Macedonia and the reforms online

. (page 4 of 27)
Online LibraryDraganofMacedonia and the reforms → online text (page 4 of 27)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

soldiers maltreated the inhabitants of the village of Igumenetz.

Five days after, the villagers Constantine Stoltcheff and Gheorghi
Stoltcheff of Igumenetz, while working in their fields, were beaten and left
on the spot half-dead. On the 1 8th May, Nako Trentchoff, of the same
place, was tortured and his wife violated by soldiers ; in consequence of
these outrages the poor woman lost her reason. The soldiers plundered
the houses and barns of the chief inhabitants, then they burned houses,

Digitized by



barns, and outhouses, with the grain, stores, and whatever they could not
carry away.

On the 14th May a detachment of one hundred and thirty soldiers entered
by night the village of Stenik, plundered the houses and maltreated the
inhabitants, among them the " mukhtar " Grozdan Stalkoff. On the 1 7th May
a strong detachment of three hundred soldiers committed acts of unheard-
of violence against the inhabitants of the village of Sharbanovo ; the
soldiers tortured Christo Ivanoff, Vanghel Christeff, Anghel IvanofF, and
Christo Angheloff, who were quietly working in their fields. The same
day the soldiers quartered in the village of Elleshnitza beat to death the
peasants Christo and Tass6 Penkovi, Sotir Koliof, and Tasse* Philippoff ;
four days after they tortured the rich Bulgarian notable Gheorghi Naskoff.

On the 3rd June sixty soldiers arrived at the village of Nikodim and
cruelly maltreated Stanola Stankoff, Spas Alexoff, Vanghel Gotzeff, Ivan
Dimofif, Stolan Stoikoff, Athanas Nicoloff, and Velin Ivanoff. On the
4th June soldiers beat the inhabitants of the village of Goreme\ among
others Tsone* Tralanoff, Athanas Nicoloff; and Constantine Stoianoff. The
same excesses were committed by soldiers in the villages of Skirt_
(10th June) and Gabreni (nth June).

Turkish gendarmes, accompanied by Greek emissaries, march through
the villages, inciting the Bulgarian population to recognise the Patriarchate
and menacing them with massacre and exile if they do not abandon the

The Bulgarian notables, the schoolmasters, and the greater number of the
priests of Strumitza and of this caza are imprisoned. Turkish function-
aries and gendarmes as well as agents of the Greek archbishop go through
the villages in order to force the Bulgarian population to sign denunciations
against Monseigneur Gherassim, Bulgarian Metropolitan of Strumitza, and
to go over to the Patriarchate. In order to compromise Monseigneur
Gherassim in the eyes of the population, the Turkish authorities, at the
beginning of last May, caused the metropolitan church to be surrounded
by a cordon of gendarmes, arrested his secretary Duduloff, forced his
kavass to leave his service, and, after having thus isolated him, tried to get
him to leave his post, declaring that the Sublime Porte no longer recognised
him as Metropolitan.

On the 17th May a detachment of soldiers surrounded the village
of Burievo, and organised a veritable man-hunt ; every villager who
ventured outside his house was at once shot ; then the soldiers applied
themselves to plundering the houses ; and burned a dozen. Five days
afterwards, other soldiers, passing through the same village, violated two
women and a young girl of sixteen, Kera Miteva.

On the 2 1 st April nearly all the notables of Nevrocop were arrested. The
next day, and the days following, the notables, the schoolmasters, and the
priests in the caza of Nevrocop were arrested in a body. The village of
Baldevo had the same fate as Tchurilovo and Banitza. The soldiers and
bashi-bazouks killed or arrested all the villagers whom they encountered
in the countryside : the work of the fields was abandoned.

On the 1st May more than twenty peasants of Banitchani were cruelly

Digitized by



tortured by the soldiers and bashi-bazouks. On the 3rd a hundred
inhabitants of the village of Skrebatno were also tortured ; among the
victims were old men of eighty and young lads of fifteen. On the 4th the
same atrocities took place at the village of Ossikovo, where Thodore
Stolloff and Costa Ilieff died under the lash. On the 5th sixteen persons
of the village of Kovatchovitza were tortured. On the 6th five inhabitants
of the village of Fotovishta suffered the following torture : after having ,
subjected them to the bastinado, the soldiers fastened pieces of pointed
wood between their fingers and then tied their hands tightly with leather

