Saturday, July 19, 2008

Times Articles for child abductions in the Greek civil war

As the Twig Is Bent
by Times, Monday, Mar. 15, 1948

Give us the child for eight years, and it will be a Bolshevist forever.

In the bleak city hall of Kozane, a northern Greek mountain town, 13 peasants stood before a U. N. field team. The peasants had been hostages of General Markos Vafiades' Communist Andartes. In the mixed Greek-Slav-Albanian dialect of the Macedonian border people, they haltingly told their story.

Black-shawled Athena Papalexiou, 50, spoke first. "All children between 3 and 14 are being registered by the Andartes," she said. The rebels had told the parents that the children would be sent to good homes in the Slav "democracies." "Would the children come back again?" asked'an investigator. "It was forbidden to discuss the matter," replied Athena.

John Natsis and Zagarus Voiliotis had been billeted with a widower in Kranies, in the rebel-controlled northwest corner of Greece. They had watched the widower give the names and ages of his three children to a rebel officer and a clerk. "They told him he must be glad that his children would be taken away to the safety of other countries," said the two peasants. "They said soon the Monarcho-Fascists would bomb Kranies, and in Rumania his children would receive a good education."

When Athens newspapers blared forth the story of "mass kidnaping," some foreigners were skeptical, at first. But a sensitive Greek nerve was touched. Greeks never forget that for centuries the armies and government of their conquerors, the Turks, had been manned by children of Christian families, caught young and trained for their jobs.

Were Greeks to be ruled again by their own children, kidnaped and alienated? Confirmation came from the rebels themselves. The Communist radio in northern Greece bluntly announced that 12,000 Greek children had been "recruited for educational purposes." Markos agents were already negotiating with Balkan members of the Cominform, including Rumania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, to provide homes for the recruits.*

Said an Athens spokesman: the plan "was intended to destroy Greece by destroying Greece's future—her youth." The Greek government hurried off a sharp note to the U.N. Balkan committee in Salonika, charging the Reds with "genocide," and asked for immediate action. Two committees were appointed and the issue labeled "top priority."

As the U.N. committee waited for the report of its investigators, the Markos radio went on the air again. From 69 villages of "free Greece," a broadcast reported, 4,884 children had already been transported across the frontier into Albania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria "for maintenance and education."

* Historian Arnold J. Toynbee points out that the Turks transferred to human administration a great invention of their Caspian steppe home land: the use of domestic animals to control other animals. As they had trained dogs to watch their herds, "the Ottoman Padishahs maintained their empire by training slaves as human auxil iaries 'to assist them in keeping order among their 'human cattle.' " The most promising of the children were taken into the court as pages, oth ers were farmed out temporarily as slaves. In struction in the Mohammedan faith, hard labor, savage punishment, meticulous education and an unceasing appeal to ambition developed a gov erning and military class of "human watchdogs" that kept the Ottoman power flourishing through four centuries (1371-1774).


Innocents' Day
by TIMES, Monday, Jan. 09, 1950

Peace had come to battered, impoverished Greece; the Communist guerrillas had been driven out, perhaps for good. But last week, on Innocents' Day (the Church calendar's anniversary of Herod's Slaughter of the Innocents in Judea), Greece had a day of mourning—for 28,000 children abducted by the bandits and now living on foreign, Communist soil.

A two-gun salute from Mount Lycabettus woke Athenians at dawn. Church bells tolled and flags drooped at half-mast. Newspapers appeared with black-framed front pages. Places of amusement were closed all day, and for half an hour all traffic stopped, streets emptied, doors were closed and blinds drawn.

Queens Do Not Beg. Earnest young Queen Frederika, mother of three, broadcast a poignant message from the royal palace. She begged for the return of the 28,000 children living in exile "as a mother—because queens are not supposed to beg." Added Frederika: "The civilized world has remained silent too long."

The civilized world had made some well-meaning but ineffective protests. UNSCOB (the U.N.'s Special Committee on the Balkans) had verified the mass deportation of Greek children. The U.N. General Assembly had called on Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Rumania for the return of the children. These governments had finally agreed to return any children called for by petition of their parents. Up to last week the Greek Red Cross had forwarded 8,000 petitions, but not one child had been sent back.

Not Even Goodbye. In the palace with Frederika was a group of black-clad peasant women huddled at her side. Kaliroe Gouloumi, from Gorgopotamos, in Epirus, remembered how the Communists took her children:
"They were in our village for a year. First they took our animals, then our food, then our children. I had three."

Kaliroe wiped her eyes with her black shawl.
"They did not even let me say goodbye. They said they were no longer my children but their children."

Said Kleoniki Kiprou from Monopilo Kastoria:
"First they hanged the priest, then they cut off his mother's hands, and then they ordered us to follow them. What could we do?"

In Albania her eight-year-old girl and five-year-old boy were taken from her and a rifle was thrust into her hands. Tapping the weapon, the rebel capetdnias said:
"This is your husband, this your child."

Kleoniki was forced into the battle of Vitsi. She deserted and got back to her village—without her children. In Fourka Konitsa, the villagers learned in advance of the guerrillas' abduction plans.

They hid the children in ditches. The guerrillas, frustrated, took Sofia Makri and 20 other mothers to the mountains and tortured them. Said Sofia last week:
"They hung us from pine trees. They burned our feet with coals. They beat us. When we fainted they revived us with cold water from the spring. Fourteen of us died up there but we did not tell. When the Greek army entered our village they found the dead living, for out of the earth came our children."

There is no evidence that the Greek children living in Communist countries are physically abused. International Red Cross investigators have seen some of the children and reported that they are well fed. They are being schooled as young Communists and they are expected to feel and show enthusiasm.

Said a U.N. delegate in despair:
"In ten years there will be no abducted Greek children; they will have been absorbed."

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