Documents Relating to Chapter II
THE CONDUCT OF THE BULGARIANS IN THE SECOND WAR
A. THE DOXATO AFFAIR
No. 14. EVIDENCE OF COMMANDER CARDALE, R. N. (Reprinted from the Nation of August 23, 1913).
My DEAR CASSAVETTI,—I received your wire yesterday, and have taken twenty-four hours to consider my reply. You see my reports of what I saw at Doxato have been so garbled by reporters and others that I am naturally rather chary of saying anything: not that this applies in your case, of course. Also, as you may well imagine, the horrors of that place of blood have so got on my nerves that I hate to speak of them. Still, as you ask me, I will tell you all I saw, and you have my full permission to make use of all, or any portion, of this letter you may think fit for the purpose of publication.
I went to Kavala immediately after the Bulgarians vacated the place; my duties there I need not go into. I was acting under the orders of the Greek government, which, as you know, I am serving at present. On my arrival there I heard many stories of the horrible occurrences at Doxato, and it was alleged that practically all the inhabitants had been massacred by the Buig-arian troops passing through on their retreat. You will probably understand that having had a surfeit of these yarns, and knowing that war is not fought in kid gloves,. I did not believe all I heard, and at first believed that it was purely a question of the burning of the town by retreating Bulgarians enraged by their reverses, and perhaps a few regrettable incidents where noncombatants had been killed in the excitement of a retreat. However, after seeing wounded and mutilated persons being brought into Kavala from Doxato day by day, and hearing detailed accounts from disinterested persons in Kavala of all nationalities, I determined to go to Doxato to see for myself what had occurred. I accordingly took a carriage and drove there, accompanied by a Greek naval officer, a Greek gentleman of Kavala, and my Greek angeliophores. The distance is about seventeen miles. I have not measured it on the map, as I have none with me at present, but I estimate it at that. It took us about three and one-half hours to drive. The Bulgarians must have left Kavala in a hurry, as they did not even strike their tents, which we found standing some miles outside on the Phillipi road.
At each village we passed through on our way to Doxato we found some of the wretched survivors of the Doxato massacre, who were homeless, but did not wish to return to their ruined homes there after all they had suffered. Arriving at Doxato we found it like a town of the dead, everything burned and devastated, and such an odor of blood' and decomposed bodies as I never hope to encounter again. Indeed, five minutes, before we entered the town, while driving through the plain, the stench was insupportable. In this plain were heaps of corpses thinly covered with sand, where the survivors had tried, for sanitary reasons, to cover up their dead, but they were all too few to do so thoroughly, and for all practical purposes the bodies were unburied. On entering Doxato we found a few persons who were still living among the ruins of their former homes, and from them we endeavored to get an account of what had occurred. Practically all the Greek portion of
the town was burned, and one saw everywhere in the streets charred remains of what had been human bodies. Burial in the town had been impossible, so they had covered the bodies with petroleum and disposed of them in that way.
In some of the gardens and courtyards we saw children's graves, each with a few wild flowers on them, but they do not appear to have buried any except the children. Poor souls! after the horror of it all, one wonders how they buried anyone. The Turkish quarter was, with a few exceptions, unburned. According to the accounts of the survivors, it was there that the greater part of the massacres took place. I saw many rooms where the floors were soaked with blood, and rugs, mats, and cushions were covered with blood and human remains. The very stones in the courtyards of these houses were stained with blood; it is said that most of those who were killed in these yards were stoned to death. The survivors showed us one house surrounded by a high wall enclosing a courtyard and vineyard where a number of Greeks were put to death, and certainly the place was marked with bloodstains everywhere in the yard and garden; hoes and other agricultural implements stained with blood we found there also, and the steps leading into an outhouse were covered with blood, where the survivors state children were overtaken and killed. I was informed, apropos of this courtyard, that the house and environs were the property of a Turk, who, on hearing of the possibility of a massacre, had sent round to the Greeks of Doxato to offer a sanctuary to their women and children, and that after upwards of 120 were assembled there, he and several of his compatriots, under the direction of a Bulgarian officer, had butchered them all! This, of course, is simply what I was told by the survivors. I can only say from my own personal observation that the place was like a shambles, and, whoever did the deed, there must have been a very considerable number killed in this place. In fact, the vineyard, courtyard, and the house leading out of them reminded me forcibly of the stories one has read of the Cawnpore massacres. One hears of places reeking with blood; without wishing to be sensational, this little town did literally do so. They told us that Bulgarian cavalry riding into the place cut down some of the inhabitants, and that the infantry, following soon after, killed all they found in the streets, but that after that the greater part of the massacres were carried out by the Turkish inhabitants incited by the Bulgarian officers. How far this is true I can not say, not having been there at the time to see for myself, but certainly it is significant that the Turkish quarter was not burned, that very few Turks seem to have been killed, and that all the original Turkish inhabitants have fled, while their houses are intact but bloodstained, and bearing the evidence of unspeakable atrocities. I might, perhaps, give you more details of the evidence of atrocities which took place, but there are some things one can not bring oneself to speak about. I have been asked to estimate the number who were killed at Doxato. It is quite impossible to do so, as many who are supposed to have been killed have, I understand, since been found, having escaped at the time the massacres took place. By counting the bodies I saw, and the heaps of charred remains and the evidences of massacres in the gardens and courtyards, I estimated that the number killed was not less than 600, and that the greater number of these were women and children: how many more than this number there may have been it is impossible to say.—With kindest regards, believe me, yours very sincerely,
No. 15. EVIDENCE OF CAPTAIN SOFRONIEV, of the King's Guard.