On the 1 ith six peasants of the village of Obidim were frightfully mal-
treated. On the 14th twenty Bulgarian notables and the three priests of
Libiakhovo suffered unheard-of tortures; two of these priests, Stolan
Zimbileff and Thodore Gudeff, were left on the spot unconscious; a
young man, Gheorghi Polenoff, was shot by the soldiers. On the 20th
May all the men of the village of Laki were beaten. On the 21st the
soldiers literally cut to pieces two villagers of Teshovo, and the muti-
lated heads of the victims were borne through the village. The soldiers
and the bashi-bazouks committed similar atrocities and violence in the
villages of Paril, Galtaninovo, Tarlisse, Lovtcha, Bielotintzi, Startchistchta,
Gherman, Kremen, Martchov-Tchiflik, Leshten, etc. On the 28th April
the director of the school at Mekhomia was arrested and conducted under
escort to Vodena. On the 23rd of the same month, in the caza of Razlog,
three priests, the schoolmasters, and forty of the Bulgarian notables were
imprisoned. Schools were shut On the 2nd May three schoolmasters
and five notables of that town were arrested and taken under escort to
Serres, where they are detained. On the 5th more than sixty Bulgarian
notables of the same town were similarly taken and imprisoned at Serres.
In the cazas of Nevrocop, Demir-Hissar, Razlog, etc., the Bulgarians who
were able to escape pursuit and massacre fled into the mountains or took
refuge in Bulgaria.

In the village of Gramada the soldiers and bashi-bazouks killed the
mayor of the village and a grocer, and arrested a dozen peasants. On the
20th April were arrested the schoolmasters Nicolas Hadji-Tasheff, Yanaki
Ilieff, Christo Mitoff. On the 20th May the priest Averki, chief of the
community, was arrested and conducted under escort to Tetovo (Kalkan-
delen), where he is imprisoned. From the 21st April the priests, notables,
and schoolmasters of Ghevghely were imprisoned. Churches and schools
were closed ; all the villages of the caza were searched and plundered.

On the 23rd April were arrested at Vodena the notables Ivan and Zano
Zaneshoff, Ivan Lageff, and several others. At the same date wholesale
arrests were made in the villages of Messimer, Vladovo, Sarakinovo,
Tzakoni, Strupino, Dolno-Radevo, etc. At the same period the greater
number of the schoolmasters of the whole caza of Vodena were imprisoned
and the schools shut All these unfortunates, among whom were several
old men, were thrown together into unventilated prisons, where they were
obliged to stand for want of room. Most have suffered cruel treatment
No inhabitant of Vodena can risk going outside the town to work in the

Digitized by



kitchen gardens, which have been devastated by the soldiers. On the
3rd May, in one of these gardens, a woman of sixty years was attacked by
five soldiers, who subjected her to the worst outrages.

A great number of notables, schoolmasters, priests, and villagers of the
caza of Tikvesh are imprisoned. At Kavadar, chief town of the caza,
seven arrested notables were tortured and conducted from village to village
in order that they should indicate to the authorities the people associated
with the committees. One of them, Christo Shandeff, died in consequence
of ill-treatment Mikhail Ghetcheff had his feet covered with suppurating
wounds in consequence of blows received. Entcho Stavreff was shot near
the village of Kotchani, in presence of Chefki Bey, a Turkish notable
of Kavadar.

Lazo Daftcheff, after having been conducted to the villages of Beghishta,
Dragolil, Dabnishta, Gornikovo, where he was pitilessly tortured to make
him reveal the depots of arms and the associates of the committees, went
to Salonica to get medical attendance, twenty days after being set at
liberty: the Russian and English consuls in that town interviewed him,
and were eye-witnesses of his wounds and ecchymoses and swollen feet.
Daftcheff had been maltreated in presence of the catmacan and of the
chief of police of Tikvesh, as well as of the Turkish notable, Kiani Bey.

At Kotchani the soldiers shot a Bulgarian peasant at the moment when
the police were setting him at liberty. In the second fortnight of May
the catmacan of Tikvesh, accompanied by Chefki Bey and Mussa, well
known for their acts of brigandage in that region, made a circuit of the
villages in his caza, with an escort of four hundred soldiers. He arrested
the mayor of the village of Bunarche\ Stavri Ghitcheff, and his son, and
carried them from one village to another, subjecting them to the worst
tortures, in consequence of which Stavri died at Gornikovo : the calmacan
forced the mayor of this last village to sign a document declaring
that Stavri Ghitcheff committed suicide. At Rojden he arrested Sekula
Yankoff, whom he beat unmercifully; this unfortunate man died on the
22nd May, in the house where he had been shut up.

