Documents Relating to Chapter III
1. LETTER OF BARONESS VARVARA YXCOULL TO MR. MAXIME KOVALEVSKY
There was a great crowd by the Sultan Selim mosque, trying to effect an entrance, but the doors were closed and the sentinels refused all admittance. When they saw me in the dress of a sister of charity and accompanied by a slightly wounded Bulgarian officer, they let us in by one of the little side doors where there was no press. When I asked why the public was not admitted without special permit, the sentry replied that some damage had been done by the soldiery on the first day, whereupon measures had been immediately taken. I looked about me anxiously, fearing for what I might see and expected to notice signs of irreparable damage, but, with the exception of a hole in the roof made by a shell during the siege, in the angle of one of the small staircases, I saw nothing but perfect order; the sumptuous carpet, of incalculable value, had been carefully rolled up, the flags covered with matting, the wrought iron chandeliers which adorn the interior of the mosque all in good condition, with the exception of a dozen which
may have been long wanting, everywhere irreproachable cleanliness. Assuredly the Sultan Selim mosque did not at that time present the appearance of a building which had been "sacked and soiled."
Thence. I went to a consulate, where I was given a thrilling account of the ravages committed in the mosque of which sinister details had been reported. Great was the surprise of the people there when I described what I had just seen. If such stories were possible at that moment, in the town itself, what legends might grow up in the course of months!
The Daily Telegraph's correspondent is equally remote from reality in his description of the murder of a Greek by the Bulgarian troops. The incident took place while I was in Adrianople; I saw the dead body, which was left covered up but exposed to the public on the spot where it fell. The Greek, an Ottoman subject, discovered a certain number of Turkish soldiers hidden in a little mosque; he pointed out their hiding place with his finger to the Bulgarian officer passing by with his half company. The Turks evidently saw the gesture, for a volley of musketry immediately came through the half closed windows and the Greek fell, mortally wounded. The Bulgarian officer then gave the order to fire on the hidden men; and if my memory does not deceive me, thirty were killed. I think that the officer acted rightly.
In the early days there were frequent cases, especially at night, when persons in hiding, Turkish soldiers or others, took advantage of the absolute darkness in which the town was plunged, to fire on the passers-by. The governor general accordingly issued an order, which was posted everywhere, stating that all the inhabitants of the houses whence these shots came should be bayoneted. This order was indispensable, for the victims of these attacks from behind door and window amounted to a considerable number. Whatever its severity, it saved many lives.
I can state that although I was in Adrianople four times during the fifteen days subsequent to the capture of the town, I never heard that the Bulgarian soldiers committed acts of violation, of pillage, or any kind of excess. There were some cases of robbery on the first day; but they were immediately and severely punished and not repeated. I should certainly have known of any instance, however trifling, of this kind, and I do know that although certain foreigners, collectors of antiques, did offer large sums for carpets and other valuables, no one found anything for sale twenty-four hours after the entry of the Bulgarians.
The destruction caused during the siege, by the shells of the besiegers, was very small in proportion to the quantity of shot used. I think I am correct in stating that in almost every street, not in all, there were at most one or two houses demolished. A most incorrect interpretation has again been given to "atrocities" committed on the Turkish prisoners suffering from cholera. The regime to which they were subjected was undoubtedly severe,—exposed as they were to the rain and the still cold nights, and altogether deprived of attention. But how could it be otherwise when the hospitals of Adrianople were already overflowing with Turkish wounded and in such a deplorable state that I could only get twenty places (under abominable conditions) for Bulgarian officers (almost on the point of death) who could not be carried further, and who had absolutely to be moved from Karajousouff. This was the name of the little Greek village, seven miles from the town, in which was situated the Russian mission of the Kaufmann brotherhood, of which I had been at the head for five months (two months during the siege of Adrianople being spent at Karajousouff). We had fifty-eight tents for the wounded, more than 5,000 of whom passed through our hands on the days of the attack. With the best arrangement, it was impossible for us to keep all the seriously wounded cases. Room had to be made at any cost, and it was to provide for that that I betook myself, on the third day, to Adrianople.
Despite all my efforts, despite the desire of the Bulgarian authorities to provide me with what was so indispensable, I only succeeded in getting these twenty beds. The rest of the wounded had to be moved first to Kirk Kilisse (Lozengrad, fifty-five miles from Karajousouff), and then owing to want of room at Lozengrad, to Mustapha Pasha (seventy miles off), by carts drawn by oxen over very bad roads. If the Bulgarians were unable to provide any sort of accommodation at Adrianople for their own wounded, was it to be expected that they should succeed in lodging thousands of Turks suffering from cholera who had to be isolated from the other prisoners and wounded?
From the humanitarian point of view the lot of those poor fellows is obviously to be deeply commiserated, and the Bulgarians ought to have treated them otherwise. I merely state the facts as they were, and point out that in the given circumstances actions which at first sight appear appalling do become explicable. In any case the accusation should be directed not against the Bulgarian army but against the abominable medical administration which ha-s escaped criticism altogether. If one is to talk at all about cruelty and inhumanity personified during war, which is itself the negation of all humanity, the terms must be applied to the unheard of sufferings and the absolute want of attention endured by the brave Bulgarian soldiers. These heroic men sacrificed their lives for the country in a spirit of joyous exaltation, worthy of the ancient stoics. They perished hideously, mainly because of the carelessness, the ineptitude, the incapacity, the abominable indifference of the military medical authorities, who, with but rare exceptions, showed a complete contempt for the science and profession which they had the undeserved honor to exercise. It is at their door that the guilt will lie; they should be judged and punished so that they may not in the future perpetuate the harm they did during the war.
The European press has been full of "Bulgarian atrocities" against Turks, Greeks, Serbs, etc. It is strange to see so impassioned a unanimity in making accusations that are difficult, almost impossible, to verify. During the course of what was called the "second war,"—that is to say, from the resumption of hostilities to the capture of Adrianople, not a single foreign correspondent was allowed with the Bulgarian army. Our mission alone was with the advance guard; and I can certify that during the two months I spent at Karajousouff, not only did I never see a case of mutilation of wounded or dead; I never heard one spoken of. After the siege, I saw Turkish corpses lying by the hundreds on the roads and in the fields. They were hideous because decomposition had begun; they lay unburied for several days because there were not enough people to collect all the dead, Bulgarians and others, and the heat of the sun was already great. But I never saw one that was mutilated. We saw dozens of Turkish wounded. They complained bitterly of the horrible way in which they had been treated by their officers, but no one of them said anything of "Bulgarian atrocities."
When I left Adrianople, I saw the members of the English Red Cross mission, who 'had come to nurse the Turkish cholera patients. They complained of the want of proper accommodation, of the lack of attendance and care, but no one spoke to me of cruelties practiced by the Bulgarians on the Turkish prisoners. Here and there such cases of course occurred, but I shall never believe that the Bulgarian soldiers at fault acted with the knowledge, or as is sometimes stated, under the instigation of their officers.
