The protection of the “popular fight” at Tsiartsiabas; 1941 – 1950 (Platoon – OPLA – Popular Avengers – Snipers)

“Bourinos’ independent platoon” of the ΕLAS, Kesaria September  1943

“Bourinos’ independent platoon” of the ΕLAS, Kesaria September 1943

We are an army of an idea

and a new society,

we fight the fascists

and beat the traitors[1]

 

Preface

Since the beginning of the Occupation from 1941 to 1950, when the armed conflicts in Western Macedonia were terminated, the EAM (National Liberation Front) and its cell, the KKE (Communist Party of Greece), considered that their fight against the Italians and the Germans, and against the Greek State successively, had to be protected. Thus, some armed groups bearing several titles, having however identical goals, took action at Tsiartsiabas, a small plateau located at the Prefecture of Kozani.

This paper presents the activities of these groups and shows their particularities compared to the rest partisan mass. In particular, the occupational organization OPLA (Organization for the Protection of the Popular Fight), which was publicized so negatively, is examined. Following a research it was concluded that the victims of the OPLA at Tsiartsiabas numbered only 8, while an independent Platoon of the 1/27 battalion of the ELAS (National Popular Liberation Army), acting in the same area, took the lives of 11 enemies. Meanwhile, the 9th division of the ELAS executed 164 persons in the same area, mainly in November 1944 (table 1). Therefore, it is evidenced that it is a myth, at least for the area under study, the view that the OPLA was responsible for the death of hundreds or even thousands of people[2], and the rumour that the organization violated or even tortured its victims[3]. This myth resulted from the will of those involved in the events of the 40’s to forget the fierceness of the war and suppress their own guiltiness, the guiltiness of their village and the people they associated with every day, put the blame on the OPLA.

The victorious press of the Right Wing cultivated this myth for about 30 years, from 1946 to 1981, on grounds of political expediency. On the other hand, until now, this myth sails full sail even on the waters of the ruling Left Wing, since there is obviously the same expediency, to keep silence this time. Some romantic researchers, apparently due to the lack of empirical research and probably due to ideological hesitations, are unable not only to justify but also to accept the origin of violence on behalf of the Left Wing therefore this is either totally suppressed[4] or overlapped with no specific references to events.  For example, this kind of violence is called “Jacobean habitus” or “pure revolutionary violence”, which is, however, a “feature of the minority”[5]. Assassinations are considered to be “symbolic” and the victims are named “criminals” or “miserable people”[6]. However, a plain reading of Thucydides[7] convinces us that violence during civil wars is exercised by both sides almost with equal fierceness; thus, the Greek Civil War that was initiated in Western Macedonia in March 1943 and ended in May 1950 is not excluded. This text is necessarily short, since it only examines violence exercised by the Left Wing against its enemies rather than violence exercised by the anticommunists and the Right Wing against the partisans.

This paper is based on the study of local archives, such as those found in Courts, Cathedrals, Municipal Libraries, Registry Offices, and other general archives like the Archives of Modern Social History (AMSH) in Athens. Meanwhile, oral pieces of information were drawn out of several eyewitnesses, a small number of whom are only cited by their first names or initials[8]. Furthermore, some works written by history lovers or historians as well as memoirs of the era have been used. Besides, the author alone or accompanied by elderly eyewitnesses passed through all the places where the events under study took place, because, if one ignores the anaglyph of the area, he is unlikely to explain the flow of events. For instance, it would be hard to explain the execution of the parish priest of the monastery of Zidanio by the “Popular Avengers” of the DSE (Democratic Army of Greece) in May 1947[9], regarding which no clear proof of guilt has been produced so far. However, anyone who knows that the monastery was located within this area ruled by the partisans, that it was a major passage from Thessaly to Macedonia, and that Kozani was visible from it, may feel that not even the slightest joke against the partisans could be forgiven there.

 

OPLA in general

Before proceeding farther in the OPLA of Tsiartsiabas, it is important to have a general view on this organization[10]. The initials OPLA is analyzed in many different ways: Organization for the Protection of Popular Fighters or Organization – Safeguarding of the Popular Fight or Groups for the Protection of the Popular Fight or Organization for the Protection of the Popular Fight – the author agrees with the last interpretation. These lexicological differences reveal the considerable ignorance surrounding the OPLA, to which all parts contributed, as mentioned above. A testimony of a Greek agent sent to Cairo in 1944 informs us that the OPLA appeared at the end of 1943 in Athens as a branch of the EAM (National Liberation Front) and assassinated all those who were opposed to it[11]. A contemporary historian believes that the OPLA started its action in autumn 1943 as a civil police consisting of officers of the Opposition, but it “degenerated becoming a network of assassination groups acting mainly in Athens”[12]. Another historian names it “a repression organ”, while citing other similar organizations of KKE (Communist Party of Greece): the prewar counterintelligence service, the YTO, which took action at Boulkes, and the YSA during the Civil War[13]. A high-ranking officer of the KKE explained that the OPLA punished the “big traitors”[14], while a former officer of the same rank wrote that the OPLA “often deviated from its purpose” committing murders that “were incompatible with EAM’s purposes[15]. All testimonies available but one concerning the area of Argolida in Peloponnese[16], limit the action of the OPLA in Athens and overlook its corresponding action in the provinces.

The OPLA was based in Athens, had branches in all Regional Committees (RC) of the KKE, and was exclusively governed by party cadres. In the beginning, the main “instructor” was professor Nikos Ploumidis[17], a high-ranking officer of the KKE, whereas in the provinces one member of each Regional Committee (RC) was in charge. Each RC informed its chiefs, the Western Macedonian Office and the Macedonian Office of the KKE, of all-important activities of its own OPLA[18]. Some lists of the “reactionaries” of Florina and Grevena, including 787 and 124 names of men and women[19] as a whole have been saved; therefore, we can assume that each OPLA, pre-occupational or post-occupational, kept a similar archive. It would be extremely interesting to compare them with the similar archives of the Gendarmerie for the left wing of the era; however, nobody has seen it up to this time.

The OPLA did not belong to the EAM; it belonged to each Regional Committee (RC) of the KKE, and apart from the “big traitors” it also punished farmers or cattle-breeders. In towns, it took action bearing the title “Shock Troop” followed by the name of each town; in the countryside, they used the name “Shock Troops of the Plain”, e.g. at the Servia strip. In Florina, instead of the word troop they used the Slavic word grupa, apparently due to the linguistic particularity of the area; thus, inside the town there was “Florina’s Grupa” and in the countryside there were “The Grupas of the Plain”[20]. At Eordea, the local mounted OPLA was called “Fotis’ detachment”- Fotis was the nickname of its leader[21]. In 1946-7, the partisans who were responsible for attacking Thessaloniki were called “Popular Avengers”[22], but since 1948, they changed their name to “Snipers”[23], obviously because the OPLA had acquired a bad reputation following the Occupation.

The “avengers” of the countryside distinguished themselves from those of the towns by their clothes, their armaments and their number[24]. Those who took action in the town were only a few volunteers, dressed in civilian clothes and carrying automatic rifles, while their colleagues in the countryside were greater in number (e.g., 150 people at the RC of Florina), some wearing military uniforms, not always well-armed. For example, the leader of the “Shock Troop of the Plain” of Servia was a butcher and its members were the reserve officers of the ELAS at the villages. They led their prisoners to the village Frourio (Palialona), headquarters of the KKE Regional Committee of Servia, where they made a decision on their further course[25]. Some never arrived at Palialona; they were executed at the region of Rymnio[26], obviously following an order that it was unnecessary to arrive at the headquarters. However, this troop was commanded by the KKE Regional Committee of Servia and had nothing to do with Tsiartsiabas, thus its activity is not discussed here.

