The War and the Nationalities
2. Servian Macedonia (a)
A comparison of the ethnographic and linguistic maps drawn up by Mes-sers Kantchev, Tsviyits (Cviyic) and Belits, with the new frontiers of the treaty of Bucharest reveals the gravity of the task undertaken by the Servians. They have not merely resumed possession of their ancient domain, the Sandjak of Novi-Bazar and Old Servia proper (Kosovo Pole and Metchia), despite the fact that this historic domain was strongly Albanian; they have not merely added thereto the tract described by patriotic Servian ethnographers as "Enlarged Old Servia" fan ancient geographical term which we have seen twice enlarged, once by Mr. Tsviyits and again by Mr. Belits) ; [See chapter I, p. 29.] over and above all this, their facile generosity impelled them to share with the Greeks the population described on their maps as "Slav-Macedonian"—a euphemism designed to conceal the existence of Bulgarians in Macedonia. And their acquisitions under the treaty of Bucharest went beyond their most extravagant pretensions. They took advantage of the Bulgarians' need to conclude peace at any price to deprive them of territories to the east of the Vardar, for example, Chtipe and Radoviche, where Bulgarian patriotism glowed most vividly and where the sacrifices accepted by Bulgarian patriots for the sake of freeing Macedonia, had always been exceptionally great. This was adding insult to injury.
Mr. Skerlits, a Servian deputy and member of the opposition, closed his speech in the Skupshtina on October 18/31, 1913, with these memorable words: "We do not regard territorial results as everything. Enlarged Servia does not spell, for us, a country in which the number of policemen, tax collectors and controllers has been doubled. New Servia, greater Servia must be a land of greater liberty, greater justice, greater general well being. May Servia, twice as great as she was, be not twice as weak but twice as strong."
Unfortunately these generous words are but pia desideria. For some time the government hesitated. Nevertheless, Mr. Pachitch must have understood
that the question whether Servia's acquisitions were to make her twice as weak or twice as strong depended on the policy pursued in Macedonia. During the days spent by the Commission at Belgrade the question was debated. There were two antagonistic views. One, represented by Mr. Pachitch himself, wanted a "liberal" regime in Macedonia and the avoidance, at any price, of a "military dictatorship." The population of the new territories was to be left to express its loyalty spontaneously; to wait "until it realized that its new lot was sweeter than the old." Military circles, however, did not share this view. They were for a military administration, since a civil administration in their view, "must be incapable of repressing the propagandism sure to be carried on by the Bulgarian?." [See the Stampa, August 13/26. The contents of these communications came to our knowledge at Belgrade itself, from reliable, first-hand Servian sources.] True, the "liberal" regime as projected by Mr. Pachitch was not so liberal as the Bulgarian manifesto to the inhabitants of the annexed countries had hoped. The new citizens were not to possess the franchise for fear lest a new "Macedonian" party should thus be brought into the Skupshtina to upset all the relations between the contending parties in the kingdom and form the mark of common jealousy. Some sort of local franchise or self-government was considered. A kind of compromise was suggested in the shape of military administration with a civil annex and representatives of the departments at Belgrade, on the familiar plan employed in Bosnia and Herzegovina before the 1908 annexation. In any case, the question of the administration to be erected in Macedonia displayed so wide a divergence between the views of Mr. Pachitch and his colleagues, apart from the military group, that Mr. Pachitch's resignation was talked of.
Mr. Pachitch neither resigned nor insisted on his own standpoint. Silence fell on such isolated voices as that of the President of the Skupshtina, Mr. Andre Nicolits, who protested in the foreign press against the exceptional regime in Macedonia and asked for constitutional guarantees. The Piemont, the organ of the military party, declared that such notions were "opposed to the interests of the State," and assured the Servian public that "the population of Macedonia had never for a moment thought of elections, or communal self-government," etc.; that "nothing save a military regime could be entirely just, humanely severe and sufficiently firm to break the will of individuals or groups hostile to the State."
Macedonia had thus to be viewed as a dependency, a sort of conquered colony, which these conquerors might administer at their good pleasure. In the course of the debates on the address in the Skupshtina (November) this attitude found highly definite expression in a reply of Mr. Profits, a member of the cabinet, interrupted by a member of the opposition. "The question," said Mr. Profits, "is—are we to apply to Old Servia the constitution created by the Servian Kingdom and which has had happy results?" Mr. Paul Marinkovits—
"But Old Servia is the Servian Kingdom."—"No, it is not the Servian Kingdom."
Such was the spirit in which the Servian government on September 21/ October 4, issued a decree on "public security" in the recently acquired territories, which amounted to the establishment of a military dictatorship, and called forth cries of horror in the foreign press. The document is so characteristic and so important that, despite its length, we quote it in extenso:
Article 1. The police authorities are authorized, in case of a deficiency in the regular organization for securing the liberty and security of persons and property, to ask the military commander for the troops necessary for the maintenance of order and tranquillity. The military commander is bound to comply immediately with these demands, and the police is bound to inform the Minister of the Interior of them.161
Article 2. Any attempt at rebellion against the public powers is punishable by five years' penal servitude.
