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BeitragBeitrags-Nr.: 176400 | Verfasst am: 03.10.2009 - 13:58    Titel: IMRO Militia Antworten mit Zitat

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,
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..............

The IMRO Militia
And Volunteer Battalions
Of Southwestern Macedonia,

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.
The violence perpetrated on the villages in this district by the
Greek mercenaries after 1904,4 cemented into the peasants collective
psychosis a distinct feeling of 'otherness'5 and an undying enmity
towards Greeks. The Balkan Wars of 1912-13 saw the partition of
Macedonia, with the lions share going to Greece, including the
fanatically pro-Bulgarian districts of south-western Macedonia. 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. 6
During the 1920's and 30's, bad administration, 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.7 That opportunity would come in the shape of
the second world war. ^
The Call to Arms - 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.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. Within 3 days, a further 34
volunteers from the village of Kumanichevo (Litya) arrived to bolster
the militia's numbers.

More importantly, the ELAS forces in late 1942 launched a
series of attacks on the villages Drenichevo (Kranahori), Starichani
(Lakomata), Zhelegozha (Pendavrison), Breshchani (Avgi), Grache
(Ftelia) and others, for no strategic reason other than to terrorize the
Macedonian population. The ELAS attacks and the arming and
retaliatory measures taken by the local Macedonians has gone down
m history as the Kostour (Kastoria) uprising, and it's impact and
implications was to be far reaching. J_0
However, it has since come to light in a written history of the
village Trsye/Lerin (Trivounon/Florina), 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
were hiding in the village. The memoir further states that the majority
of the boys of this detachment were natives of the village of
Setoma/Kostour (Kefalaria/Kastoria). So there was evidently some
clandestine arming of Macedonian peasants prior to March 1943. The
Italian Military Command had also armed the village of Chetirok
(Mesopotamia) in February to the strength of 30.11
The colloquial name given to the bands armed in March 1943
was 'Ohrana', a Russian loan word also being the name of the czarist
secret police of Russia. 'Ohrana' in Russian is defined as 'security' or
'guardian', and these roles were specifically what the Italian
occupation authorities had in mind for this fledgling force of armed
village militias.
The force comprised of men and boys from all the peasant
occupations in the district. They were farmers, farmers sons, share
croppers, orchardists, artisans, shephards, timber cutters and itinerant
immigrant workers (sojoumers) who would ply their trade in
Bulgaria, France, USA, Canada and even as far afoot as Australia for
stretches lasting up to seven years at a time before returning to their
villages. L2 Their reasons for taking arms varied. Some of the men
were pre-war members of IMRO, and thus harboured deep patriotic
convictions. Others took arms for the sake of tradition, 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.

Most, however, 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
In fact, the men preferred to be known by the name used
by their forebears — 'komiti' or 'komitadji' — rather than 'Ohrana'
which was thrust upon them. Most of the villages were armed to
company strength (usually between 25-30 men, although larger
villages quite often had companies in excess of 50 men). The
companies were known by the colloquial name of'chetas'. Their
enemies knew them by the name of'comitadjis'. The majority of
the participants in this battle formation wore no uniforms, just
their plain clothes. However, they wore a white arm-band with
the word "Komiti" hand written in black ink for the purpose of
identification. 14
Only the companies based in the towns of Kostour
(Kastoria) and Rupishcha (Argos Orestikon) wore uniforms.
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 - Svoboda
Hi Smrt" (Italo-Bulgarian Committee " Freedom or Death) .15
Leadership, Structure and Motives
Prior to the formation of the armed militias in early
1943, the Commander-in-Chief of the German forces in the
Balkans - Field Marshal List - consented in May 1941 to a
handful of officers from the Bulgarian army, which was
occupying south eastern Macedonia and Thrace, to be attached
to the German occupying forces as "liaison officers". 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. All were
members ofIMRO and followers of Ivan
Mihailoff, the controversial, but dynamic leader of the interwar
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. Kalcheff was born in the village of
Zhuzheltsi/Kostour (Spilea/Kastoria) in 1910 and immigrated along
with his family to Bulgaria in 1921. From a well known IMRO family
dedicated to the ideals of a united and free Macedonia, Kalcheff was
educated at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. From 1931 to 1940,
Kalcheff studied in Germany obtaining a Doctorate in Finance. In 1940,
Kalcheff returned to Bulgaria and was immediately mobilized into the
armed forces and commissioned as an officer.JJS Kalcheff was to
eventually obtain the rank of Major. It was Kalcheff who would lead the
whole military organization in south western Macedonia in 1943 and
1944. Later German accounts mention that he was a strong, stately and
overall very impressive man. 19
All the liaison officers had their own little headquarters which
were directly answerable to the army headquarters in Sofia. 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.
