Carnegie Endowment for International
Report ... to inquire into the causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars
The War and the Nationalities
2. Servian Macedonia
In January the Uskub government made a first attempt at patriotic statistics. The sub-prefect, Boro Milanovits, ordered the heads of the communes to enter the Bulgarian population as Servian on pain of fine and imprisonment. This time the schoolmasters and priests were also invited to proclaim themselves Servian. But the matter did not go off smoothly. On March 16 the peasants of the village of Nerezi complained to Archbishop Neophyte. When he spoke to Tserovits, the prefect, the latter pretended that the thing was being done by "stupid officials" for whom he excused himself before the Archbishop. He then summoned the village priest and forbade him to visit his parishioners until he had obtained the permission of the Servian Archbishop. The villagers of Nerezi were arrested as they came out of the Bulgarian Metropolis and were cast into prison. From this time on the peasants from the villages were afraid to go to their Archbishop. Next, the same thing was tried with the inhabitants of the town; terrorization went on throughout Passion week, and it was hoped that the result would be that they would be too much frightened to come to the Bulgarian church on Easter day. The Archbishop again complained at the Russian consulate and at the prefecture, and the Bulgarian population, that is to say the great majority of the Christian population at Uskub, took advantage of the last opportunity which it was to have of going to its own church and taking part in the religious procession of the second Sunday. Resistance on the part of priests and schoolmasters in the town went on despite every kind of persecution up to the end of May. On May 11/24, the national festival of St. Cyril and St. Methodius, the population disregarded the order forbidding shops to be closed. A number of domiciliary perquisitions took place on the morrow, with the object of discovering a new revolutionary organization.
At the end of May opportunity for a new demonstration of independence was afforded by the enrolling of volunteers. As at Tetovo, the enrolment took
place by force and on May 26/June 8, all those enrolled were gathered together at Uskub. Almost all the "volunteers" told the military authorities that they had been brought there by force. Their relations came with them and made statements before the consuls. Some people were fined and imprisoned, but the government was obliged to abandon the use of force and from the whole prefecture at Uskub there remained but fifteen or sixteen genuine "volunteers." In the course of the following days there arrived at Uskub volunteers from Tetovo, Gostivar, Kirtchevo, Dibra and Okhrida, and Albanians from Katchanik, in all some 500. All these new comers heard what had happened and thereupon declared that they too were unwilling to serve. They were all sent back except some Bulgarians, who being accused of having stirred the volunteers to resist, were shot.
On the heels of these events there followed the fatal day of June 17/30. The arrests began at midday and continued until the evening. On the 18th some 200 schoolmasters, officials of the Metropolis, priests, notables and other suspected citizens were imprisoned. Ninety-nine selected from among them were incarcerated in the Mitrovitza prison, the most remote spot possible from the theater of the war. At Uskub arrests went on continually. There were three hundred selected prisoners, some of whom came from the villages. Some were beaten, others paid their guards to escape beating. At Tetovo, at the same time, as many as 200 persons were arrested; at Koumanovo—a pacified town—there were 150 arrests, while some hundred of those arrested at Palanka were sent to the prison of Prechovo. Three villagers from Palanka, unable to march, were killed by the soldiers on the Koumanovo road, like true prisoners of war,— Balkan war.
Now at last it seemed that victory might be celebrated. On June 25/July 8, after the departure of Archbishop Neophyte, several priests and notables were called upon to proclaim themselves Servians, and when they gave an evasive reply, they were "permitted" to hold a meeting in the court of the Church of St. Demetrius. It was a trap. Fifty or sixty persons arrived, but instead of being allowed freedom to discuss together, they were addressed by the chaplain attached to the "higher command," who ended by inviting them to sign a declaration which he brought out of his pocket. With full hearts and tears in their eyes they signed. The authorities summoned the public criers, who proclaimed in the streets that a reconciliation had taken place, that the exarchists had recognized Servian nationality and the Servian church. On the morrow the Cathedral church of the Holy Virgin was thrown open and the Servian and Bulgarian priests thanked God together for reuniting them in a single nation and a single church. The Belgrade papers published congratulations and the official agency communicated the news to the foreign press.
