Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Gotse (Elias Demakis )

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) exercised a vacillating and often seditious "Macedonian" policy for Macedonia, aligning itself with Comintern's anti-Greek position, undermining its own unity and its leaders credibility. The KKE was compelled to cooperate with Bulgarian autonomists, such as Gotse or Elias Demakis.

Except Gotse Paschal Mitrofsky, Naum Pejov, and others were among the first to transform themselves from Ochrana-Nazis to SNOF communists. Some of Ochrana's methods, besides terrorization, were similar to those of SNOF:

  • demand that the Slavomacedonians openly declare their ethnic identity
  • proselytize the KKE leaders sympathizing with the Bulgarian dreams and
  • plans cooperate, when feasible, with pro-Bulgarian ELAS leaders

John Koliopoulos (Plunderes Loyalities, 1999, page 153) mention as about his life:

Last but not least in this galaxy of Slav Macedonian leaders and communist cadres involved in the process of turning 'Bulgars' into 'Macedonians' was Elias Dimakis or Gotse (named after Gotse Deltcev, a hero of the struggle for Macedonia killed in 1903 and claimed first by the Bulgars as Bulgar and afterwards by the founders of the People's Republic of Macedonia as Macedonian). Dimakis was a native of Melas, the Korestia village named after another hero of the same struggle, Pavlos Melas, killed there in October 1904. When he was still a child his family moved to Florina, where he attended the town's Greek elementary school. His father emigrated to the United States but returned after some seven years to Florina and set up as a baker with his son as assistant.

Elias soon became known locally as a thief and served terms of imprisonment, his last being shortly before the war. He is said to have become a communist during the Metaxas dictatorship, when he was imprisoned for his political views but released shortly afterwards after publicly renouncing communism. He was tall, strongly-built and brave. He flirted with local Komitadjis before being co-opted into ELAS and joining SNOF.

After a decision of the Macedonian Bureau of the Communist Party of Greece, and the necessary order from the commander of ELAS 28 Regiment, the 'Vitsi Detachment' was divided in September 1944 into 25 battalions, of which the 2nd became the 'Slav Macedonian Battalion'. As commander of the new unit Kosmas Spanos or Amyntas of Lechovon, a seasoned ELAS commander, was appointed with Gotse as the political commissar. The division was decided on after a sudden increase in the number of men of the initial unit, the result of 'the enlistment lately of a considerable number of men', according to the relevant regimental order.

In November 1944 Gotse made Monastiri his headquarters and worked hard at reorganizing his band, recruiting widely from refugees in Greece. Before very long he had a body of about a thousand men, which he named the "First Aegean Strike Brigade". Gotse himself became the Brigade commander. As his second-in-command he chose Naum Pejov, a veteran of the SNOF and Ochrana ,a native of the village of Gavros, near Kastoria.Pejov had fled to the PRM in June 1944. Dimakis Political Commissar was Mihail Keramiziev, from the same village as Pejov, with Vangel Ajanovski-Oche from the Edessa region as Keramiciev deputy.

The influx of men which made the creation of a new unit necessary was due to the accelerated pace of recruiting 'disarmed' Komitadjis and Okhranite which increased even faster now that the Slav Macedonians of Greece had their own unit to accommodate all the 'misguided' brethren.

Many Bulgarian komitadjides, afraid they might be punished after the war, suddenly became "Macedonians" and joined the Yugoslav partisans, their motivation surely being the desire to dissociate themselves from the crimes they had committed and the treasonous acts perpetrated against their country. Many escaped to Yugoslavia and joined the armed bands of the Bulgarian fascist Vancho Mihailov of IMRO. Some joined the Yugoslav partisans, whose leadership did not care whether they were komitadjides or Ochranists. ELAS make huge mistake as George Papavisas (Claiming Macedonia,2004, page 142) remarks :

It allowed formation of the "Slavomacedonian Battalion," with Gotse as its political commissar, to absorb the komitadjides defecting from the Germans. In less than a month, the battalion doubled its strength, incorporating many German or Bulgarian collaborators. The battalion became the salvation for many desperate individuals attempting to avoid reprisals at war's end: komitadjides, Ochranists, Siavomacedonian adventurers, Bulgarian and Yugoslav agents, and autonomists guided by communists freed from Akronafplia by the Germans, struggling to bury their Bulgarian past.

The journey from Bulgaria to SNOF, to western Macedonia, and then to Yugoslavia was completed. Gotse had assumed four nationalities: Greek, Bulgarian, Slavomacedonian, and finally communist Yugoslavian; were he alive today, he would certainly have been "Macedonian" in FYROM, a direct blood connection to Alexander the Great!

This is the story of a "Bulgarian" that transformed in "Macedonian"

Sources (and recommended for reading):

  1. John Koliopoulos, Plundered Loyalties, 1999
  2. George Papavizas, Claiming Macedonia,2004
  3. Macedonism, FYROM'S Expansionist Designs against Greece after the Interim Accord (1995), 2007
  4. Spyridon Sfetas, Autonomist Movements of the Slavophones in 1944, 2002

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