrying men of the Kostour (Kastoria) Battalion was headed towards Salonika when ELAS guerrillas ambushed them. During the battle. but must be killed with the knife.76 In September. their forces became seperated and cut off.

see "The Politics of Terror" by Duncan Perry (1988) 2. The aim of the IMRO was to weld the villages of Macedonia into a conscious nation and the autonomy of Macedonia. IMRO stands for the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation. or at the very least. It must be point out that at this stage of Macedonian history. Macedonians stand to Bulgarians as Austrians stand to Germans.ABOVE: Vanco Mihailov BELOW: Spiro Kitincev FOOTNOTES: 1_. which was originally formed in Salonika in 1893 by a group of Macedonian intellectuals with a Bulgarian national outlook. While the leadership was strongly Bulgarophile. the differences. others who felt themselves Macedonian. proBulgarian. For more information on the the formation of IMRO. are slight. but with strong . especially at that time. most Macedonians felt themselves Bulgarian. within the ranks of the IMRO companies and Battalions the picture varied with men who felt simply Bulgarian.

See: "Balgartskoto Natsionaino Delo vo Yugozapadno Makedonia (1941-44)" article by Dr Dobrin Michev in "Makedonski Pregled" (page 77) Volume XX. while Pop-Traykoff hailed from D'mbeni (Dhendrohori). 3. See "London Times" 27th July 1925 for details of the massacre of innocent civilians at the villages of Triis. 'ELAS' is an acronym for Elinikos Laikos Apolettherotikos Stratos (Greek Popular Liberation Army). No 4.C. 1997. 1914) and the article "The Devastation of Macedonia" by H. (Sofia 1997) The original document can be viewed at the . See "Fields of Wheat. sympathies. 5. Karakoy and Lovech (all in the Seres district). Wallis. For the brutal and barbaric behavior of the Greek army in the Balkan campaign of 1912-13. see: "Carnegie Endowment For International Peace: Report of the International Commission To Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars" (Washington D. Serbia (Yugoslavia) received 38% and Bulgaria 11%. See: "Egeyski Buri: Revolutsionemoto Dvizhenye Vo Vodensko i NOF Vo Egeyska Makedonia" (pp 104 & 123) by Vangel Ayanovski "Oche" (Skopye 1975). "Quarterly Review" Vol. Greece received 51% of Macedonian territory. See "The Greek Struggle in Macedonia 1897-1913" by Douglas Dakin (Thessaloniki 1966) for a comprehensive account of the massacres perpertrated by Greek merceneries during this period. Karakasidou (Chicago 1997) and also "The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World" by Loring M. Chakalaroff and Kliasheff were from the village of Smerdesh (Kristalopigi). The common thread that united them was an undying enmity toward Greeks. Danforth (New Jersey 1995) which examine the concepts for the construction and formation of ethnic identities. 6. 220 (London Jan-Apr 1914) 7. 10. For examples of flagrant government endorsed human rights abuses particularly against ethnic Macedonians during the Metaxas dictatorship. Hills of Blood" by AnastasiaN. All from the Kostour (Kastoria) district. and some who felt simply Macedonian and who did not care where national salvation was coming from. 4.M. see: "Exiles in the Aegean: A Personal Narrative of Greek Travel" (pp 387-389) by Australian author Bert Birtles (London 1938) 8. 'Andartes' is the Greek name for guerrilla fighters.

should have come under the influence of the IMRO village companies and Battalions due to the fact that their geopoltical positioning was in the middle of a thoroughly 'OhranaVIMRO Battalion subdistrict.Central Bulgarian Archives in Tmovo.Politecheska i Voena Istoria" (page 411) by Georgi Daskalov (Sofia 1999) regarding the arming of the village of Chetirok (Mesapotamia). When the Greek communists created the SNOF. did so because they contained prominent co-villagers who had been pre-war members of the KKE (Greek Communist Party). Greek historian John Koliopoulos (1994) suggests that the collaboration of the peasants with the Germans. Depending upon whether their village was vulnerable to attack by the Greek communist guerrillas (ELAS) or the occupation forces. This argument is slightly flawed for a couple of reasons. 1_L See: "Kratka Istoricheska Biografia Na Rodnoto Mi Selo Trsye" (pp 126-129) by Traian Andonoff Giorgioff (Toronto 1994) and "Uchasta Na Balgarite v Egeyska Makedonia 193646 . Tikveni (Kolikinthou). Only one man from Zhupanishcha volunteered into the 'Ohrana' companies and IMRO Battalions. SNOF's ranks were swelled by IMRO . Zhupanishcha and Orman remained within the ELAS camp. Izglibe (Porya). Those Macedonian villages (a small minority) that did join ELAS instead of the 'Ohrana' village companies. Chetirok (Mesopotamia). the peasants would opt to support the side in relation to which they were most vulnerable. many of the former collaborators enlisted in the new unit. Despite having the staunchly IMRO villages of Maniak (Maniaki). The villages of Zhupanishcha (Ano Levki) and Orman (Kato Levki) by the power of Koliopoulos's reasoning. the attempt was to promise "freedom" (autonomy or independence) to the formerly persecuted Slavic minority as a means of gaining its support. Italians and the Bulgarians was determined by the geopolitical position of each village. File 23/1/792/4-5. 12. For in depth details on the occupations of Macedonian work immigrants see: "Sojoumers and Settlers: The Macedonian Community in Toronto to 1940" by Lillian Petroff (Toronto 1995) and "The Macedonians in Australia" by Peter Hill (Perth 1989) 13. Sheshteovo (Sidherohori) and Setoma (Kefalaria) spread all around. In both cases.