To sum up, my impression is, from a stay of five months and a half in the midst of the soldiery at Philippoli, Kirk Kilisse, Mustapha Pasha and Karajousouff, that the war was a crusade of ascetics inspired by a fanatical patriotism. The orgies, the debauches, the "women" who play so big a part in war, were altogether absent. Neither during the long-months of the siege nor in the joy of victory did I ever see a drunken soldier or officer.
I could go on with this letter forever, for as I think of the past, still so near and already so terribly obliterated, thousands of incidents recur to my memory, lit up, all of
them, by the flame of a patriotism ready for any renunciation; but I fear to trespass too far on your patience. All I want to do is to give you the testimony of an eye witness to the inaccuracy of certain accusations.
Europe is guilty of profound injustice in covering with a cloud of hideous crime men who fought under exceptionally trying conditions, fought with a stoical heroism, making no murmur, dying like martyrs without a complaint, their hearts full of faith in the greatness and force of their country.
I think I know the Bulgarians, good and evil; and I can not but bow before them with the most profound respect and the most ardent admiration.
If you think that what I have told you can be of any utility, make what use of this information you think good.
2. EVIDENCE OF TURKISH OFFICERS CAPTURED AT ADRIANOPLE COLLECTED
BY THE COMMISSION AT SOFIA
The two following depositions were drawn up by Major Choukri, of the Engineers, and Captain Jummi, third battalion.
No. 1. CHOUKRI-BEY, Major, Governor of Adrianople. He was seated in his office when the Bulgarians entered the town. His subordinates reported to him that four Turkish officers had been killed in the town and that the Bulgarians had searched their pockets and rifled them. Similar practices took place even in the barracks in which his office was situated. It was at this moment that Lieutenant Nikov made his appearance to take over the governorship. Mr. Choukri complained of what had occurred to Mr. Nikov, but the latter was unwilling to take his complaints seriously. Choukri discovered among other things, that Lieutenant Adil had been robbed in a similar way at the same barracks, and it was through Choukri's protection that Lieutenant Adil was spared such things in the future. Choukri told Mr. Nikov of the existence of a store of meal in a certain mosque, only to discover later that the Bulgarian officer had sold the meal for his own profit.
Two days later Mr. Choukri was imprisoned on the island of Sarai. It is impossible to describe all that was endured by those imprisoned on that island. The Bulgarian soldiers actually killed the Turkish prisoners simply to get their water bottles. "With my own eyes," said the witness, "I have seen seven prisoners massacred on the pretext that they were trying to escape, although they were really only going to draw water from the river." The officers were left for three days and four nights without nourishment. Soldiers and even officers were reduced to eating the bark of the trees, and gnawing their shoe leather to assuage the pangs of hunger. Some hundred perished in a single day of starvation and sickness. According to Mr. Choukri the deaths totaled 3,000.
No. 2. EYOUB, Captain of Artillery, was sent with Refik and Ali-Nousrat as bearer of a flag of truce to announce the surrender of the northern district. He and his companions were greeted by combined fire from artillery and infantry, despite the white flag. When they reached the area occupied by the seventh regiment of artillery, the soldiers disarmed the plenipotentiaries, relieved them of watches and purses and refused to bring them before the governor. A soldier struck Eyoub with the butt of his musket and threatened to kill them all three. The first soldier was joined by a second who plundered the two lieutenants.. But a third protested against the behavior of his comrades and led
Choukri and his companions before Mr. Nikov, the Bulgarian lieutenant, who in turn brought them before the colonel of the twenty-third regiment, commanding the northern district. He dictated the terms of surrender to them. Nikov promised Choukri that he would discover the guilty soldiers and compel them to restore what they had stolen. On the next day, however, Eyoub saw Nikov mounted on his horse. * * * He tried to impress a better point of view upon him, but Mr. Nikov forbade him to say any more about it.
No. 3. TAHSINE, Captain of the Corps of Sharpshooters. (Nichandje.)
The Turkish soldiers in the Marache section surrendered to the Servians, who disarmed them without any molestation, and held them for three days after which they led them away, under guard, to be handed over to the Bulgarians. On the way loud reports were heard. The Servians composing the escort concluded that some trickery was preparing. Nevertheless they continued their march. Crossing the bridge of Arda, they advanced along the Karagatch road, near to the railway station, at which point a Bulgarian officer met them to take over the prisoners. Again a report was heard, followed by a salvo; the result of the drama was that sixty Turkish soldiers and four Servian soldiers lay dead, and a Servian sergeant was wounded.
On the most natural explanation the Bulgarian soldiers were responsible for the shots. The Servians refused to hand over their prisoners, and an animated dispute broke out between the Bulgarian and Servian officers. The colonel of the Twentieth Bulgarian Regiment, who arrived while the dispute was going on, ordered the Bulgarian sentinels to surround the first group of Turkish officers and put them under arrest. Some of us who knew Bulgarian understood him to say that we were all to be shot. Drawing his sword, he commanded all the captives, officers and soldiers alike, to lie down on the ground. He asserted that they still had revolvers in their possession for which he wished to have them searched. Thereupon the Servian officers remarked that he would not find so much as a knife on the unfortunate Turkish prisoners. At that moment a bomb exploded. The Bulgarian officers immediately declared that it was the Turks who had thrown it and that they should all be executed. Another bomb went off, but it fell in such a way that it was impossible to accuse the Turks. Thereupon to the great astonishment of the prisoners, the Bulgarian officer declared that their lives were spared. "We have already discovered the Turkish officers who were to blame," he said, "and they have paid their debt."
No. 4. HAMDI-BEY, in command of an artillery battery. Coming from Marache, he was marching in the midst of a body of seven officers, three mounted, the other four on foot. Some Bulgarians fired upon them; the frightened horses made off at a gallop. It was then that the three mounted officers, Major Fouad-bey, Major Rifaat-bey (both attached to the fourth regiment of artillery) and Captain Iffan, were slain. The four officers on foot took refuge in a cafe. The Bulgarians followed them thither, but some Servian officers, appearing on the spot saved their lives. Nevertheless, the Bulgarians plundered them of everything down to their pocket handkerchiefs. A Bulgarian captain, Mr. Popovtchev, of the first company of the first battalion of Pioneers, witnessed the whole scene without a single word of protest. A Turkish artillery captain was robbed of ninety pounds Turkish money and a ring. Mr. Popovtchev tried to recover the stolen money but his inquiries only resulted in the recovery of one Napoleon and five medjids (a twenty piastre coin, worth about 3s. 8d.). Having nothing to eat the Turkish officers had to pay as much as three francs for a bit of bread.