The decision of the police authorities, published in the respective communes, is sufficient proof of the commission of crime.
If the rebel refuses to give himself up as prisoner within ten days from such publication, he may be put to death by any public or military officer.
Article 3. Any person accused of rebellion in terms of the police decision and who commits any crime shall be punished with death.
If the accused person himself gives himself up as a prisoner into the hands of the authorities, the death penalty shall be commuted to penal servitude for ten or twenty years, always provided that the commutation is approved by the tribunal.
Article 4. Where several cases of rebellion occur in a commune and the rebels do not return to their homes within ten days from the police notice, the authorities have the right of deporting their families whithersoever they may find convenient.
Likewise the inhabitants of the houses in which armed persons or criminals in general are found concealed, shall be deported.
The heads of the police shall transmit to the Prefecture a report on the deportation procedure, which is to be put in force immediately.
The Minister of the Interior shall, if he think desirable, rescind deportation measures.
Article 5. Any person deported by an order of the Prefecture who shall return to his original domicile without the authorization of the Minister of the Interior shall be punished by three years' imprisonment.
Article 6. If in any commune or any canton the maintenance of security demands the sending of troops, the maintenance of the latter shall be charged to the commune or the canton. In such a case the Prefect is to be notified.
If order is restored after a brief interval and the culprits taken, the Minister of the Interior may refund such expenses to the canton or the commune.
The Minister may act in this way as often as he may think desirable.
Article 7. Any person found carrying arms who has not in his possession a permit from the police or from the Prefect, or who shall hide arms in his house or elsewhere, shall be condemned to a penalty varying from three months' imprisonment to five years' penal servitude.
Anyone selling arms or ammunition without a police permit shall be liable to the same penalty.
Article 8.Any person using any kind of explosives, knowing that such use is dangerous to the life and goods of others, shall be punished with twenty years' penal servitude.
Article 9. Anyone who shall prepare explosives or direct their preparation or who knows of the existence of explosives intended for the commission of a crime shall, subject to Article 8, be punished by ten years' penal servitude.
Article 10. Any person receiving, keeping or transporting explosives intended for a criminal purpose shall be punished by five years' penal servitude, except where he does so with the intention of preventing the commission of a crime.
Article 11. Any person who uses an explosive without any evil intention, shall be punished by five years' penal servitude.
Article 12. (1) Anyone deliberately harming the roads, streets or squares in such a way as to endanger life or public health, shall be punished by fifteen years' penal servitude.
If the delinquency be unintentional the penalty shall be five years.
(2) If the author of the crime cited above causes danger to the life or health of numerous persons, or if his action results in the death of several individuals (and this could be foreseen), he shall be punished by death or twenty years' penal servitude. If the crime be unpremeditated the punishment shall be ten years.162
Article 13. Any attempt at damaging the railway lines or navigation, shall be punished by twenty years' penal servitude. If the attempt is not premeditated the punishment shall be for ten years.
If the author of such attempt has endangered the life of several individuals, or if his action results in death or wounds to several persons, he shall be punished by death or twenty years' penal servitude.
Article 14. Any person injuring the means of telegraphic or telephonic communication shall be punished by fifteen years' penal servitude. If the act is not premeditated the penalty shall be five years.
Article 15. Generally speaking the concealment of armed or guilty persons shall be punished by ten years' penal servitude.
Article 16. Anyone who knozus a malefactor and does not denounce him to the authorities shall be punished by five years' penal servitude.
Article 17. Those instigating to disobedience against the established powers, the laws and the regulations with the force of law; rebels against the authorities or public or communal officers; shall be punished by twenty-one months' imprisonment up to ten years' penal servitude.
If such acts produce no effects, the penalty may be reduced to three months. Article 18. Any act of aggression and any resistance either by word or force, offered to a public or communal officer charged with putting in force a decision of the tribunal, or an order of the communal or police public authority, during the exercise of his duties, may be punished by ten years' penal servitude or at least six months' imprisonment, however insignificant be the magnitude of the crime.
Any aggression against those helping the public officer, or experts specially called in, may be punished by the same penalty.
If the aggression offered to the public officer takes place outside the exercise of his official duties the penalty shall be two years' imprisonment.
Article 19. Where the crimes here enumerated are perpetrated by an associated group of persons, the penalty shall be fifteen years' penal servitude. The accomplices of those who committed the above mentioned misdeeds against public officials shall be punished by the maximum penalty, and, if this is thought insufficient, they may be condemned to penal servitude for a period amounting to twenty years.
Article 20. Those who recruit bands against the State, or with a view to offering resistance to public authorities shall be liable to a penalty of twenty years' penal servitude.