Moreover, in addition to the liaison officers in service at the German
headquarters, Bulgarian interpreters were also sent to assist in the towns
of Kostour (Kastoria), Voden (Edessa), Lerin (Florina), Kaylari
(Ptolemaida) and the city ofSolun (Salonika).20
By 1943, the main local village company leaders in the Kostour
(Kastoria) district were Pando Makrieff from the village Chetirok
(Mesopotamia), Nikola Georgieff from Kondorobi (Metamorphosis),
Paskal Kalemanoff "Dobrolitski" from Dobrolishcha (Kalohorion),
Vasil Yanakieff from Maniak (Maniaki), Naso Kachamata from
Lobanitsa (Agios Dimitrios), Mihail Ristovski and Dinto Soulov from
Chereshnitsa (Polikerason), Boris Stoyanoff from Gabresh (Gavros),
Vangel Kalaydjia from V'mbel (Moshohorion), Bay Kale, Bay Kuze
and Risto Naskoff - all from Ezerets (Petropoulakion), Dimitar Ivanov
Mihailoff, the controversial, but dynamic leader of the interwar
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. Kalcheff was born in the village of
Zhuzheltsi/Kostour (Spilea/Kastoria) in 1910 and immigrated along
with his family to Bulgaria in 1921. From a well known IMRO family
dedicated to the ideals of a united and free Macedonia, Kalcheff was
educated at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. From 1931 to 1940,
Kalcheff studied in Germany obtaining a Doctorate in Finance. In 1940,
Kalcheff returned to Bulgaria and was immediately mobilized into the
armed forces and commissioned as an officer.JJS Kalcheff was to
eventually obtain the rank of Major. It was Kalcheff who would lead the
whole military organization in south western Macedonia in 1943 and
1944. Later German accounts mention that he was a strong, stately and
overall very impressive man. 19
All the liaison officers had their own little headquarters which
were directly answerable to the army headquarters in Sofia. 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.
Moreover, in addition to the liaison officers in service at the German
headquarters, Bulgarian interpreters were also sent to assist in the towns
of Kostour (Kastoria), Voden (Edessa), Lerin (Florina), Kaylari
(Ptolemaida) and the city ofSolun (Salonika).20
By 1943, the main local village company leaders in the Kostour
(Kastoria) district were Pando Makrieff from the village Chetirok
(Mesopotamia), Nikola Georgieff from Kondorobi (Metamorphosis),
Paskal Kalemanoff "Dobrolitski" from Dobrolishcha (Kalohorion),
Vasil Yanakieff from Maniak (Maniaki), Naso Kachamata from
Lobanitsa (Agios Dimitrios), Mihail Ristovski and Dinto Soulov from
Chereshnitsa (Polikerason), Boris Stoyanoff from Gabresh (Gavros),
Vangel Kalaydjia from V'mbel (Moshohorion), Bay Kale, Bay Kuze
and Risto Naskoff - all from Ezerets (Petropoulakion), Dimitar Ivanov
from Zagorichani (Vasilias), Ivan Minov from Zhelovo
(Andartikon), Lazar Miadenoff from Rupishcha (Argos
Orestikon), Luka Dimanin from the village of Drenoveni
(Kranjonas), Dimitar Gochev from Kumanichevo (Litya) and
many others. 21_
(1) Chetiro (Mesopotamia), (2) Zagorichani (Vasilias), (3) Blatsa
(Oksya), (4) Tikveni (Kolokithou), (5) Starichani (Lakomata), (6)
Gorentsi (Korisos), (7) Dobrolishcha (Kalohorion), (8) Zhuzheltsi
(Spilea) (9) D'mbeni (Dhendrohori), (10) Kosinets (leropigi), (11)
Drenichevo (Kranohorion), (12) Gabresh (Gavros), (13) Bobishcha
(Verga), (14) Kumanichevo (Litya), (15) Churilovo (Agios Nikolaos),
(16) Olishcha (Melisotopos), (17) Izglibe (Porya), (18) Kondorobi
(Metamorfosis), (19) Tiolishcha (Tihio), (20) Sheshteovo
(Sidherohorion), (21) Visheni (Visinea), (22) Pozdivishcha (Halara),
(23) Chemovishcha (Mavrokampos), (24) Drenoveni (Kranionas)
(25) V'mbel (Moshohorion), (26) Lobanitsa (Agios Dimitrios), (27)
Breshcheni (Avgi), (28) Zhelegozhe (Pendavrison), (29) Chiflik (Ayia
Ana), (30) Ludovo (Kria Nera), (31) Ezerets (Petropoulakion), (32)
Snicheni (Kastanofiton), (33) Semasi (Kremaston), (34) Markoveni
(Ambelohorion), (35) Pesiak (Amudara), (36) Bela Crkva
(Asproklisya), (37) Shkrapari (Asproneron), (38) Mangila (Ano
Perivolion), (39) Marchishcha (Kato Perivolion), (40) Doleni
(Zevgostasion), (41) Setoma (Kefalarion), (42) Maniak (Maniaki),
(43) Bapchor (Pimenikon)
........and other villages with smaller companies.22 In the
Kostour (Kastoria) and Lerin (Florina) counties there were
1,600 men under arms. Over 1,000 of these men were in the
Kostour area alone, 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, 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.23 g^ •^ -,,-.
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. Venieri and his assistant officer known by the name
'Ravalli'.24 The headquarters for the IMRO committee was set-up in
Kostour (Kastoria) itself, from which Kalcheff and his supporters
would visit all the villagers in the district.
Not only did they manage to arm the greater majority of
villages in the county in which Macedonians lived. They even
managed to arm some villages from the Lerin (Florina) district which
border the Kostour (Kastoria) district as well. Some of the Lerin
(Florina) villages armed in 1943 were: Trsye (Trivounon), Turye
(Korifi), Nered (Polipotamos), Lagen (Triandafilya), Prekopana
(Perikopi), Banitsa (Vevi), Srebreno (Asproyia), German (Agios
Germanos) and others. The village of Zhelevo (Andartikon) in
addition to the large militia company numbering in excess of 70 men,
was also used as an outlying base for an Italian garrison and
Carbiniera (police).25
Kalcheff s success in arming villages was based on appealing
to simple concepts that the average Macedonian peasant could readily
identify with. 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. However, in order to convince the
peasants to take up arms as part of the greater Axis cause required
some shrewd propaganda. Captain Patrick Evans, a British Liaison
Officer of the Special Operations Executive parachuted into south
western Macedonia in 16 September 1943, describes in his top secret
report Kalcheffs modis operand!, citing a deposition given by a
woman captured by the ELAS andartes in an attack on Prekopana
The Slav-Macedonians fear and distrust Britain on the whole,
though they have usually shown them friendly to British
officers and or's in the mountains during the occupation, once the
British had shown themselves forthcoming and not standoffish.