No. 5. ISMAIL MAIL, staff doctor (see also a report by him on the forced conversion of the pomaks), actually saw some Bulgarian soldiers bayonet two Turkish soldiers at the
time of the surrender of Adrianople, and throw their corpses into the river. Later, at Stara Zagora, he saw the Bulgarian sentinel slaughter a Turkish soldier, Halil-Ali-el Sultanieh, without any provocation. The soldier's name was entered on the rolls as having died of disease. He also saw his orderly Ahmed-Omer, one of the eleventh medical company of Conia, killed at Stara Zagora by a Bulgarian soldier without any good cause.
No. 6. HADJI-ALI, officer in the reserve, serving in the police at Adrianople, deposes that the wife and sister of a Turkish paymaster living next door to him were outraged and then butchered by the Bulgarian soldiery. He saw with his own eyes Ismail-Yousbachi (Captain) killed in the street by Bulgarian soldiers on the day of the surrender of the town. A Jew protested against the murder, only to pay for his protest with his life. Further he saw 400-500 inhabitants of Adrianople kept prisoners in the Konak courtyard of the commandant's headquarters. The Bulgarian soldiers stood on guard outside the entry, four Bulgarian comitadjis inside. While the soldiers pushed the inhabitants into the yard, the comitadjis struck them with the butt ends of their guns. In the yard he saw four or five dead bodies. He suspects that all these Konak prisoners were killed, but is not absolutely certain on the point.
Deposition of Captain Jummi
After the fall of Adrianople, Mr. Minev came to dress my wounds; he took our field glasses and pocket pistols, saying he would keep them in remembrance of us. We were taken to Tatar-Keui. General Savov treated us well and ordered us to be taken to Sofia. This night,—the night of the 13-14,—we spent there, some twenty of us officers. On March 14 we were dispatched on foot towards Simenli, in the direction of Sofia. At Simenli we were conducted to a Mussulman house, only inhabited by some women and old men between sixty and seventy; the other men, among them one old man, had been assassinated by the Bulgarians; the women had been violated. Two hours later the order was given for us to be taken to Kadi-Keui, to take train there. Lieutenant Boris opposed the order and set us on the march again. We spent four nights thus. One night several of us officers happened to be in the yard of a little Mussulman house. The people tried to ill-treat us, but Major Stefanov of the thirtieth regiment gave us some bread and brought us to the tents, where 13,000 prisoners were. During that day 500 grammes of bread were given out to us; the Bulgarian soldiers took their money and watches from the prisoners. (The next sentence is unintelligible; the witness appears to state that the reply made to prisoners who asked for bread was to strike them with bayonets.) I saw a Bulgarian soldier about to strike a Turkish soldier with the butt of his musket and Lieutenant Boris authorizing him by a gesture and the words "Do so!" Four days later, thanks to Stefanov, we were taken to Adrianople. On the road I saw the corpses of nine Turkish soldiers and a wounded man, his face so bathed in blood that it was an indistinguishable mass. The wounded man was lying alone in the fields. My comrade saw four dead bodies arranged in the form of a cross.
I commanded the Engineers on the south front of Adrianople. Under my orders there were two captains, Ata-bey and Atif-bey. After the surrender, at the moment when the Bulgarian soldiers had effected entry on the south side in the Greek quarter Keui, they
began, under the guidance of the Greeks in Adrianople, to enter the houses and to seize whatever they found there. Everything we had was given over to pillage except the trunks we had deposited with an Armenian, a Russian subject and brother to the dragoman of the Russian consul. This same Armenian gave shelter to the wife, child and female servant of engineer Captain Atif-bey. The Bulgarian soldiers, led by some Greek natives, forcibly entered the house of the said Armenian during the night. They seized the trunks which belonged to us, and Captain Atif-bey's horse; they asked for two hundred Turkish pounds as a ransom for the captain's wife and kept repeating their demand, leaving them no peace till they paid over nine Turkish pounds on the first day and three more on the second.
GENERAL VASOV, Military Governor of Kirk Kilisse (Lozengrad), from November, 1912, Commander of the army of the eastern section of Adrianople, and from March 13, 1913, Commander of the garrison, from April onwards Governor of Thrace. His army took Adrianople by assault on March 13/26 at eight o'clock in the morning.
I reached Ghebeler, twelve miles from Adrianople, and rejoined my troops at ten o'clock in the morning. The army passed through the town amid the plaudits and hurrahs of the population. The Turkish inhabitants were in the streets in great numbers. Orders were given to the troops to bivouac in the quarters between the Toundja and the Maritza. I soon perceived that there were too many soldiers in the town and accordingly telephoned from the house of the commander of the Turkish cavalry to the commander of the army not to let the troops of the other sections enter.345
The Turkish soldiery made prisoner within the town (they had cast their arms into the Toundja) who belonged to the eastern section, were collected in the island of Sarai. They numbered about 12,000 or 15,000. There were moreover on the island some civilians, or more precisely, persons attired in civil garb. Since these were many of them soldiers in disguise, I found it necessary to issue an order stating that any persons found hiding soldiers should be shot. I then ordered the prisoners shut up on the island to be counted and divided according to regiments. About ten days were allowed for this enumeration, in view of clearing them away from the island. The prisoners of the Servian section, who had made submission to the Servians, were under guard in the Hildyrym quarter. The prisoners of the southern section were in cantonments at Tcheurex-Keui. The total number of prisoners amounted to 50,000 to 55,000 men.
As I had to hand Choukri Pasha over to General Ivanov at five o'clock in the afternoon, I immediately sought him out. Choukri and the officers of the general staff asked us to allow them to keep all that they had with them. Choukri wanted to keep his former house at Kadyrlyx. All this was granted. About March 15, they were allowed to depart for Bulgaria, the subordinate officers, from the rank of colonel downwards, being detained in Adrianople. As they were departing, I told Choukri that his orders for the destruction of the food depots had displeased me. I pointed out to him that the people who would suffer thereby were the unfortunate prisoners from his army who had, as I informed him, told me (on March 14, the day after the surrender, I had visited them,) that they had not eaten for five whole days, which meant that they had fed insufficiently or not at all during the last three days of the siege. I explained to Choukri the inconvenience caused us by the destruction of the Arda bridge, the annihilation of the provision depots, and the difficulty and delay of communication with Mustapha Pasha. Choukri's reply was that he had not ordered the depots to be burned; it was the work of tachapkaris (hooligans). I told him that I had ordered a levy of a quarter of the bread rations distributed to our soldiers to save the Turkish prisoners from dying of hunger, and he thanked me for it. This measure was intended as a temporary expedient until the goods expected from Baba-Eski and Mustapha Pasha could arrive. From the second day
(March 14) onwards, these quarter portions were given out to the enemy soldiery. Some days after—perhaps as early as the 15th—I divided the grain among the regiments forming my troops, in order that so far as commissariat went, they might be on an equal footing with the Bulgarian army.346
The prisoners asked permission to take bark off the trees to light fires with, as it rained and was cold. Even our soldiers had no tents. Permission was given and they cut off the bark with knives and pickaxes.
