Slavic refugees from Greek Civil War


Slavic refugees from Greek Civil War

The exodus of ethnic Macedonians from Greece, ( _mk. "Егзодус на етничките Македонци од Грција ") [ [http://www.osservatoriobalcani.org/article/articleview/9969/1/216/] ] refers to the group of ethnic Macedonians who were evacuated and/or fled the Greek Civil War in the years 1945 to 1949. The bulk of these were Refugee children, ( _mk. "Деца бегалци") whose parents were fighting with the Democratic Army of Greece and the Communist Party of Greece. Of the estimated 100,000 Macedonians expelled from Greece it is estimated that between 28,000 and 32,000 children were evacuated from the Civil War [ [http://www.gate.net/~mango/Kimlika.html] ] [cite book
title= One Europe, Many Nations: A Historical Dictionary of European National Groups
last= Minahan
first= James
authorlink=
coauthors=
year= 2000
publisher= Greenwood Publishing Group
location=
isbn= 0313309841
pages= 440
] . Many partisans and other Ethnic Macedonians were also expelled or fled following the collapse of the Democratic Army of Greece.

Background

Pro-communist sentiment had been brewing in Greece since the First World War this significantly increased during the repressive Metaxas regime. During the Second World War many people in Greek Macedonia joined or sympathized with the Communist Party of Greece. The majority of these people were Greeks or Ethnic Macedonians. An armed wing was soon formed it was called the Democratic Army of Greece, this was followed by an Ethnic Macedonian organisation the Slavic-Macedonian National Liberation Front (SNOF) ( _mk. Славјано Македонски Народно Ослободителен Фронт (СНОФ), Latinic: "Slavjano Мakedonski Narodno Osloboditelen Front (SNOF)") which fought for the Communist Party of Greece. This organisation operated from 1943 to 1945. Other people also joinecd the Greek People's Liberation Army or collaborative pro-axis organisations such as Ohrana. The National Liberation Front (Greece) with the help of the Communist party of Greece helped to expell the German invaders. By 1945 the Second World War had ended and Greece was in open civil war. It has been estimated that after the end of the Second World War over 40,000 people fled from Greece to Yugoslavia. The struggle between the Greek People's Liberation Army and the Greek Communist Party (KKE) had escalated and these two movements soon became the main contenders for being post-war victors.

Civil War

Many Aegean Macedonians joined the struggle on the side of the Greek Communist Party and a succesor organisation to SNOF was founded. The National Liberation Front was founded by Ethnic Macedonians. Backing from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Socialist People's Republic of Albania helped the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) to continue their struggle. The DSE heavily recruited Ethnic Macedonians from the Greek region of Macedonia. It has been estimated that out of DSE's 20,000 fighters, 14,000 were Slavic Macedonians from Greek Macedonia. [Ζαούσης Αλέξανδρος. "Η Τραγική αναμέτρηση, 1945-1949 – Ο μύθος και η αλήθεια" (ISBN 9607213432).] Given their important role in the battle [ [http://macedonian.atspace.com/doc/nz_govor.htm Speech presented by Nikos Zachariadis at the Second Congress of the NOF (National Liberation Front of the ethnic Macedonians from Greek Macedonia)] , published in "Σαράντα Χρόνια του ΚΚΕ 1918-1958", Athens, 1958, p. 575.] , KKE changed its policy towards them. At the fifth Plenum of KKE on January 31 1949, a resolution was passed declaring that after KKE's victory, the Slavic Macedonians would find their national restoration within a united greek state. [KKE Official documents,vol 8 ] . Although the Ethnic Macedonians had made a critical contribution to the war effort of KKE ["Incompatible Allies: Greek Communism and Macedonian Nationalism in the Civil War in Greece, 1943-1949. Andrew Rossos", The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 69, No. 1 (Mar., 1997) ( [http://www.jstor.org/?config=jstor&K=user%40user_response%2F41mAX8Pa9m4NhF4jYW%2F40%2F4kmA29x0%2F300222801.di982537.98p0609d.0%2F2qtqkHSrnkCNDeX7Pt.UVO&cookieSet=1 p. 42] )] their contribution was not enough to turn the tide.

