ANGLO - AMERICAN COMMENTS
THAT LIGHT ON THE PERSECUTION
OF THE CHAMS IN THE YEARS
1. In 1944 the Chams were evicted from
In March 1945 units of Zervas’ dissolved forces, under a certain officer called Zotos, carried out a ruthless massacre of the Chams in the Philiates area, and practically cleared the area of Albanian(Cham) minority.1)
2. Colonel Chriss Monague Woodhouse, head of the British Military Mission in
"Encouraged by the Allied Mission I headed, Zervas drove the Chams out of their homes in 1944. The majority fled to find shelter in
3. In June 1946, Joseph Jacobs, Head of the U.S. Mission in
"According to all information 1 have been able together on the Chams issue, in autumn 1944 and during the first months of 1945, the authorities in north—western Greece perpetrated savage brutality by evicting 25.000 Chatns, residents of Chameria, from their homes, where they had been living for centuries on end, chasing them across the border after having robbed them of their land and property. Most of the young people were killed because the majority of the refugees were old folk, and children"3)
1)Documents of the. British Foreign Office No.371/58479/ R 10458
2)Documents of the British Foreign Office ice, No.371/48094/544/R8 564
3)Documents of the U.S Department of State, No.84/3,Tirana Mission, 1945—1946, 6—646.
BY THE GREEK GENERAL, ZERVAS STATEMENTS
The statements made by Mr. Mitsotakis and the Greek chauvinistic clan that the Chams were collaborators of the invaders and ordinary criminals, that they were not evicted but left on their own to follow the fate of the invaders in order to escape Greek justice and so on are unfounded. The real aim of these statements is to justify the monstrous crimes and genocide against the Cham population. The violent eviction of the Cham population from its own native land, was a strategy long since worked out and applied by Greek chauvinism. This conclusion is also clearly proved by two statements of Napoleon
1. In his letter to one of his collaborators, Jani Dani Popovit, he instructs the latter as follows: "Take upon yourself the task of enlightening our compatriots on who cleared Chameria of the Albanians who had been riding roughshod on Hellenism for five hundred years on end" (See: Spiro Muselimi "Historiqi pripatiana tis Thesprotias", p.8, Salonika, 1976). The letter is dated August 4, 1993.
2. In 1950 when Napoleon Zervas was under medical care in
Patriotic -political Albanian Association" Camëria" Tirana
Patriotic -political Albanian Association" Camëria" Tirana
Honorable Mr. Jim Trafficant, Member of the Congress of the
Honorable Mr. Josef Dioguardi, President of the Albanian -American League
The Cham Community living nowadays in Albania, constituted of 3OO, OOO members, expelled violently by the Greek chauvinist since 1944 has the request to meet publicly you to present their views about solving their problems dealing with returning of them in their lands according to international laws and all other conventions and existing documents of this kind.
It will be a great honour for us if you will be ready to fix the date of this meeting soon as possible.
President of "Cameria",
writer and publicist
Taking into account the positive processes that are going on in Europe today and the efforts made by the international community, the CSCE and other organizations to guarantee the fundamental democratic national and human rights and freedoms,
Making more attainable the rights that should be enjoyed by the national minorities and ethnic groups that have remained outside borders in certain historical circumstances,
Addresses itself with great respect to the international public opjnion and organizations concerning very important problems of the Chams (cam), Chameria Albanians.
The Albanian region of Chameria or Thesprotia as it is called by the Gréèk administration, begins from the most southern part of today’s
It comprises the ‘southern part of the ethnic territories of
One people and one ethnic territory continuity is testified to by Greek authors of ancient times and also by the Great Greek Encyclopedia, as well as by many world wide known scientific authorities. This is also proved by the real presence of Albanians there and their language, culture and tradition.
The population of Chameria has been ethnically Albanian. It comprised 99% in the cities and 100% in the villages. Till the beginning of the 18th century, the population of this region was of the orthodox faith. After this period, the process of Islamization began among the Albanians. As a result of this process, according to the statistical data of the Turkish administration, 50% of the Albanian population converted to Islam and 50% kept the Orthodox faith. These figures. have been misrepresented even today, harming ethnic Albanians. The census held by the Turkish administration in 1910 testifies that in the region there were 83.000 orthodox and Muslim Albanians. While the statistical yearbook of the Greek government in 1936 shows that only 26.000 Chams lived in Chameria, it does not mention the Orthodox Albanians, because the Greek government considers them Greeks.