One of the reasons for isolating the prisoners on the island of Sarai was the presence of infectious cases after the third or fourth day of the capture of the town. Choukri told me that cholera had appeared ten days before March 13, but that, at the time of the entry of the Bulgarian troops, it had disappeared. In effect, however, the disease did not spare the island, and we had to send Turkish doctors to isolate the infectious cases, nurse them, and bury those who died. I should estimate that the epidemic did not cause more than 100 to 200 deaths among the population of the island.
The story of the prisoners being reduced to eating the bark of the trees I dismiss as purely legendary. It is true that we could not do much for them, for our own men were very ill provided for. We did not distribute hot food, but they were given bread enough to keep off starvation. When the prisoners of war were rejoined by the famished inhabitants of the town, we decided to spread them out along the railway line that passed through the suburbs for greater ease of provisioning. In this way we only had to feed the poor population of the town proper, say some 15,000 to 20,000. In this matter we were greatly assisted by the English section of the Balkan committee. When the bridge was reconstructed, the prisoners were regularly provisioned; certain officers were specially told off to superintend it and provisional dwellings were put up. The English consul, Major Samson, can testify to these facts. General Broadwood actually wrote a letter which appeared in the Times, about the middle of April or towards the end of the month (old style,) to defend the Bulgarians from the accusations made against them.
The incident of the murdered Jew is possible. The soldiers were exasperated. In general, however, there was very little violence. At the same time it is not impossible that prisoners may have been killed during the night, but the facts have not come to my knowledge. There certainly was not wholesale assassination of prisoners. The incident of the Miri-Miran mosque is known to me from the story of Colonel Zlatanov. It is as follows: Certain Turks, fearing to be attacked, shut themselves up in the mosque with their wives and children. While the troops were passing through there some were shot, no one knew whence. A young Greek appeared and told the soldiers that people were firing on them from inside the mosque. A fairly big patrol moved in that direction, led by the Greek. Shots were fired from the mosque; the guide fell, and I saw his dead body myself. At that point our soldiers attacked the mosque with drawn bayonets and killed the men, sparing the lives of the women and children. This was the first regrettable incident to occur. I went to the spot in person, accompanied by Zlatanov and witnessed what follows. The Greek youth was slain fifteen or twenty paces from the mosque. Inside there were some ten Turks slain. Two among them, a mollah of some fifty-five years old and a young man of twenty, were still breathing. I ordered them to be taken to the hospital and a proces verbal to be drawn up. This is the solitary incident of bloodshed within my knowledge at Adrianople. While I held command, not a single man was shot. I was replaced by General Veltchev about April 1 (old style). The mufti repeatedly expressed his gratitude to the Bulgarians. On the second or third day, I called him before me in order to calm his previous terror, and he told me that he had not expected such humane behavior towards the Turkish population in a town taken by assault. I saved Mr. Behaeddine, who had insulted a Bulgarian officer, from court-martial. As to my general system, I described it in the paper Stir, while an article by me appeared several days ago, previous to this deposition, for which I had then no anticipation of being called upon. [The translation of the article follows.]
As to pillage on the entry of the Bulgarian troops, this is what I saw of it. It was the Christians who pillaged the Turks. I had to send three regiments, one of cavalry, two of infantry, to watch over the town. Nevertheless, all the Turkish stores (of clothes, provisions, etc.) were pillaged in the course of the first day. I ought immediately to have set about making domiciliary investigations, but throughout the period of my governorship (down to July 1, old style,) I refused to sanction
such inquiries, in order not to disturb the people. Some house visits did take place by order of the officer commanding the town, but only in response to private requests. I gave permission to the officer commanding the town (Mr. Chopov, and his successor, Markov,) to open a depot for goods whose ownership was disputed and their origin dubious. As for depredations committed in houses inhabited by Bulgarians, the Austrian and Belgian consuls came before me with demands for damages in cases of which they gave names and particulars. I did not comply with the demand, since the allegations were incapable of proof. I have not heard of Mr. Chopov's carpets. I myself lived in the house of Akhrned-bey, opposite the Sultan Selim mosque. The house was full of furniture. The proprietor can be asked whether the least thing was found missing.
In an article which appeared in the Mir of Sofia, dated June 19, 1913, and entitled The Negotiations at Constantinople, Lieutenant General of the Reserve Vasov added, over his signature, the following remarks:
I am no enemy to the Turks; on the contrary, I am on terms of intimate friendship with them for we have many common interests, and I think I have given irrefragable proofs of these sentiments. The Mussulman population and the holy places of its worship at Adrianople owe their preservation to me. After the town was taken, I allowed no one to touch a hair on the head of the vanquished. Out of the modicum available for the subsistence of my soldiers, I fed the 60,000 Turkish prisoners and many thousands of starving wretches belonging to the Mussulman population. All these facts are known to Choukri Pasha, to the foreign consuls and to the 3,500 Turkish officials, whom I sent to Constantinople with their families in prosecution of a measure entirely honorable to the Bulgarian occupation. Dr. Behaeddine-bey, friend of Talaat-bey, also knows the truth on this point. This intelligent Turk and many of his friends certainly remember that in my capacity as governor of Thrace I did what I could to help them in their misfortune.
Order of the Day of General Vasov to the Adrianople Garrison
1. The authorities in places to which prisoners have been sent are to take care that they are lodged either in houses, or under tents, or in barracks quitted by our soldiers and near at hand. If necessary, new lodgings may be constructed.
2. The prisoners are to be distributed into small groups, so that overcrowding may be as far as possible avoided.
3. Steps are to be taken to secure that the quarter in which the prisoners are lodged is not infected. For this purpose deep troughs are to be dug for sanitary purposes, watered with petrol every day; and the smaller troughs are to be covered with earth every day.
4. The authorities responsible for feeding the prisoners are to see that bread and other food stuffs are supplied regularly at stated intervals; a warm soup of a hundred grammes of rice and two hundred grammes of meat to be supplied per head.
5. Boiled water is to be supplied for drinking, and the Turkish kazanes taken in the Turkish encampments may be used for this purpose.
6. The prisoners' sentries are to be changed every day, or if that be impossible, at least every two days. These sentries are to be regarded as suspected of infection and lodged in houses or tents at a sufficient distance from the army.
7 * * *
8. To prevent the epidemic from spreading, the employment of prisoners in any form
of work is to be avoided. If it should be necessary to employ them,
particularly in the town of Adrianople, they are to be employed only after
a quarantine of six days. They are to be lodged in separate barracks and
fed like the soldiers.
9. All prisoners sick with cholera are to be sent to a place removed from the Turkish hospital, to the Italian school at Karagatch, and to the isolation ward in the "Merquez" Central hospital at Yanyk-Kychlm.