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, who made the Slav language illegal in Greece and fed
people on castor oil for speaking it. During the occupation Bulgar
propaganda was quick to exploit this angle of the situation. '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.e. the Greece of Metaxas]. Therefore you must take arms against
the Andartes".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, and also the Macedonian political
prisoners held by the Greek authorities in the prisons and internment
camps situated on the islands of Makronisos, Cephalonia, Thasos and
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.
Some of the released men promptly volunteered their services to the
IMRO committee office in Kostour (Kastoria), offering their services
as Italian and German interpreters and liaison personnel, many of
them having gained a working knowledge of the languages in their
period of incarceration.28
The men recruited to the 'Ohrana' village bands were not
lacking in soldierly qualities by any means. Most of them had served
as conscripts in the Greek army, which successfully pushed back the
Italian invasion force in 1940 and fought heroically in the sub-zero
temperatures of the Albanian mountains. They surpassed all other
units with their durability and their ability to withstand extreme cold.
However, more importantly, in terms of pedigree, their fathers and
grandfathers invented hit and run, and defensive, set-piece guerilla
warfare forty years earlier. They were guerilla fighters9 par excel
lance, and did not need to be taught how to ambush and disable a
larger fighting force.
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.
However, due to the IMRO involvement both locally and externally,
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. Therefore, the bands, far from merely being
collaborationist formations, set their own agenda based on their own
goals and the whole movement took on a life form all of its own.
The principal Italian objective was to divide the population,
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, such as the Kostour (Kastoria) - Sorovich
(Amindeon) road and other important thoroughfares that required
guarding from ELAS attacks on supply columns.29
The agenda of the bands, however, was to curtail the arrogant
and lawless behaviour of their own brethren who had become
Grecophiles — the notorious 'Grkomani'. To flush out spies (shpioni)
and neutralize the behavior of the Vlachs, Kachauni and Prosfiges —
especially the Pontian refugee sub-group.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. Most importantly,
the bands main objective was simply to guard and protect their
villages, hearths and kin from Greek excesses. In a general context, 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.
IMRO's involvement in 'Ohrana' in 1943 was of a more or less
indirect nature - chiefly through Ivan Mihailov's support for Ante
Pavelic's mission to Mussolini and afterwards with an amount
through the Macedonian Popular Bank. Mihailov was not accepted
in Rome, but Mihailov's long time friend. Ante Pavelic, the leader of
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.
In early 1943, Pavelic visited Rome meeting with Mussolini
and his Foreign Minister and son-in-law Count Galeazzo Ciano.
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. According to a source from the
old pre-communist Bulgarian National Security Service, 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.
Prior to this intervention, 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. 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, coupled with the fact that the
Italians wished to neutralize the potentially hostile Macedonians and
thus have one less enemy. 31
In the beginning of April 1943, on the initiative of the
leadership of the IMRO, a delegation of the Kostour Brotherhood in
Sofia set out for Kostour (Kastoria). The delegation included the
president of the brotherhood Spiro Vasilev and the members Georgi
Kiselincheff, Tome Bakracheff, Dr.Dimitar Palcheff and Nikola
Trifonoff. Upon their return to Bulgaria they compiled and presented
a comprehensive report to King Boris detailing their mission. In the
report they described the terrible and unhappy lot of the Macedonian
peasant population as well as the creation of the Macedonian-
Bulgarian action committees and the militia formations and their
armed resistance to the ELAS andartes terror. The delegation
requested 1000 rifles, 20 light and heavy machine guns and the
necessary quantity of munitions so that all volunteers be armed. 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.32
Violence and Bloodshed
The formation of the Ohrana' bands and the growing
confidence of the local Macedonian population enraged the minority
Turkish refugee Greeks and the Grecophiles, who up to this time held
sway over the population with acts of violence and threats of
persecution. Now, with the 'Ohrana1 in firm control in all the districts
of the county, the threats from the refugee Greeks and the
Grecophiles was reduced to impotence and even ridicule.
Many leading refugee Greeks and Grecophile Fanatics who
had persecuted Macedonians in the pre-war Metaxas junta years and
even earlier, were rounded up and jailed in Kostour (Kastoria) and
Rupishcha (Argos Orestikon). Also, key communist cadres and
agitators were also jailed. 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. An old
gentleman called Karageorgiou was living in Argos Orestikon; he was
the head of a much respected family in that district, 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. In 1943 old Mr Karageorgiou was thrown into prison in
Argos by the comitadjis, who were very active at that time in
terrorizing the Greeks. A young comitadji entered his cell, began to
beat him and ended by killing him, some say by smashing his head
against a wall, others by bashing it in with the heel of his boot. 33
While the militiamen were definitely forceful in their
methods and on certain occasions over stepped the boundaries, they
were still - by and large - remarkably humane by the standards of
those violent years and in direct comparison to their adverseries.
In early April, a battle formation consisting of 300 Ohrana bandsmen
and an Italian force of two battalions, attacked the ELAS positions at
the villages of Nestram (Nestorion), Stensko (Stena), Chuka
(Arhangelos), Chiflik (Ayia Ana) and other surrounding villages.