At Kessendria was arrested Zlati Lazaroff, whom the soldiers wounded
severely in the throat, and who was transported to the Turkish hospital at
Salonica. Dafo Banianski was beaten to death in the prison at Kavadar.
Christo Pope Christoff, son of the priest of the village of Ressovo, died in
consequence of tortures inflicted on him : he had been arrested because
he had gone to Salonica to complain of the arbitrary acts and violence of
the local authorities. On his return from his circuit, the calmacan brought
with him ninety-five Bulgarians, whom he threw into prison at Kavadar ;
among these prisoners is Monseigneur Methody, chief of the Bulgarian
community of that town.

During the three first weeks of the month of July, more than twenty-five
villages of the caza of Tikvesh had to suffer acts of violence and depreda-
tion on the part of the soldiers and bashi-bazouks. The soldiers are
quartered in the village and fed by the inhabitants ; they have beaten and
tortured a great number of the villagers, whose wives and daughters they
have tortured and whose houses they have rifled ; they sold in the market

Digitized by



at Kavadar the property they had stolen. The administrative authorities
do not interfere.

Here are some instances among more than three hundred cases of
violence and atrocity recorded, all with the names of the localities and of
the victims. At the village of Rojden the soldiers violated young girls,
young women, and even old women of seventy. At Galishta, the " ilaves ''
(cavalry regiment of Uskub) violated all the women and young girls, and
even little girls of ten and twelve years, subsequently gathering together
all the inhabitants in the square of the village and threatening to burn
them alive if they complained. Some villagers having told these abomina-
tions to some beys of Tikvesh, the latter counselled them to be patient,
" for nobody could hold in those undisciplined ' ilaves.' M

On the 1st July the military authorities searched the houses of the
village of Kovatchevitza (caza of Razlog) and effected numerous arrests.
A party of the villagers fled to the mountains ; fifteen of them succeeded
in taking refuge in Bulgarian territory, and established themselves in the
village of Lidjani (district of Philippopolis). On the 15th July a detach-
ment of troops entered the village of Gabrovo (caza of Gorna-Djumala) ;
the soldiers arrested without motive thirty of the inhabitants and severely
maltreated them; a certain number of the villagers escaped into the

On the 17th July a battalion of infantry, composed of eight hundred men,
after a short skirmish with a band of insurgents in the neighbourhood of
the village of Postolar (caza of Kukush), attacked for no reason this village
and sacked it; the soldiers burned ten houses under the pretext that
" comitadjis " (associates of the committees or insurgents) were hiding in
them. In the commencement of the month of July, four bands of Greek
brigands appeared in the cazas of the vilayet of Salonica. One of these
bands marched through the nahte (canton) of Niagusa, and captured a
notable of that town, for whom it exacted a ransom. Another, in the
caza of Kassandra, attacked, on the 8th July, the village of Revenek,
where it killed the mayor, his wife, and his son, as well as Ismail Effendi,
a lawyer from Salonica, who was passing through the locality.

Vilayet of Monastir (Bitoua)

On the 2 1 st April (old style) all the schoolmasters and six Bulgarian
notables of the town of Kostur, fourteen Bulgarians of the village of
Krapishta, six from Dambeni, were imprisoned. On the 25th April
were arrested the schoolmasters Ivan Stephanoff at Tchetirok, and
Mikhail Kimoff at Drenitchevo. On the 7th May were imprisoned at
Monastir some forty Bulgarians from the villages of Kossinetz, Smardesh,
Lubanitza, and Vambel ; among the prisoners are eight priests, of whom
three are from Kossinetz, three from Smardesh, one from Lubanitza,
and one from Vambel.

The flourishing village of Smardesh, which numbered three hundred
houses and looked like a pretty little town, was bombarded by the
Turkish artillery, and is now nothing but a heap of ruins. On the 30th May

Digitized by



a body of a hundred soldiers and as many bashi-bazouks had an en-
counter with some insurgents in the neighbourhood of Gabresh. Instead
of pursuing the revolutionary band, they entered the village and killed
seventeen villagers.

On the 20th June last, a detachment of soldiers, commanded by
Mehmed Effendi, broke into the village of Zagoritchani, under pretext of
looking for arms. Having found nothing, the soldiers maltreated the
inhabitants, beat unmercifully ten of the villagers, and hung up two of
these unfortunates by the toes, head downwards. Most of the Bulgarian
villages of the caza of Kostur were plundered. The churches and
schools are shut

At the beginning of May were arrested the notable Hadji-Zdrave
Hadji-Angheloff, member of the council of the caza of Prilep, the priests
G. Schivatchefii D. Bidjoff^ Iv. Adamoff, and sons of this last, as well as
thirty-five young men of the town. On the 28th of June fifteen Bulgarian
merchants of Prilep were thrown into prison. The cazas of Okhrida,
Lerin (Fiorina), Dibre\ Kitchevo, have passed through the same experiences
as those of Kostur and Prilep. On the 28th of June the authorities of
Okhrida imprisoned without cause eight Bulgarian notables of the town,
as well as Ognenoff and Suegaroff, the one the secretary and the other
the deacon of the Bulgarian Metropolitan. At the same date were
arrested eight inhabitants of the village of Batch (caza of Lerin), who
have been incarcerated at Monastir.