"I commanded two squadrons of the Macedonian cavalry, a regular body of troops, consisting largely of reservists. On July 10, while stationed at Otoligos, about 20 kilometres from Doxato, I sent out scouts. They reported that the last detachment of our troops retiring from Kavala had been fired upon by the villagers of Doxato, some of whom wore
the Greek uniform. They killed many of our men and looted the convoy. The horse-cars escaped, but those drawn by oxen were captured. I sent Sub-Lieutenant Pissarov with thirty troopers to report on what was happening at Doxato and to reestablish order. My first scout then returned from a second expedition, and reported that he had encountered a large force of Greek insurgents marching from Kavala, and that he had learnt from Turks that they were under Greek officers. They had killed all the Bulgarian and Turkish villagers whom they captured on the way. He saw beheaded children and women whose bodies had been ripped open. There was a general panic among all the population of the country side. (We saw the original penciled note of this scout's report). Lieutenant Pissarov reported that Greek troops were quartered near the ruins of the bridge at Alexandra. The Greeks were killing without pity men, women and children. Doxato was strongly occupied and two Greek battalions with mountain guns were marching up from Valtchista. He had assisted the local Bulgarian and Turkish population to flee. [We saw the original text of this report.] I then reported to the commander of my division, General Delov; he ordered me to go at once to Doxato to make those responsible prisoners, and to restore order. I started on the night of July 13, but lost my way in the dark and found myself at dawn between Doiran and Doxato. I had with me two mounted squadrons of about 250 men. The enemy opened fire at once and three scouts whom I sent to reconnoitre their position were killed. The heaviest fire came from the edge of the village Doxato. The plain was black with people looking for cover. I sent one squadron towards Doxato, and the other, under my own command, advanced toward Doiran. Firing continued for about two hours, seventeen of my squadron were killed and twenty-four wounded. We eventually charged with the sabre. The enemy, who were all armed, kept their ranks and awaited our onset. At least 150 of them were killed in the charge, possibly as many as 300. Many surrendered. I then heard that the Greek column from Valtchista was marching to Alistrati. I therefore decided to withdraw and hurried to join the column of Lieutenant Colonel Barnev. I left the Turks, who had hurried up from neighboring villages, to guard my prisoners, and told them to disarm the people of Doxato, and to keep order. They armed themselves with rifles and cartridges, chiefly Martinis and Gras, taken from the Greek dead. We had had no earlier dealings with these Turks, but they always helped our scouts with news. Next day, July 14, we fought a battle to allow the peasant fugitives to reacli the mountains. The fleeing Turks from Doxato told us that the Greeks had killed all the Bulgarians and Turks whom they found in Doxato. I asked them why they did not flee in time. They replied, "Because we were giving ourselves up to rapine and vengeance." My scouts reported this day that a terrible thing had happened in Doxato. The Turks began to massacre and then the Greeks came and massacred the Turks; the fields were covered with bodies. Next day, July 15, the Greeks destroyed the purely Bulgarian village of Guredjik. The villagers were unable to flee, and were massacred almost to a man; three or four escaped and gave me the news."
In reply to questions the Captain stated, that he was not himself actually inside the town of Doxato. Probably some of the infantry may have gone there, but of this he can not speak with certainty; he can give his word of honor as an officer that the men of his two squadrons killed no peaceful citizens.
From a written deposition by Captain Sofroniev, we take the following passage:
On returning to the neighborhood of Doxato [from attacking the distant body of insurgents] towards 2.30 p.m. we saw the Turks who had previously fled, and were now returning to the village in a state of savage excitement. [Exaltation farouche.] As we had no time to spare, we told them to gather the rifles scattered about. At the same moment we saw the village take fire. I do not know who caused that.288
No. 16. EVIDENCE OF MR. GIVKO DOBREV, Civil Governor of the
The population of the Drama district totaled 18,000, of whom 13,000 were Moslems, and of these latter 3,000 were pomaks and the remainder Turks. Doxato, with two neighboring villages formed a Greek oasis in a compact mass of Turks, with whom it was always in conflict. It thus naturally became the center of the Greek insurgent movement. During the first war, in the latter half of October, the Greeks, acting as allies under the shelter of our troops, began to take their private revenge upon the Turks, killing, looting and violating. The administration had been organized from among the local notables, chiefly Greeks, more especially the Bishop, who knew of all these atrocities. The appetite for robbery grew, and the Greeks began to enforce declarations from the Turks assigning their lands. The Bulgarian government accordingly, with a view of protecting the Turks, published a general edict declaring all contracts regarding land made during the period of the war invalid. I reached Drama on December 3, though the place had been taken on November 5. I was too late to prevent much injustice to the Turks, but I returned their mosques to them in spite of the protests of the Greeks, and helped them to get back some part of their stolen goods.
On July 8, the Bulgarian officials left Kavala, and the place remained for a week without regular government. A reconnaissance was sent on July 10, to learn what was happening in Kavala; and in the course of it one trooper was killed and one wounded at Doxato. A larger party was sent out on the 1,1th, numbering about thirty men, and this also was fired upon from Doxato. On the night of July 11, a larger party, composed of two squadrons of cavalry, two companies of infantry, and four guns. [NOTE.—There is here a discrepancy of one day in the dates given by Captain Sofroniev and Mr. Dobrev; the dates of the former are accurate]. There was now a regular insurrection in Doxato, which aimed at cutting off Drama from the shore. The cavalry surrounded Doxato. The infantry were received with a volley, whereupon the commander threatened to use artillery and thrice demanded the surrender of the town. When the artillery began to fire, five to six hundred armed men, and all the local population took to flight. Our cavalry pursued them. The village was set on fire by our shells, and an enormous explosion took place, as if a depot of ammunition had been set on fire. The explosion continued intermittently for quite an hour. The Bulgarian infantry was composed largely of Moslems, from the Bulgarian kingdom. It became excited during the explosion of the magazine and began killing indiscriminately. It is possible that children were killed. I arrived on the afternoon of July 12 [13?] and found that the local Turks were going about from house to house, robbing. I saw one house with its door half open, and a woman killed inside. The house was pillaged. I saw a Turk standing on a ladder in the act of pouring petroleum from a tin over the house in order to set it on fire. I ordered him to stop, but others began to do the same thing in other parts of the town. I again visited Doxato at 2 p.m. next day, July 13 [14?]. The houses were still burning and most of the people had fled to the neighboring village of Tchataldja. The rest ran to meet me. There were women among them, of whom one had been wounded by a trooper's saber. I took her to Mr. Lavalette's farm to be cured. Everything was quiet in Tchataldja. Its mayor and notables had asked me on the previous day to send soldiers to their village, since the insurgents of Doxato were trying to induce them to join in their rising, and were threatening them. I sent sixty men. Later, I sent police, on July 14 [15?] to bury the corpses at Doxato. They counted 300 killed. While this was going on the Greek army arrived, marching not from Kavala but from Ziliahovo. Some of my policemen were killed by the Greek population.