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. It was now only a matter of
time before ELAS would strike back in order to restore lost
credibility. It was not a question of "if, but, "when" and "where". 34
The 28th of April 1943, was seemingly just another day in the
life for the peasants of the (Kostour) Kastoria district, when news
filtered through that ELAS had attacked the village of
Zhelegozhe/Kostour (Pendavrison/Kastoria), which was an Ohrana
stronghold, and burned all the Macedonian homes. An old
Macedonian woman known as "baba Zoya" was killed by the ELAS
marauders when she was burnt to death during this raid. 3 5
On the 1st of May 1943, ELAS launched an even more brutal
attack on the village of Starichani/Kostour (Lakomata/Kastoria).
ELAS was determined to sow the seeds of fear into the Macedonian
peasant population in the district who were actively participating in
Ohrana, by making a brutal example of the Macedonian militiamen of
Starichani. 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. 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, where
the Greek andartes massacred (according to the memoirs ofMakris - a
leader of the Greek participants) 150 men, woman and children. 3 7
If the object of the massacre at Starichani was to frighten the
Macedonians into non-participation in the Ohrana bands, in actuality,
it hastened the speed of recruitment and considerably swelled the
ranks of the Ohrana. The peasants felt a great need to be armed to
avoid the fate of Starichani. The massacres also heavily underlined
the propaganda of Kalcheff and his followers by bringing to life the
very fears they were propagating. ELAS's brutal actions drove many
villages into the arms of the axis forces to save themselves from
further horrors.
These callous attacks cemented in the local Macedonian
populaces mind negative images ofELAS. Despite ELAS containing
a sprinkling of Macedonians in its ranks and espousing a left wing
ideology of creating a new world order, ELAS in it's treatment of
Macedonians, was - in effect - not much better than the Quisling
Greek government and its armed supporters. It was commonly
perceived by Macedonians that all the Grecophiles and spies had
joined ELAS, and as a direct result - most Macedonians felt bitterness
or distrust towards the ELAS formations.38 Captain Patrick Evans
noted that:
"..... It was unprofitable anyway, except in villages permenantly
garrisoned by Andartes to display Greek sympathies^ 39
The ELAS attacks continued. On 2nd May 1943, the andartes
launched a series of attacks on the villages of Trsye (Trivounon),
Nestram (Nestorion) and Ezerets (Petropoulakion) and forcefully
abducted Macedonian youths. During the attack on Ezerets alone, 13
people were abducted. Local Macedonian youths were abducted
during the raids on the villages Zhupanishcha (Ano Levki), Nestram
(Nestorion), Chetirok (Mesopotamia), Rupishcha (Argos Orestikon),
Sveta Nedela (Ayia Kyriaki) and others.40
During the attack on Kumanichevo (Litya) in the Kostour
(Kastoria) region, the militiamen succeeded in repelling the
numerically superior ELAS andartes formation in a heroic defensive
action. Also, the Macedonian militiamen in Zagorichani (Vasilias),
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, but also the nationalist formations of Colonel Poulos, 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.4j_ Due to the cruelties of the ELAS Andartes squads and
the other nationalist Greek armed formations over the local
Macedonian population, the situation continued worsening.
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. They continued attacking the
Macedonian villages, plundering and setting them on fire, as well as
murdering prominent local Macedonian activists and the relatives of
the militiamen. 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
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,
the Italians defied all logic by attacking the villages of Grache
(Ftelya), Drenichevo (Kranohorion), Zhelegozhe (Pendavrison) and
Nestram (Nestorion) with artillery inflicting severe damage. After
reporting information of this attack to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
the commander of the Fifth Army and the Army Headquarters
insisted that ministry intervene in Rome to stop the Italians randomly
destroying Macedonian villages.43
While reporting on the difficult situation of the Macedonians
in Kostour (Kastoria) region, Colonel Ivan Marinov requested that the
Bulgarian army be allowed to occupy the Kostour region in
accordance with the German and Italian commands. Marinov also
personally oversaw the hand over of a supply of 960 rifles and 3
machine-guns with the necessary munitions to the Macedono-
Bulgarian Committee in Kostour (Kastoria). Spiro Vasilev and the
remaining members of the delegation assisted in the organization and
strengthening of the village companies. The delegation also assisted
in the appointment ofNCO's, the organization of a police service and
the order of command at the HQ in Kostour (Kastoria). In a report
titled "Kostoursko Denes" (Kastoria Today) from 11th August 1943,
Spiro Vasilev stated that the Italian military authorities were not
fulfilling the obligations as was originally agreed with the Central
Macedonian Committee in Kostour.44
Italy ^s Capitulation and the Mission of Ivan Mihailov
In Italy at the end of July 1943, certain political events were
taking place which were to shape the course of the war and especially
the military-political situation in the Balkans. Mussolini was brought
down from power on July 26th, and the government of Marshal
Badaglio was created, which was to effectively take Italy out of the
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, immediately created
acute logistical problems for the Germans and a nightmarish situation
for the Macedonians. The German occupation authorities were
suddenly confronted with the specter of having to garrison large
sections of the Greek mainland. To do this properly, the German
authorities would more than ever require the support of anti-
communists, ethnic minorities and other disaffected groups to assist
with the policing and garrison duties.
The immediate and pressing problem facing the Macedonians
was the loss of the Italians as a benefactor and the back-up security
this provided. A de facto cease fire came into affect. Also, prior to the
Italian capitulation, the "Shar" student corporation initiated the
concept of the creation of IMRO volunteer corps in order to aid the
population of south-western Macedonia. In accordance with this
initiative, 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.45 It was apparent that Mihailov and his associates had
broader plans than the initial student initiative. Mihailov formulated
plans which envisaged that the volunteer corps would not only protect
the populace from the ELAS Andartes raids, Greek nationalist bands
and Greek administration in south western Macedonia, 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. 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),
Kostour (Kastoria) and Voden (Edessa) districts under German
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, or Security Police)
where he spoke to Hitler and Himmler and other top German leaders.