The notables of Monastir, Danall Gontcheff, P. Robeff, Tass6 Ivanoff,
Gheorghi Popoff, have been imprisoned since April 23rd. The central
prison of Monastir not being capable of containing the great number of
Bulgarians arrested and brought from different localities of the vilayet,
the lunatic asylum has been made into a prison. On the 8th May the
village of Moghila, situated about five miles from Monastir, was partly
destroyed by cannon ; among the killed were some women. Several
families, without shelter and without means of subsistence, are living
on herbs and nettles : in every village through which the soldiers and
bashi-bazouks have passed, they have left behind them nothing but ruins
and want and famine.

On the 8th July a detachment of about two hundred soldiers and as
many bashi-bazouks entered the village of Popogleni to look for arms.
The commander caused the arrest of the mayor, the two priests, and the
notables. The notorious brigand Mouto, alias Moutish, 0/ the village of
Voshtarani, who was at the head of the bashi-bazouks, caused the two
priests to be beaten and dragged by the beard through the streets of the
village. A rifle having been found in the house of Ilia Vassileff, he was
taken to Monastir and incarcerated in the central prison. Several villagers
maltreated by the soldiers went to Monastir and complained to the vali ;
the Russian and Austrian consuls in that town have seen the bruises and
wounds on the bodies of these unfortunates.

At the beginning of the month of July two Greek bands, tof twenty-five
men each, were formed in the vilayet of Monastir, to operate, in con-
junction with the local authorities, against the Bulgarian insurgent bands.

Digitized by



The first band has for chief a certain Ghelg, and operates in the cazas of
Kostur and Fiorina, in the neighbourhoods of the villages of Lehovo,
Srebeno, and Zelenitch6 ; it attacked, wounded, and arrested Foti Nkolo$
as member of a Bulgarian insurgent band, and it delivered him to the
Ottoman authorities, who incarcerated him at Monastir. The second
band, under the command of a certain Nikita, a Kutzo-Vlach of Magarevo
(caza of Monastir), infests the neighbourhood of the villages of Magarevo,
Tirnovo, and Nijopolid These two bands, although they commit murders
and thefts, are not interfered with by the authorities.

Vilayet of Uskub (Scopif )

Since the 19th April last, systematic persecutions of the Bulgarian
population of this vilayet have commenced. At Uskub the Bulgarian
notables, the secretary of the Bulgarian Metropolitan, and the school-
masters are in prison. On the nth June the tribunal of Uskub con-
demned St Kableshkoff, director of the secondary school in that town,
to a year's confinement because he had in his library the following
" revolutionary " # books : Othello and Les Miserable*. A young girl of
sixteen, Persa Dimtcheva, of Uskub, was condemned by the tribunal of
Salonica to a year's imprisonment : at the time when her house was
searched, the authorities found two patriotic songs which she had copied
four years ago.

In the cazas of Palanka, Eotchani, Kumanovo, Gostivar, the prisons
are full of Bulgarian notables, priests, and schoolmasters. The soldiers,
the bashi-bazouks, and the Albanians terrorise the population ; the work
of the fields has been abandoned. At Veles (Keuprulu), on the 9th May,
were arrested the secretary of the metropolitan, the director of the school,
the eminent merchant M. DermendjierT, the ex-director of the school at
Prilep, Petre AssorT; chained in pairs, they were taken to Uskub, and,
without undergoing any judicial examination, were thrown into prison,
and are threatened with deportation to Tripoli in Barbary.

The metropolitan church of Veles has been surrounded by soldiers and
bashi-bazouks. The latter killed some Bulgarians in broad daylight in
the streets of the town, and no prosecution of the murderers has been
attempted. On the 12th June a detachment of soldiers carried off
Pera Ignatieva, a young girl of fifteen, from the village of Papraditza
(caza of Veles). Her parents demanded her return before the calmacan ;
but the latter drove them from the konak, and the fate of the young girl
is unknown. On the 25th May twenty-seven Bulgarians, among whom
were old men of from seventy to eighty, were taken from Shtip to the
central prison of Uskub: they were maltreated on the road. The
calmacan of Shtip had called upon the Bulgarian inhabitants of that
town to produce four hundred rifles to be given up to him within ten
days. The time allotted having passed, he ordered the arrest of all the
young Bulgarians of the town; some have been set free, after several
days' detention, in consideration of having given "baksheesh " ; the others
are still in prison.