No. 16a. DEPOSITION (COMMUNICATED) OF MR. MILEV, Sub-Lieutenant
of Reserves, formerly Mayor of Philipi'opolis and Prefect of Stara-Zagora,
who Commanded a Detachment of Infantry at Doxato.
On the morning of July 13, a detachment comprised of cavalry, infantry and artillery
marched from Drama toward Kavala in order to watch the movements of the andartes. At a distance of one kilometer from Doxato, we were received with rifle shots. This fusillade became hotter as we approached the village. Parliamentaries were sent in advance, but the Greeks refused to receive them and went on firing. Then the infantry formed in. line of battle and continued its march, but without firing. At 500 paces from the village the order was given to answer the Greek fire, and to aim specially at the school, which was the headquarters of the andartes, and over which the Greek flag was flying. The firing continued for two hours, after which the andartes left the school, set fire to it, and fled towards. Kavala. When the infantry entered Doxato, it realized that not all the andartes had left the village, for several of them continued to fire on our troops from the Greek houses. Then the fighting began in the village and lasted till midday, when the resistance of the inhabitants of Doxato was broken. Only twenty-seven andartes were killed in the village; the rest succeeded in escaping toward Kavala and the neighboring hills.
The people of Doxato had succeeded in effecting the escape of most of their women and children, who left on July 11 for Kavala. After the battle, the Bulgarian infantry found only about a hundred women and children in the village, and these were by order placed in several houses and courtyards, and protected by the Bulgarian soldiers against the local Turkish and gypsy population, who from the beginning of the fight were burning, pillaging and violating women and girls. Two Turks were caught in the act, and were executed on the spot by Bulgarian soldiers. The Bulgarian army has therefore no crime on its conscience. If women and children were killed in some isolated parts of the village (it was one long street, a kilometer in length) that was the work of local Turks and gypsies.
It was afterwards proved that the andartes under the instigation of Greek soldiers and officers deliberately set fire to the school, in order to burn some Bulgarians alive, who were shut up in it, to the number of about twenty. These were laborers arrested in the fields, and were found bound hand and foot by the Bulgarian soldiers who delivered them,. after being kept four days without food.
The army left Doxato at 2 p.m., leaving twenty soldiers behind to keep order.
No. 16b. COLONEL BARNEV, who directed the operations against
the evsones and' andartes round Doxato, has made the following deposition
On the morning of July 13 the two squadrons of cavalry which I commanded reached the neighborhood of Doxato, and there I found other Bulgarian detachments sent for the same purpose. At about 800 paces from Doxato, I met an orderly with dispatches. As I was engaged with the orderly, I directed Captain Sofroniev to continue the forward march in the direction of Doxato-Kavala, after which I would rejoin the troops. I noticed that all the country round the village was occupied by armed men, who lost no time in opening fire. The company under Sub-Lieutenant Milev, which was advancing to the south in a line parallel to ours, changed front towards Doxato, in the presence of this unexpected attack, formed in order of battle and advanced on the village; for the fire was directed against it, and threatened it seriously. The situation demanded first defence, and then the energetic pursuit of the andartes. The appearance of the squadrons of cavalry put the andartes to flight, and they were forced to leave their positions and seek refuge on the heights to the northeast of Doxato, where they entrenched themselves. Meanwhile other troops and andartes were reported coming from Kavala. In presence of these insurgents, who in their turn opened a heavy fire upon us, we were obliged to attack them, for we were exposed to a murderous fire. Part of them retired to the same heights, from whence they kept up their fire. The cavalry charged then. After the pursuit I gave the order to attend to the wounded, to carry them into shelter, and to send them away by the road Dadem-Tchiflik. We had hardly passed the village of Doiran when Sub-Lieutenant Tanev sent me an orderly to inform me that andartes coming from Kavala were advancing; that they had already occupied the heights near the ruins of Alexandras; and that the road to Dadem-
Tchiflik was also cut: I sent Captain Sofroniev in haste in the direction in question; the insurgents fled to Kavala. At this moment I received word from my scouts that a Greek column was reported marching from Valtchista in the direction of the station Anghista-Alistrati. Seeing our retreat threatened, I gave orders to return and occupy our original positions (the pass of Prossetchen).
From information received, the local Moslems, moved by vengeance against the Greeks, gave themselves up to excesses till midnight. It is these excesses which have been attributed by the Greek press to Bulgarian soldiers.
All the descriptions of the alleged misconduct of my troops at Doxato
are false. I deny these accusations, and affirm that the Bulgarian soldier
has given every proof of tolerance and discipline.
B. EVENTS AT SERRESNo. 17. [Note. In the semi-official Greek pamphlet Atrocites Bulgares, published by the director of the university at Athens, the narrative published by Signer Magrini in the Secolo is adopted as an authoritative statement of the Greek case. Signer Magrini states that he was present at the inquiry conducted at Serres by the consuls general of Austria and Italy, who had come from Salonica to hear witnesses on the spot.]
"If it appears that Serres is lost to the Bulgarians, destroy the town."On the evening of the same day General Ivanov, beaten at Lahana, passed through Serres station on his way to Demir-Hissar. On Saturday, July 5, the shops and houses were pillaged; seventeen notables were massacred; [This may refer to the thirteen persons murdered in the prison. Clearly not all of them were notables.] four other notables, among them the head master of the gymnasium, the director of the hospital, and the manager of the Orient bank, were led outside the town and killed with bayonet thrusts.[The manager of the Orient bank is alive and well, and was never wounded.]