Just prior to the harvest of 1944, a letter of the Macedonian Office (MO) of the KKE prompting the establishment of the OPLA arrived at the RC of Kozani. The secretary of the RC wondered about the need to form an additional organization and, in 20 June 1944, he asked to be shown its differences from the National Militia (NM), i.e., EAM’s gendarmerie, since there had been a recent similar order regarding its establishment. Meanwhile, he wondered if, contrary to the NM, the OPLA was to “annihilate” all those whose guilt could not be officially proven[27]. We do not know whether his questions were answered, however, we know that the OPLA was established. Its tasks were: gathering of information, punishments, arrests and executions of “reactionaries”[28]. These tasks had to be accomplished by reliable and experienced partisans, rather than “barefooted and ragged” young men who enlisted in the Militia in great numbers. The kidnapping of an injured partisan held at the Hospital of Kozani by the Germans, and the unique, however unverified information on a successful robbing of the remittance of the PAO (Panhellenic Liberation Organization) of Kozani[29], which also goes around in another, more modest, version, are also due to the action of the OPLA members. It is also known that the OPLA of Tsiartsiabas took part in battles and ambushes set by the ELAS against the EES (National Greek Army)[30] and that, in 1947, some of its members transported weapons from Vermio to Bourino twice and provided assistance in the siege of Velvento in April that same year. Once they even transported the correspondence from Bourino to Vermio[31]. Therefore, characterizations such as “KKE suppression organ” or “Greek Gestapo”[32] are considered extremely poor, compared with the extensive action of the OPLA at Tsiartsiabas[33].

Examining the differences between the OPLA and the NM, it seems that both aimed at “wiping out the spies”[34]; however, the NM was only activated in “Free Greece”, while the OPLA took action in areas occupied or semi-occupied by the enemy. Additionally, the NM was controlled by the EAM, while the OPLA received commands exclusively by the KKE. Since the EAM and the KKE did not always kept up with each other, as the liberation was near and the EAM was expanding, controlling the influence of the public opinion by the KKE rebels became a fundamental object of research. The more people participated in the Opposition, the more the “popular fight” weakened – the “popular fight” is interpreted by the author as the fight conducted by the EAM, in particular its cell, the KKE, in order to realize its political and social programme, which had already been applied in areas liberated from the conqueror. Thus, who was to protect the “popular fight” from deviating from its principles, if not the one who had inspired and initiated it? That is why the author agrees with the analysis of the OPLA as Organization for the Protection of the “Popular Fight” rather than “Popular Fighters”.

 

The bloodless trials

Before proceeding to the action of the OPLA, it is necessary to get to know Tsiartsiabas, as well as the activities of a group of ELAS partisans, which also played OPLA’s part among other tasks. Up to this time, the Tsiartsiabas (from Turkish = Wednesday) is the  name of a tableland of the Prefecture of Kozani, extending between the mountains, Bourinos, Zarkadopetra and the northern bank of Aliakmonas river. It is a 400,000-km2 semi-mountainous basin, on the lower hills of which grain, crocus and tobacco are cultivated. During the 20’s, over 6,000 refugees of all types settled in 17 villages – the other 16 villages were inhabited by native, Greek-speaking villagers[35]. The largest city in the area was Kozani with a population of 12,000, the majority of whom were natives.

In the elections, the inhabitants periodically gave their vote to the largest two parties, the Popular Party and the Liberal Party. The few communists living in the city of Kozani were arrested during Metaxas’ dictatorship and almost all of them signed declarations of renunciation of their party – the few ones who denied signing such declarations were sent to prison or exile[36]. The programme of the KKE had limited fascination for the farmers, ex colleagues of Tsiartsiabas, who, under normal conditions, distrusted any rapid change that might shake their static lives.

The arrival of the Germans in the area disturbed the calmness of the years 1920-1940. Refusals to deliver weapons and crops, exaltation of thefts, black market, and conflicts with the Gendarmerie[37], all created tensions among the population during the first days of the Occupation, which the Germans wiped out by ruining the village Mesovouno, Eordea, in October 1941[38] and launching wide persecutions against the communists. The main person to blame for this holocaust and these persecutions was considered to be the appointed Prefect of Kozani, former colonel of the Army, and the KKE RC of Kozani decided to execute him. His execution was to have variable results: it would dissipate the conviction of the public opinion, which the Germans and the Greek State lavishly supported, that the communists were the culprits of the tragedy at Mesovouno, since the responsibility would be laid to the Prefect and the revolutionary prestige of the Party would be retrieved among its friends, mostly regarding their declarations. Subsequently, killing would impair the stubbornness of the succeeding prefect against the communists, whom he persecuted with great rigidity.

A tall and cruel 26 year-old builder, former communist who had signed a declaration of renunciation of the Party a few years ago, undertook to give the Prefect a couple of grenades[39].  It is not at all impossible that a former declarant had been assigned to take this action, because it seems that he was deliberately chosen in order to test his loyalty, which had once been worn down. Although we ignore the reasons why the execution of the plan was postponed, we can assume that it was not approved by the Western Macedonian Office (WMO) of the KKE, i.e. the principal authority of the RC of Kozani. This decision was ardent and considerably heavy with respect to the lightness of the era and furthermore there was business inexperience for such commando raids. The Prefect was saved.

In the beginning of 1943, the financial transactions between Kozani and Thessaly were disturbed, when some armed men coming from Olympus, Chasia and Vermio seized the mountainous passages of the streets, obstructing the transportation of products. Then, some merchants from Kozani established an anticommunist organization called EKA (Social Defense Union), which possessed a more active spirit than that of the organization founded by the officers of Macedonia called YVE (Defenders of Northern Greece), a basically antibulgarian organization, which maintained contacts with the Greek government of Cairo[40]. Since the EAM had chosen to fight on the mountains, the EKA’s field of action was the flat areas of Kozani and Eordea[41].

The EAM was quite bothered by the recruitment of EKA’s supporters. The rumours that an “Italian” toured the villages and recorded candidate partisans were definitely reinforced by the EAM, if not created by it, in order to isolate the EKA, since it is probable that this Italian was a leader of the EKA. When these rumours ceased to stand although the Italian had not ceased to visit the villages, some armed supporters of the EAM coming from the city of Kozani came to confront him. However, fortune favoured the Italian, since he did not meet the inhabitants of Kozani – however, he was later executed by the OPLA of Veria[42]. An Infantry Major, Christos Papavasiliou, a military leader of the EKA and subsequently of the YVE, who resided in Kozani, was equally fortunate. Although he had been the target of the EAM twice before[43], nobody pulled the trigger – however, he was executed in summer 1944 by the more experienced and determined OPLA of Thessaloniki.

 

The Platoon of Bourino

In March 1943, the partisans of the ELAS approached Kozani. In collaboration with the EKA and the YVE, they captured an entire battalion of Italians near Siatista, resulting in the liberation of an immense area in the southwest of Kozani. In Kastoria, EAM’s attempt to incorporate the Slavomacedonians extended the ideological gaps among the partisans[44], and, during the civil war that followed between them, the EAM dominated the mountainous areas, but not the flat areas. On Zarkadopetra, a low mountain near Kozani surrounded by refugee villages, the PAO (Panhellenic Liberation Organization), guided by anglophile officers of Thessaloniki, who disagreed with the theoretical paper war of the YVE, appeared in summer 1943. Once again, its military leader was the omnipresent major Papavasiliou and the captain was the refugee Michail Papadopoulos or Michalagas, cattle dealer, resident of Servia. The members of the PAO of Kozani were gendarmes, second lieutenants of the army and refugees coming from the flat villages near Tsiartsiabas and Eordea[45], former members of the EKA and the YVE, who had been exposed as enemies of the communists.