10. 11, 12. * * *
13. Every facility is to be given to the American mission for assisting poor or sick soldiers, whether by medicines, or food or treatment for the prisoners.
14. Those responsible for the care of the prisoners are to inform the head of the Anti-Epidemic service of the number of Turkish doctors, apothecaries and members of the ambulance service, and of the number of prisoners, in each group, in order that the sanitary personnel may be increased wherever it is necessary.
The Disaster of Malgara
On July 1/14, in the morning, three officials and ten Bulgarian policemen gave back Malgara to Cheigh Ali Effendi, and then left the city which thus remained, as did the surrounding country, without any public defense and without authority, until noon on the following day.
This anarchial situation, as well as the danger threatened by the animosity of the Mussulmen and Christians, decided nearly sixty Armenians to emigrate hastily into Bulgaria. Several young girls obtained their parents' consent to join this company of emigrants on foot.
Following reports sent by Ali Effendi concerning the situation of the town, on Tuesday, July 2/15, at four o'clock, Turkish time, a part of the Ottoman troops advanced from Oludja and Kechan toward Malgara.
The Greek and Armenian clergy, several prominent people and a great crowd of the inhabitants hastened to meet the troops. Ali Effendi addressing the commander, expressed his joy at the return of the Ottoman army, which he welcomed warmly. The commander then called out in a very harsh voice to the crowd, "Get back, you cowards," instantly producing a very unpleasant impression upon the townspeople of Malgara.
Before the entry of the troops, there had been no sign of the populace, but now an ever increasing crowd accompanied the battalions as they advanced, to the growing anxiety of the Armenians.
According to information received, a third of the military force sent to Malgara belonged to the fourth corps of the army, and the whole force could not have numbered less than 35,000 men.
The populace began to excite the soldiers by repeating that the Bulgarians
had done nothing, and that the people who had crushed the country were
the native giaours—infidels. And several officers led by the bashi-basouks
penetrated into the Armenian quarters and made observations on their own
account. Monday and Tuesday passed without event, except one or two petty
thefts. But on the morning of Wednesday, July 3/16, the attitude of the
populace had become more menacing and aggressive. The market was almost
entirely closed. At Bazirguian-Teharchi, several small Armenian shops were
Although, under protest of the shop keepers, the military authorities had forbidden pillage, yet no authoritative proclamation against it, capable of inspiring confidence among
the Armenians, had been published, and no severe penalty attached to such acts. On the contrary, following the instructions of the commandant, on Tuesday and Wednesday the public criers twice called through the Armenian quarters that "those who had stolen objects belonging to the Mussulmen or who were in possession of arms were to give them up."
The military commander of the place, Mahmoud-bey, had the prominent Armenians brought before him, and shouted violently to them, "Armenian traitors, you have possessions and arms stolen from the Mussulmen." Furthermore, on the evening of the fourth day a sub-lieutenant declared openly to the Armenian soldiers, "You Armenians have helped the Bulgarians finely, and today or tomorrow you shall be rewarded."
Naturally all these things on the part of the officials added to the already intense excitement, and the proclamations of the criers incited the populace to the grossest misdeeds.
Terror stricken by these sinister indications of the catastrophe about to overtake them, the Armenians withdrew into their own quarters, expecting from moment to moment that the storm would burst.
On Wednesday at midnight, a part of the troops left the city. On Thursday morning, July 4/17, some soldiers commanded in violent and rough words that Bedros, of Rodosto, and Garaleet Minasian, of Malgara, should show them the way to Ouzoun-Kenpru. Garaleet, greatly alarmed, hid himself in his house. The pretext was found. Immediately a number of soldiers accompanied by a company of bashi-basouks went up to Minasian's house, and Ali Tchavoucheov Malgara set fire to it by means of torches soaked in petrol. He then set fire to the priest's house.
The officer second in command, Mustapha Pasha, appeared on the scene and asked what was the reason of the fire. He was told that the "Armenian refused to show the soldiers the way to Ouzoun-Kenpru." He gave vent to a burst of rage and called the Armenians by every vile name, "Race of scoundrels and rogues, swine like the Bulgarians, traitors," and so on.
While houses were burning in one quarter of the town, at the other end, in the market, towards eleven o'clock, murders were being committed with scarcely a pretense of excuse, and the people were plundering freely. The fire naturally gathered most of the Armenians together in that place, and may have been purposely meant to divert them from the further atrocities that were beginning. At this very time Yervante Pejichkian, Hadji Varteres, Tartar Oghlou Kevork, Toros Mameledjian, and others, were assassinated by Sououlon Osman Ogha, Emine Pehlivan Oghlon H'assan, Hassan Hodja, Mehmed Ali, etc. This fact is attested by Hadji Manuel and others, who were dangerously wounded in the course of this butchery. The wounded affirm, furthermore, that the order to kill was in the first instance given by an officer.
An Armenian covered with blood passed before Heldhed Ali Pasha, who appeared completely indifferent to the sight. The soldiers and the Mussulman population forced their way into the Armenian houses, situated on the outskirts of the town, and sacked them.
Thanks to the efforts of the Armenian soldiers in the army, the fire was got under control after twenty-three houses and all their contents had been destroyed, but the opportunity awaited for three days had now arrived.
The town was surrounded by a very considerable number of troops, and by several thousand bashi-basouks. Towards ten o'clock, Turkish time, fire broke out again in several different quarters of the market, and owing to the high wind, this new disaster had in a very little time assumed terrible proportions. Suddenly there was a noise of explosion and the Armenians imagined that the city had been bombarded by the Turks, who were thus exterminating the inhabitants, and on their side the Turkish population and the soldiers believed that the noise was caused by the explosion of bombs hidden in the Armenian
shops. As a matter of fact, the fire had spread to the depots, where barrels of benzine, alcohol and other spirits were stored with the most appalling results.
The commission of inquiry sent by the Kaimakam and the Minister of the Interior, Talaat-bey, tried to explain these explosions by the bursting of bombs left by the Bulgarians. But no one has dared to assert that the Armenians employed bombs, and if the explosions had been caused by such things, the mosque situated close to the place would have been blown up, and half the town destroyed. And another significant fact omitted in the report of the commission is, that not even a wall was cracked by the force of these explosions.
Panic stricken by this new calamity, the Armenians, threatened by both fire and sword, rushed towards the gardens outside the town and there took refuge. The screams and terrified lamentations of the women and children were heart rending, and they huddled together in the open air, not knowing what impending horror might yet overtake them, victims of unspeakable anguish. Fortunately there were two military doctors and a few detachments of soldiers, who were able to be of some assistance to the wretched people.