Thereafter General Voulkov, Governor of Macedonia, and all the Bulgarian officials, soldiers, and gendarmes left hurriedly. On Sunday and Monday the town was tranquil in expectation of the arrival of the Greek army; the inhabitants armed in order to repel a probable attack by the comitadjis. On Tuesday and Wednesday skirmishes took place between the inhabitants and groups of soldiers who attempted to enter the town and to set it on fire. On Thursday the inhabitants, foreseeing the catastrophe, sent a deputation to Nigrita to demand help, but it was too late. [Observe that all mention of the schoolhouse massacre is suppressed.]
With the Austrian consul general, I questioned the Moslem Ahmed-Hafiz, formerly attached to the Bulgarian police; he made the following declarations:
On Thursday evening the Bulgarian officer Monev appeared at my house and told me, that the Bulgarians were going to burn Serres next day. He invited me to join in the pillage and the burning with a band of Moslems. I refused. Then Monev asked me for petroleum; I replied that I had none. On Thursday, during the night, four guns were posted on the hill Dutii, which commands Serres, and next morning about eight o'clock the bombardment began and created an enormous panic. Soon more than 500 infantry, several groups of cavalry, numbering ten each, and fifty291
comitadjis entered the town, armed with bombs, and the atrocities began. Among the soldiers several officers were recognized, including Dr. Yankov, secretary of General Voulkov and councilor of the government, and the late chief of police Karagiosov and Orfaniev, chief of the gendarmerie of Serres. Clearly there was a well-arranged plan. The doors of the houses and shops were opened with sticks tipped with iron, with which the soldiers were provided. The buildings were entered and pillaged; the booty was loaded on some hundred wagons, specially got together for this purpose. Then the houses, emptied one by one, were sprinkled with petroleum and other inflammable substances and fire put to them. By an application of the law of the economy of effort, in each group of three houses, only the middle-one was set on fire, clearly in the belief that the wind, which was blowing with violence, would complete the work of destruction. The soldiers fired on the inhabitants who attempted to save the burning houses, consulates, and foreign buildings.No. 17a. STATEMENT OF MR. ZLATKOS, Vice Consul of Austria Hungary at Serres: (Atrocites Bulgares, p. 23.)
In the quarter Kamenilia twenty-eight persons, among them Albert Biro, a Hungarian, were massacred. The Austrian vice consul with the people who had sought refuge in the consulate was carried off to the mountain, his magnificent house was pillaged and then burned. All the buildings protected by foreign flags were treated in the same fashion. At the Orient bank an attempt was made to open the safe by means of a bomb, but it failed, and the assailants had to content themselves with burning the building. The Italian consular agency, a well-built house, surrounded by a vast garden, was saved almost miraculously from destruction; it is the only house saved in a whole quarter which was burnt down, and the Italian consular agent Menahem Simantov explained to us, that at noon on Friday several infantry soldiers ordered him to open his house, in which 600 people had taken refuge, mainly women and children. He showed himself at a window, the soldiers demanded £T400. His knowledge of Bulgarian enabled him to save them. He persuaded the soldiers to be content with £54 and to withdraw. The presence of the young Bulgarian Mavrodiev, says Simantov, saved the agency from catastrophe. None the less in the course of the day it was necessary to buy off other soldiers with a fresh ransom. The agency, filled with refugees, was surrounded on all sides by flames; we were-barely able to protect it.
No. 18. THE SCHOOLHOUSE MASSACRE (see also Nos. 56, 57, 58).
of Demetri Karanfilov, formerly a dairyman and afterwards a Bulgarian gendarme
On Saturday, July 5, the Bulgarian army left the town. I was unable to go with it since my wife was ill. Everything was quiet until Monday. There then arrived Greek andartes (Insurgents) with villagers and some soldiers. I hid and saw very little of what went on. On Tuesday, shots were fired at my house and I heard voices say, "Bulgarians live here." They came in and searched for arms. There were one or two soldiers among about twelve men. I was then taken to the Archbishop's palace and brought before a civil commission, which included the Archbishop of Serres (an old man) and a young bishop, who presided. The soldiers said to me on the way, "We've come to exterminate the Bulgarians." The bishop asked me who and what I was. I replied, "A Bulgarian gendarme." I was searched and five francs were taken from me. I was then taken to a room of the girls' high school, and was kept there for four days, guarded by both soldiers and civilians, who came both from Serres and from the villages. Many other Bulgarians were with me. We received bread once a day, and were not at first maltreated. Ten
people were taken up to a room above and never came back. We heard cries, and believe they were killed. I was ordered with three other men to carry out two corpses. They were covered with blood, and I believe that they were Bulgarians of Serres. On Friday morning, a soldier came in and said: "Don't fear, our army is coming, but do all that we tell you." So we were rather relieved. Then those in our room were bound two by two, taken upstairs and were never seen again. When my turn came; I was bound with another man taken up to a room which was full of corpses. There were quite fifty of them; you couldn't see the floor, some were lying in heaps, and there was blood all over the place. I was then struck with a Martini bayonet on the back of the head and through the neck and on the shoulder. [We saw these wounds and also a hole in the man's coat.] The blow on my shoulder was dealt me by Christo, a neighbor of mine. I do not know who the others were. When I fell, another fell on top of me; I fainted and came to some time afterwards. I noticed that somebody else was moving, and soon five or six were stirring. The Greeks had all gone and we heard a fusillade outside. The town was already in flames and soon the school would be burnt also. We went out of this room and saw another room heaped with corpses. Some were still alive and groaning. The doors were open and we made up our minds to go out, crossed the street, went up the hill, and met the Bulgarian soldiers, who tended our wounds. I have had no news of my wife to this day.
No. 19. EVIDENCE OF CHRISTO DIMITROV, Miller of Serres.