From the scant available German information, it is apparent that
Mihailov received consent to create two to three battalions consisting
of volunteers armed with German weapons and munitions. Moreover,
these battalions were to be under the operative command and disposal
of Reichsfuhrer-SS Himmler. Additionally, in Sofia talks were held
between high-ranking functionaries of the SS and the IMRO Central
Committee members V. Kurtev, G. Nastev and D. Tsilev who
maintained extensive links with the Germans.47
After reaching an agreement with Mihailov in Berlin,
Himmlers HQ undertook concrete steps for the formation of the
IMRO companies. This could be evidenced by a letter of the German
minister plenipotentiary in Sofia from 10th October 1943 to
Wilhelmstrasse. In it he informs that the Hauptbahnfuhrer of the SS,
Heider had established contact with the military attache of the Reich
in the embassy. In his conversations with him, 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 after being clothed and armed would be sent to
fight the ELAS guerrillas in south western Macedonia.48
During the same period as his mission, the SS representative
also consulted with the representative of the German intelligence in
Bulgaria - Dr. Delius. He turned his attention to the political aspects
of the tasks given to him and the necessity for close contacts with
Neubacher in Belgrade. Despite the confidential character of the
negotiations between Mihailov and the SD, the Bulgarian government
obtained certain information about them via the Bulgarian legation in
Zagreb and the Military Intelligence. In this way, on 20th December
1943 its agent "T" sent a confidential report to the chief of the
Intelligence Department at the Army headquarters, Colonel S.
Kutsarov. In it we read:
"About a month ago (November 1943) the German command has
commissioned the IMRO - Ivan Mihailov, who recently lives in Zagreb, to
take the administrative control of Kostour, Lerin and Voden under German
supervision. In preparation for this aim, the IMRO Central Committee
members V. Kurtev and G. Nastev who were living in Sofia, began
organizing all the company leaders, bandsmen and terrorists who had been
active in the past. After receiving instructions as to the nature of their
respective missions, they were sent to the designated districts to take the
fight up to the Greek guerrillas and organize the local population into armed
squads. "49
In regard to the organizing of the volunteer companies of
IMRO, under the orders of the Central Committee, Reserve
Lieutenant Georgi Dimchev set off for Zagreb in the beginning of
September 1943. Dimchev was one of the leaders at that time of the
Macedonian Youth Union (MMU) in Bulgaria. Once in Zagreb,
Dimchev met with Ivan Mihailov who explained to him the nature of
the tasks of the volunteer companies and provided Dimchev with a
plan of their organization and command. 50
German and ELAS Attacks
In early March 1944, the Germans taking up where the
Italians left off, reformed, re-organized and re-armed the village
companies in the Kostour (Kastoria) district. Soon after the villages in
the Voden (Edessa) and Lerin (Florina) districts were also armed and
prepared for service. All the villages in the Kostour district who had
participated with such distinction the year before were again ready for
service. The exception being the villages of D'mbeni (Dendrohori),
Drenichevo (Kranohorion) and a few others who had been seduced by
communist propaganda and had defected to ELAS ranks and the
newly formed S.N.O.F. brigade. 51
By May 1944 bases of company strength spmng up around
the country side and the area around Kostour (Kastoria), the local
lake, and the vital Klissura Pass were soon in the militia's control. The
expansion and re-arming of the militia extended into Lerin and Voden
by Kalchev's loyal cadres.52
The participating villages that were armed and mobilized in
the Lerin (Florina) district included:
Sorovich (Amindeon), Vrbeni (Itea), Banitsa (Vevi), Popozheni
(Papayianni), Voshtareni (Meliti), Nevolyani (Skopia), Doino Kotori
(Kato Idrusa), Lagen (Triandafilea), Armensko (A'lona), Neret
(Polipotamos), Oshchima (Trigonon), Germanos (Aghios ), Sekulevo
(Marina), Pesoshnitsa (Ammohori), Srebreno (Asprogiya), Turie
(Korifi), Prekopana (Perikop), Aytos (Aetos), Ekshi Su (Xino Nero),
Zeienich (Sklitron), Brezhnitsa (Vatohori), Orovo (Piko).
And many others including the town of Lerin (Florina) which
also had its own sizeable company.53^ The active villages in the
Voden (Edessa) district most frequently mentioned were: Mesimer
(Mesimerion), Pod (Flamurya), Orizari (Rizarion), Yavoryeni
(Platani), Vladovo (Agras), Gugovo (Vrita), Teovo (Karidya),
V'lkoyanovo (Liki), Nisiya (Nision), Slatina (Hrisi), Ostrovo
(Amisa), Oshlyani (Agia Fotini), Margarita and many others.
Moreover, companies were also organized in the sub-prefectures of
Kailyari (Ptolamais), Enidje Vardar (Yianitsa) and Gumendzhe
(Goumenissa). 5 4
Meanwhile, ELAS was on the rampage attacking villages
across Macedonia perpetrating calculated acts of terror. On 151
March 1944 the village ofVeschitsa (Angelohorion) was raided and a
villager Georgi Krechkov was executed. On the same day, the
brothers Kozov from the village of Likovishcha/Ber
(Lukovitsa/Veria) were summarily executed. On the 16th of March
ELAS raided the village of Petrovo/Gumendzhe (Agios
Petros/Goumenissa) where they rounded up and executed 9 villagers.
Also, on the same day a further 6 villagers were executed in the
ELAS raid on the village ofTresino/S'botsko (Orma/Aridea).55
On 27th March 1944 the village ofVeschitsa (Angelohorion)
was raided and a villager Georgi Krechkov was executed. On the
same day, the brothers Kozov from the village of Likovishcha/Ber
(Lukovitsa/Veria) were summarily executed. On the 16th of March
ELAS raided the village of Petrovo/Gumendzhe (Agios
Petros/Goumenissa) where they rounded up and executed 9 villagers.