Digitized by



During the month of June last, detachments of soldiers, gendarmes,
and bashi-bazouks marched through the villages looking for arms ; they
quartered themselves on the inhabitants, plundered the houses, and
committed atrocities in a great number of villages, among others that of
Metchkuevtzi, where they put several natives to the torture by inserting
red-hot irons in their necks and noses. On the 2nd June the authorities
arrested and maltreated Milan Milenkofif, of the village of Sopot ; while
taking him to Shtip, the rural policeman Shaban, of the village of Saint
Nicole, and the tchaoush of the village of Selo, subjected this poor man
to the worst of outrages ; this was proved by a doctor in presence of the
cadi of Shtip, who ordered the arrest of the guilty men ; but the latter
were set free two days after. As for Milenkofif, he is still in durance at
Uskub. At the time of his arrest, his wife, who was five months gone
with child, was so misused that she miscarried ; her mother complained to
His Excellency Hilmi Pasha, and the latter sent her away, saying that
"the story was an invention."

On the 2nd June a detachment of two hundred soldiers, commanded by
two officers accompanied by the yusbashi (captain) of police, Zekiria
Diakovali, and the police-agent, Stolan Denkoff, occupied the village of
Niemantzi to look for arms. On the order of their chiefs the soldiers
arrested several villagers, whom they took to the house of Pano Constani-
tinoff. There they tied them up, beat them horribly, and shut them up in
a stable. Tho next day they called a meeting of all the inhabitants, and
went through the farce of calling upon twenty-nine of them, who happened
to have in their possession some old rifles, most of them rusted, left in the
country since the time of the Russian occupation : each of these gave up
one of these rifles, and the twenty-nine were set at liberty. Thereupon
the other villagers were called upon to follow suit and deliver up the arms
in their possession ; on replying that they had none, they were beaten with
horsewhips and clubs for four days on end. The priest of the village,
Dimitri Christoff, bound tightly from the feet to the arm-pits, was strapped
to a post for two days and finally hung in the prison.

On the nth June a detachment of soldiers and of bashi-bazouks, under
Yusbashi (captain in the regular army) Hussein Efiendi, commander of
Shtip, instituted a search in the village of Kneja. The soldiers completely
stripped the house of Dime Kostoff, who was away from home on that
day. Some days afterwards a squad of Haves pillaged the same village
and misused the inhabitants ; the soldiers amused themselves by taking
turns at riding on the back of the villager Ilia Anastassofif, and forcing him
to run by striking him with horsewhips.

On the 1 6th June fifteen soldiers arrived at the village of Metchkuevtzi;
they installed themselves in the house of an old woman called Kata
Sazdova, and, after making her serve them with meat and drink, ordered
her to procure for them young women of the village ; and the poor woman
having fled and taken refuge with her neighbours, the soldiers sacked her
house. The ilaves pillaged the villages of Sveti Nicole, whose mayor,
Ghete Andodoff, and rural policeman, Lazo Davkoff, they arrested and
beat, because they had informed the caYmacan of Shtip of acts of depre-

Digitized by



dation committed by these soldiers. In the whole caza of Shtip the
work of the fields is interrupted.

On the 10th June two well-known brigands, Yussuf of Lakavitza and
Demir of Kitchinitza, and some ten Albanians captured seven villagers of
Eunovo (nahte of Gostivar) and exacted ^65 of ransom. On the nth
June the same band exacted jfTioo from the village of Jelezno-Retchani,
threatening to kill thirty inhabitants if the total amount of ransom was
not paid. The priest and several notables of this village remained at
Gostivar, not daring to risk the journey home.

On the 14th June two agents of Moila Hussein, collector of taxes at
Kumanovo, named Ibo and Hussein, entered the house of Donko Ivanoff,
of the village of Selo, and violated his eighteen-year-old daughter. The
night before, two other agents of the same collector had pillaged the
house of Dimitri, a notable of the same village.

All work in the fields is abandoned, to the great loss of the peasants,
since they are forced to serve in the gangs employed in constructing
the new road from Kumanovo and Palanka to the Bulgarian frontier.
Generally, forced labour is three or four days each ; the villagers have

Online LibraryDraganofMacedonia and the reforms → online text (page 4 of 27)