The ELAS of Western Macedonia had not matured yet, when, in April 1943, for fear of German mopping-up operations, it withdrew on Northern Pindos. The absence of partisans allowed or facilitated the development of the PAO[46], the privates of which trumpeting the destruction of the EAM reached bloodless skirmishes with the privates of the reserve ELAS[47]. A ten-member group of ELAS partisans leaded by a tall and strong thirty year-old man, who bore the nickname of the local mountain, was called to fill ELAS’ gap on Tsiartsiabas. The partisan Bourinos, whose warlike nature had been cultivated among the Arvanites of Attica, formed his group at Kyparissi, Grevena, headquarters of the partisans. Apparently, Bourinos was chosen as the most suitable person for this mission, due to his outstanding boldness – courage was necessary for one to act in an area where Germans passed every day. However, it is possible that he was deliberately chosen, so as to test his loyalty to the EAM, since he was a former gendarme and served as a partisan of the EKA, prior to moving to the EAM. Whatever Tsiartsiabas was, it was proven to be Siloam’s font for him.

The village located at Servia strip, named Rymnio, representing a unique base for campaigns or safe withdrawals, was chosen to become the headquarters of Bourinos’ group. Built on an elevation where one could see the entire mountain of Tsiartsiabas, one had to cross a perennial forest of plane trees through which flows Aliakmonas River, to approach the village. Furthermore, the majority of its inhabitants were refugees who had come from Caucasus and were on friendly terms with the EAM, thus raising the protective shield of the partisans. Overnight, the partisans, departing from Rymnio, were able to penetrate into most villages near Tsiartsiabas, indoctrinate, be notified, and return to their headquarters before dawn. This penetration could be realized in the daytime as well through a small vegetation area at the bank of the torrents flowing into Aliakmonas River.

Three out of the nine partisans of Bourinos’ group spoke the Turkish language as well, since they were refugees, and they had probably been suitably chosen, in order to help the group have access to the Turkish speaking villages as well. They descended to Rymnio in the beginning of August 1943 and started appearing in the area. They grew in number by recruiting volunteers and, when the ELAS was militarized, they were renamed “Bourinos’ independent platoon” (hereinafter referred to as Platoon), which came under the 1/27 battalion of the ELAS. The Platoon’s field of action was limited to the local villages, since their access to the refugee villages, mainly the Turkish speaking ones, where the PAO was ruling, was dangerous. Unfortunately, we do not know exactly whether the Platoon had anything to do with the kidnapping of an inhabitant of Kozani, an estate agent, from the interior of the town, and his execution on 12 September 1943, since it is generally cited that “he was kidnapped by the partisans of the ELAS”[48].

When at the end of August 1943, the department of the local PAO invaded the village Inoi, which was governed by the EAM, captured and executed two citizens[49], the partisans of the Platoon were too far away to intervene. Only when large segments of the ELAS arrived in the area and persecuted the PAO from Zarkadopetra[50], both the Platoon and the politicians of the EAM could have easy access to the refugee villages northeast of the road from Servia to Kozani.

At the time when the Platoon wintered at Rymnio, some movement out of sight changed the geography of rifles at the area. Inside the town of Kozani, on Christmas 1943, an Athenian member of the EAM, resident of the refugee village of Karagiannia, was assassinated by armed anticommunists[51]. Almost all Turkish speaking villages, as well as three local ones, Ano Komi, Kato Komi and Kesaria, were armed by the Germans, or, more precisely, the Germans were aware of this armament. On 4 January 1944, four unsuspected members of the EPON (Greek Political Youth Organization) of Tsiartsiabas were captured by the newly converted armed men at Kato Komi and surrendered to the Germans of Kozani, so as to be executed a few days later. The anticommunist privates kept the beautiful member of the EPON under the nickname Niki, and, after raping her repeatedly at the refugee village Sparto they killed her and threw her inside the manure of a yard[52].

When the privates of the Platoon approached Sparto on 7.1.44 in order to settle this issue, they fought with the armed men[53]. The partisans responded by launching attacks against the three armed local villages, during which houses were burnt and a few inhabitants were captured, murdered or executed. The villages Kesaria and Ano Komi handed over their guns, while the privates of Kato Komi and the refugee villages Sparto and Stavroti dug themselves at their villages. The civilians who resided at the villages of the flat area northwest of the road from Kozani to Servia and northeast of mount Bourinos were fated to suffer more than anyone, since they accepted visits and invasions by the ELAS at nights and the EES, as the anticommunist privates were soon renamed.

The villages that suffered the most were Kato Komi, Sparto and Kesaria, not only because they had accepted to be armed, but also because they were located in the middle of the road connecting Vathylakos and the other villages of the EES with the area of Ventzia ruled by the partisans. An invasion of the armed anticommunists on 20 February 1944 at Kato Komi resulted in the execution of the communal secretary[54], who had obviously been considered culpable for the attack of the ELAS against that village. Eight inhabitants of Kato Komi had been assassinated due to conflicts or executions by mid March 1944, which showed that both ElAS and its armed enemies did not hesitate to murder people, so as to extend their domination zones.

Those that were in the utmost danger were: the official government of the villages located within the contested zone, the communal government, rural guards, priests, church-wardens, or the unofficial government of the EAM, which was operating along with the state government. When the president of Krokos was executed by the Platoon inside the village square on 28 May 1944[55], the event was justified by saying that the president of the village council in question was culpable for the arrest and shooting of a teacher from the same village by the Germans. Certainly, the high-risk range included the relatives of all kinds of armed persons, especially at the villages that had been divided, because one could easily be accused of being a “Burgarian” or a “communist” or “member of the Gestapo” and “traitor”, since the relations among the villagers, despite the apparent calmness, had never been peaceful, even in the past. In any case, the assassination of a student from Kozani inside the village of Sparto[56] by armed anticommunists remains unjustified regarding its causes unless we accept that it was done in order to steal the new coat that the unfortunate young man wore!

If there were any proofs of accusation against those who were executed, these were only known by the officers of the 1/27 battalion of the ELAS or the KKE RC of Kozani. Not all the partisans of the Platoon or the 1/27 battalion of the ELAS were the perpetrators of these executions, only those who had courage, a strong political fanaticism or tendency to fierceness. A single person shot at night, while the others were either looking from far away or were informed of the event only when the operation was over. This was always succeeded by the reserve ELAS of the villages, the armed civilians, i.e. those who were recruited, when necessary. The main task was to expropriate the mammals and the victims’ properties, before their houses were burnt. The Reserve Forces increased the number of partisans, so as to exaggerate the rumours spread the following day, and also set amplifying ambushes. The following days after the executions were marked by the reprisals of the opposite side[57] and death was repaid with death, reinforcing the feelings of polarization and fear, breaking the reason and calm that the state and the conqueror desired. Since the state of fear in the countryside was then higher than the state of calmness, the partisans seemed to triumph over the Greek State and the Germans.

 

 ITALIANS, MAY, DSE, PEY, OPLA, ARMY, PLATOON, EES, GERMANS, ELAS Table 1: Number of people executed by the organizations mentioned on the left. It only counts those coming from Tsiartsiabas, who were executed at Tsiartsiabas. The huge last number is due to the attack of the ELAS against the armed anti-EAM villages in November 1944. However, it is extremely difficult to find who were truly executed and who were killed during the battles, therefore this number is given with reservation.

ITALIANS, MAY, DSE, PEY, OPLA, ARMY, PLATOON, EES, GERMANS, ELAS
Table 1: Number of people executed by the organizations mentioned on the left. It only counts those coming from Tsiartsiabas, who were executed at Tsiartsiabas. The huge last number is due to the attack of the ELAS against the armed anti-EAM villages in November 1944. However, it is extremely difficult to find who were truly executed and who were killed during the battles, therefore this number is given with reservation.