Also, on the same day a further 6 villagers were executed in
the ELAS raid on the village of Tresino/S'botsko (Orma/Aridea).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. 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. 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". They were ably supported
by several IMRO volunteer companies from the Kostour (Kastoria)
and Voden (Edessa) districts.57 !, ..<;-^,^'.;^.
In the beginning of May 1944 the Waffen-SS company that
had been in the Kostour (Kastoria) area was unexpectedly withdrawn.
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, but the
vitally important Klissura Pass as well.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,
1944. It withdrew towards the direction of Salonika, but an urgent
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. The Kostour militia was
turned around and sent forward, now reinforced by a German rifle
company. 5 9
Soon the Klissura Pass was reached without incident and
recaptured. A volunteer company of the Kostour militia, 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), entering the town on May 29th
1944. The company had begun receiving rifle and machine-gun fire
when it reached the Rupishcha (Argos Orestikon) area, but quickly
pushed ahead and attacked the town head on. The attack was so quick
and fast, that the headquarters' company of the ELAS unit which had
made its residence in the town was captured by the militiamen. 60
This major success was offset two days later, 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), near Voden (Edessa), killing 50 of
the IMRO militiamen during the fierce, three hour battle. ELAS
accounts boasted that their losses only included 5 dead and 30
wounded. It was a disaster that would not be forgotten - but in the
months ahead, worse was to follow.61
IMRO Volunteer Battalions
In addition to the village companies in these counties, there
was also formed three volunteer battalions. These were organized by
the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) and
were to carry the name "IMRO Volunteer Battalions". They were
formed after the arrival of the IMRO cadres from the Sofia IMRO HQ
who arrived initially in Voden. The IMRO cadres who set off for
Voden were Ivan Motikarov, Ivan Ilchev, Atanas Pashkov, Dobri
Boumbalov, Metodi Kerpachev, Stefan Bochvarov, Georgi Begimov,
Konstatin Popov and others.62
Prior to their arrival, 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. The delegation of IMRO cadres
and army officers met up with the German Kommandant, Major
Heider of the Waffen SS with whom they discussed the formation of
the volunteer corps. 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.63
The first formed was the Kostour (Kastoria) Battalion which
was designated as the 1st IMRO Volunteer Battalion - "Kostour", but,
commonly referred to as the "Kostoursko Battalion" (Kastoria
Battalion). The key figure in the organization of the Kostour Battalion
was Captain Ivan Motikarov who was ably assisted by Hristo
Lagadinov. Together with 30 volunteers, they set off for the town of
Kostour and proceeded to form the volunteer corps from the
enthusiastic volunteers. 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.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. The
Reserve Company of the Battalion was located in Kostour itself and
was supplied with machine-guns and even mortars.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. 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. The civilian population was so
afraid of this battle group that their very presence in an area was
enough to quiet any civilian protest. 66
The second to form was the 3rd IMRO Volunteer Battalion -
"Voden", 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. Dimchev was a local hero,
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), but also from the adjacent counties of Enidzhe Vardar
(Yianitsa) and Gumendzhe (Goumenissa). They assembled a force of
800 enthusiastic men who were armed and ready for service for the
The Voden Battalion wore re-cut Italian uniforms consisting
of trousers, jacket with straps and the hat which featured prominantly
the symbol of the Macedonian revolutionaries - the skull and cross
bones. Above that a red with black cross. On the sleave there was a
shoulder patch with the Latin intials B.D.V. - signifying "Bulgaro-
Macedonian Volunteers - Voden".68
There were also plans to form a seperate Volunteer Battalion
in the town ofEnidzhe Vardar (Yiannitsa) based on the models of the
Kostour, Lerin and Voden Battalions, but the German high-command
refused permission for its formation.69 The last to form was the lind
IMRO Volunteer Battalion - "Lerin", which needless to say, much
like its counterparts in Kostour and Voden was referred to simply as
the "Lerinsko Battalion" (Florina Battalion). By 15th August 1944 the
1st "Kostour" and 3rd "Voden" Battalions were already in active
service, while the 2nd "Lerin" Battalion was still in the process of
being organized and trained. 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. They were considered an elite fighting force in
much the same manner as the German SS. The Kostour (Kastoria)
Battalion was to gain a fearsome reputation in the sweeps and drives
it participated in and for courage under fire - and was considered the
most prestigious of the three battalions.
Regular rotation of these volunteers to different bases and
regions, 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.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,
the anti-fascist bands of EAM and ELAS instigated a drastic program
of systematic violence in the villages against relatives of the
volunteers. They were arrested, beaten and shot in public, and their
houses were plundered and burned. In order to I
prevent the further recruitment of new volunteers by the IMRO
militias or battalions, ELAS forcibly mobilized all the Macedonian
peasants of fighting age into its Greek units. In one report of Colonel
Mirchev to the staff of the army from 5th June 1944, it was reported
that the ELAS Andartes took captive the band led by Kosta
Kachaunov near the village of Turye (Korifi) - consisting 28
militiamen. In order to frighten the local population, the ELAS
andartes then proceeded to slaughter all the militiamen in cold blood.