On July 5 I left my mill on the advice of a Bulgarian soldier, and went to my house to fetch my wife and children. There were shouts of Zeto! (the Greek cry) all round, and neighbors shouted "the Greek army is coming." My neighbors bade me have no fear and undertook to save me. I slept that night at home, and saw next morning a crowd of Greeks and Turks in the street, who shouted that they would destroy everything Bulgarian. T saw them arrest two men from Dibra, Marko and Christo. Three Greeks returned to Christo's house and came out with his wife half an hour later; she was crying "Is there no one to save me!" The crowd in the street was shouting, "Show us the Bulgarian houses." On the 6th, I went to a Turk's house for hiding. On the 8th the crowd came again shouting, "There are still Bulgarians here." My neighbors tried to save me, but in the end when the crowd threatened them, they advised me to go quietly to the Archbishop's palace, as I had done no harm. The neighbors came with me to give evidence before the Archbishop in my favor. But I was taken straight to the school and robbed on arrival of my money (5 Napoleons) while soldiers stood around. I spent the day there with about twenty other Bulgarians. That evening I was bound and taken up to a room where eleven dead bodies were lying on the floor. I was ordered to lie down; my hands and feet were bound behind me; I was heavily struck and left. I talked with two other men in the room who were still alive, including my neighbor Christo of Debra, and each asked the other "What crime have we committed?" I recognized two Greeks among our jailers, a certain Janmaki, brother of the Greek Consul Cavass, and one Taki, son of the innkeeper Peter. They said to an evzone, "We must not leave one alive." They then beat Petro, Christo, and Procop to death with a big stick. Another Greek civilian then came in and, pointing to me, said: "Fourteen are enough; we can't bury them all. Let us leave this one till tomorrow." They evidently reckoned that they could only bury fourteen in a night. The others were then taken out, and Petro, who was not quite dead, was forced to walk. "We'll kill him down there," they said. I was left alone, bound. On Thursday morning, July 19, I was taken down to another room, where were some men from . Strumnitsa; I asked and received some bread and water. Eight men were then brought in from the villages. The Greeks all the time kept shouting, "Long live King Constantine!" On Friday morning, July 11, my wife arrived, and brought me some bread, some tobacco and three francs. Women looking out of the neighboring houses threatened me, "You Bulgarian dogs, we'll kill you all, to the last man." Then four Bulgarian soldiers were brought in as prisoners, three Bul-
garian comitadjis and the secretary of the mayor of the village of Topoleni. About eleven o'clock I heard the Greek women of the quarter calling out to the men, "Flee! for the Bulgarians are coming, and they will kill you." About sixty surviving prisoners were brought together; about fifty other Greeks came in, including some evsones, who bound the prisoners and took them out two by two. Mine was the sixth turn. I was led to an upper room, ordered to lie down, and received four wounds. I then groaned and feigned death. [We saw the scars of his wounds and the holes in his coat.] Others were then brought in and killed. I heard a sort of gurgling, like the sound which sheep make when they are being killed, in the room next door. Presently I heard firing outside, and the Greeks went down to fight, and left us alone. I saw that all was clear. Ten of us were alive and rose to go out, but two. Ilia Penev and Simon, fell at once and could not proceed. Eight of us got safely out to the hills and reached the Bulgarian soldiers. I have heard no news of my wife since that day.
No. 20. EVIDENCE OF DIMITRI LAZAROV, of Moklen, near Serves.
Seven men were sent from our village by the mayor to see if the Bulgarians were still in possession of Serres. Three gendarmes were among us, and all of us had our rifles. [He gave the names of all seven.] We were arrested near the village of Soubashkoi by about one hundred armed Greek villagers. They kept us for five days in the village schoolhouse; ropes were arranged from the rafters to hang us. Then firing was heard in the neighborhood and the Greeks, in fear lest Bulgarian troops should arrive, took the ropes down. There were five Bulgarian soldiers prisoners in the same place. I saw four of these shot in the garden of the school in daylight; the fifth begged hard for his life and was saved. We were now bound with this soldier in groups of four and were taken to the Bishop's palace. I had one hundred piastres in money, and of the others, one had £T2 and another £Tl4. We were taken before a priest, who was alone in a room. I think he was a bishop; the evsones took our money, and put it on the table before the priest, who put it in a drawer. We asked for water. They gave it us, but the evsones struck us in the face before the bishop. He asked us no questions, and we were taken to the school. The evsones beat us and mocked us with shouts of "hourrah!" (the Bulgarian cry). The gendarmes were taken to a room apart. In our room there were ten dead bodies; these were afterwards removed by Turkish porters. One of the gendarmes died this day from beating. We were stripped perfectly naked. Next day, Friday, July 11, forty-four new Bulgarian prisoners were brought in. [The witness, like all Balkan peasants, reckoned the dates from the nearest church festival.] About midday we heard cannon—perhaps twenty shots. Then we could see from the window that the town was in flames. Three soldiers wearing the Greek uniform came into our room, but one of them wore vlach trousers. They took four prisoners out to another room. We heard cries. The same three then came back with their hands and bayonets covered with blood; we tried but failed to get out by breaking the windows. I was taken out almost the last to a room full of dead bodies. The vlach struck me two blows on the head and two on the neck, and I fell. [We saw his wounds, the skull was deeply indented.] Another man fell on top of me and I lost consciousness. When I came to I heard rifle firing. Four men rose with me. Angel Dimov of Carlukavo is the only one I knew. We found water, which the butchers had used to wash their hands. We heard the Bulgarian cry "hourrah," went out, and found a Bulgarian soldier who got a mule for me. The whole town was on fire.
No. 21. EVIDENCE OF BLAGOI PETROV, of Serres, mason, aged
On July 10 four citizens of Serres, whom I knew, dressed in Greek uniform, took me to the schoolhouse prison. About one hundred others were there. We were beaten with the butts of their rifles and most of us had our hands tied to something, such as the pillars. An armed Greek civilian came in and said, "We must not kill these young lads, but we'll
give them a beating." They insisted that I should stay to see my father killed; they even promised to give me my liberty at once if I would kill my father with my own hand. About one o'clock I saw him killed with five blows from the butt of a rifle; many others were killed at the same time. Five youths were released. The names of my father's murderers are, Teochar, a mechanic, and Athanasios Petrov, a tobacco worker.