It must not be forgotten that the Kaimakam, accompanied by the chief of police and a policeman, arrived the same day at Malgara, at eleven o'clock in the evening, Turkish time, and made some effort, useless however, to put out the fire. That night he appealed to the Armenian people to help extinguish the fire, but the women and children refused to be separated from the men and clung to their husbands and fathers and brothers. The Kaimakam then turned to the troops for assistance, but the commanding officer replied, "What does it matter to us, if the people most concerned are indifferent?" Here a soldier raised his hand against the Kaimakam whom he did not recognize.
The ruin made dreadful headway. Soldiers and bashi-basouks rushed into the houses and plundered them freely. A few Armenians who had the courage to approach their dwellings, to try to save a few of their belongings from the fire, were prevented from entering by the soldiers who called out, Yassak ("It is forbidden").
We even hear that several Armenians were arrested for this very natural
act and are still detained under military authority.
At six o'clock in the evening, Turkish time, the Kaimakam returned to the Armenian refugees in the garden, and exhorted them again to lend their assistance in stopping the fire, himself guaranteeing their safety. Fifty or sixty young men volunteered at the risk of their lives to go, and thanks to theil efforts the fire was finally subdued.
The unfortunate people, of course, passed the night in the open air. The next day the bodies of the victims killed in the market place were deposited in the church yard.
Eight days after the catastrophe, no Armenian dared to venture near
the places devastated by the fire. The ruins were still smoking and the
Mussulman children were digging out various objects belonging to the Armenians
and running off with them.
A week later the body of a well known Armenian of Malgara, called Bared Effendi Adjemian, was brought back to the city from a place about two and a half hours distant. The body shockingly mutilated had become almost unrecognizable.
We add to our report a list indicating the names of the twelve Armenians killed at Malgara, of the ten Armenians wounded, the eight lost and seven taken prisoners. The number of shops burnt was 218 and the number of houses eighty-seven.
The entire material loss amounts to £T80,000.
This catastrophe has totally ruined the Armenian population of Malgara. The refugees are camping on the heaps of rubbish and debris, and in their despair their one desire is to go as far away from their native land as possible.
July 17/30, 1913.
Deposition of Mr. Kristo M. Bogoyev, Head of the Administrative Section of the Military Government of Thrace
The residence of the governor was at Kirk Kilisse (Lozengrad) up to March 15 (old style). From March 19 on, it was transferred to Adrianople. Mr. Bogoyev remained at Adrianople down to the end of the Bulgarian occupation, leaving it in the last train. His evidence is concerned throughout with the last days of the occupation and the departure of the Bulgarians—July 7 and 8 (old style).
On July 6 at 6.30 p.m., the Turks having reached Ourii, I telegraphed to the ministry and the staff office for permission for the officials, refugees and such of the inhabitants as wished to do so, to leave Adrianople. Permission was received at 11.30. To avoid disturbing the population, we did not spread the news, and at midnight the cinematographs were still open in the Rechadie gardens and people went quietly home. Leaving on the morning of Sunday, July 7, between three and four in the morning with the chief of the finance section and the head secretary, we passed the night at Karmanly. I then learned that the Turks had not yet entered the town. We received by telegraph the order to return. On July 8, we were once more in Adrianople. As we returned I counted at Marache, from the window of my carriage, ten corpses of Turkish prisoners, a sight which made a deep impression on me. When I arrived at Karagatch, I inquired of the Captain Mihailov, in charge of the station, the cause of the massacres. Mihailov explained to me that a body of prisoners, fifty to sixty strong, was employed in the station as laborers on transhipment work, and lived in the barracks near the Arda bridge. The other prisoners, the larger number of those who had not yet been dispatched to Bulgaria, were housed in the place of the Ali-Pasha mosque, on the Tcharchi. After they had been left there up to two or three o'clock, they had been sent to Yambol. The group in question must have .been sent to Mustapha Pasha, under the escort of the militia (Opoltchenie). Under the supposition that the Turks had reached Adrianople, they endeavored to escape. The escort fired upon them.
After our departure on July 7, order was maintained by Major Morfov,
who took the place of the commandant of the town, and by Lieutenant Colonel
Manov. Eye witnesses have told me that even while the last trains were
starting (there were eight of them on July 7), the Greek inhabitants began
pillaging the depots. The number of the pillages grew rapidly. Firing on
them was begun from the carriages of the last train but one, and two persons
were killed with their spoil of caps, trousers, etc. Throughout the day
of the 7th, Karagatch was without military or civil authorities. On July
8, the authorities reappeared and undertook a general search in the houses
at Karagatch and the neighboring quarter of Adrianople. I learned that
stolen arms and ammunition were found in various houses and that the thieves,
the owners of the said houses, were shot to the number of twenty or thirty.
This story was told me at the station on July 8, and confirmed by Mr. Morfov,
whom I met on returning thither after an excursion in the town. I have
no knowledge of the drowning affair. I do not say it is impossible but
I am ignorant of it.
As to the period preceding our administration in Adrianople, I can say that we did regularly meet the demands of the mufti, who very frequently addressed himself to us. Ten days before our departure, the mufti asked us to restore the Sultan Selim mosque to the Mahometans. I replied: "The mosque is yours, but it will be difficult for us to safeguard it, and the moment for opening it has not yet come." We then telegraphed to the Tsar. Mr. Danev replied by ordering me to open the mosque so soon as it appeared to be possible to do so. I promised to do it on a date indicated by the Turks, that of the Ramazan festival, but when the permission had been given, I learned that the festival
was over two days ago. On July 2, I was again asked to open the mosque to celebrate the festival. I refused, because the Turks were by that time approaching the Midia-Enos frontier. On July 3 or 4, the mufti again came to see me. I assured him that the mosque would be handed over to them, and that the Bulgarians would not destroy it. Thereupon the mufti said that after witnessing what the Mussulmen had suffered at the beginning of the Bulgarian occupation, he had thought the Bulgarians incapable of watching over the security of the Mussulmen. He was then on the point of departing for Constantinople. "But," he added, "thanks to you I have remained here. When you summoned me for the first time after your arrival from Kirk Kilisse, I was sure that you would receive me standing. But you made me sit down; you conversed with me for a whole hour and you told me that although you could not yourself do all that you would wish, you would nevertheless remain in order to fulfil your duty, and you invited me to follow your example. I remained. I find at present that you have really known how to take care of us. I have written in that sense to the Grand Vizier."
I know that Mr. Veltchev summoned the notables, and I am aware that he threatened them in the event of an insurrection breaking out. That was natural, in view of the insignificant number of our troops, lost in the midst of 50,000 Mussulman inhabitants.