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. 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 attacking battle group consisted of 80 IMRO
Battalionists and 50 heavily armed German storm troopers kitted out
in their distinctive camouflage uniforms. They were led by three
Macedonian NCOs and one German officer. 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. One of the ELAS units was hiding
in the village school-house, while the other ELAS unit was billeted in
various houses in the village. When the ELAS guerillas realised that
they were surrounded, they began firing and they attempted to
withdraw from the village. A heavy engagement ensued that lasted an
hour. Nine ELAS guerillas were killed as were three Germans. One
German was heavily wounded. The collateral damage consisted of
one civilian killed and three wounded in the cross-fire. Also, one
house and fifteen barns were set ablaze. The ELAS units managed to
escape the encirclement during the engagement.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. The operation lasted two weeks until the 17th July. The
German forces numbered some 12-15,000 men, which included
elements of the 4th SS Division, 639th Security Regiment and the 104th
Jdger Division. The participating Macedonian
formations included the 1st IMRO Volunteer Battalion
"Kostour" from Kastoria and the 2nd IMRO Volunteer Battalion
"Lerin" from Florina. Also, taking part were the 3rd Police
Volunteer Battalion from Verria which was made up of Italians
and even some German raised Albanian Balisti. In addition to
these forces were also three security battalions from Kozani.
Accounts from ELAS sources admit to the ferocity of this
offensive, admitting that on account of this Axis attack, their
forces became seperated and cut off. 74
On 21st of August 1944 ELAS successfully attacked the
IMRO stronghold at the village of Chereshnitsa / Kostour
(Polikerason / Kastoria). During the battle, 20 IMRO militiamen
were reported killed in action and 300 militiamen were
captured. The ELAS commander gave orders that the captured
prisoners not be shot, but must be killed with the knife. This
order was carried out. ELAS accounts also boast of capturing 4
machine-guns and 150 automatic rifles.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. In the
ensuing battle, the German liaison officer attached to the
battalion, plus two of the Kostour Battalions IMRO assigned
officers and 22 militiamen were killed. The end in Greece was
coming quickly now and finally the Battalion was ordered to
begin a withdrawal from Kostour (Kastoria). The Klissura Pass
was already in guerrilla hands, so the withdrawal had to be
made under enemy fire.76
In September, two IMRO companies were wiped out in
the heroic defense of Voden (Edessa) by a combined ELAS 9th
and 10th Partisan Division attack.77
Photographic Appendix

ABOVE: Vanco Mihailov
BELOW: Spiro Kitincev

1_. IMRO stands for the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary
Organisation, which was originally formed in Salonika in 1893 by a
group of Macedonian intellectuals with a Bulgarian national outlook.
The aim of the IMRO was to weld the villages of Macedonia into a
conscious nation and the autonomy of Macedonia. For more
information on the the formation of IMRO, see "The Politics of
Terror" by Duncan Perry (1988)
2. It must be point out that at this stage of Macedonian history, most
Macedonians felt themselves Bulgarian, or at the very least, pro-
Bulgarian. Macedonians stand to Bulgarians as Austrians stand to
Germans; the differences, especially at that time, are slight. While the
leadership was strongly Bulgarophile, within the ranks of the IMRO
companies and Battalions the picture varied with men who felt simply
Bulgarian, others who felt themselves Macedonian, but with strong
pro-Bulgarian sympathies, and some who felt simply Macedonian and
who did not care where national salvation was coming from. The
common thread that united them was an undying enmity toward
3. Chakalaroff and Kliasheff were from the village of Smerdesh
(Kristalopigi), while Pop-Traykoff hailed from D'mbeni
(Dhendrohori). All from the Kostour (Kastoria) district.
4. 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.
5. See "Fields of Wheat, Hills of Blood" by AnastasiaN. Karakasidou
(Chicago 1997) and also "The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic
Nationalism in a Transnational World" by Loring M. Danforth (New
Jersey 1995) which examine the concepts for the construction and
formation of ethnic identities.
6. Greece received 51% of Macedonian territory. Serbia (Yugoslavia)
received 38% and Bulgaria 11%. 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.C.
1914) and the article "The Devastation of Macedonia" by H.M.
Wallis. "Quarterly Review" Vol. 220 (London Jan-Apr 1914)
7. See "London Times" 27th July 1925 for details of the
massacre of innocent civilians at the villages of Triis, Karakoy
and Lovech (all in the Seres district). For examples of flagrant
government endorsed human rights abuses particularly against
ethnic Macedonians during the Metaxas dictatorship, see:
"Exiles in the Aegean: A Personal Narrative of Greek Travel"
(pp 387-389) by Australian author Bert Birtles (London 1938)
8. 'ELAS' is an acronym for Elinikos Laikos Apolettherotikos
Stratos (Greek Popular Liberation Army). 'Andartes' is the
Greek name for guerrilla fighters.
9. See: "Egeyski Buri: Revolutsionemoto Dvizhenye Vo
Vodensko i NOF Vo Egeyska Makedonia" (pp 104 & 123) by
Vangel Ayanovski "Oche" (Skopye 1975).
10. See: "Balgartskoto Natsionaino Delo vo Yugozapadno
Makedonia (1941-44)" article by Dr Dobrin Michev in
"Makedonski Pregled" (page 77) Volume XX, 1997, No 4.
(Sofia 1997) The original document can be viewed at the
Central Bulgarian Archives in Tmovo. File 23/1/792/4-5.
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 1936-
46 - Politecheska i Voena Istoria" (page 411) by Georgi
Daskalov (Sofia 1999) regarding the arming of the village of
Chetirok (Mesapotamia).