Article 21. Accomplices of rebels or of bands offering armed resistance to Servian troops or the public or communal officers, shall be punished by death or by at least ten years' penal servitude.
Article 22. Persons taking part in seditious meetings which do not disperse when ordered to do so by the administrative or communal authorities are liable to terms of imprisonment up to two years.
Article 23. In the case of the construction of roads, or, generally speaking, of public works of all kinds, agitators who incite workmen to strike or who are unwilling to work or who seek to work elsewhere or in another manner, from that in which they are told and who persist in such insubordination, after notification by the authorities shall be punished by imprisonment from three months up to two years.
Article 24. Any soldier or citizen called to the colors who does not follow the call, or who refuses in the army to obey his superiors, shall be condemned to a penalty varying from three months' imprisonment to five years' penal servitude.
Soldiers who assist any one to desert from the army or who desert themselves, and those who make endeavors to attract Servian subjects to serve with foreign troops, shall be punished by ten years' penal servitude.
In time of mobilization or war the penalty for this delinquency is death.
Article 25. Anybody releasing an individual under surveillance or under the guard of officials or public employes for surveillance, guard or escort, or setting such person at liberty, shall be condemned to penal servitude for a maximum period of five years.
Where such delinquency is the work of an organized group of individuals, each accomplice shall be liable to a penalty of between three and five years' penal servitude.
Article 26. The Prefects have the right to prescribe in their name police measures to safeguard the life and property of those subject to their administration. They shall fix penalties applicable to those who refuse to submit to such measures.
The penalty shall consist of a maximum period of three years' imprisonment or of a pecuniary fine up to a thousand dinars.In the words of the Socialist Servian paper, Radnitchke Novine, "If the liberation of these territories is a fact, why then is this exceptional regime established there? If the inhabitants are Servians why are they not made the equals of all the Servians; why is the constitutional rule not put in operation according to which 'all Servians are equal before the law'? If the object of the wars was unification, why is not this unification effectively recognized, and why are these exceptional ordinances created, such as can only be imposed upon conquered countries by conquerors? Moreover, our constitution does not admit of rules of this nature!"
The edicts of the Prefects shall come into force immediately, but the Prefects are bound to communicate them at once to the Minister of the Interior.
Article 27. The crimes set forth in the present regulations are to have precedence of all other suits before the judicial tribunals and judgment upon them is to be executed with the briefest possible delay.
Persons indicted for such offences shall be subject to preventive detention until final judgment is passed on their cases. Within a three days' delay the tribunal shall send its findings to the High Court, and the latter shall proceed immediately to the examination of this decision.
Article 28. The law of July 12, 1895, as to the pursuit and destruction of brigands, which came into force on August 18, 1913, is applicable to the annexed territories, in so far as it is not modified by the present regulations.
Article 29. Paragraphs 92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 98, 302 b, 302 c, 302 d, (so far as concerns paragraphs b and c) 304, 306, and 360, and Section III of the penal code which do not agree with the present regulation, are null and void.
Article 30. The present regulation does not abolish the provisions of paragraph 34 of the penal military code, in connection with paragraph 4 of the same code, paragraphs 52 and 69 of the penal military code and paragraph 4 of the same, which are not applicable to civil persons.
Article 31. The present regulation is in force from the day of its signature by the King and its publication in the Servian press.
We order our Council of Ministers to make the present regulation public and to see that it is carried into effect: we order the public authorities to act in conformity with it, and we order each and all to submit to it.
Executed at Belgrade, September 21, 1913.PETER."
As a matter of fact, if one did not know what Macedonia is, one might guess it from the publication of these ordinances. Clearly Macedonia was not "Old Servia" unified, since the population is treated as "rebels in a perpetual state of revolt." What the ordinances had in view were not isolated criminals,— they had accomplices and people who would hide them everywhere. To punish the culprit? That was not enough while his family remained; his family must be deported and the friends who were unwilling to "denounce" the culprit, his "associates," who seized the opportunity of "setting him at liberty" when he was "under surveillance, guard or escort" by officials or public employes—they must be deported too. In short, a whole population was "recalcitrant," and to resist it there were only these "public or communal officers" invested with extraordinary powers. What were they to do, when the population, not content with offering passive resistance, became "aggressive." This population, called to the colors, refused "to obey the call." When asked to "work" on the "con-
struction of roads" or on any communal works, they struck, they preferred to work "elsewhere or in some other manner." Finally, each one "refused to give himself up as a prisoner," always holding himself ready to attack the public officers, "to resist them if not by force at least by word!" This last crime is punished by the ordinances by "ten years penal servitude, or at least six months imprisonment however insignificant be the words or the deeds" The hope openly expressed to the members of the Commission from the first half of August onwards, was that thanks to these measures an end will be made of the resistance of the alien population in Macedonia in five or six years!