The tide turns

By the spring of 1947 the communist forces controlled much of the Greek countryside but had yet to achieve significant cupport in the cities. Many people believed that socialism was the only option for them and did not wish to live under a non-communist Greece. Many people began to leave Greece and take their children with them, This process included both Greeks and Ethnic Macedonians. Eventually many people began to flee from Greece or were expelled by the ensuing DSE. By 1948 the pro-Tito forces in the National Liberation Front had fled to Yugoslavia despite this Ethnic Macedonians continued to make up over 30% of the KKE's fighting force.lower| cite book
title= Macedonia Its Disputed History
last= Simpson
first= Neil
authorlink=
coauthors=
year= 1994
publisher= Aristoc Press
location= Victoria
isbn= 0646204629
pages= 91
]
In the ensuing aftermath the ELAS began to consolidate its control on Greek Macedonian. Many villages were destroyed in the fighting and the displaced villagers often fled the country through Albania and onto Yugoslavia. One case is the village of Babčor in the Kastoria region which was eliminated by US bombers in 1948 thus displacing hundreds of people.lower|Peter,Hill. (1989) The Macedonians in Australia, Hesperian Press, Carlisle, page 32] Over the course of the war thousands of Aegean Macedonians had were killed, imprisoned or had their land confiscated. [cite book
title= The Macedonian Conflict
last= Danforth
first= Loring M.
authorlink=
coauthors=
year= 1997
publisher= Princeton University Press
location=
isbn= 0691043566
pages= 54
] The headquartes of the Democratic Army in Greece reported that from mid-1945 to May 20, 1947, in Western Macedonia alone, 13,259 were tortured, 3,215 were imprisoned and 268 were executed without trial. In the same period 1,891 had been burnt down and 1,553 had been looted and 13,553 Macedonians had been resettled by force. [cite book
title= Macedonia and Greece: The Struggle to Define a New Balkan Nation
last= Shea
first= John
authorlink=
coauthors=
year= 1997
publisher= MrFarland
location=
isbn= 0786402288
pages= 116
] In 1947 the legal act L-2 was issued. This meant that all people who had fought against the Greek government and left Greece would have their citizenship confiscated and were banned from returning to the country. On January 20, 1948 the legal act M was issued which allowed the Greek government to confiscate the property of those who were stripped of their citizenship. [cite book
title= Macedonia and Greece: The Struggle to Define a New Balkan Nation
last= Shea
first= John
authorlink=
coauthors=
year= 1997
publisher= MrFarland
location=
isbn= 0786402288
pages= 117
]

Towards the end of 1947, ELAS made an appeal to the governments of the people's republics in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to offer refuge, or at least on a temporary basis, to the children from increasingly exposed areas of Aegean Macedonia [ cite book
title= Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture
last= Frucht
first= Richard
authorlink=
coauthors=
year= 2000
publisher= ABC-CLIO
location=
isbn= 1576078000
pages= 599
] .

Deca Begalci

On March 4th 1948, "Radio Free Greece" announced that all children under the age of 15 would be evacuated from areas under communist control. The older women were instructed to take the children across the border to Yugoslavia and Albania, while the younger women took to the hills with the partisans. By 1948 scores of children had already died from malnutrition, dieasease and injuries. [ cite book
title= Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture
last= Frucht
first= Richard
authorlink=
coauthors=
year= 2000
publisher= ABC-CLIO
location=
isbn= 1576078000
pages= 599
] It is estimated that 8,000 children left the Kastoria area in the ensuing weeks. Peter,Hill. (1989) The Macedonians in Australia, Hesperian Press, Carlisle, page 30] Thousands of Greek, Ethnic Macedonian and Aromanian children were evacuated from the Areas under communist control. They are now known as the Decata Begalci ( _mk. "Децата бегалци") or the Refugee Children [cite book
title= The Past in Question: Modern Macedonia and the Uncertainties of Nation
last= Brown
first= Keith
authorlink=
coauthors=
year= 2003
publisher= Princeton University Press
location=
isbn= 0691099952
pages= 271
] . It is estimated that from 28,000 children to 32,000 children were evacuated in the years 1948 and 1949. [Minority Rights Group, "Minorities in the Balkans", p. 31] [ cite book
title= Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture
last= Frucht
first= Richard
authorlink=
coauthors=
year= 2000
publisher= ABC-CLIO
location=
isbn= 1576078000
pages= 599
] Exceptions were made for children under the age of three who stayed with their mothers while the rest should be evacuated. Many of these children were spread throughout the countries of the Eastern Bloc by 1950 there were 5,132 children in Romania, 4,148 in Czechoslovakia, 3,590 in Poland, 2,859 in Hungary, 2,660 in Bulgaria and 2,000 had been evacuated to Bulgaria. [ [http://faq.macedonia.org/history/12.1.3.html 1996 figures] ] [ cite book
title= Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture
last= Frucht
first= Richard
authorlink=
coauthors=
year= 2000
publisher= ABC-CLIO
location=
isbn= 1576078000
pages= 599
]

Evacuations following the Communist defeat

By early 1949 the situation for the communists had become dire. Daily groups of refugees were fleeing across the Albanian border and into the Eastern Bloc. Most of these were partisans and communist fighters. They were stirred on by the hope of fighting for the Greek Communist Party in other parts of the balkans. Many others were refugees whose homes and buisness' had been destroyed by the fighting. Others still were expelled by the Government forces. Thousands fled across the border before the Greek government re-established control in former Communist held teritory.

Thousands of refugees began to flee across the Eastern Bloc. Many ended up in the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and across the Eastern Bloc. Thousands left for Australia, the United States and Canada [cite book
title= The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins
last= Jupp
first= James
authorlink=
coauthors=
year= 2001
publisher= Cambridge University Press
location=
isbn= 0521807891
pages= 574
] . This largely increased the size of the Macedonian diaspora and sent the Child Refugees across the world. This process seperated many familie permanently with brothers and sisters often seperated from each other. It was common for mothers to lose contact with their children and never to see them again.

Establishment of the Refugees overseas

Human Rights Issues

References


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