No. 22. EVIDENCE OF DR. KLUGMANN, Russian civil doctor, employed at Serves in the special service organized by the Bulgarians to deal with the epidemic of cholera.
On going out to my work as usual at eight o'clock on Sunday morning July 6, I found all the houses shut and the people beginning to flee. A Bulgarian officer with two or three soldiers was in the street, with rifles presented, but they did not fire. Towards midday firing began and went on all day, but I can not say who was responsible. Monday was quiet. I went out on my balcony and saw a priest announcing to the people in the street, "Let any one who wants a gun go to the bishopric and get it." I saw them coming out armed, an hour later. Rifles were given out to Turks. Firing began soon afterwards and went on all day and night. On Tuesday morning some Greek andartes came to my house and arrested me. It was useless to explain that I was in the town to fight the cholera for the benefit of the whole population; I was taken to the bishop who, fortunately, spoke Russian, and eventually released me. I was again arrested on Thursday and taken by the bishop's orders to the Greek hospital. During all this time the Bulgarians up and down the town were being arrested. Another Bulgarian who was arrested at the same time as myself was beaten by the soldiers in my presence. On Thursday, while I was at the bishop's palace, about twenty-five Bulgarian prisoners were brought in before a commission composed of priests and civilians. As far as I could understand the proceedings they were condemned to death [the doctor knows little or no Greek, but thought he could guess the meaning of what went on]. I was removed with the bishop's consent to the Bulgarian hospital, where there was another Russian doctor, Laznev, and an assistant named Comarov. On Friday morning we saw the whole population fleeing in the direction of Nigrita. About eleven o'clock shots were fired from the hill behind our hospital, fourteen or fifteen in all. The firing went on for an hour. Toward midday everything was quiet. I then saw that the town was burning. In the afternoon many Greek soldiers entered the hospital and threatened to kill me. They stole everything in the hospital, including Dr. Laznev's watch. [NOTE.—Dr. Klugmann went on to give many details of the difficulties which he and his colleagues in the Bulgarian hospital met with from the Greek authorities.] I wish in conclusion to affirm my strong conviction that the Bulgarians cannot have burnt Serres. I am unable to say how it was set on fire.
No. 23. EVIDENCE or COMMANDANT IVAN KIRPIKOV.
On Thursday, July 10, while at Zurnovo, I received orders to march on Serres with my column, to look after the munitions which had been left in the town, to resume the administration, and to restore order. I understood this to mean that I was to stay in the town, if possible, unless driven out by superior force. I had a battalion and a half of infantry, one squadron of cavalry, and one battery of artillery. We marched throughout the night, and by six o'clock on Friday morning were within five or six kilometers of Serres. I met on the way two companies of the dismounted cavalry, who had been driven back from the town the day before by the insurgent population. I ascertained that the Greeks held three positions on the hills surrounding the town, and estimated from their fire that they must number at least 1,000 rifles. I used my artillery against each of their positions in succession, and our infantry was able eventually to capture all three positions. From the last hill above the town 1 saw the population fleeing from the town in all directions over the plain. The enemy's fire meanwhile continued from several houses, from an
old tower, and from a little hill which was practically in the town. I sent a detachment to march down the principal street with orders to shout as they went that the people should keep calm and fear nothing. My men were fired upon from every house as they marched, and balls fell even where I was standing with the artillery. I then directed one of my guns against two big houses, from which the fire chiefly came. This had the effect of checking it. I then sent three patrols of ten men each to report if our depots were intact. They were fired upon.
I now noticed groups of people in three large masses in the plain, near the railway line. I could see with my glasses that they were all armed and were wearing the Greek peasant costume peculiar to certain villages which we regarded as the center of the Greek propaganda. I sent a squadron to the railway station, but it was stopped by hot fire from the station. I now realized that a counter attack was being prepared and decided to march through the town and give battle to the groups of men near the station. Meanwhile a big building exploded, presumably a magazine. I sent my patrol to see what it was, but they were again repulsed from the same big building. I ordered my patrol to localize the conflagration which had now begun in various places. The groups of peasants had now begun to advance on the town. We never reached the house that was blown up and my infantry were never able to penetrate far into the town because of the continual fire from the houses. As they marched, Moslems and Bulgarians began to join our men and to embrace them.
I now realized that the force opposed to me was much superior to my
own, and my object now was to clear the plain and isolate the town. I ordered
my guns to fire on the groups in the plain. The fire was now spreading
all over the town. With my binoculars I could see large columns of the
Greek regular army approaching from Orlov. I continued to use my guns in
order to keep the groups dispersed. I then heard of another column of the
regular army which was approaching from another direction. Realizing that
I should be unable to face these, I sent patrols to our depots, which were
in front of the governor's palace, with orders to blow them up if they
found them intact. I then arranged to cover my retreat. Shells had begun
to fall in the town from the Greek guns, and some of these' fell on the
hospital. The Greek vanguard with the townsmen attacked our rear guard.
They shelled us steadily as we retreated, and some of their shells fell
among refugees from the town who had fled to us.
In reply to a question whether he knew anything regarding the Austrian vice consul, the commander replied, that his patrols reported to him as follows:
We met a person who said he was the Austrian vice consul; we took him and his family with us for his own protection, to ensure that neither the population nor the troops should molest him. We asked him if he preferred to come with us, or to stay in the town? He said he preferred to come with us. Later, when he saw that the Greek army was arriving he changed his mind and wished to go back to the town. This we allowed him to do.Before leaving the town [continued the Commander] some Bulgarian civilians came to me and told me that about 250 Bulgarians had been imprisoned and massacred in the school house. The refugees who fled with us, told me that the explosion which we had heard, came from a Greek magazine of cartridges, which the Greeks themselves set on fire. The wind was blowing violently from east to west, and this house, which was in the east of the town, seems to have started the conflagration. I can not believe that our shells caused the fire. We have often tested this; they do not have the effect of setting houses on fire.