The military party knew what it was about when it insisted on the publication of this Draconian edict, which was but a quasi legal sanction given to the actual activities of the powers in occupation in Macedonia. But such a formal admission on paper (in a document immediately published in the foreign press) frightened more than the members of the Servian Opposition. Thus, on October 15/28, the Servian government, after three weeks' reflection, published certain changes in the ordinances of September 21. The obligation laid upon the troops for coming to the assistance of the civil power became less general. It was now only in the case of "grave and serious trouble" that they were to do so. But the right possessed by the Minister of the Interior not to charge the population "if order was reestablished quickly" (see Article 6) was limited by the control of the Council of Ministers.
The scandalous Article 26, giving legislative power to the Prefects, was amended by the addition of the following clause:—"On condition that the ordinances of the Prefects accord with existing ordinances and the laws." The extent of the sanction contemplated in Article 26 (imprisonment up to three years and a fine up to fr. 1,000) was reduced to one month and fr. 300. But these amendments merely confirm the rest of the edict, and they were clearly insufficient. The opposition press continued to attack the government and to demand the reign of law for the population of the annexed territories and the extension to these territories of the constitution of the kingdom. "If deputies for the annexed territories had seats in the Skupshtina," said the Pravda of November 13/26, "the foreign press, which is at present ill-disposed towards Servia, would no longer be able to retain the credence which its malicious inventions have won in Europe as regards the Servian atrocities." "A nation can not be conciliated," it added a few days later, "by giving it an inferior position under the law." Another paper, the Novosti, tried to harmonize these objections with the official theory of a Servian Macedonia. "A military regime," it said, "is perfectly adapted to a conquered country whose population speaks a different language, but this is not the case with a country whose population is entirely Servian. That is why," the Novosti concluded, "the introduction of a constitutional regime in the new territories is absolutely justified."
The government could not admit that it was precisely this condition of
identity of nationality which was lacking in Macedonia. The ministerial organs were reduced to saying "that the level of culture" was not sufficiently high among the Macedonians, and that their "State consciousness" was not sufficiently developed to permit the immediate grant of full political rights. Finally on November 23/December 6, the government decided to announce the draft of an abridged constitution for Macedonia, which was to be put in force for a period of ten years. This constitution did not sanction the liberty of the press nor of meetings; it conferred the right neither to elect nor to be elected. Rights of self-government were not given to the electoral assemblies of the prefectures, sub-prefectures or communes; the magistrates were not irremovable and the courts of criminal justice did not include juries. The death penalty, abolished by Article 13 of the Servian constitution, was reestablished by the simple omission of this article in a simplified "constitution." In a word, it could be said that the Turkish "law of vilayets," in combination with the ancient rights and privileges of the Christian communities, granted to the different nationalities by treaties and firmans, gave far better assurance of mutual toleration, and even a more effective rein on the arbitrary power of the administration, than was afforded by this new draft constitution, which, from the administrative point of view, did nothing to abolish the measures laid down in the ordinances of September 21.
The opposition press did not fail to point this out. On November 28/ December 11, the Pravda asked, "Are the people of the annexed territories to have fewer rights now than they possessed under Turkish regime?" The Novosti said:—"The population has no rights, only duties." The Pravda pointed out that it is better to follow Cavour than Bismarck, and suggested (December 1/14), that these "dictatorial paragraphs" were on the high road to Zabern.Finally, despite the assurances of the official organ, the Sammouprava, to the effect that the new constitution guaranteed the personal property of the individual in every case, as well as the moral and economic development of the country, the world refused to believe it—and rightly, as we shall see.
As a matter of fact, if it was desired to make "Servian" Macedonia a reality instead of allowing it to remain what it was,—a national illusion in which aspirations were translated into accomplished facts,—it was necessary to understand, however little one might approve, the tactics of the government. If the opposition were to be logical they must renounce their national view. If they insisted upon that, they must admit that for the real attainment of their object of an ethnic "unification," everything remained to be done. To admit the end was to sanction the means, i. e., the extermination, or at least the elimination of alien elements, and above all of the Bulgarian element. It was the existence and the permeation of these elements which throughout decades constituted the essence and, so to speak, the Gordian knot of the Macedonian problem. To endeavor to escape
from the problem by pretending not to know its essential elements, was to elude difficulties instead of solving them.
The Servian government and the military party to which the task of making an end of the difficulty was entrusted, marched direct to the attainment of their end. They made. on a truly imposing scale, a sociological experiment w ariima vili, which governments and nations far better equipped than the Servian kingdom could not have carried through with success.
We have seen the beginning of this work of assimilation through terror. It was not until the beginning of the second Balkan war gave the signal for putting everything which still bore the Bulgarian name into the melting pot, that means were employed to carry out this object which surpassed anything seen hitherto. Let us look first at the steps taken by the Servian government against the heads of the National church in Macedonia.