By way of completing the victory thus gained, an emissary was sent, under pretext of taking clothes to his relations, to Mitrovitza to persuade the notables
under arrest there also to proclaim themselves Servians. They were given Servian papers to read, full of glorifications over the event. Many hesitated and they grew to be a majority. The soil thus prepared, a clerk attached to the military command appeared before the prisoners. In his hand he had a list of the "Uskub Bulgarizers," but he said he was not sure of it and wanted to verify it. Clearly there was some mistake, for the whole body had been noted down as "Bulgarizers," according to the declaration of the first to whom the question had been put. As a matter of fact, it was only the schoolmasters, the officials and a few town dwellers who were "Bulgarians." The others were ready to declare themselves Servians. They were given another week for reflection. Then the same clerk brought them a declaration to sign, in which they made formal renunciation of the exarchy and asked to be set at liberty. Most of them signed; those who entered themselves as Bulgarians were declared rebels and convicted agitators. Nevertheless, both classes were kept in prison until the conclusion of the treaty of Bucharest, July 29/August 11. On their return to Uskub, the schoolmasters were invited to remain in the Servian service, or in the event of refusal to go to Bulgaria. Forty-two signed a declaration to the effect that they preferred to be sent back, and by August 6/19 they had arrived at Sofia, coming by way of Niche and Pirotus. A few days later they were followed by two other bodies of schoolmasters from Uskub. The Serbization of the Uskub prefecture was an accomplished fact.
At Veles—the first object of Servian pretensions "beyond the frontier" agreed upon by the treaty—we find the same methods employed and the same stages in the process of Serbization. The name of the captain of the legalized band who chased the successor of Archbishop Meletius from Veles on February 4/17 after the usual savage scene, was Voino Popovits, and that of his assistant, Douchane Dimitrievits. An interim, lasting down to the turn of Meletius on March 28/April 10, was employed in seizing the Bulgarian monasteries and churches in the town. At the end of February the schoolmasters were invited to become Servian officials, and when they refused, they were threatened with persecution. The local "black hand'' made one or two examples, and the schoolmasters were compelled to stay at home or at least to refrain from exchanging greetings in the streets, on pain of being maltreated. Here on the eve of Easter the local bands sent into the villages were replaced by bands from Uskub, which the consuls had asked to have sent back. In order to spoil the national festival of St. Cyril and St. Methodius (May 11/24), the administrative authorities ordered the population to repair the streets.The inhabitants of Veles did not obey; disregarding the wishes of the authorities they shut their shops to celebrate the festival. [This is perhaps the origin of Article 23 of the Ordinances of September 21.]
On June 17/30 a particularly large number of arrests took place at Veles. All the schoolmasters of the town and villages were arrested, as well as all
the priests and officials of the Metropolis, and between 150 and 200 inhabitant of the village. This was a form of recognition of the strength of national feeling in this little town, which had been one of the most active centers of the Bulgarian national movement, ever since its beginning. Martyrs too were no lacking. On June 18, in the evening, a priest, John Avramov, was dragged ou of prison and taken with five young men from the Koinik quarter into the "black house." The priest's throat was cut and his body thrown over the bridge into the Vardar. The current carried his corpse down and threw it up by the side of the stream, where near the shore, the water is almost stagnant. His beard had been plucked out. Nobody dared to take up or bury the body. Or the morrow it had disappeared. The five young men were killed together and their relations failed to find their bodies.
These measures may serve as typical. On the 28th two priests, D. Antonov and G. Mikhilov, were set at liberty with a number of notables. The intention here was quite plain. They were assembled in a sort of gathering which passed a resolution renouncing the exarchy, recognizing the Servian church, and declaring themselves Servians. This declaration was followed by a solemn service. A month later, on July 25/August 7, all the inhabitants and schoolmasters remaining in prison were likewise set free, after declaring themselves Servians. On August 5/18, a proposal was made at the prefecture to all the schoolmasters and mistresses, that they should either become Servian teachers or leave the town. With a single exception (Mr. Brachnarov) they all consented.
At Monastir (Bitolia), the chief place of the vilayet, and likewise coveted by the Servians "beyond" the frontier, the counting of the population was begun by the middle of December. Special commissions were sent into the villages with the object of persuading the population to declare itself Servian, by forcing the churches and the schools to become Servian. After that the disarmament of the population followed.
From the second half of February on the situation grew worse. Bronislav Nouchits, the well known Servian dramatist, who was the prefect, was regarded as too moderate, and replaced by someone more sympathetic with the views of the military party and of "the black hand." Acts of violence against individuals and the arbitrary imposition of fines became of more frequent occurrence. The Metropolis felt its isolation growing. A panic was created in the population by the case of the Stambouldjiev family, which was massacred within doors without the discovery of any traces of the criminals. [See above Mr. Boris' reference to this case.] The persecution of Bulgarians became more violent after the declaration made by Mr. Pachitch. Individual priests and schoolmasters were compelled to yield and to declare themselves Servians. Those who were recalcitrant were dealt with by the method of "disarmament," accompanied by domiciliary perquisitions and torture.