No. 24. EVIDENCE OF DOCTOR YANKOV, Advocate and Counselor
to the Governor of Serres.
I left Serres on July 5, and heard later that a detachment was returning. I accompa-
nied it on Friday morning, July 11. Our detachment fired two cannon shots against the enemy, who was outside the town towards the north. On entering the town it pursued the Greeks, who were not regulars but andartes. Towards half past eleven I saw flames in the town. I notified the commandant that we were causing loss to the state. He replied that our shells could not possibly be the cause of the conflagration. The cavalry then entered the town and I went with it, accompanied by Karagiosov and Orfaniev. On the invitation of a leading Mohammedan I entered his house and found there about one hundred Turks including many notables. We spoke of the conflagration, which was increasing, and went out with several Turks to attempt to check it. In the town I learnt that one of the two Bulgarian depots of rifles was already burning. The Greeks had set it on fire. The houses in Serres are closely packed together, the streets are very narrow, and the wind was violent, so that the fire spread rapidly. I looked for fire engines at the municipality, but failed to find them. I went to look elsewhere and then heard that the Bulgarian army was already in retreat. I met the vice consul of Austria, Mr. Zlatkos, a Greek, and with him about a hundred Greek refugees. He demanded my protection. I accompanied him back to the town, a distance of perhaps one hundred metres. Karagiosov disappeared and we have had no further news of him.
No. 25. EVIDENCE OF LAZAR TOMOV, a Bulgarian Teacher at Uskub.
Mr. Tomov was driven out of Uskub, and traveled to Serres during the early days of the second war. He passed through Doiran, saw that all the Bulgarian villages were burned, and near the village of Gavaliantsi saw the corpse of a little cripple girl, wounded and mutilated. She was about fourteen years of age. On July 11, he entered Serres with the Bulgarian army, but did not actually penetrate into the town. He saw heaps of corpses in the girls' school, and met four of the survivors of the massacre. One of them was the man Lazarov. The Bulgarian troops were moved to intense indignation, but there was no outbreak. He saw both Turks and Bulgarian villagers setting houses on fire. Turks were carrying sacks through the streets, from which he inferred that they were looting.
No. 26. EVIDENCE OF COMMANDANT MOUSTAKOV, Secretary to General
Voulkov, Governor of Serres and Macedonia.
Referring to the documents published in the Greek pamphlet Atrocites Bulgares, p. 54, in which he is represented as proposing the arrest of a number of Greek notables, the commandant explained, that neither of the orders therein attributed to him is genuine. There was no reason why he, working in the same office as General Voulkov, should have addressed a written communication to him. The commandant produced the official register in which his orders were copied.
(1) The first order attributed to him bears an authentic number (No. 8265). An order with this number does exist and is entered in the register; but its contents are quite different from those of the document published in the pamphlet. (2) No order bearing the number 8391 exists.
[We examined the register, which fully bore out the commandant's statement. The numbers in the register were not consecutive, and no entry had been made corresponding to the number in the pamphlet].
Further, in reply to the statement made on p. 30 of this pamphlet that disguises and other compromising articles had been found by the Greeks in the governor's house, the Commandant stated (1) that no such articles had ever been in his possession and (2) that in any event they can not have been found, since the house, which belonged to Nechid-bey, had been burned before the entry of the Greeks.
In explanation of the circumstances which attended the evacuation of Serres, the Com-
mandant stated that on Saturday, July 5, there was in the early morning a panic in the town, due to a rumor that the Greek army was approaching. The town was almost entirely deserted. The Bulgarian troops went out to reconnoitre; he himself went about calming the people. By his orders a squadron of dismounted cavalry marched through the town singing. It was fired on from the houses, and one soldier was killed and another wounded. This occurred about 5.30 p.m. Two men were arrested and probably killed. At 9 p.m. he left the town with General Voulkov. A detachment of about 200 men of the territorial army was left behind under Commandant Toplov; but in view of the danger of surprise attacks it passed the night outside the town and entered it again the next day, again retiring at nightfall. The Commandant returned on July 8, towards midday on a locomotive, with ten soldiers. He found Serres station surrounded by Greek andartes and skirmished with them till evening. He had asked for cannon, which arrived late; he remained in the neighborhood of Serres on the hills on July 9, but neither used his cannon nor entered the town. On July 11 took place the attack in force under Commandant Kirpikov. He himself had intended, if he had been able to enter the town, to burn the Bulgarian stores and depots of munitions which had been left behind. The larger force had no doubt the same orders.
With reference to the statement that prisoners were killed by the Bulgarians on leaving the town, the Commandant explained that headquarters were aware of a revolutionary movement among the Greeks of Serres; the Greeks had large quantities of arms. He had inquired of the commandant de place what measures had been taken to prevent an outbreak. The reply was that "this in no way concerned him." On July 1 there were five Greek notables under arrest at the prefecture. He failed to obtain any explanation as to what would be done to them. The idea was that by arresting these notables a revolution might be prevented. This was an absurdity, but he believes these men were in the end liberated.
On July 3 Mr. Arrington asked him to procure the release of his imprisoned
porter (cavass). He explained that this was a matter which concerned the
Commandant and not the Governor. He ascertained that two or three cavass
belonging to the tobacco warehouses had been arrested because the rumor
was in circulation that the famous Greek insurgent chief, Captain Doukas,
was in the town disguised as the cavass of a tobacco warehouse.
He gave orders before leaving Serres, that prisoners of all races including
some thirty or forty Bulgarian comitadjis accused of crimes committed
during the war should be released. The prisoners numbered about 105 men.
The Greeks and Turks among them were persons of no importance. No soldiers
were left at the prison, and its governor had fled. It is conceivable that
the Bulgarian prisoners may have killed the Greek prisoners.
C. EVENTS AT DEMIR-HISSAR
No. 27. REPORT OF THE GENERAL COMMANDING THE SIXTH DIVISION OF THE GREEK
ARMY, dated July 12.