The OPLA of Tsiartsiabas

Within the OPLA of the KKE RC of Kozani, i.e. Tsiartsiabas, as well as at Servia and Eordea, there were separate RCs and separate OPLAs. Their leader was a thirty year-old refugee from eastern Thrace known with the nickname Petros. Being a former exiled of Akronauplia, Petros rightfully held the position of the 2nd secretary of the RC. He was remembered as a tall and glaring “Bulgarian”, who was always hanging around carrying a pistol and riding a horse. The inhabitants of Tsiartsiabas used to call “Bulgarians” the Slavomacedonians of Western Macedonia and the people who had a hard and abrupt character. The recollection of the villagers that Petros was a “Bulgarian” reveals the strong feelings spread following every execution that have been preserved up to this time reinforced and warped. Petros was neither a Bulgarian nor a “bloodthirsty person”, like the eyewitnesses portray him. He was the central axis of the protection of the “popular fight” at Tsiartsiabas, the man who had to dominate over his enemies in a place where the traces of the reason were inadequate.

Not a single person in the area knows the word OPLA. Everyone speak about Petros and his “Detachment”. Even the secretary of KKE RC of Kozani cites the local OPLA as a “detachment”[58]. Therefore, Petros’ group is known as a detachment, “a detachment that liquidated people”. Its members were six natives – rather than refugees – members of the ELAS, two out of whom were rural guards and the others were farmers. Four of them were relatives and came from neighbouring villages, while the other two came from another village. They were all married and had children, but for one single man. They were peaceful, plain people, excluding one of them, somewhat arrogant and peculiar. And when war was came to an end in 1949, they returned to their normal lives, to the eastern European countries, where they had had recourse.

The headquarters of the OPLA were not permanent; they lay at riverside positions of Rymnio and Eani, usually in the forest of plane trees, since no careful partisan had permanent quarters. Nobody distinguished himself by his military uniform or armament from the other partisans of the ELAS. However, although the partisans received orders by the battalion, the OPLA only received instructions by Petros, who was always wearing civilian clothes. Occasionally, they made arrests either alone or in collaboration with the Platoon or the battalion of ELAS’ partisans. They entered the villages day or night and, forcing a particular or any inhabitant to show them the house of the candidate prisoners, they knocked the door saying “come, the partisans want to draw some pieces of information from you”. Once, probably rarely, a candidate victim was driven to the OPLA’s headquarters accompanied by the secretary of the local KKE ray.

The members of the OPLA never executed their victims inside the villages. They transferred their prisoners to their headquarters in order to investigate them, apparently because they were mainly interested in gathering information and then in deciding on the fate of those arrested. Unfortunately, there are no statistical data regarding how many people, after being investigated and receiving pieces of advice, were set free. We only know the number of those sent to “the Blue”, as execution was called in the jargon of the KKE RC of Grevena or “to America”, according to the corresponding code dialect of the RC of Florina[59].

A veil of silence covers certain cases of villagers who did not return alive. Two citizens of Eani considered to have received weapons by the EES were taken one night to interrogation, but never returned – it is said that they were detained at Pentalofos, where they were killed by the Germans[60]. However, since these two arrests were done by the members of the OPLA[61] rather than the partisans of the ELAS, the most probable version, which is also supported by their relatives[62], is that they passed away somewhere near Ventzia, approximately at a 20-km distance from their village. Another night an Athenian, reserve sergeant, who had resorted there due to hunger, and an inhabitant of Kozani, cohabiting with him[63], were arrested at the same village. Only the latter came back.

The OPLA possessed its own information network and its own links, usually shepherds. In a morning ambush of the members of the OPLA and the Platoon at Stavroti, a Turkish speaking person from Vathylakos was arrested by the men of the Platoon. While they were discussing his fortune, Petros arrived and released him saying that he was an intimate person. The consent of EAM’s responsible at every village was not always necessary for each arrest, since in the field of Tsiartsiabas it was not only the RC but also the Platoon and the 1/27 battalion of the ELAS that were active. The world of information was quite ambiguous and dark, so that misunderstandings were common: one night, while the Platoon and the OPLA were walking together towards the village of Karyditsa, near Kozani, in order to execute its president, the secretary of the ray of the local villages near Tsiartsiabas stopped them and turn them back insisting that the president was his own secret informer[64]. Another misunderstanding without a happy ending this time was the following: a leader of the EAM seeing Petros drawing a carpenter from Kozani behind his horse, he intervened and set him free[65]. The carpenter walked happily towards the neighbouring village, but, Ventzia, where he was executed by the company of partisans residing there rather than the Platoon[66]

It is not always easy to find the cause of the executions. However, a large number of them have been explained. The two citizens of Eani mentioned above, got lost for a couple of reasons, one being the ideological opposition to the EAM and the other that there were prewar personal differences. The second reason – stronger than the first one – pre-existed the first one and obviously created the second one. The above-mentioned citizens had brought charges against some villagers on animal thefts and also cut off the water flowing from a water mill so as to water their gardens[67]. When the partisans arrived, one of the defendants assumed an office at the party committee and the owner of the water mill entered the committee of the EAM, thus the above-mentioned citizens were found in a disadvantageous position. Following a large invasion of anticommunist privates at Eani, the two citizens visited the offices of the EES in Kozani, where they were apparently offered the idea to arm themselves against the partisans. Arriving at the village one night, two partisans, and members of the OPLA later on, told them to get dressed and follow them[68]. The personal differences had been enveloped in ideological opposition, thus nobody would feel personal remorse, since they already ranked among the traitors and were executed for ideological reasons.

The Athenian reserve sergeant was executed for another reason. He had been accused of harassing a married woman in the village. Previously, he was forced to follow the partisans for being a capable gunsmith, but he refused. Additionally, he lived at Eani with a barber from Kozani and the latter came and went to Kozani, without always asking the permission of the responsible of the EAM. So, when there was a rumour spread that he was hitting on the woman, the partisans arrested him, while he was cutting wood to set up fire. He could have stood trial for violating the woman by the local Popular Court or he could have been sent to the Higher Court located at Pentalofos. However, the sergeant had refused to enlist to ELAS, so his status was aggravated. Besides, he was a foreigner and nobody could defend him. His death would officially reinforce EAM’s morality and, unofficially, this would warn the deniers of its authority what they should expect. The sergeant passed away and nobody knew or revealed where that had taken place.

Naturally, Petros, the leader of OPLA, was primarily the one to blame for all those executions, and secondarily its members. However, if one has a closer look to the background of the era, OPLA was simply the last exaltation of guilt. The OPLA was forced to kill obeying to its base, the organizations in the villages. If they did not kill, this would mean that they disobeyed the decisions of the village organization, thus the members of the latter would have no reason to support EAM’s fight, since their wills would not be listened. Furthermore, killing bound the village organization with the armed fight of the EAM, since the organization was exposed in the eyes of the victims’ relatives. Later on, in 1945, Petros left and took action in another area under another nickname; thus, those who stayed to the village organizations were the ones to blame.

 

Incompatibility between the OPLA and the ELAS

Apart from the incompatibility of the network of information, a few shocking events demonstrate the differences between the Platoon and the OPLA, which, combined with other factors, reveals the relationships between EAM and ELAS with KKE, which were not always perfect. In summer 1944, a young couple from Kesaria was arrested by the OPLA, accused of collaborating with the EES. The interrogation by Petros at his headquarters at Rymnio was over and the two young people were about to be executed, when corporal Bourinos came sweaty and swearing all the time, and prevented the execution: “The system of information must be arranged” he declared to Petros, “we cannot kill for nothing, we are popular fighters”. She “couldn’t even take her panties off”, so she couldn’t have possibly betrayed them, recalls a savage partisan[69]. However, it is possible that the real reason that the girl’s life was saved was its relationship to a team leader of the Platoon, rather than her young age.