In the course of the days June 17 to 19 (June 30 to July 2) more than
600 persons were arrested at Monastir. They were kept in strict confinement until July 13/26, when the Bulgarian defeat had become perfectly well known. Then the less turbulent among the peasants and artizans began to be set free, on condition of taking no part in national agitation. At the same time the less prominent inhabitants were invited, according to the quarters in which they lived, to sign the declaration, the text of which was afterwards published in an official Servian paper in Bitolia, Opchtinske Novine.The text, which may serve as a specimen of what was asked of the Bulgarian population and of what it was endeavored to make them believe, is as follows :
In order that, once for all, the question of our national feelings may be firmly established, and that a serious error may, at the same time, be wholly refuted, we, Slavs from Bitolia, hitherto attached to the exarchy, do today, being assembled in the orthodox church of St. Nedelia, state as follows: (1) That we are familiar from history that we have been Servians since ancient times, and that the Turks conquered the countries which we now inhabit from the Servians five and a half centuries ago. (2) That there is no difference either in nationality or in faith, or in language, or in customs between us and the Servians, as is proved by many remembrances and by the Servian schools, which were the only ones in existence in these lands up to the time of the Turco-Servian war of 1876-78. (3) That our ancestors were, and that we are, called Servians, but that under the recent influence of Bulgarian propaganda, and above all under the terror caused by the comitadjis, we have, in quite recent times, begun to turn our eyes to the Bulgarians, in the hope that, thanks to their preponderance in what was once the Turkish kingdom, they would be better able than the Servians to free us from our servitude. (4) That in the last war with the Turks, the Bulgarians instead of assisting and freeing us, appropriated Thrace and liberated non-Slav populations. (5) That the Servians have, by superhuman efforts and enormous sacrifices, taken these lands unassisted and so put an end to our servitude. (6) That both before and after the war the Servians treated us really as their brothers, while on the contrary the Bulgarians were at pains to separate us from our liberators. (7) That on the 17th of last month the Bulgarians attacked the Servian army, which shed its blood for them before Adrianople; an attack for which the whole civilized world condemns them. (8) That the Bulgarians desired to expose the people of these countries to new misfortunes and to destruction by their attempt at sending hither bands of brigands to burn the villages and pillage the people. Wherefore, we declare our entire solidarity with our Servian brothers and liberators: with them we will work in the future, shoulder to shoulder, to strengthen our country—Greater Servia.
When the signatures even of the most obscure and timid of the inhabitants had thus been collected, with the assistance of the police, the commander summoned a meeting of notables. An old merchant, Piperkov by name, when invited to sign, replied: "T am an old man, sixty years of age. My father always told me that my grandfather was Bulgarian. Therefore we do not con-
sent to sign, and nothing but force can compel us to do so." The commander then gave him twenty-four hours for reflection. They met to the number of eleven in a private house; two of the number were inclined to submit to the Servian power. The other nine remained inflexible and were arrested. Their wives went to the Russian and Austrian consulates, whereupon they were again set at liberty and given a new period of twenty-four hours in which to sign. They then did sign (using their Bulgarian names, ending in ov, not in itz which was in itself an act of defiance) a declaration drawn up by themselves in which they described themselves as "Ottoman subjects free from Turkish rule by the victorious Servian army who would, in the future, remain faithful to their liberators, whose subjects they regarded themselves." The individual who told us this story at Salonica, added that these unfortunate men could not at this moment admit the possibility that Monastir might become Servian: they were as yet entirely ignorant of the issue of the war.
On July 10/23, the schoolmasters were called before the commander, and by order of the general staff the proposition was made to them with which we are already familiar, namely, to renounce the exarchy and become Servian officials by at once signing individual requests to this effect. They were promised higher salaries and assured that the years they had already served would be taken into account in estimating their pension. The schoolmasters declared that they were unwilling to go against their consciences; they asked to be allowed to live as private individuals and Servian subjects until the political situation of the country was decided. They were told that in that case a circular from the general staff would order their expatriation on the next day. Their statements that they were natives of the country, that most of them were married and had children, that they had property and other local ties, and that the question of the expatriation was one for their own private judgment, were entirely disregarded. Here as elsewhere the irrevocable decision had gone forth,—whosoever calls himself a Bulgarian must betake himself to Bulgaria. The final argument produced by the authorities was as follows: "The exarchy pays you, that is to say Bulgaria pays you; we are enemies of Bulgaria and that is why we treat you as agents provocateurs of an enemy power." No attention was paid to the protest that the salaries of most of the schoolmasters had been paid by religious communities. On July 13/26 they were escorted, to the number of thirty, through Prilepe and Veles, and thence through Uskub, where they were joined by the other protesting teachers from Prilepe (seventeen) and from Kesen (six), to Smederevo. On July 28/August 10 an Austrian Danube steamer landed them at Lom (Bulgaria). It is unnecessary to lay stress on their sufferings upon the way.