No.bandsmen and Battalionists after the withdrawl of the German forces from the Kostour (Kastoria) district in May 1944. and "Etsi Arhise 0 Emphilious 1943 -1945" (Paris 1987). J_5. 1997. No. For comprehensive lists of participating villages. By all accounts. 25.". Much good reading about the major participants can be found in: "Uchasta Na B'lgarite v Egeyska Makedonia 1936 1946" by Georgi Daskalov (Sofia 1999) F7. 18^ "Uchasta Na B'lgarite v Egeyska Makedonia 1936 1946" (page 776) by Georgi Daskalov (Sofia 1999) 19. 4. 16.undated) 23. Police & SS 1943-1945" (Page 40) by Antonio J. See: "Balgartskoto Natsionaino Delo vo Yugozapadna Makedonia (1941-1944)" article written by Dr Dobrin Michev in "Makedonski Pregled" (page 81) Volume XX. 4.. No. 4. (Sofia 1997) 21... (Sofia 1997) 24. 1997. (Sofia 1997). Also see: "Hroniko To Agona: StaArmata! Sta Armata! Istoria Tis Ethnikis Antistasis" (pp 15-16) by Tomos Defteros (Paris . (New York . see: "Uchasta Na B'lgarite. See: "Kratko Istorichesko Biografia Na Rodnoto Mi Selo Trsye" (pp 126-129) by Traian Andonoff Giorgioff (Toronto .undated) 20. See: "Balgartskoto Natsionaino Delo v Yugozapadna Makedonia (1941-1944)" article written by Dr Dobrin Michev in "Makedonski Pregled" Volume XX. Most of the defections took place after it was apparent that the axis cause was lost. 1997. "Herakles & The Swastika: Greek Volunteers in the German Army. See: "Egeyski Buri: Revolutsionemoto Dvizhenye Vo Vodensko i NOF Vo Egeyska Makedonia" (Page 123) byVangel Ayanovski (Skopye 1975). Tsvetan Miadenoff is said to have been born in the village of Gomichevo/Lerin (Kelli/Florina). Munoz. See: "Balgartskoto Natsionaino Delo vo Yugozapadna Makedonia (1941-1944)" article by Dr Dobrin Michev in "Makedonski Pregled" (page 82) Volume XX. For a comprehensive list of leaders and activists. and particularly after Bulgaria's conversion to communism. see: "Uchasta Na B'lgarite v Egeyska Makedonia 1936 1946" (chapter six) by Georgi Daskalov (Sofia 1999) 22.

both these groups were predominantly Turkophone. (pp 88-89) Also see: "Bulgartskoto Natsionaino Delo v Yougozapadna Makedoniya (1941-1944)" article by Dr Dobrin Michev in "Makedonski Pregled" (Page 45) VolumeXXI. 1st 1944). P. Also. 3L See: "Balgartskoto Natsionaino Delo vo Yugozapadna Makedonia (1941-1944)" article written by Dr Dobrin Michev in "Makedonski Pregled" 32. 33. Kachauni are formerly of Albanian ethnic stock. A great uncle of the author after being held captive in Italy. ibid. particularly in the Pindus mountain district of Greece with the town of Metsovon forming their centre. See: "Svetii Likovi Od Egeyska Makedonia" (pp 111-112) by Tashko Mamurovski (Skopye 1987). No. ibid. op cit. 26. 29. Kachauni are Grecophone colonists who originate from Epirus who fled to Western Macedonia in the middle of the 19th century to escape the repressive Turkish overlord of Yanina Ah Pasha. but rather a collection of refugee groups from diverse places. was released and promptly served as an interpreter at the HQ in the town ofKostour (Kastoria). Most refugees in south-western Macedonia originate from Asia Minor (Western Turkey) and Pontus (Northern Turkey). 30. These refugee sub-groups are colloquilly known as "Micrasians" and "Pontians". Force 133 FO 371/4349 03880 (Athens Dec. They can be found in significant numbers all over the Balkans.H. 34. The term "prosfiges" literally means "refugees" and does not designate a specific group. Todor Simovski et al. ibid. Evans. Vlachs are a formerly nomadic pastoralists (transhumant shephards) who speak a Latin based language akin to modem Romanian.l. 27. 3^. (Sofia 1998) Michev quotes the 29th of April for this attack and puts the number of those executed at 33. The three day discrepency in the dates can . ibid. See: "The Inhabited Places of Aegean Macedonia" (Page 55) by Todor Simovski (Skopye 1978) 36. 28. See: "Report on the Free Macedonia Movement in Area Florina 1944" by Capt.1994).