Another reaction of the Platoon’s men against the OPLA occurred in August 1944, when two men of the Reserved ELAS of Kesaria were accused by Petros of having stolen a part of the expropriated belongings of executed “reactionaries”. During the common plenary session of the Platoon and the OPLA at Rymnio, the machine gunner of the former, a former partisan from Siatista, and a former police officer and then partisan from Chalkida, vigorously refused to execute these two men. The machine gunner had defended them with a characteristic phrase: “Our teeth are filled with bread in Kesaria”. When Petros stubbornly suggested that these two men should at least be beaten, the partisans of the Platoon refused once again, and, accompanying the two fortunate men through the river, they returned to the barrack[70].

However, if the above-mentioned men had been lucky, the father of a partisan member of the Platoon was unlucky. This dark story took place on 20 July 1944. The father was arrested together with another man coming from the same village and they were executed at Rymnio by the OPLA. Even today, the eyewitnesses avoid unfolding the details of this action and, in case they are persuaded to do so, they inculpate his son, the partisan, not as the perpetrator, but rather for being indifferent to the salvation of his father. But his father was not executed by the Platoon; he was executed by the OPLA, which had also executed another two persons from the same village ten days earlier[71]. It seems that Bourinos was not present in the scene, because, if he were, the death penalty would probably not have been carried out.

Apart from the above events, other cases of tension are also known, such as the refusal of the RC secretary to provide clothes and army boots to Burinos, since the latter had lost them while crossing a river. Earlier, Burinos had had a fight with Evangelos from Germa, member of the commandment of the partisans’ headquarters for a very simple reason, showing, however, the suspicion of a communist worker towards a former police officer. In April 1945, when Bourinos was sent to Tetovo with final destination to Boulkes, he attempted to escape to Greece; finally, he was sent to Boulkes, where he had some problems with the “politicians” and he once had a fight with the OPLA of Boulkes, the famous “Party Order Service”[72]. Almost all captains of the ELAS in Western Macedonia faced similar problems with politicians, which also reached a climax at Boulkes and they only fell silent in the beginning of the second civil war, during the years 1946-1949.

It was difficult for the OPLA to penetrate into the city of Kozani, because the patrols and the watchtowers of the German forces and the EES men were inaccessible. Certainly, it is reported that once declarations were made in the city[73], but we do not know if this action was performed by the avengers of the OPLA. However, there is a reported operation, which was carried out by the leader of the OPLA of Eordea, captain Fotis. He entered the hospital of Kozani, dirked the German guard who was guarding an injured partisan and escaped along with the latter[74]. A wide knowledge of the city and personal courage were required, and Fotis possessed both. Unfortunately, we do not know whether the OPLA of Tsairtsiabas contributed to this operation or whether it was just a success of their colleagues from Eordea.

On 24 October 1944, the Germans left Kozani. Then, the OPLA was broken up and Petros went to the Region of Chalkidiki, while the Platoon was incorporated to the 1/27 battalion of the ELAS, which walked towards Florina and attacked the Slavomacedonian autonomists of Gotze and then headed towards Epirus. During the following month, some partisan units attacked the Turkish speaking[75] villages of Tsiartsiabas, resulting in about 3 hundred anticommunist privates getting killed and approximately 160 others being executed. Compared to this huge number of executed men in just three days, both the OPLA and the Platoon were proven to be amateurs.

Bourinos did not follow his battalion and returned to Kozani from Florina in December 1944[76]. The precise reason of his return is unknown, but it can be assumed that he went back to Kozani in order to contribute to the reestablishment of the OPLA, since Petros had left, or to become one of its members. In Athens, fights had started between the ELAS and the English, and in Epirus, there was an opposition with the EDES, so the KKE needed the OPLA[77] desperately in order to fight both against the anticommunists and the revolutionary cracks[78]. Actually, the OPLA was reconstructed but its headquarters were moved from the countryside of Tsiartsiabas to the city of Kozani. One night, some of its members attempted to frighten a devout preacher in Kozani, but failed to do so following an intervention of an ELAS captain inhabitant of Kozani[79].

A little before the settlement of the militia in Kozani, in March 1945, Fotis and Bourinos resorted to Boulkes, while the partisans of the OPLA and the Platoon stayed at their villages. Only a few were taken aback by the actions taken by the relatives of the murdered against the ones they considered liable. They were blamed along with others, and so were Bourinos and Petros who were absent. However, later on, it was proven that nobody knew their real names – the few people who knew them did not reveal them for obvious reasons – thus, in this large number of actions and lawsuits it was practically impossible to find the perpetrators of the executions. No judge could find the truth in the contradictory passions of the era, no matter how much they desired that.

Meanwhile, some gendarmes and armed citizens went around to Tsiartsiabas arresting members of the EAM. The men of the Platoon did not face serious problems; however, this was not the case of the members of the OPLA, who were imprisoned, after being beaten with a typical stubbornness[80]. But how could they be condemned, since there was lack of evidence and eyewitnesses? Therefore, they were released from prisons and, in spring 1946, they went back to the mountain as Groups of Democratic Armed Fugitives (ODEK), as they were later named. Finally, the salutary action of the OPLA, which “annihilated” the enemies of the “popular fight”, was proven to be wise, since the accusation evidence was also wiped out.

In October of that same year, Bourinos, Fotis and other uncompromising members of the ELAS arrived from Boulkes, and the wheel of revolution started all over again. The Station of Eani was hit by the partisans and three civilians were executed, one at Rodiani and the others at Lefkopigi[81]. It was obvious that the partisans of the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) were trying to surround the city of Kozani extending their territory.

In November 1946, the army struck the partisans of the area for a while, bringing two heads to Kozani as trophies, according to a left-wing testimony[82]. Since the weapons of the local battalion of the ELAS hidden in 1945 had been revealed, the partisans did not possess heavy armament to confront an army that was continuously getting equipped. Therefore, an expedition of partisans was prepared at Vermio, in order to bring machine guns, mortars, and punchers, an expedition that had to succeed[83]. Thus, bold members of the ELAS from Tsiartsiabas were chosen, like a machine gunner of the ELAS from Krokos, who, before becoming famous for his bravery, had expropriated the cannon ball of a German guard form the airport of Kozani. Some partisans able to easily move through the adversary areas, such as Bourinos or Fotis who was familiar with the slopes of Western Vermio, participated in this group. With such a composition, the expedition couldn’t have failed.

In the beginning of 1947, the Army undertook aggressive operations against the DSE of Ventzia, and 4 people were killed and another 4 partisans were captured in the area of Chromio. During that month, a member of the EAM, resident of Kesaria, hit on a woman, resulting in a split in the village organization, which attempted to put the violator on trial. The gendarmes were informed of these events and whopped the members of the organization[84] forcing some of them to take shelter to the mountain[85]. Both events demonstrated that the village organizations had been proven unable to timely inform the partisans about the movements of the Army and that they suffered from internal conflicts, if not totally broken up. Therefore, the organizations had to be reconstructed, so as to provide confident and prompt pieces of information, and open a front at Tsiartsiabas, a area being under military rule, so as to relieve the partisan areas from pressure exercised by the army.

A few ex members of the OPLA and also members of the ELAS with a splendid career in courage were suitable for this purpose. Armed with browning automatic rifles, they hang around Tsiartsiabas at nights. A large number of their enemies were brought to reason with words, like an inhabitant of Kato Komi, who was opposed to the revolution. He was captured by a three-member group of avengers and was convinced not to reproach them. The three partisans hid inside a house of a neighbouring village and waited for an entire day; when night fell, they set their traps in the pathway. The leader of the group urged the arrested man: “You know me well; I have told you where I come from, how you can call me a Bulgarian? Call me a bloody communist, member of the EAM, call me otherwise, but don’t call me a Bulgarian! If I ever meet you again, you will stay there where I will catch you. I can even come at your house if I want to. Go back to your family and don’t interfere”[86].