At Monastir the end was gained. On July 7/20, divine service was held for the solemn celebration of "unity, concord and love," in which service the Bulgarian priests who had just renounced their exarchy officiated jointly with
the Servian clergy. After the service a meeting took place at which Mr. Tavetkovits, the moving spirit of Servian administration in Monastir, made a speech on the reconciliation of the people and their return to the bosom of Servia. After his speech the declaration with which we are familiar was read out, and the meeting terminated amid cries of "Long live Servia! Long live the Servian army! Long live King Peter! Long live Prince Alexander, the liberator of Monastir!"
There is little to add about the other towns in the Monastir prefecture. We have in our possession an interesting document about Prilepe, "the town of Mark Kralievits," the legendary Servian hero, in the shape of a proclamation issued by the commander of the place, Mr. Michael Menadovits, dated March 6/19. This shows that Mr. Menadovits had lost any illusion as to the "love and concord," of the liberated population. Prilepe, it should be said, was, like Veles, one of the strongholds of Bulgarism in Macedonia, and so Mr. Menadovits learned to his cost. "I can no longer recognize," he writes, "the people of Prilepe of whom I was so proud! Agitators and enemies of the Servian people (who are well known to me) have stirred up such a ferment among the peaceable and honorable citizens of this town, that I no longer know my old Prilepeans. What! Do you repay my love for you by plots against my life? Is this your gratitude for my kindness that you conspire in your houses to cut my head from my shoulders? My patience is at an end. The Bulgarian army whose arrival you await so impatiently from day to day, is not coming. You will be sorry to hear that it is never coming; do you understand ? That I can assure you of, with all the weight of my name and my position! Even to wish for it is a disgrace. If you want to know to whom Prilepe belongs, go up on to the heights of Monastir, to the mountain of Babonna, Bakarno Goumno, and ask your question of the graves of the sons of Servia which are there. * * * I address myself for the last time to the honorable men of Prilepe: Remember that the secret society called Nodnykra is a more dangerous enemy to you than to me. To you, cowardly agitators, I cry, 'do not play with the lives of peaceful citizens ! * * * Massacre Servian soldiers and officers if you like, but remember that the payment for their deaths is a far more terrible death!' "
The Servian commander of Resen (Resna) was equally dissatisfied with the state of feeling in that town, which was a republican center, and the birthplace of the Turkish Major Niazi-bey, who started the revolution in 1908 there. On December 9/22, 1912, he had called the notables of Resen before him to accuse them of being disloyal subjects, and of fomenting discord between rival nationalities. He added that it was in his power to have them all killed and hanged without distinction, great and small, and even old men with white beards (by which he meant the Archbishop's vicar) if they did not improve and hand over to him the Bulgarian propagandist leaflets. (The leaflets in question were the declaration of war by King Ferdinand and the proclamation by the Bulgarian
Red Cross which had been left with the vicar by some travelers from Bulgaria.)
On December 14/27, all the schoolmasters of the towns and villages were summoned, and told by the commander that "everything taken by the Servian army would be kept by Servia," and that in future their salaries would be paid them from the Public Instruction office at Belgrade. In reply to the question, "Were there no private schools in the Servian kingdom?" the commander at first said nothing. Then, "Pardieu," said he, "I do not know, but you may be quite at ease about what I told you, since Turkey no longer exists." On March 15/28, they began taking the census, in which there was no heading "Bulgarian”. Special commissioners went from house to house, meeting resistance everywhere. In the lists the Bulgarian designation ending in ov was successfully preserved and only five households entered themselves as Servian. Since, however, the official list included no heading but "Servian," the papers published the figures as being the totals of the Servian population. "Disarmament" began in July, accompanied by the usual violence. The numerous examples of such violence found in our documents may be passed over in silence.