The members of the Commission were profoundly moved by the depositions which the six dignitaries of the Bulgarian church were good enough to make before them during their visit to the Holy Synod at Sofia. These dignitaries were the Archbishops Auxentious of Pelagonia (Monastir-Bitolia), Cosmas of Dibra (Debar), Meletius of Veles, Neophyte of Uskub (Skopie), Boris of Okhrida, and the Archbishop of Dibra's Vicar, Ilarion Bishop of Nichava. All the prelates came to enter a formal protest before the Russian Ambassador at Sofia against the declaration made by the Servian embassy at St. Petersburg, to the effect that the Bulgarian Archbishops of Macedonia had themselves asked to leave their dioceses. "If the Servian government," they said in their written protest, "really never intended to drive us forth we are ready to return as soon as it may be possible to guard the flocks whose legitimate pastors we are."[The Servian declaration was published on August 12/25, in the St. Petersburg paper the Novoye Vremia. The reply of the Archbishop S. E. M. Nekloudov was signed on August 29/September 11, at Sofia.]
We have seen that the Servian and Greek governments had taken all possible steps to isolate these pastors from their flocks. When the second war was about to break out, the Bulgarian Archbishops regarded themselves as prisoners within their Metropolis. Their visitors were watched, questioned, loaded with blows and put to the torture. The priests were not even allowed to see their superiors except at church, and divine service was the only opportunity which these Archbishops had of showing themselves to such persons as were still bold enough to enter a Bulgarian church. June 17/30, the day on which the outbreak of hostilities became known, was the term of their residence in Macedonia. Each in turn, they eagerly told us of their last impressions. Mr. Neophyte of Uskub had, on the evening of the 17/30, been shut up in his own house, and throughout two days his cook alone was allowed to go out of the Metropolis to purchase food. A most thorough investigation then took place, after which the cook herself was kept prisoner for two days. The Archbishop had no food save bread passed in to him through the window by his neighbors, at great
personal risk to themselves. The cries of the cook drew the attention of the police, and she was once more allowed to go out, this time under escort. On June 24/July 7, the head of the police came and suggested to the Archbishop that he should go to Salonica, his personal security and respect for his inviolability being guaranteed (this, as we shall see, was not superfluous). Mr. Neophyte refused; he was there by the will of the people and there he intended to remain. "To what end, since you can not exercise your functions?"—"For example, in my private capacity, to purchase Turkish houses, if you please," he replied. An hour later they returned to the charge. The prefect regretted that he had not been obeyed, for he could no longer answer for the Archbishop's safety. Finally, in the evening the comedy came to an end; the Archbishop was made to read an indictment under twelve heads. He had said prayers for four monarchs, instead of for King Peter alone; he had not said prayers for the Servian Archbishop; he had busied himself with civil matters, ordering a priest from the village to come and see him in the Metropolis, etc. When Mr. Neophyte refused to sign, he was given two hours in which to prepare himself for departure, and then sent through Niche to Smederevo, on the Danube, whence he departed for Bulgaria.
At Veles the officials of the Archbishopric were arrested and the archives were ransacked so early as January 24/February 6. The Suffragan Bishop was obliged to leave Veles after another attack on the Metropolis on February 4/17, in which an official of the Metropolis, Mr. Mikhilov, was beaten and maltreated to such an extent that he lost consciousness. On March 28/April 10, Archbishop Meletius returned to Veles. He was closely watched by the police, and during his whole sojourn at Veles he was only allowed to see three priests and one instructor. On June 17/30, he, like Mr. Neophyte, was made a prisoner in his own house. On June 24/July 7, he was told in his turn to leave the town. Thinking that this was a temporary measure, he agreed on condition of remaining at Uskub until the end of the war. He signed a document to this effect. On the 25th he was told that Mr. Neophyte had left Uskub and that he had an hour in which to follow him. Mr. Meletius then asked for a written order. "The order will be sent to you at the frontier" (this was a lie). We will say nothing of the incidents of the voyage. Mr. Meletius rejoined Mr. Neophyte at Smederevo, and they were both sent through Raduivatz to Roustchouk.
The other three Archbishops, from Monastir, Okhrida and Dibra, did not get off so easily. They were sent via Salonica to Constantinople. On June 17/30, the police arrived, accompanied by officers and soldiers, to arrest the staff of the Archbishopric of Monastir. In the course of the perquisition which took place, rough drafts of reports of acts of violence committed by the Servians on the Bulgarian population were discovered, addressed to the Metropolis at Salonica and the Minister of Foreign Affairs at Sofia. Here the sequestration lasted up to the 24 h, on which date the authorities proceeded to a sort of inquiry.