However, if the “popular avengers” at Kato Komi and other villages set off their smooth character, they were proved ruthless at Kesaria in 1947. This was their first execution at Tsiartsiabas and their obvious excuse was the will of those who were forced to resort to the mountain, as mentioned previously, to revenge. However, imperative military needs are hidden behind this obvious reason: if Kesaria was unfriendly to the DSE, this would have made it difficult to the partisans to move from Bourino to Pieria, would affect their penetration into Tsiartsiabas and would negatively affect the other villages. Just a few days earlier, a lethal battle had taken place between the partisans of the DSE and the Army at Rymnio[87], and it seems that nobody from Kesaria had informed the partisans on the Army’s movements and it is probable that some inhabitants betrayed the partisans’ itineraries.

Thus, on 5 March, the former responsible of the EAM and the then vice-president of the village were arrested by the avengers and were transferred to the heights of Ilarionos or Larius monastery, at a twenty-kilometre distance[88]. Some pretended that the prisoners were tortured before being murdered, even impaled[89], but the partisans insist that the two slackers “passed away” by a simple blast of stagger[90]. Since the passions of the era are maintained until today, it is hard for one to believe anything else than the fact that these two officers, one officer of the EAM and the other officer of the State, stopped being alive.

The example of Kesaria was expanded to the adjacent village on 1 May 1947, and the victims were the parish priest and the deputy. The three avengers, who were silently approaching, had received an oral order by the Headquarters of Bourinos that these two persons “had to leave”. On the one hand, the parish priest was the brother of a president of another village, beaten by the members of the ELAS during the EAM’s rule[91]; on the other hand, the deputy had a brother who was a soldier and spoke inimically against the partisans, when he visited the village during his compassionate leaves. Six people had already been executed in Kozani following a verdict of the Court Martial for being supporters of the DSE[92], thus the partisans of Tsiartsiabas wished to bring charges to the powerful people, that they were also present, that their state was equal to the state of the others.

The two fifty-year old men were lead tied outside the village. They all sat down and, in the discussion that followed, the parish priest started reproaching them. Then, a partisan suddenly stood up pull out his knife, caught the parish priest from his beard, cut out his head and threw it to the bushes, while the deputy died immediately from heart attack[93]. The three partisans did not do something innovative, since the Army and the Gendarmerie had already performed decapitations since November 1946[94]. The cut heads were exposed to the market[95], in order to be recognized and reward to be collected[96], if any, and also to intimidate those who wished to hold them in their shoulders. The use of knives was also due to the vital will of the partisans not to betray their position with gun fires, since many civilians, the famous Maides, had been equipped at the neighbouring villages and even the Gendarmerie Station of Eani could use mortars in marked passages. However, the decapitation was probably due to the heat of the moment, since the parish priest, according to the partisans, had steamed up. In any case, the people used to respect foreigners and underestimate the natives, and both inhabitants of Kipos were fairly famous. Whatever the cause of the decapitation, this was the first and the last time that the partisans had paid back the State.

Meanwhile, the avengers had been equipped with the horses of their victims or other stolen horses, in order to reach speeds equal to those of the army, which also possessed wheeled vehicles. Riding their horses, they attacked Servia together with the Headquarters of Pieria in April 1947; riding their horses, they also carried out the third and last raiding operation against the parish priest of Zidanio monastery during the following month. They went to the priest’s village to arrest him, but, when they arrived there, he was marrying a bride and a groom, so they did not intervene. A few days later, seven armed horsemen waited anxiously behind the bushes and, when the priest appeared in the passage connecting the village with the monastery, a partisan disturbed the sharp morning cold with a blast of his stagger[97]. The parish priest had visited Kozani, probably without the permission of the garrison headquarters of the partisans, thus, he was accused of conveying information to the Army.

 

Severed Partisans` heads of the GDA of Mount Pieria

Severed Partisans` heads of the GDA of Mount Pieria

The Snipers

In May 1947, the equestrian group was broken up, since two of its members were incorporated into the passing segment of Ypsilantis as officers, apparently following a request of the latter. The others stayed in the area staffing the Information Centre (IC) of Bourinos. Their task was to maintain information networks and disjoint those of their enemies in the countryside and the hard to contemplate city of Kozani. The field of action of the IC of Bourinos included Tsiartsiabas, and also Ventzia, Karagiannia and the flat villages of Servia[98]. The wide field of action demonstrated the small number of DSE members compared to that of the ELAS and also the difficulties that the partisans faced, since they were staying in hutments or caves, difficulties that let the pressed fierceness of their subconscious spurt. Thus, descriptions such as “unwashed, uncombed and unshaven scorched”, “with worn faces”[99] were not far from reality, the harsh reality of mountains, where life was so different from the city comforts.

The department of “Snipers” of Bourinos IC also participated in sabotages against cars or people, placing mines on streets and unseeing places, while undertaking all the other armed commando raids. Since the area was swarming with army, the Maides and the Madites (Persecution Detachment Units), the penetration and appearance in the villages required an increased risk, while the placement of mines was done soundlessly and out of sight. Many of these units were activated, resulting in cars being destroyed and soldiers or even civilians losing their lives[100]. In such a blind attack, the brother of a sniper cut his leg, stepping on a mine intended for his neighbour. The mines were hard to trace, since the ones that placed them were specialized in their job[101].

The results of their actions were not as brilliant as the former actions of the ELAS. They burnt a motor truck that had gone to Eani to load wheat and attempted to hit the airport of Kozani unsuccessfully, due to the kilometre distance[102]. A commando raid against the president of Karyditsa, a village near Kozani, was also unsuccessful. Apart from these failures due to business defects, there were also others, which now have a comic hue: two partisans descended from Bourino to execute the teacher of a village accidentally arrested another teacher and, fortunately, they recognized their mistake following an intervention of some villagers[103]. These amateurish and hurried actions, without OPLA’s professionalism slightly marked the beginning of defeat.

The operational field of the partisans of Bourino narrowed in the course of 1949, for the above-mentioned reasons and others to be mentioned. The recruitments they performed brought them girls mostly, which resorted to the army as soon as they could[104]. Meanwhile, the attacks of the army and the Maides against the partisans lead to a reduction in their number. And, the more their number was reducing, the more the partisans were getting irritated. Under the difficult conditions of the civil war, very close friendships were created and when death separated these friends, the survivors replaced their lost comrades with a revengeful hate against their enemies. And, when the enemy is killed from a close distance, revenge seems even greater.

In September 1949, after the escape of the large mass of DSE partisans to Albania, the situation became a lot harder for the partisans of Bourino, who had been enclosed. Their only passage to escape abroad was the road to Siniatsiko, through which they could reach the borders. The army had marked this passage and when the sentry box of the army heard noises of passing they were shooting, thus some partisans died there. According to a non-cross piece of information, a young woman of the neighbouring village informed the army about their movements. The PEY snooped, and when they caught her transferring a note to the sentry box, they opened her abdomen with a bayonet[105]. From this last assassination, it is obvious that the partisans warned the inhabitants on how important it was for them to escape to salvation through this passage.