As for the Greek bishop, his deposition (in the Machkov report) is given in bad faith. I have, personally, only had two letters from him: (1) He stated that an official had taken upon himself to pronounce a divorce between a husband and wife at Baba-Eski. As a matter of fact the case was that of a young man who was driven out of the house of his fiancee, after being entertained there for six months. The civil authorities intervened. (2) The Bulgarian priest by the Hildyrym quarter was accused of having forced children, by means of threats, to attend the Bulgarian school. This accusation was investigated and found to be false. I ought on the other hand to mention that six 'Ongarian rifles and a military costume were found .in the Greek church at Keviche-have. An incident which shows the state of mind of the Greek is that seven or eight days before the Bulgarian retreat, the lines of communication between Karagatch and the military administration were cut, and the culprits discovered to be Greeks disguised as Bulgarian soldiers.
Deposition of Major (Afferward Lieutenant Colonel) Mitov
He was appointed major by General Vasov, on the very day of the entry into Adrianople. At the end of four or five days he was promoted to be lieutenant commander and finally commander. He remained in the town down to June 14 (old style).
The explanation of the defective commissariat was. that the bridge had been destroyed and the depots burned. The Bulgarian soldiers themselves only got one loaf per day. General Vasov ordered a quarter of this ration to be deducted, and this was done by Commander Tsernowsky. The quarters were distributed during the first three days; the prisoners being divided into several bodies. I made a tour of inspection myself in the morning. People were not eating the bark of trees. Some bark had actually been cut off, but in order to make a fire; such was the origin of the legend. As a matter of fact after March 13, which was a fine day, we had a tempest in the night and floods of rain. I saw fires lit with my own eyes, and a shell, which happened to be too near, went off.
On the day of the entry of the troops, I witnessed touching scenes of the soldiers sharing their bread with the people. I even saw, indeed, men falling down in the roads from sheer weakness; during the last days of the siege the bakers sold bread only to the few rich people who could afford to buy it. It is true that on the island of Sarai the folk were so weak they could not even stand upright, and appeared the shadows of their former selves. People died but not by hundreds; there were thirty deaths on the first morning.
As to pillage, the following is what I saw of it: At the moment of the entry of our troops, on the morning of the 13th, I passed by the Young Turk club (in the house of
Abouk-Pasha) and found there two carts, full of furniture; among other things there were brass bedsteads worth some thousand francs, mirrors, wardrobes and valuable articles of furniture. I drew my sword and tried to speak to the people, but as they spoke Greek we did not understand one another. Finally I drove them off. In a street a little further down a watchmaker was being pillaged. He cried out to me, "They are pillaging indoors." I ordered them to come out; three men came out and I struck one of them with the flat of my sword. The Turks cried out to me, "Bravo, aferim, sfendim, these are the 'Greeks'!" But there was no way of stopping the pillage. All the streets, the Sultan Selim mosque, the Konak were full of people, women, old men and children; everybody was carrying off his spoils, here a quilt, there something else. My order for the stolen goods to be thrown down was obeyed, but as soon as I had gone they were picked up and carried off again. I put a sentry at the Municipal Council house and there nothing was taken. On several occasions I entered the house of Turkish officers and saw civilians coming out; I was shot at three times. I sent out numerous patrols, but they were lost in the labyrinth of alleys. I then ordered the inhabitants to whistle to warn and summon the patrols. An instance will show the difficulty of putting a stop to pillage. I knew one of the Turkish officers who had been made prisoner, a certain Hasib-Effendi. A Greek, Yani by name, pillaged his house and stole his horses. In the same house another Turk was found with his head broken open. I ask, "Who has done this?" "A Greek from Kaik." "Who?" "I dare not say, I am afraid of being killed." "But I guarantee that no one shall injure you." "Unfortunately you can not concentrate all your attention on me alone." I assigned a sentinel to the family of Hasib-Effendi and they went to live elsewhere, in the baptches (gardens). Even there, a Greek occupied the same house and found means of carrying off all their ooats. Quantities of pillaged goods were found in all the Greek houses. Among these were the effects of Dolaver-bey, including his piano. Any number of people came before the Municipal Council to get certificates from the commandant that such and such goods had been purchased, but the price, far too low, proved clearly that the goods in question had been stolen by Greeks and Jews and re-sold.
When making my tour of the town, after the entry of the troops, I stopped before the Sultan Selim mosque. At the very entrance there were two female corpses. I placed a sentry at the entrance. Some Turkish families had taken refuge in the interior; I was told that there were as many as 4,000. They had brought their goods with them and bedding; "braziers" filled part of the mosque. They sent to ask me whether they could come forth. I gave permission and had them escorted to their homes by soldiers. When they left they put their belongings on carts. Among1 them' I saw some carpets. In reply to my formal question they stated that all the objects belonged to them. At this stage I was not aware that there was a library attached to the mosque. On the next day I learned that a second entry of the mosque led to this library. I immediately betook myself thither, found the drawers open, and all the books lying about pell mell. Some of the bindings were empty, the books having been torn out of them. I was told that all this was the work not only of Greeks and Jews, but even of Turks. The priests asked me to be allowed to keep the books, but I refused. It is said that some strangers took advantage of the opportunity of striking some excellent bargains. A very valuable Koran, among other volumes, is said to have been secured. Some days later, an officer, Pocrovsky, brought me some Turkish books in a sack, but they were ordinary ones whose origin I failed to discover. I had the Sultan Selim mosque shut and ordered that it was only to be open to the public from three to five daily.
I know nothing of the case of the captive Turkish officer, but I have seen a Bulgarian soldier supporting an enfeebled Turkish prisoner and helping him to walk. Nor do I know anything of the story of the pillage of a watchmaker's shop, but I did assign a sentinel to an Armenian optician who was afraid of being robbed, with successful results so far as
he was concerned. In the same way I had Ali-pasha's bazaar shut for fifteen days, to prevent it being pillaged.
Finally I set a patrol there and the bazaar was as a matter of fact safeguarded. If some Turkish officers' houses were plundered, the local population is to blame, not the army. The owners of Turkish houses begged me on their knees to give them Bulgarian officers as lodgers, and I sent them several. On the other hand the Greek population of the "new quarter" refused to put up any officers, and it was there that disorders took place.
I know Greek houses where the owners gave money and wine, and where the women offered themselves to the Bulgarian soldiery in return for their protection against pillage, and in some cases with success. I know too that a Greek of the Kaihm quarter put on Bulgarian uniforms to go pillaging in. I ordered the thieves to be arrested, but during my stay in Adrianople, not a single one was caught. There was to my knowledge one case of outrage, that of a gamin by a Greek on the Karagatch bridge. The culprit was arrested and punished. No outrage was committed by our soldiers.
In order to facilitate the feeding of the poor, I called the head of the fournadjis (bakers) before me on the second day and supplied him with meal, ordering him to make bread and sell it at fifteen centimes the loaf. Meal was distributed free to the poor; I myself assisted therein. I caused a list of the families of Turkish officers to be drawn up and sent meal and money to their houses.
