DOCUMENT OF THE COMMITTEE OF CHAM ALBANIANS
IN EXILE, ON GREEK PERSECUTION OF THE CHAMS, SUBMITTED TO THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS IN 1945 We, the Anti-Fascist Committee of Cham immigrants in Albania, having faith in the democratic and humanitarian principles of the UN, and acting in the name of Cham immigrants in Albania, do hereby address the Investigating Commission concerning our lost rights, oppression, persecutions and massacres committed by Greek Fascists in order to exterminate the Albanian minority in Greece.
In pursuit of the protests and appeals that we have addressed to the Great Allies and the United Nations, we ask for justice with regard to the following:
For 32 years in succession, Greek chauvinist and reactionary cliques, in brutal violation of every humanitarian principle, and in total disregard of international treaties, have carried out a policy of extermination toward the Albanian minority in Greece.
Beginning with the Greek occupation of Chamėria on February 23, 1913, the gang of Deli Janaqi, incited and assisted by the local authorities, massacred without cause whatsoever 72 men, in the brook of Selani, district of Paramithia.
This massacre marked the beginning of the drive to exterminate the Albanian minority, and made clear the orientation of Greek policy toward our population.
The hounding, persecutions, imprisonment, internment, tortures, and plunder carried out on the pretext of disarming [the population] in the years 1914-1921, the terrorist actions of outlaws, and the provocations of Gjen Baire in 1921, reveal the reality of the sufferings to which our population was subjected during the Greek occupation.
Koska, Lopsi, Varfanj, Karbunari, Kardhiqi, Paramithija, Margėllėēi, Arpica, Grykohori, and others, are some of the villages that paid an especially high price as a consequence of the terror.
In 1922-1923, the Greek authorities decided to displace the Moslem element of Chamėria, in exchange for the Greeks in Asia Minor, on the pretext that we were Turks. This shameless act of the Athenian authorities ran into opposition on our part and the intervention of the League of Nations which, upon ascertaining the Albanian nationality of our people, rejected the decision of the Greek Government.
But despite the intervention of the League of Nations, and the solemn commitments undertaken by the Greek Government in Lausanne on January 16, 1923, the authorities in Athens continued their policy of extermination. They resorted to every device to make it difficult for the Albanian element to remain in Chamėria, and confiscated 6,000 hectares of land owned by hundreds of families in Dushk, Gumenicė, Kardhiq, Karbunarė, and others, without compensating them in the least.
The government in Athens settled the immigrants from Asia Minor in Chamėria, with the intention of peopling it with Greeks and creating conditions that would lead to the emigration of the autochthonous Albanian population.
Entire families were forced to abandon their birthplace and migrate to Turkey, Albania, America and elsewhere, and villages like Petrovica and Shendellia were deserted completely by their Albanian inhabitants.
Under these circumstances, we did not enjoy any national rights, not even the use of our mother tongue. Fanaticism and ignorance were given support, instead of developing our national culture and stimulating progress. Instead of opening schools, they subsidized religious clubs in the Arab language. Ninety-five percent of our population remained illiterate. The province of Chamėria, a fertile and prosperous land, remained backward, without economic development, without communication facilities, and in the hands of money-lenders and monopolists, such as: Koēoni, Pitulejtė, Kufalla, Zhulla, Ringa and others, who impoverished and enslaved the entire region.
In the war against Fascism, and more precisely at its conclusion, the reactionary Monarcho-Fascist forces of Llakė of Suli, which were created by the reaction to serve the occupier under the command of General Napoleon Zerva, turned on and treacherously massacred the Moslem Albanian inhabitants of Chamėria.
At that time, when the troops of ELAS [National Popular Liberation Army] and our troops were committed to fighting the Germans, the leadership of EOEA [National Troops of Greek Guerrilas], in league with the Germans, maneuvered to gain positions to fight a civil war. And when our forces, in keeping with the spirit and decisions of the protocol of Kasartė (Sarafis-Zerva), August, 1944, implemented the orders of the Joint Command in pursuit of the Germans, General Napoleon Zerva, commander of the resistance forces in Epir (ELAS EOEA), gave orders to massacre the innocent population of Chamėria.
The massacres in Chamėria were a flagrant violation of humanitarian principles, and a shameless disregard for the principles and the nature of the Anti-Fascist struggle. The massacres in Chamėria were a result of the collaboration and agreements with the Germans, who in the process of retreating, let Zervas forces take their place. Here is a concrete example of the collaboration between Zervas forces and the Germans. Theodhor Vito, the commander of the Zerva forces in the district of Filat, met the commander of the retreating German forces on September 22, 1944 in the village of Panaromen, 3 km. from Filat, just one day before the entrance of Zervas forces in Filat. Right after that meeting, and even before the German forces cleared out of Filat entirely, the forces of Theodhor Vito entered Filat. That close collaboration strengthened the position of the Zerva forces, and enabled them to initiate the terror and the massacres on a broad scale in all the districts of Chamėria.
The forces of the X th Division of EOEA, under the command of Col. Vasil Kamaras, and specifically the XVI th Regiment of that division, which was led by Kranja and his aides Lefter Strugari, attorney Stavropullos Ballumi Zotos, the notorious criminals Patazejt and others, entered the town of Paramithia on June 27, 1944. Contrary to their promises and the agreement arrived at between mufti Hasan Abdullaj, on the one hand, and Shapera and the Bishop of Paramithia, on the other, who acted as agents of Zerva, the most ignoble massacres were set in motion. Defenseless men, women and children became targets for the Greek Monarcho-Fascists. The number of the massacred in the town of Paramithia and vicinity reached 600 souls.
On July 28, 1944 the forces of Regiment Nr. 40, commanded by Agores, entered Parg and massacred 52 men, women and children.
The forces of EOEA under the command of Theodhor Vito, Ilija Kaqo, Hristo Mavrudhi, Hristo Kaqo, Hari Dhiamanti and others, first encircled the town of Filat, then on Saturday morning of September 23, 1944 entered the town. The same day they also entered Spatėr. They plundered and seized all of the families, and whatever else they found. On the eve of [September] 23 and the dawn of September 24, 1944 there entered also the forces commanded by Kranja, Strugari and others. As soon as these forces arrived, the massacres began. Forty-seven men, women and children were massacred in Filat, while 157 were killed or missing in Spasar, many of whom had gone there from other villages. All of the young women and girls were abused and raped by Zervas criminals. A few days later the Monarcho-Fascists rounded up all of the men that remained, and following the decision of a kangaroo court, consisting of Koēinja president, Staropull prosecuting attorney, and four other members, 47 innocent Albanians were massacred. In Granicė of Filat are buried the corpses of 46 persons who were slain with knives, and 45 others on the plain bordering the field of Xhelo Meto.