Stress was laid "on relations entered into with a foreign government," and the article of the criminal code relative to this form of crime, prescribing a penalty of twenty years imprisonment, was read out. After having thus prepared the ground, the authorities returned in the afternoon. "You will start tomorrow for Bulgaria." "Impossible, it is too soon." "Papers found upon you have annoyed the military authorities; we are ordered to bring you before a court-martial. A court-martial, as you are well aware, does not at this moment always observe the laws; it often judges as seems fit to it and the sentences passed are executed on the spot; well, to save you from such a fate, the prefect is being so kind as to make himself responsible for the Archbishop's departure tomorrow in the morning." "Agreed." "First of all, a little formality has to be gone through. Here is the draft of a letter. Be so good as to transcribe it in Bulgarian, and state over your own name that, 'owing to the hostilities between Servia and Bulgaria, it is unpleasing to you to remain at Monastir.' What? You refuse? Then there is the court-martial. Let us see." Mr. Auxentius signed, though his conscience protested. On the next day he was sent to Salonica, and thence made his way to Bulgaria via Constantinople and Odessa.
The case of Mr. Boris of Okhrida is similar. The papers found in the Metropolis of Monastir also included reports from the Archbishop of Okhrida to the Ministry at Sofia. The chief commander at Uskub was immediately informed of this and telegraphed the order for the Archbishop's arrest. On June 25/July 8, he was roused at three o'clock in the morning and given ten minutes in which to prepare himself to depart for Monastir. He had hardly time to take a shirt and an overcoat with him. At Monastir the same prefect, Mr. Douchane Alimpits, played the same little scene. The books of the law were brought, Mr. Boris was questioned, a protocol was read to him in which the existence of a revolutionary committee, preparing a rebellion against the Servian authorities, was inferred, and of which Mr. Auxentius was accused of being the president and Mr. Boris his assistant. Its members were the deacons and inspectors of the Archbishopric, the secretaries, priests, schoolmasters and notables. In vain did Mr. Boris endeavor to prove that this accusation was simply the fruit of an overheated imagination. Mr. Alimpits went on repeating accusations of "treason," deserving the penalty of death by shooting, etc. He then displayed a most active desire to see Mr. Boris saved from the death which threatened him, and out of his pocket he drew a paper written in Servian. Thereupon, Mr. Boris read the sketch of a declaration somewhat as follows: On the outbreak of the fratricidal war he regarded his mission as fulfilled, he renounced of his own free will the dignity of exarchist Metropolitan of the diocese of Okhrida, and asked for a permit to Salonica and an escort to accompany him thither. Mr. Boris replied that the whole Bulgarian population of the diocese had chosen him as their spiritual chief; he could not renounce his charge on any pretext; he regarded such a demand as an outrage, while the
declaration could not be valid even for the end they had in view. The prefect, with some annoyance, repeated the order, adding that it was the desire of a higher commander, and that in case of refusal all preparations were made for bringing the Archbishop before a court-martial and destroying him as a traitor in the interests of the State.
"As for me," so Mr. Boris stated to the Commission, "I recalled the fate of victims who had been slain and of whom no traces had been left; the death of the schoolmaster Luteviev, slain by the soldiers at Prilepe, after the banquet at which he had ventured to sing the praises of the Bulgarian army and propose the health of King Ferdinand; of Stamboldgiev, a citizen of Monastir, who was sacrificed with his whole family. Further, I recalled the inhumanity of these wretches, who compelled their own Archbishop Michael to leave his diocese. I recalled likewise that these were men not given to joking, men who tore their princes and their kings to pieces, and * * * with profound bitterness, and in the depths of my soul something of shame, I obeyed the order of this brute of a captain, an order which I could not recall." * * * On the 26th Mr. Boris left for Salonica and rejoined Mr. Auxentius there. Two days later the regent of the Archbishopric of Dibra, Bishop Ilarion of Nichava, arrived there likewise. He was less fortunate than the others, for at Salonica he was imprisoned and remained there in confinement for twenty-seven days. The reason was that the Greeks, having no Bulgarian bishops among their prisoners, were already sorry that they had let Messrs. Auxentius and Boris go. They therefore kept Mr. Ilarion as a hostage, and did not set him at liberty until two days after the conclusion of peace.
The departure of the bishops was the end of the exarchist church in Macedonia, the end of the official and recognized existence of Bulgarian nationality. The powers in occupation were not slow in drawing conclusions thus harmonious with their desires. We know in fact that they did not even wait for their departure to set to work on the complete destruction of "Bulgarism" in Macedonia. During the first months of occupation, September, October, and even November, it was still possible to explain what happened as the result of misunderstanding, and as the abuse of power by irresponsible elements or by local authorities; later, however, this explanation became untenable. From the commencement of 1913 we have to deal with a systematic persecution of the Bulgarian nationality, more particularly in the regions assigned by the treaty of February 29. 1912, to Servia. After March, at which date it became clear that Servia was not going to secure an outlet on the Adriatic littoral, and after the Bulgarians, on the other hand, had succeeded in taking Adrianople (March 13/26), there was no longer any concealment of the preparations which were being made for the complete annexation of all the occupied territories in Macedonia. The conclusion of peace with Turkey (May 17/30), and the speech delivered by Mr. Pachitch in the Skupshtina, were the signal for beginning
preparations for conflict between the allies, the search for arms held by suspects the call to the colors of all those on whom it was thought reliance could be placed. Two weeks later, every one in Macedonia was saying war with Bulgaria was imminent, and acting on that belief. On July 17/30 the decisive moment arrived.