6. ADRIANOPLE Mr.
Chopov, Head of the Police at Adrianople
Mr. Chopov was accused by the "Russian official," Mr. Machkov, of having himself sent to Sofia, through a Russian subject, three bales of stolen carpets. He came before the Commission personally and made the following deposition with regard to the pillage of Adrianople and the particular facts as to which he was accused:
On March 14, two days after the capture of Adrianople, Delaver-bey, a rich Turk, ex-mayor of the town, appeared before me and lodged a complaint on the score of the pillage of his house. I caused investigation to be made, and restored him the whole of his furniture which was discovered in Greek houses. The Greeks complained of the domiciliary visits undertaken at the request of Delaver-bey. Other beys— Berkham-bey, Derghili Mustapha, Hadji Abram, etc., told me that the cattle of their tchifliks, near Adrianople, had been stolen and that they feared the attempted destruction of the houses in the villages and of the crops. I sent soldiers to guard them and they collected the stolen cattle, discovered in the neighboring villages, Greek and Bulgarian. Delayer and Berkham complained of disturbance in the night. I provided them with watchmen. I visited the Turks in their houses to restore their confidence, told them they might wear the fez and continue to move about freely. I did everything in my power to restore Adrianople to its normal aspect in three days. I assembled Greeks, Turks and Jews, to bid them be at ease.354
As to the "stolen" carpets, I did as a matter of fact buy some sedjade (carpets) of small size, in the shop of Fethi-Aga at Roustein-Pasha-Khan, and paid fourteen Napoleons for them. I also bought some from Osman (Roustein-Pasha-Khan) for sixteen Napoleons, and from a Jew of Besistein for eleven Napoleons. I made one package of all these carpets and had them taken straight from Fethi-Aga's shop to the counting house of Demetriadis. Witnesses to these facts are Isaac Demetriadis, George Doukidis, Avigdor Abraham Effendi, Patchavre Djemoise, all of them bankers or business men of Roustein-Pasha-Kahn, and present when I made my purchases. I bought the carpets as presents, and gave them to my friends at Sofia. When I heard that I was being accused in Adrianople of having stolen some carpets, I went there to call for an inquiry. I went to the Juge d'Instruction at the Court of Appeal in Philippopoli. An inquiry was held, and the charges dismissed.
At the Hotel de Ville I opened a depot for things stolen by the Greeks. Carts full of stolen goods were brought thither. For example, I saw two stolen pianos
being brought. While safeguarding the property of the inhabitants of Adrianople, I refused the request of .the Bulgarian consul, Kojouharov, for an inquiry on the property stolen from him, simply because he being a Bulgarian, I was afraid we should be accused of partiality. I carried out the order issued by Savov and Danev, permitting high Turkish officials to leave Adrianople to go to Constantinople. In this connection I went to the Vali, Chalil-bey, and asked him to draw up a list of officials. I had them divided into groups, and gave them an escort as far as Dede-Agatch. Khalil thanked me politely and the Turkish press recognized the humanity of our conduct to the Turks. In the end it was actually made the subject of reproach that I let the officials go instead of keeping them as hostages, whereas I simply carried out the orders of the general quarter.
Some days after the capture of the town, I acceded to the request of the mufti that three or four mosques should be opened for worship. I placed sentries, in order that the prayers might not be disturbed, for about two hours after dinner time. The commander Mitov drove off some two or three Servian officers, who began burning and destroying fine Korans in the Sultan Selim library. After that the mosque was shut, only opening after four o'clock in the afternoon. All the carpets were collected and rolled together. They remained intact throughout the time of my being in Adrianople. A fire broke out in a minaret, after which I allowed no one to go up.
Statement of the Chairman of the Bulgarian Committee at Adrianople
Among the charges not mentioned in printed articles is one against the Bulgarian committee which had to distribute the loads of merchandise among the wholesale dealers. In Adrianople, "jars of wine," abstracted by members of the committee, were talked of. A member of the Commission informed the persons responsible for the government oi Adrianople of this accusation, and the head of the said committee, Mr. Lambrev, an advocate, appeared before us and made the following deposition:
I was Chairman of the Committee for distributing the loads of merchandise over the whole area of the newly conquered territory. The other members associated with me were Professors Boutchev and Chichov. I defy anyone who accuses us of having appropriated a cent to appear, in order that I may sue him for libel. It was our business to study the needs of the population of the whole zone of Adrianople, Xanthry, Tchataldja, Kirk Kilisse. We went to all the villages on the railway line and here we sent for the merchants and in their presence commandeered the necessary wagons and goods of different kinds (petrol, sugar, salt, groceries, etc.). At first we only had ten, afterwards fifteen wagons. As stated above, we commandeered them in the presence of all the merchants, without distinction of nationality or religion. An exception to the general rule was made at Dede-Agatch. We made an arrangement of sale and return, according to which we could sell the goods to the best advantage. In this way we were able to secure the people a supply of sugar at forty-five centimes per ancient oka (1 kil. 280 gr.). From the beginning of March on, we issued a license at the rate of fr. 500-1,000 per wagon; 2,000 at Kirk Kilisse. This license served as a guarantee of the strict fulfilment of undertakings and secured the right_ of reselling the merchandise at a fixed price. The money was deposited and receipts given at the central offices in Kirk Kilisse, Dede-Agatch and Adrianople; it was repaid on presentation of certificates granted by the commanders and mayors of the towns to the effect that the conditions had been fulfilled. There was only one case in which the license had to be confiscated after an inquiry, and there the wholesale merchant had sold the goods exclusively to his friends without notifying the mayor. We telegraphed to the mayors to regulate the selling price, allowing fifteen per cent profit, and the quantity to be sold, and to prevent cornering by a few buyers. The retail price lists were fixed in the same way. For example, a wholesale price of forty-seven cents corresponded to a retail price of sixty cents. About June 20 (old style), when military operations recommenced, there were seven or eight wagon loads of meal to distribute between three and four Greek and Bulgarian merchants, destined for Serres and Drama. The licenses were issued, but three days later all traffic was interrupted. A period of eight days elapsed before it was resumed, during which the licenses remained in the mairie under the charge of Mr. Neutchev, secretary to the mayor of Adrianople; the money to be refunded on presentation of the receipts. A single case of attempted corruption came under our notice. About the month of March, someone sent in a355
postal packet a sum of fr. 1,000. Mr. Boutchev threw the package and the money out of the window of the carriage with a forcible expletive. The attempt was not repeated; the system of distribution in fact made it impracticable. The system was as follows: We had, for example, six wagons to divide among 130 persons. We discovered at the Tchardu what goods were at the moment most needed. Next we ruled out all the dealers who were not merchants. Suppose there were eighty persons left. We divided the wagons among them equally, by making each group, composed of some seventeen to twenty persons, select one to three representatives, who then undertook to make the purchases for all. The procedure was recorded in an official document signed by all the members of the Committee.
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