O. see: "Bulgarian Conspiracy" (pp 107-108) by J. Dakin et al. 820. For lists of participating villages. see: "Balgartskoto Natsionaino Delo vo Yugozapadna Makedonia (1941-1944)" article written by Dr Dobrin Michev in "Makedonski Pregled" 54. ibid. 50. ibid.H. 44. S. file 23. See: "Kostourskiot Govor" (pp 19-20) by Blagoi Shklifov (Sofia 1968) 39. 41. Police & SS 1943-1945" (Page 40) by Antonio J.l. 45. ibid.e. Central Bulgarian Archives at Veliko Tumovo.N.L. 37. 1. 48. ibid. ibid. 46. See: "Balgartskoto Natsionaino Delo vo Yugozapadna Makedonia (1941-1944)" article written by Dr Dobrin Michev in "Makedonski Pregled" 42. a. Munoz (New York . 55. See: "Uchasta Na B'lgarite V Egeyska Makedonia 1936 1946" by Georgi Daskalov (Sofia 1999) .F. P. Capt. file 23. ibid. The source in the Macedonian publication was probably an oral testimony and the Bulgarian source was from the High Command office in Kostour. 43.792 L. 51. 40. ibid. is an acronym for Slaviano Makedonski Osloboditelen Front (Slav-Macedonian National Liberation Front) 52. 47. Swire (London 1939) 38. It is possible the oral testimony "rounded-up" the figures to 40. 49.70. ibid. Evans et al. The discrepency in the number of victims is a little more difficult to ascertain. op. a. See: "Herakles & the Swastika: Greek Volunteers in the German Army. op. op explained simply.undated) 53. 29.e. ibid. The primary source of the Bulgarian document can be viewed at: Central Bulgarian Archives at Veliko Tumovo. ibid. op cit (page223) Also.

76. ibid. 74.. See: "Herakles & the Swastika: Greek Volunteers in the German Army.. 1998. Police & SS 1943-1945" (Page 35) by Antonio Munoz (New York . 1998.1996) 66. ibid. Dobrin Michev in "Makedonski Pregled" (pp 54-55) Volume XXI. ibid. No. Police & SS 1943-1945" (pp 35-36) by Antonio Munoz (New York " undated) 75.l. No. ibid. 68. ibid. undated) also see P. Evans "Report on the Free Macedonia Movement.Istorias tis Ethnikis Antistasis" (page 104) by Tomos Detteros (Paris. See: "Egeyska Makedonia Vo NOB 1941-1945" (a. Police & SS 1943-1945" (Page 40) by Antonio Munoz (New York . See: "Herakles and the Swastika .e. Police & SS 1943-1945" (Page 24) by Antonio Munoz (New York . (Page 41) 67. 63. See: "Balgartskoto Natsionaino Delo vo Yugozapadna Makedonia (1941-1944)" article written by Dr.56. ibid.53) 57.H. ibid.STA ARMATA! STA ARMATA! . (page 41) 59. 70. 1.* The ELAS journal does not mention the execution of the captives and gives the total number captured as 150. See: "Kosturskoto Selo D'mbeni" (pp 122-123) by Lazar Pop-Yanev (Skopje 1981) 73. 65. See: "Herakles & the Swastika: Greek Volunteers in the German Army. ibid.Greek Volunteers in the . ibid.. 62.undated) 71. ibid. 61. 60. See: "Herakles & the Swastika: Greek Volunteers in the German Army. Dobrin Michev in "Makedonski Pregled" (Page ) Volume XXI. See: "To Hroniko ton Agona . See: "Uchasta Na B'lgarite V Egeyska Makedonia" by Georgi Daskalov (Sofia 1999) 69. See: "Balgartskoto Natsionaino Delo vo Yugozapadna Makedonia (1941-1944)" article written by Dr.undated) 58. See: "Herakles & the Swastika: Greek Volunteers in the German Army. 64. (Page 41) 72.

ibid. Police & SS" (page 41) by Antonio J Munoz (New York) 77.German Army. .