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
13. Greek historian John Koliopoulos (1994) suggests that the
collaboration of the peasants with the Germans, Italians and the
Bulgarians was determined by the geopolitical position of each
village. Depending upon whether their village was vulnerable to
attack by the Greek communist guerrillas (ELAS) or the
occupation forces, the peasants would opt to support the side in
relation to which they were most vulnerable. When the Greek
communists created the SNOF, many of the former
collaborators enlisted in the new unit. In both cases, the attempt
was to promise "freedom" (autonomy or independence) to the
formerly persecuted Slavic minority as a means of gaining its
support. This argument is slightly flawed for a couple of
reasons. Those Macedonian villages (a small minority) that did
join ELAS instead of the 'Ohrana' village companies, did so
because they contained prominent co-villagers who had been
pre-war members of the KKE (Greek Communist Party). The
villages of Zhupanishcha (Ano Levki) and Orman (Kato Levki)
by the power of Koliopoulos's reasoning, 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 sub-
district. Despite having the staunchly IMRO villages of Maniak
(Maniaki), Izglibe (Porya), Tikveni (Kolikinthou), Chetirok
(Mesopotamia), Sheshteovo (Sidherohori) and Setoma
(Kefalaria) spread all around, Zhupanishcha and Orman
remained within the ELAS camp. Only one man from
Zhupanishcha volunteered into the 'Ohrana' companies and
IMRO Battalions. SNOF's ranks were swelled by IMRO
bandsmen and Battalionists after the withdrawl of the German
forces from the Kostour (Kastoria) district in May 1944, and
particularly after Bulgaria's conversion to communism. Most of
the defections took place after it was apparent that the axis
cause was lost.
J_5. See: "Balgartskoto Natsionaino Delo vo Yugozapadna
Makedonia (1941-1944)" article by Dr Dobrin Michev in
"Makedonski Pregled" (page 82) Volume XX, 1997, No. 4.
(Sofia 1997).
16. 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. By all accounts, Tsvetan Miadenoff is said to have been
born in the village of Gomichevo/Lerin (Kelli/Florina).
18^ "Uchasta Na B'lgarite v Egeyska Makedonia 1936 1946"
(page 776) by Georgi Daskalov (Sofia 1999)
19. "Herakles & The Swastika: Greek Volunteers in the German
Army, Police & SS 1943-1945" (Page 40) by Antonio J.
Munoz. (New York - undated)
20. See: "Balgartskoto Natsionaino Delo v Yugozapadna
Makedonia (1941-1944)" article written by Dr Dobrin Michev
in "Makedonski Pregled" Volume XX, 1997, No. 4. (Sofia
21. For a comprehensive list of leaders and activists, see:
"Uchasta Na B'lgarite v Egeyska Makedonia 1936 1946"
(chapter six) by Georgi Daskalov (Sofia 1999)
22. For comprehensive lists of participating villages, see:
"Uchasta Na B'lgarite....", and "Etsi Arhise 0 Emphilious 1943
-1945" (Paris 1987). Also see: "Hroniko To Agona: StaArmata!
Sta Armata! Istoria Tis Ethnikis Antistasis" (pp 15-16) by
Tomos Defteros (Paris - undated)
23. See: "Balgartskoto Natsionaino Delo vo Yugozapadna
Makedonia (1941-1944)" article written by Dr Dobrin Michev
in "Makedonski Pregled" (page 81) Volume XX, 1997, No. 4.
(Sofia 1997)
24. See: "Egeyski Buri: Revolutsionemoto Dvizhenye Vo
Vodensko i NOF Vo Egeyska Makedonia" (Page 123)
byVangel Ayanovski (Skopye 1975).
25. See: "Kratko Istorichesko Biografia Na Rodnoto Mi Selo
Trsye" (pp 126-129) by Traian Andonoff Giorgioff (Toronto
26. See: "Report on the Free Macedonia Movement in Area
Florina 1944" by Capt. P.H. Evans, Force 133 FO 371/4349
03880 (Athens Dec. 1st 1944).
27. ibid.
28. A great uncle of the author after being held captive in Italy,
was released and promptly served as an interpreter at the HQ in
the town ofKostour (Kastoria).
29. ibid.
30. Vlachs are a formerly nomadic pastoralists (transhumant
shephards) who speak a Latin based language akin to modem
Romanian. They can be found in significant numbers all over
the Balkans, particularly in the Pindus mountain district of
Greece with the town of Metsovon forming their centre.
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. Kachauni are formerly of Albanian ethnic stock. The
term "prosfiges" literally means "refugees" and does not
designate a specific group, but rather a collection of refugee
groups from diverse places. Most refugees in south-western
Macedonia originate from Asia Minor (Western Turkey) and
Pontus (Northern Turkey). These refugee sub-groups are
colloquilly known as "Micrasians" and "Pontians". Also, both
these groups were predominantly Turkophone.
3L See: "Balgartskoto Natsionaino Delo vo Yugozapadna
Makedonia (1941-1944)" article written by Dr Dobrin Michev
in "Makedonski Pregled"
32. ibid.
33. ibid.
34. See: "Svetii Likovi Od Egeyska Makedonia" (pp 111-112)
by Tashko Mamurovski (Skopye 1987).
3^. See: "The Inhabited Places of Aegean Macedonia" (Page
55) by Todor Simovski (Skopye 1978)
36. Todor Simovski et al, op cit. (pp 88-89) Also see:
"Bulgartskoto Natsionaino Delo v Yougozapadna Makedoniya
(1941-1944)" article by Dr Dobrin Michev in "Makedonski
Pregled" (Page 45) VolumeXXI, No.l. (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
be explained simply. The source in the Macedonian publication
was probably an oral testimony and the Bulgarian source was
from the High Command office in Kostour. The discrepency in
the number of victims is a little more difficult to ascertain. It is
possible the oral testimony "rounded-up" the figures to 40. The
primary source of the Bulgarian document can be viewed at:
Central Bulgarian Archives at Veliko Tumovo, file 23, op. 1,
a.e. 820,L. 29.
37. Dakin et al,
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