In spring 1950, there were no more partisans in the area. Life before war was slowly returning but it was not the same for everybody. The memories for those lost for ever, those beaten, those threatened, accompanied people’s lives. However, they did not remain stable: some fainted; others were reflected through the prism of idiosyncrasy of those who recalled it and still recall it. There is only one that did not faint, since it was cultivated for such a long time and then it was left to silence, the one that sustains the myth of the OPLA. As the author Spyros K. writes, “The demystification is necessary in order to understand life. The myth is useful to live life”. So, let’s live our lives, by understanding them.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

SOURCES

AMSH: Archives of Modern Social History, Φ. 415, KKE Regional Committees of Grevena, Kozani, and Florina 1943-1949

GAS: General Archives of the State, department of Florina, list of killed persons 1943-1950

AHA/ GAS: Army History Administration / General Army Staff, Archives of National Resistance CD Rom. 1999. Athens

SCCK: Special Collaborationist’s Court of Kozani, orders 1946-1953, Γ΄, 29/17.4.48

BRIK: Books and Reading Institute of Kozani, Φ. 126, expatriations of communists, Prefecture of Kozani

Registry Office of Eani (1945)

Registry Office of Kato Komi (1945)

Registry Office of Kozani (1945)

Registry Office of Krokos (1945)

Registry Office of Lefkovrisi (1949)

Registry Office of Inoi (1945)

Registry Office of Rymnio (1945)

Registry Office of Stavroti (1945)

Registry Office of Frourio (1945)

S.P. of Kozani: Security Police to the Prosecutor of Magistrates, ref. no. 27/77/5a, Kozani 11.12.49

TMCK: Three-member Magistrates’ Court of Kozani, verdicts 288/1941, 469/1941, 722/1941, 745/1941

MCK: Magistrates’ Court of Kozani, order 9/16.1.46

File L: top secret statement of the soldier L. I. to the XV division, 17.9.49, file of Thanasis Kallianiotis.

 

BOOKS

Albanos, Reymond 2000 “Slavic speaking native and refugees from the Black Sea: the memories and the experience of the 40’s at two villages in the area of Kastoria”. History: Athens. 289-318

Vervenioti, Tasoula 1994 Woman of the National Resistance: the entrance of women into politics. Athens: Odysseas

Vittos, Christos 2000 Grevena during the Occupation and the Partisan War, historical study of the 1940’s – 1950’s. Thessaloniki. Art of Text

Yannakakis, Ilios 2001 “You were the victims”. To allo Vima (15.7.01): 32-3

Yannakakis, Ilios 2001b “The Greeks victims of communism”, The black bible of communism: Crimes, Terrorism, Suppression. Athens. Estia: 353-67

Dordanas, Efstratios 2000 Reprisals of the German Occupation Forces in Macedonia in 1941. Thessaloniki. Greek Historical Society (reprint)

Thycidides 1991 History volume Γ΄. Athens. Kaktos

History of the National Resistance 1940-1945. 1979 Athens. Avlos

Ioannidis, Aristidis 1990 Service at the Democratic Army of Greece: fights in the area of Thessaloniki, Chalkidiki, Lagadas, Kilkis. Athens

Kallianiotis. Athanasios 2000 The authorities of the National Resistance in Western Macedonia 1941-1943. Thessaloniki (postgraduate dissertation at the Department of History, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH))

Kallianiotis, Thanasis 1998 The kapapites of Bourino (1946-50). The decade 1940-1950 in Western Macedonia. Thessaloniki: Research Society of Ano Boio: 388-98

Kallianiotis, Thanasis 1995 “The manuscript of the member of the PAO, Prodromos Georgiadis”, Intervention 89-90 (1995) 12

Kalyvas, Stathis 2000 “Red Terror: leftist violence during the occupation”, after the war was over, reconstructing the family, nation, and state in Greece, 1943-1960. Princeton: Princeton University Press

Koliopoulos, Ioannis 1995 Pillage of morals, the Macedonian issue in occupied Western Macedonia 1941-1944, volume A΄. Thessaloniki: Vanias

Kremos, Dimitrios 1994 Chronicle 1941-1944: the diary of a member of the ELAS. Athens: The Civilian

Marantzidis, Nikos 2001 Yasasin Millet, Long Live the Nation, Refugees, Occupation and Civil War: national identity and political behaviour among the Turkish speaking, Greek orthodox of the Western Black Sea, Heraklion: University Editions of Crete

Margaritis, Giorgos 1993 From defeat to rebellion, Greece: Spring 1941 – Autumn 1942, Athens: The Civilian

Margaritis, Giorgos 2001 History of the Greek Civil War, 1946-1949, volumes 1-2, Athens: Vivliorama

Mazower, Mark 1994 In Hitler’s Greece, the experience of the occupation, Athens: Alexandria

Bellos, Dimitrios 2002 Chronicle of the National Resistance in Imathia: the occupational rally at Gidas, 23.3.44. Alexandria (under publication)

Buschoten, Ricky 1997 “Geopolitics of the Greek Resistance: the case of Northern Pindos”, the civil war tragedy. Athens: Dokimes

Myrou, Panagiotis 1985 The resistance of love. Thessaloniki: Melissa

The members of the national resistance in the prefecture of Grevena 1994 Grevena: Ta Nea

Papathanasiou, Parmenion 1997 For the Macedonian North, Macedonia 1941-44, National Resistance and tragedy, the unpublished archive – diary of major Yannis Papathanasiou, establishing member of the YVE/PAO, volumes Α΄, Β΄. Athens: Papazisis

Paschos, Vasilios P. 1989 Crossing Aliakmonas. Athens: Akritas

Pelagidis, Stathis 1994 The rehabilitation of the refugees in Western Macedonia (1924-1930). Thessaloniki: Kyriakidis

Poutachidis, Anastasios 1998 “The chronicle of Inoi, Kozani, in the years of the liberating fight and the Civil War (1940-1949)”, National Resistance, 98 (1998) 31-2 (Athens. PEAEA)

Roussos, Petros 1976 The long five years, volume A΄. 3rd edition. Athens

Sakalis, Alekos 1998 Memories. Kozani: Books and Reading Institute

Stinas, A. 1997 EAM-ELAS-OPLA. Athens: International Library

To Fos 11876 (31.12.46) 3: Thessaloniki

Tsianakas, Panagiotis 2001 Issues of public security in the area of Kozani during the period 1936-1937: the documents of the Prefectural Archive of the Historical Archive of Kozani. Thessaloniki (postgraduate dissertation at the Department of History, AUTH)

 

INTERVIEWS

A., Z. 2002 Cattle Breeder Chromio

A., M. 1996 Second Lieutenant of the DSE. Protochori

G., A. 1995 Farmer. Kato Komi

G. Th. 2002 Farmer. Eani

G., K. 1996 Partisan of DSE. Ksirolimni

G., K. 1997 Private of the EES. Kato Komi

G., Ch. 2001 Farmer. Rodiani

D., L. 2001 Partisan of the Reserve ELAS. Avles

Z., A. 2001 Cattle Breeder. Rodiani

Z., V. 1996 Farmer. Stavroti

Z., D. 1996 Major of the ELAS, divisional commander of the DSE. Athens

Z., P. 2001 Partisan of the ELAS. Lefkopigi

Th., P. 2002 Private of the EES. Lygeri

K., E. 2001 Cattle Breeder. Rodiani

K., Th. 1993 Member of the OPLA, partisan of the DSE. Krokos

K., S. 1998 Private of the EES. Sparto

K., F. 2002 Chanter. Eani

K., Ch. 1996 Partisan of the ELAS. Veria

Kallianiotis, Grigorios 1999. Accountant. Eani

L., T. 2001 Farmer. Frourio

M. 1994 Second Lieutenant of the ELAS, company commander of the DSE. Athens

M., Th. 2001 Member of the EAM. Milea

S., N. 1992 Major of the Reserve ELAS, Major of the DSE. Mikrovalto

S., N. Member of the EPON. Chromio

T., D. 1991 Member of the OPLA, partisan of the DSE. Kozani

T., I. 1997 Partisan of the Platoon. Kesaria

T., M. 1996 Partisan of the DSE. Ksirolimni

T., N. 2000 Partisan of the ELAS, captain of the DSE. Servia

T., N. (2002) Partisan of the DSE. Platanorema

F., G. 1999 Partisan of the DSE. Thessaloniki


[1] Verses from a partisan song entitled “Partisan History” (1979: ΣΤ2369)

[2] Yannakakis (2001b:361).