On June 17/30 between forty and fifty citizens and 250 and 300 villagers were arrested at Resen, and kept in confinement for a month. A village priest was offered his liberty, on condition of praying in the church that God might give victory to the Servians. After a few moments' hesitation, the priest replied to his interlocutor, "I can not pray to God except for the end of the war.” On July 10/23, the schoolmasters were brought out of prison and offered the usual alternative—"Sign a request to be nominated as Servian officials, or you shall be expatriated as Bulgarian agitators and spies." Some signed, the others first hesitated and then withdrew their request, after a categorical protest against expatriation had been made by a professor. He declared that it was illegal, as applied to native persons who had committed no criminal act and possessed a perfect right to live at home as private individuals. He with five others was, as we have seen, dispatched to Uskub. On July 11/24, the priests of the town and the villages were compelled to renounce the exarchy and recognize the Archbishop of Belgrade as their spiritual head. On July 26/August 18 some notables were summoned, to whom the declaration signed at Monastir was read out. They protested against it. "The exarchy," they said, "is not a form of propaganda; the exarchy is the work of the people, who constituted their church at a representative assembly of all the towns in Macedonia. The Bulgarian comitadjis did not teach us to be Bulgarians, but the Servian and Greek comitadjis do claim to teach us to change our nationality." A new form of declaration was then proposed: "Seeing that the exarchy and the orthodox church are one and the same, we declare ourselves Servians." When the notables again refused their approval they were all sent to prison and dispatched to Salonica, "in order," so they were told, "that the Greeks may massacre you." There they spent eighteen days under arrest, in a little room with eighty other Bulgarians. They were then sent to Bulgaria via Constantinople and Bourgas.
Krouchevo (the third town of the Monastir prefecture) shows the same extortions, under color of requisitions, and the same acts of violence and domiciliary perquisitions under pretext of a search for arms. On the 17/30, the Servian soldiery left the town and their place was taken by a band with one Vanguel of Uskub at its head. Since the reputation of the acts of violence committed by the band had gone before it, five former Bulgarian comitadjis, living in the town, formed a band of their own and took to the hills. On June 19/July 2 all the notables were arrested. The prison was in the basement of the government building, and through the bars of their windows the captives overheard the sub-prefect, Evto Bekrits, delivering a harangue from the balcony to a newly formed band of vlach (Roumanian) and Grecizing (Romanize)inhabitants, on June 22. "In the absence of the army you are authorized to act. Since Bulgaria has declared war, you are authorized to do as you please with anyone calling himself a Bulgarian." On the next day, Vantcho Iogov, one of these recruits, beat a Bulgarian merchant, Demetrius Krestev, in the open market because the latter had a Bulgarian sign. On the merchant's complaint the sub-prefect issued a notice ordering the removal within twenty-four hours of all signs in the Bulgarian language: they were ordered, on pain of court-martial, to be replaced by Servian signs. (The same facts are repeated everywhere, at Uskub, Veles, Prilepe, etc.) We need not mention the other acts of violence committed under pretext of domiciliary perquisition. Even women were beaten and imprisoned for calling themselves Bulgarian. On June 29/July 12, the birthday of King Peter, all the prisoners were brought into the government hall. The sub-prefect promised them an amnesty if they would agree to admit that they were Servians. Two of them replied in the name of all the others that it was solely as Bulgarians that they could be loyal subjects of Servia and useful to the State. They were immediately taken back to prison where they remained for another month. On July 17, Vantcho Belouvtcheto, chieftain of the Bulgarian band, was killed by the soldiers of the Servian band, after two hours of real fighting. His head was cut off and carried in triumph all round Krouchevo. Towards evening it was put on the threshold of the prison, the door having been thrown open for the purpose. "So shall heads of all those who call themselves Bulgarian be treated," said the sub-prefect. On the next day he summoned the Archbishop's vicar, and ordered him to sign the written declaration. The vicar, terror stricken, signed without reading, and so lid the other priests. Two schoolmasters followed their example, but two others refused. An hour later, they were sent under escort via Prilepe to Uskub, where they remained for two more weeks imprisoned, until peace was concluded. On August 4/17, they were expatriated; their families meanwhile remaining in Macedonia.