For six months, while waiting for the allied armies to take up arms, the Servians had been carrying on guerrilla warfare in Macedonia, side by side with the regular army. They armed their old bands, whose captains and soldiers wore military uniform. At Uskub, a central committee of "national defense," with branches in other Macedonian towns, was formed side by side with the higher command, upon the arrival of the troops. The population of Uskub called their station behind the house of Weiss, near the Russian consulate, "the black house," from the name of the league itself, "the black hand."[The Belgrade Tribune published ("Serb. Cor." November 18/December 1) revelations by an anonymous officer who had been a member of the secret organization of "the black hand." The object of this organization, formed on the principle of the Carbonari, was, according to him, the liberation of the Servians from the Turkish yoke. Later on, the comrade by whom he had been initiated, told him that owing to the incapacity of the radical government it was necessary to replace this organization by another which was to be composed of members of other political parties. He clearly regarded the "black hand" as being formed of government partisans.] The worst crimes were committed by this secret organization, known to all the world and under powerful protection. It was of distinct advantage for the regular government to have under its hand an irresponsible power which, like this, soon became all powerful, and which could always be disowned if necessary. There were so many things which were not crimes, but which, from the point of view of Servian assimilation, were worse than crimes. Such, for example, as being too influential a citizen, wise enough, while remaining an ardent Bulgarian patriot, not to contravene the orders of the authority, and whose past called for vengeance; the Bulgarian flag, a business house, a library, a chemist shop kept by a Bulgarian, or a cafe, not amenable to the prohibition of public meetings, etc. The man was taken, one evening he was led into the "black house" and there beaten; then for whole months he lay ill, if indeed he did not disappear completely. Our records are full of depositions which throw light on the sinister activities of these legalized brigands. Unhappily all the names can not be cited. * * * Each town had its captain who soon acquired fame. At Koumanovo there was a certain Major Voulovits and his assistant Captain Rankovits; at Veles one Voino Popovits, a Vassa, a Vanguel, etc. Where complaints were made to the regular authorities, they pretended to know nothing of the matter, or if the person complaining was obscure they punished him. If he were a personage, as for example in the case of the Archbishop of Veles, his complaint was met by sending the bands from the town of Veles down to the villages * * * only to replace them immediately afterwards by bands from Uskub.
It was in the villages that the activity of these bands assumed its most fatal form. In the towns the regular authorities kept up appearances and did not concern themselves with the bandits; but lower in the administrative scale, in the village, the responsible and the irresponsible mingled and were lost in one another. This was the easier that from the end of 1912 on the administrative posts in the villages were filled by men of the type already described in Chapter I—paid representatives of national minorities, Serbo-manes, or Graeco-manes, who very often had served as spies with the Turks. * * * These people, while possessing a highly intimate knowledge of affairs, had their own scores to wipe off * * * they had only to utter the name of one of their enemies, and the bands arrest him, leave him to find a ransom, beat him or even kill him with impunity. This is the regime of anarchy summed up in a letter published in the Manchester Guardian and given below.[After citing the Servian ordinances of which we have spoken above the English paper goes on: "This is the theory of Servian coercion. The practice is worse. Servia is .not a country with a large educated population. It has indeed some 80 per cent of illiterates. It has to supply rulers for a conquered territory which almost equals it in extent, and the abler men regard life in rural Macedonia as exile. Unworthy agents are invested with sovereign powers. The consequences are vividly, if briefly, described in a personal letter which arrived recently, and is translated below. The writer is a man of high character and a minister of religion—it is safer not to indicate his church. He is a native of the country, but has had a European education, and is not himself a member of the persecuted Bulgarian community:
The situation grows more and more unbearable for the Bulgarians—a perfect hell. I had opportunities of talking with peasants from the interior. What they tell us makes one shudder. Every group of four or five villages has an official placed over it who, with six or seven underlings, men of disreputable antecedents, carries out perquisitions, and on the pretext of searching for arms steals everything that .is worth taking. They indulge in fiogging and robbery and violate many of the women and girls. Tributes under the form of military contributions are arbitrarily imposed. One village of 110 families had already been fined 6,000 dinars (£240) and now it has to pay another 2,000 (£80). The priest of the village, to avoid being sent into exile, has had to pay a ransom of £T.50. Poor emigrants returning from America have had to pay from ten to twenty Napoleons for permission to go to their homes. The officials and officers carry out wholesale robberies through the customs and the army contracts. The police is all powerful, especially the secret service. Bands of Servian terrorists (comitadjis) recruited by the government, swarm all over the country. They go from village to village, and woe to anyone who dares to refuse them anything. These bands have. a free hand to do as they please, in order to Serbize the population. Shepherds are forbidden to drive their flocks to pasture lest (such is the excuse) they should supply the Bulgarian bands with food. In a word it is an absolute anarchy. We shall soon have a famine for the Serbs have taken everything, and under present conditions no one can earn a living. Everyone would- like to emigrate, but it is impossible to get permission even to visit a neighboring village."]