[3] Even at the neighbouring regions of Servia and Eordea, the averred assassinations of the OPLA, although twice as many as those at Tsiartsiabas were not excessive: approximately 25 people were killed at Servia and 20 at Eordea. However, according to Kalyvas (2000), at the Peloponnese, there are much higher death rates caused by the OPLA, thus a comparison should be drawn.

[4] Margaritis (2001)

[5] Buschoten (1997: 16-7)

[6] Margaritis (1993: 207) – Kalyvas (2001: 159) cites that the victims of the OPLA in Argolida included presidents of village councils, doctors etc.

[7] Thucydides (1991: Γ149-59)

[8] The bibliography cites the status they had at that time and the places of interviews.

[9] File L. (1949) – M. (1994) – L. T. (2001)

[10] Farakos (2000: A221) quotes a book written by Staikos – Makris on the OPLA, however I was unable to find it.

[11] AHA/GAS, AEA/7/609. Stinas takes the same view (1977: 89), and names the members of the OPLA both torturers and executioners.

[12] Mazower (1994: 316)

[13] Yannakakis (2001: 33) and Yannakakis (2001b: 360-1)

[14] Roussos (1976:A617)

[15] Farakos (2000: A220-1)

[16] Kalyvas (2001)

[17] Roussos (1976: A517). Ploumidis was executed in 1953 following a verdict of the Court Martial.

[18] AMSH, Φ. 415/23/8/169, Gerodimos to the KOPM, 10.11.44

[19] AMSH, Φ. 415/23/8/169, Reactionaries of the area of Grevena

[20] AMSH, Φ. 415/23/8/229, 230, Thanos to Tasios, 4.9.44 and 6.9.44

[21] AMSH, Φ. 415/23/8/162, Ilias to Alekos, 6.10.44

[22] Ioannidis (1990: 45)

[23] G., K. (1996)

[24] AMSH Φ. 415/23/8/230, Thanos to Tasios, 6.9.44

[25] Registry Office of Frourio (1945) – D., L. (2001) – L. T. (2001)

[26] ΣΠΚ 9/16.1.46 – Registry Office of Rymnio (1945)

[27] AMSH Φ. 415/23/8/101, Periklis to [MG], 20.6.44

[28] The “reactionaries” included the Extreme Leftists (Yannakakis 2001b: 361). Stinas (1997: 94) quotes the assassination of the chief Marxist Vamvakas in Kozani by the “Stalinists”. Perhaps this is about “Vamvakas the comrade” who was persecuted by the RC of Florina just before the withdrawal of the Germans from Greece (ΑMSH Φ. 415, 23.8.228, Thanos to Alekos [summer] 1944). Haris Vamvaas from Florina is reported murdered “by several enemies of the country” in an undated and anonymous list of victims, ΓΑΦΚ (1). Apparently, it is about the same person.

[29] Members of the National Resistance (1994: 125)

[30] Z. D. (1996) – T., I. (1997)

[31] M. (1994)

[32] Mazower (1994: 32)

[33] At Veria’s plain, the local “shock troop” had attempted to murder a German officer in spring 1944, see Bellos (2002: 92)

[34] History (1979; Δ1521)

[35] Pelagidis (1994: 78-80)

[36] BRIK, Φ. 126 – Tsianakas (2001)

[37] TMCK 288, 469, 722, 745/1941

[38] Dordanas (2000: 435)

[39] Sakalis (1997: 44)

[40] Papathanasiou (1997)

[41] Kallianiotis (2000: 35)

[42] Poutachidis (1998: 31) – Sakalis (1997: 41)

[43] Sakalis (1997: 58)

[44] Alvanos makes a reference to the conflicts between refugees and Slavomacedonians at the villages of Kastoria (2000: 289-318)

[45] Papathanasiou (1997: 311-3)

[46] Koliopoulos (1994: A293-4)

[47] K., CH. (1996)

[48] Registry Office of Kozani (1945)

[49] SCCK, Γ’, 29 – Kallianiotis (1995: 12) – Registry Office of Inoi (1945)

[50] Koliopoulos (1994: A300) – Papathanasiou (1997: 483-4)

[51] Registry Office of Kozani (1945) – Th., P. (2002)

[52] Registry Office of Kozani (1945) – K. S. (1997). Vevenioti also makes a reference to this event (1994: 127-8), although not always accurately.

[53] Registry Office of Kozani (1945) – Marantzidis (2001: 174) – M. (1994)

[54] Registry Office of Kato Komi (1945) – G. A. (1995)

[55] Registry Office of Krokos (1944) – T. I. (1997)

[56] Registry Office of Sparto (1945) – K. S. (1998)

[57] Registry Office of Stavroti (1945) – Z. V. (1996)

[58] AMSH, Φ. 415/23/8/93, Angelos to KOPM [summer] 1944

[59] AMSH, Φ. 415,23/8/14,225, Thanos to Theophilos 4.6.44

[60] Registry Office of Eani (1945)

[61] T., D. (1991)

[62] G., Th. (2002)

[63] Kallianiotis (1999) – K. Ph. (2002)

[64] T., I. (1997)

[65] K., Ph. (2002)

[66] Registry Office of Kozani (1945)

[67] TMCK 745/8.12.41 – G. Th. (2002)

[68] T., D. (1991)

[69] M. (1994)

[70] T., I. (1997)

[71] Registry Office of Rymnio (1945) – G., K. (1997)

[72] M. (1994)

[73] AMSH, Φ. 415/23/8/121, Angelos to Alekos, 8.8.44

[74] Members of the National Resistance (1994: 125)

[75] Turkish speaking villages are described the villages inhabited by Christians speaking the Turkish language as mother language. For their history, their electoral attitude and many more, see Marantzidis (2001)

[76] M. (1994)

[77] Kremos (1994: 336, where the date 11.12.44 for the reconstruction of the OPLA in Epirus

[78] The organizations “suffer from something like a crash”, when they hear that the ELAS will be retire, thus we have reorganized the OPLA, informs us Milonas of the KKE RC of Kastoria, see AMSH (Φ. 415/23/8/75) [December 1944]

[79] Myros (1985: 313-5). However, the testimony of the preacher that the members of the OPLA attempted to “arrest and execute him” shouting that they were members of the OPLA is considered exaggerated.

[80] Ibidem (1987: 96) – T., D. (1991)

[81] Registry Office of Rodiani (1945) – K., E. (2001) – Registry Office of Lefkopigi (1945) – Z., P. (2002)

[82] F., I. (1999) – However, a document of 1949, which is included in the author’s archive, refers to a cutting of partisan heads at Ventzia ( Kozani, 1949). But, there are photographs taken in Kozani in 1946 showing partisan heads on Pieria Mountains.

[83] M. (1994)

[84] Ibidem (1987: 110)

[85] T. I. (1997)

[86] M. (1994)

[87] Registry Office of Kozani (1947) – S., N. (1992)

[88] Registry Office of Kesaria (1945) – T., I. (1997)

[89] Z., A. (2001)

[90] M. (1994)

[91] G., Ch. (2001)

[92] Registry Office of Kozani (1947)

[93] Kallianiotis (1998: 397)

[94] Akritiki Foni (15.12.46)2 – To Fos (31.12.46) – T., N. (2002)

[95] The first partisan head was exposed at the square of Chromio in November 1946 (S., N. 1997 – A., Z. 2002)

[96] For rewards of 1946 in Grevena, see Vittos (2000: 386-92)

[97] M. (1997)

[98] Kallianiotis (1996: 391)

[99] Paschos (1989: 219)

[100] Registry Office of Lefkovrisi (1949)

[101] T., M. (1996)

[102] F., I. (2000)

[103] T., N. (2000)

[104] A., M. (1998)

[105] G., K (1996)

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