Even greater resistance was met with in the assimilation of the places on he western frontier of Macedonia, at Okhrida and Dibra (Debar) on the borders
of Albania. We find here, as everywhere else, the ordinary measures of "Serbization"—the closing of schools, disarmament, invitations to schoolmasters to become Servian officials, nomination of "Serbomanes," "Grecomanes," and vlachs, as village headmen, orders to the clergy of obedience to the Servian Archbishop, acts of violence against influential individuals, prohibition of transit, multiplication of requisitions, forged signatures to declarations and patriotic telegrams, the organization of special bands, military executions in the villages and so forth. The numerous arrests effected on June 17/30, extended impartially to all classes. At Okhrida, too, the threat of expatriation was successfully used to compel priests and professors collectively to renounce the exarchy. The imprisoned professors were compelled to accept their salary from the Servian Ministry of Public Instruction and to sign its receipts. Yet, up to the middle of September, the spirit of the people was not altogether broken. At Debar, external submission hardly concealed feelings of revolt. The exarchist clergy (forty priests) in the month of May formally renounced the exarchy by a solemn process of retractation, followed by an oath upon the Testament. As at Resen, the schoolmasters proved more recalcitrant. They were arrested on June 17/29 and kept in prison until the middle of July. Their ultimate fate is unknown to us. We do, however, know that during the months of August and September, the idea of resistance remained alive in the population. There was a great deal of talk of a scheme of "union" with the Holy See, as a means of preserving nationality after the abolition of the exarchist church. This idea appears to have originated spontaneously in the minds of the population of Monastir. Preparations were also being made for armed resistance, with the definite design for claiming Macedonian autonomy. The Servian government laid great stress on the fact that the Bulgarian comitadjis, under the direction of the voyevodas, Milan Matov, Stephen Khodjo, Peter Tchaoumev and Kristo Traitchev, had taken no part in the Albanian insurrection. In fact we know from an interesting story told by one of the initiated, and published in a Bulgarian paper, [See Izgreve of October 24/November 6—"The truth about the Albano-Macedonian insurrection."] that Mr. Matov had organized a band at El Bassan and prepared an appeal to the Bulgarians and the Moslems in conjunction with the Albanians. Owing to the refusal of the Albanian government this appeal failed, but Matov had behind him private assistance and support. He was in communication with the chieftain Tchaoumev at Okhrida, and with the Albanian and Bulgarian population in the villages. The little Servian garrisons, taken by surprise, had to beat a retreat, and for several days Okhrida, Struga and Debar were in the insurgents' hands. There was even talk of organizing a provisional Macedonian government at Okhrida.
These events were bound to react on the state of feeling of the populations of Western Macedonia. But at Prisrend and Diakovo, as well as at Debar and
at Okhrida, the Servians soon made an end of the Albanian insurrection. The Albanian population to the number of some 25,000 souls took flight after defeat. Those who remained underwent the familiar treatment at the hands of the Servians. The Bulgarians also suffered severely. All the notables were imprisoned or shot. A number of mixed Albanian and Bulgarian villages were burned in the regions of Dolna-Reka, Gorna-Reka and Golo Urdo. After this the official "classification" of Macedonia might be regarded as completed.
In August, when the Commission went through Belgrade (August 10/23, to 12/25) the struggle was still going on as we see. In the occupied territories the Bulgarian population was still contending, and at Belgrade Mr. Pachitch was still unwilling to yield to the military party on the question of Macedonian administration. Since the crisis was not settled, the Commission might prove an inconvenient witness. This was probably one of the reasons why it was not desired at Belgrade that the Commission should move about freely. This apprehension was betrayed when a Belgrade paper accused a member of the Commission of seeking to distract the Commission from its principal object by arranging for them to visit Uskub, Veles, Mitrovitsa, Prisrend, Monastir, Tetovo, etc. [Balkan, August 13/26. The Commission had not had any such intention, because the time at its disposal and the itinerary drawn up before its departure from Paris did not allow of it. As regards Mr. Pachitch, it should be noted that the most substantial reason given, by him, for his refusal to the Commission, was that "the army would resent" the presence of one member in the interior. The campaign directed against the presence of this member of the Commission is still going on in the Servian press. The Paris correspondent of the Politika, of Belgrade, reports in the issue of November 11/24, that this member had offered a sum of fr. 40,000 to the Russian photographer, Tchernov, in the name of the Carnegie Endowment, for the purchase of photographs in his possession of “Bulgarian atrocities”, in order to withdraw the said photographs from publicity. This offer Mr. Tchernov was alleged to have refused. The truth is that two members of the Commission went to see the photographs which Mr. Tchernov exhibited in the Grand hotel of Paris, as evidence not of Bulgarian "atrocities," but of "war atrocities" in general. They found the photographs very interesting and quite authentic, and ordered some of them for the Commission, which Mr. Tchernov agreed to print at a stipulated price. Such is the manner in which falsehoods are spread.]
True, it was stated that there was no general objection to visits from strangers.Only they must be controlled. In our manuscript chronicle of events in Macedonia, we find under the date of February 10, a remark by the Vicar of Koumanovo: "Yesterday evening three Europeans, Englishmen, arrived in our town. According to the Servians they were sent to study the condition of the population. They were put up by the vicar of the Servian Archbishop. Today they made a tour of the town and went to see the authorities. A number of Bulgarians (among them the wife and brothers of Orde Yovtchev, who has disappeared) endeavored to interview them, but the government admitted nobody. Only a body of Turks were received and questioned as to the actual conditions of their life. Having been terrorized in advance, they stated that they 'lived well.'" Sufficient honor has been done the Commission to admit that it was not so easily satisfied as these simple tourists.
Is the work of false pacification, as revealed by our documents, definitive
or lasting? A doubt is suggested by the ordinances of September 21. All that the Commission has since learned confirms such doubts.