What were the results secured by this implacable system at the time of the beginning of the Serbo-Bulgarian war? A Bulgarian schoolmaster has described them as follows: "Even if one were an European one would declare oneself Servian, if one were alone, without support, in that state of unrestrained brigandage, fostered by the legal power." The end, however, was not yet attained, and, on the outbreak of the second war, the powers in occupation seized the opportunity to undertake new measures of repression which made an end of the open existence of Bulgarian nationality. Progress of this repression in different parts of Macedonia can be traced in the depositions taken by
the Commission at Sofia from Bulgarian intellectuals, refugees from Macedonia, and completed by the reports of the Bulgarian ecclesiastical authorities.
It was to be expected that those territories in Macedonia which were, according to the treaty, to remain Servian, should receive the most serious attention. Uskub, Koumanovo, Tetovo, Gostivar, in a word the whole northeast corner of Macedonia, was to feel the first brunt of Serbization. At Koumanovo the priest Yanev, the Archbishop's vicar, was driven out on March 11/24, after a violent scene with one of those Servian chieftains who became officers, one Liouba Voulvits. He pulled the priest by the beard, beat him and finally said to him that "he would not kill him, because the Servians were a civilized nation, not savages like the Bulgarians." "I give you up to this evening to clear out of Servian territory, otherwise, dog, you shall be killed." The violence used by this same Voulvits in the villages whose population he was persuading to become Servian, not to read Bulgarian books, etc., may be passed over in silence. This same Voulvits employed the same tactics for the vicars of Kratovo and Palanka, and for the population of the villages. As a result, the towns of Koumanovo, Palanka, Kratovo, Gostivar and the surrounding villages, the nehie of St. Nicolas, and the villages of Uskub and Tetovo, were formally proclaimed Servian at the moment of the outbreak of the war. Schoolmasters and priests who were unwilling to submit fled and took refuge in Bulgaria. The only places left to resist were the towns of Uskub and Tetovo.
To terrorize the population of Tetovo was easy. Tetovo had been in a state of panic since May 23/June 5. The municipal authorities, followed by bands and a crowd of Turkish children, harangued the inhabitants, inviting them to become "volunteers" against the "worst enemy" of the Servian state. These processions took place daily for three days, but the end not being secured, they were followed by repression, domiciliary visitation and the persecution of suspected citizens. A certain Pano Grantcharov, or Gherov, tried to commit suicide to escape being entered as a Servian volunteer. Greater success was gained in the villages, after beating the inhabitants, as was done at Stentche, Volkovia, Jiltche, Raotintsi, Lechok. On May 29/June 11 the priest Anguelov, the Archbishop's vicar, was incarcerated and the prefect told him that all those calling themselves Bulgarians were regarded as rebels against the authority. They were evidently in a hurry to make an end of Bulgarism, and on June 6/19, all the presidents of communes and all village priests were summoned together in a Serbized monastery. The representatives of Servian temporal and ecclesiastical power were present, and after a long discourse in honor of the historic glories of Servia, it was proposed to the assembled priests and heads of communes, "that they should become Servian and send a telegram to King Peter." A single priest saved himself by flight and two village priests were absent.
At Uskub, under the eyes of the foreign consuls and in the presence of "the higher commander," difficulties were met with in the execution of official
Serbization. But "the black hand" supplied what was wanting in official activity, and several of its exploits are known to the Commission. [It was this band which beat Methodius. See Chapter I.] The state of mind of the soldiers quartered at Uskub may be illustrated by a little story.
On March 7/20, towards 6 o'clock in the evening, a Bulgarian, Demetrius
Gheorghiev, was standing at the door of his house on the Vardar bridge.
A little distance off, at the door of another house, there was a Servian
officer, Major Boutchits. At this moment the Bulgarian General Pitrikov
entered the town, and his orderly, one Igno, passing along the road, greeted
Dimtche. Mr. Boutchits at once makes a, sign to him to draw near, pushes
him into the corridor of his house, kicks him with his feet, turns him
twice over on the ground, cracks his skull and finally is trying to suffocate
him, when his father coming up with soldiers saved his life. All the time
Mr. Boutchits accompanied his blows with cynical oaths upon his "mortal
enemies," the Bulgarians.
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