I have the honor to inform your Majesty that an officer of my staff sent to Demir-Hissar, reports as follows:
The Bulgarian captain of gendarmerie, Meligov (Velikov?) arrested the bishop, Mgr. Constantine, the priest Papastavrou, the notable Sapazacharizanou, and over one hundred other Greeks, who were imprisoned in the confines of the Bulgarian school. On July 7 and 8 the Bulgarian soldiers and gendarmes massacred them, and requisitioned Turkish peasants to bury them in the precincts of the school, outside the wall on the east side. An officer of my staff ordered the exhumation of the bodies in order to verify the facts. He found the heaped bodies of the victims at a depth of over two meters.
Further, officers and soldiers violated several girls; they even killed one, named Agatha Thomas, the daughter of a gardener, because she resisted them.
The shops of the town have been sacked and destroyed, with all the furniture
houses of our countrymen, of whom some were saved by the Turks who sheltered them in their houses. The town in general presents a lamentable spectacle of destruction.
No. 27a. The report of the commission of Greek deputies which visited Demir-His-sar, contains the following additional details:
The number of notables arrested was 104; eighty were at once killed by bayonet thrusts. Twenty-four others, by feigning death, survived, though seriously wounded. Among the victims are two women and two babies aged two and three years. * * * The bishop and three priests were killed by Captain Anghel Dimitriev Bostanov with his own hand. He first gouged out their eyes and cut off their hands. * * * All these atrocities were committed by the soldiers and non-commissioned officers of the Bulgarian regular army belonging to the Twelfth and Twenty-first regiments. * * *"There follows an account of the search for arms at the bishop's palace, in which this statement occurs: "The soldiers knocked at the door, and as the bishop resisted, they broke it down." In describing the exhumation of the bodies, it is stated that only eight were actually exhumed. The corpse of the bishop was lying face downwards. The Commission have before it an official list of seventy-one persons killed and five wounded, and of others who have disappeared, making a total of 104. It includes one priest (not three), and is comprised largely of working men who can not have been "notable."
No. 28. In its issue of July 13/26, the official Echo de Bulgarie
the following statement:
As regards the acts of repression at Demir-Hissar, it is necessary to explain that the Greek population of this town, roused by agitators, revolted on July 8, when the Bulgarian troops withdrew. It pillaged the military magazines, the public buildings, and the Bulgarian houses, and massacred a number of soldiers who fell into its hands, as well as the sick and wounded of an ambulance train which arrived that day from Serres. The bodies of sixteen soldiers were found in the immediate neighborhood of the town; the exact number of those massacred in the town itself has never been exactly ascertained.
The rebels took up positions all around the town, whence on the following day a Bulgarian detachment coming from Serres in ignorance of what was going on,- was obliged to dislodge them by force. On its entry into the town, it was met with a fusillade from other rebels concealed in the houses. Order was none the less promptly restored. Some individuals taken with arms in their hands were shot. An inquiry was held into the events of the previous day. The murderers and the instigators of the movement were arrested, and some of them were executed. It was established that the Greek prelate was the chief leader, and that he had set the example to the rebels by himself firing the nrst shots from his window against soldiers who were passing his house. Further, a revolver was found in his pocket, with several of its cartridges used.
To explain the severities employed in restoring order at Demir-Hissar, it must be added that on the same day, July 9, Greek troops burned the Bulgarian villages in the neighborhood of Demir-Hissar, notably Gorni-Poroi, Dolni-Porio, Starochevo and Kechislik.
28a. The following supplementary narrative from Bulgarian official
sources has been communicated to us:
On July 5, as our troops were withdrawing towards the defile of Rupel, a panic occurred in Demir-Hissar, and some shots were fired in the Greek quarter. There were, however, no casualties, and order was speedily restored by the civil administration, which remained in the town (see No. 46). From July 5 to July 9 the town was relatively calm.
Troops retreating on Djumaia were continually passing through it, and the bakeries were working to supply our troops at Rupel. During these days Major Stephanov of the general staff of the second army passed twice through the town; he states that no one in the town complained of ill treatment by our troops or officials. Meanwhile, the Greek army advancing along the Salonica-Serres road toward the bridge over the Struma, at Oriiak, was driving the fugitive population before it (see Nos. 33 and 35). On July 7, the Greek artillery on the right bank near the burned bridge of Orliak, fired on the fugitives and on the villages in the plain of the Struma (see Greek soldiers' letters, No. 51), and this increased the stream of fugitives, some of whom passed through the town itself. The panic in Demir-Hissar now became irresistible, and the administration abandoned it. The Greek population thus became the master of the town, and rushed through the streets with the Greek flag, firing on our wounded soldiers, our baggage and ambulance trains, and on the fugitive population. A body of from 120 to 150 andartes under the command of a Greek officer arrived in the town, from the direction of the plain. At this moment the Greek bishop went into the streets at the head of about twenty armed Greeks, and gave the order to fall upon all Bulgarians. Fighting followed in the town. Two Bulgarian gendarmes who were guarding our military stores were killed; all the bakers were slaughtered at their ovens; many of our wounded were killed, and a large number of the peasant fugitives, including women and children. The street fighting, the massacres and general disorder continued all day, and many were killed on both sides. The Greek bishop was probably killed during this fighting. The Greek army entered Demir-Hissar in the evening of this day. What was left of the Bulgarian population in the town fled to the mountains, pursued by the Greek troops and armed civilians, who massacred it whenever they overtook it.
There was no Bulgarian officer at Demir-Hissar after the evening of
July 10, when the administration left the town.
The Ministry of War states that Lieutenant Velikov was not there. No such name as Captain Anghel Dimitriev Bostanov is to be found in the registers of the active or reserve army. It is not for the first time that this has happened. More than once in the telegrams of General Dousmanis, Generals Kovatchev and Voulkov are mentioned as being in the neighborhood of Demir-Hissar or Serres, when in fact they were either opposing the Serbs or were at Dubnitsa.
More than 250 wounded Bulgarian soldiers and peasants fleeing from Kukush, Doiran and Lagadina were killed at Demir-Hissar.
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