True, the Servians are optimistic, to judge from the articles which have appeared in their press. This optimism, however, is sui generis, and satisfied with very little. Take the patriotic and militarist paper Piemont, which rejoices over the condition of affairs in Chtipe at the end of October:
In Chtipe things are like old Servia. People are getting busier and go about and work freely, there is no longer anyone who calls himself a Bulgarian, and if you happen to say the word Bulgarian before the citizens you are seized and sworn at. Everywhere in the streets people sing only Servian songs and dance Servian dances. Vicentius, Archbishop of Uskub, who arrived on the 5th/18th, was received at the Bregalnitsa bridge by the population of all creeds, Turks and Jews. In the last few days the first betrothals have taken place according to our custom; our photographer, Kritcharevits, has got married; the orchestra of the Fourteenth Regiment played at the wedding amid indescribable rejoicings. The young women of Chtipe are pretty; they are a trifle prudish, but that fault will mend.
Here is another correspondence sent from Monastir to Vienna via Salonica on October 14:
The town of Monastir is almost surrounded by a military cordon. The measures taken by the Servians in apprehension of any movement among the Bulgarians grow more and more Draconian * * * The authorities desire to compel the Bulgarians to send their children to the Servian schools (the Bulgarian schools are closed). To this end policemen go from house to house warning people that those who do not send their children to the Servian schools will be fined—the fines being, fr. 100 for those who do not send their children to school at all, fr. 200 for those who send them to non-Servian schools (there are some vlach (Roumanian) schools), fr. 600 for those sending them abroad without the knowledge of the authorities. Young people between nineteen and thirty are not allowed to leave the country.
Here is another correspondence from Monastir, published in the Bulgarian paper Mir, of November 29/December 12:
On November 12/25, fifty-one Bulgarian peasants were killed in the Boumba quarter, and another at Tchenguel-Karakole, by the authorities themselves. The policemen make a practice of pillaging the peasants as they return from making their sales and purchases at market. A number of peasants from the villages of Ostriltsi, Ivanovtsi, Rouvtsi, Bala-Arkava, Vocheni, Borandi, have disappeared. At the village of Krouchevo five persons (whose names are given) were beaten; at Ostriltsi nine; at Ivanovtsi, eight; at Berantsi, nine; at Sredi, seven; at Obrachani, four; at Padilo, three, etc.
At Okhrida, after the retreat of the comitadjis at the beginning of October (see above) a panic seized the whole population. There was no village without its victims, chief among them being priests and schoolmasters. In the beginning of October alone three priests, five teachers and some 150 villagers, Bulgarian citizens, were killed, without counting 500 Turks and Albanians. Whole quarters were destroyed on the plea that they belonged to rebels; the houses of the families of the chieftains Tchaoulev, and Matov, were among those destroyed. All the young men of any intelligence, to the number of fifty, were imprisoned. They were tortured at least once a day, and often left without food for three days. All the priests were arrested because on December 14 and 15, they had prayed in the churches for King Ferdinand and Archbishop Boris; when interrogated they replied that such was Tchaoulev's order. [Correspondence of October 16/29 in the Politika, and that of December 19/January 2 in the Vosrajdanie.]
At last the Servians themselves are beginning to admit that things are not going as they should. Here, as in Bulgaria, the organs of the opposition press lay the blame and the responsibility on the personnel of the administration. The Balkan declares that this personnel is in no way different from that of the Turkish regime. The government press makes excuses but can not deny the fact: "There are not enough trained officials. The conditions of life in the conquered countries are too difficult to call forth a sufficient supply of competent candidates." [See the controversy between the Balkan, the Pravda, the Novosti, the Odjek and even the Piemont. on the one hand, and, on the other, the Sammouprava in December.] The real difficulty, however, the state of feeling of a population subjugated but not subdued—was not remedied. Measures were taken to combat such opposition as was left. They were not quite sure of the clergy, still less of the teachers who had taken the oath. In Belgrade itself the Commission heard the question discussed whether it would not be better to send the Bulgarian officials, although they had submitted, into really Servian regions, such as Metohia and Kosovo Pole. The favorable impression to be produced outside by these quasi-voluntary acts of submission, which also were useful in assisting to hide the complete lack of candidates for administrative posts, led at the moment to the simple registration of Bulgarian officials among the Servian staff. Later, conditions changed. On October 19/November 1, a Bulgarian paper speaks of eighty-eight schoolmasters who had come from old Servia (Kosovo and Metohia) and were nominated to former Bulgarian schools (twenty-one to Uskub, nineteen to Monastir, seven to Prilepe, ten to Koumanovo, six to Okhrida and twenty-five to Veles). On November 11/24, the Serbische Correspondenz speaks of 200 professorial candidates from Croatia and Hungary, ready to take their places in "new Servia." If reliance can be placed on the correspondence published in the Bulgarian press, the attendance at the new schools is not great, despite the fines for absence. Nevertheless, the number of Servian schools increased, although they were inferior to the Bulgarian
schools, both in number and in quality. [See the interesting report by a Servian professor Mr. T. M. Yakovlevits, on “The condition of Bulgarian schools at Macedonia in comparison with Servian schools," published October 16/29 in the Serbska Zastava.] According to official Servian statistics (SerbeCorr. November 29/December 12), there are now 395 schools where there were 193, with 350 teachers, where there were 240. What is being taken over is the Bulgarian inheritance. At Uskub a training school for teachers has even been opened. But among the 380 students, 260 come from Old Servia and only 120 from the conquered territory, according to the Servian authority.
The most serious difficulty which remains to be overcome, is the state of mind of the population. The latest reports in our possession do not show any improvement. The same steps continue to be taken for dealing with discontent, which is general, by means of terrorism, which is not growing less. The Mir of December 23/January 5, contains an Albanian correspondence, from which we quote:
At Kritchovo, 150 peasants were beaten in the presence of the authorities : seventeen persons killed by blows and the corpses burned. The others too were seriously wounded and thrown into the stable without any sort of medical aid. At Novo-Selo five peasants were beaten by the Servian gendarmes. At Plasnitsa we found six peasants killed by a Servian patrol, forty peasants killed in October, five houses burned. Gvayace was attacked by a Servian band, forty peasants were killed and their corpses thrown into the wells. In October, in the same village, 200 peasants were killed and 800 Turkish books carried off. Toukhine was pillaged by a Servian band. At the same time a Servian theater was being opened at Uskub, and the Minister of Public Instruction intrusted Professor Hits to collect popular songs in the annexed territories; and it was cited by the Minister for the Interior as proving that "the fullest liberty of conscience was granted to all confessions in the practice of their religious observances," that the Moslems were permitted to hunt on their feast days (Serbische Correspondenz).
The most elementary condition to be fulfilled before toleration towards a conquered country can be claimed, is clearly that formulated by the Greek delegates at the peace conference at Bucharest, and extended to all belligerents by the Bulgarian delegates, but rejected because of the refusal of the Servian delegate: "Whereas war against the Ottoman Empire has been undertaken by Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro and Servia, in order to guarantee to all the nationalities the conditions of free development; whereas it is impossible that this noble inspiration should not have survived the events that have since separated the former allies * * * Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro and Servia recognize with the newly annexed territories autonomy for the religious communities and freedom for the schools." [See the Proces-verbal No. 10 of the Bucharest Conference session July 26/August 8, 1913. Likewise rejected was the proposal of the representative of the United States at Bucharest, Mr. Jackson, to insert into the peace treaty a provision according full civil and religious liberty to the inhabitants of any territory subjected to the suzerainty of any one of the five Powers or which might be transferred from the jurisdiction of one Power to that of another, "with the same recourse to 'the public law of the Constitutional States represented' which would have afforded the consecration of long usage."] Had this condition been accepted, we might indeed have be-
lieved in "the establishment
of friendly relations between the four States," and the possibility of
"insuring to the populations called upon to dwell together an era of justice
and wide toleration." The Servian delegate, however, replied that "the
question, in so far as it concerns new Servian subjects, is regulated by
the constitution of the Servian kingdom"—a statement which, as we have
seen, was not true. The results of this refusal have been seen. It has
been easier to conquer than it will be to keep the fruits of conquest.
The Servian press is full of apprehension as to the true sentiments of
the conquered population, and is constantly envisaging some rising danger
from outside. Today it is Albania preparing new disorders for the spring;
yesterday the Bulgarian comitadjis were crossing the Roumanian frontier
with false passports to get somewhere in Macedonia. (Serbische Correspondens,
November 26/December 11). Another day America is allowing Macedonian conspirators
from Tetovo or Doiran to organize committees for the recovery of the autonomy
of their enslaved country (Tregovinski Glasnik) in New York, Chicago,
Portland or St. Louis. A new emigration is at hand with its army of between
15,000 and 20,000 Macedonian workmen, who can not be brought under any
ordinances. The Pravda is evidently right in thinking that it will
not be necessary to wait twenty-five years for a Zabern. But, we repeat,
the condition is "autonomy for the religious communities and freedom for
the schools,"—a return, that is to say, to the minimum of liberalism which
did up to the last few years exist in fact, guaranteed by international
treaties, even in old absolutist Turkey.
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