As a result of the 1944-1945 ethnic cleansing and genocide, 30.000 Albanian Muslims, violently expelled from the Chameria region, were received in the Republic of
There are 205.OOO members of this population, a figure which has increased because of the high birth rate of the population after the genocide.
At present, the community of native Albanians of the orthodox faith of Chameria-Thesprotia(
The demographic map of the British military mission sent, to the British government in
With the decisions of the Conference of Ambassadors in London in 1913, the region was cut off the motherland and annexed to the Greek state, despite its resistance, the native population of Chameria was subjected to a tragic fate; it was considered an Albanian ethnic minority under Greece.
The destiny of the Albanian minority of Chameria is an Albanian national tragedy not only in terms of territory, but of people as well.
THE GREEK POLICY AND OFFICIAL ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE ALBANIAN MINORITY IN CHAMERIA
After the annexation of Chameria in 1913 until today, its population during all these years under the Greek state has not enjoyed national or human rights.
•Greek official circles, sticking to the concept of absolute denial of the existence of ethnic groups on Greek territory, have followed a well-studied chauvinistic policy in. two directions:
1. Towards the Albanians of the Orthodox faith it has followed an assimilation policy denying them every ethnic, cultural or language rights, considering them Greeks and intentionally mistaking faith for nationality, an action they still apply today towards Albanians, pretending that all the Orthodox are Greeks.
2. Towards the Albanians of the Islam faith, they followed the policy of genocide, denying their nationality as well. In many cases, they have intentionally considered them as Turkish Chams and not Albanian Cham as they really are.
This strategy worked out about one century ago by Greece was achieved at the end of the Second World War, in 1944-1945, when the criminal bands of the notorious General, Napoleon Zervas perpetrated the. ethnic cleansing of the. Chameria Muslim Albanians.
1. Immediately after annexation they violently persecuted the. innocent Albanian population, perfidiously killing 72 of the most influential men of this region in 1913, in a place called Selan Paramithi (Ajdonat) who had gone there to negotiate with the Greek party. Other dozens of innocent people suffered the same fate.
To prevent persecution by the Greek government, Cham patriots protested to European circles on June 8, 1913.
2. The Chams were shocked at the Satanic attempts of the Greek government in 1923-1924 to include even the Muslim Chams among the Muslim Turks living Greece, who according to Lozana Agreement reached on January 19, 1923, between Turkey and Greece, were to be exchanged with the Greeks of Anatolia
The Greek government flagrantly violated this Agreement; it did not stick to the statement of its representative in Lozana, Kalamanos, on January 19, 1923, whoa declared that his government didn’t intend to exchange the "Muslims of Albanian origiif who, as he himself admitted, "lived in a region clearly determined as Epirus" and though they share the same religion as the Turks, they are in no way their compatriots"~2].
The Greek-Turkish Joint Commission decided on March 1924~4] not to observe any procedure or formality in the framework of the exchange of the Greek-Turkish population, towards the Albanian population of Chameria, an ethnic and historical reality, that was recognized also by the Greek party.
Contrary to historical reality and the Agreement reached, the Greek official circles imposed the exchange of( as black slaves in the Middle Ages) tens of thousands of Chams realizing at that time part of their plan for ethnic cleansing of the "minorities" in their territories.
3. With the coming to power of the Yoannis Metaxas fascist government in 1936, the situation of the Albanian population of Chameria became even more difficult. That government applied an unheard of discriminatory policy;: it continued colonization with Greeks aiming to change the proportion of the population. The name of the places inhabited by Albanians were replaced by Greek place names. It resorted to real genocide, arrests, deportation, and confiscation of property. The program stepped up further making the life of the Albanians unbearable.
4. The situation in Chameria became more troubled and tense especially on the eve of the World War II. Prior to the fascist Italian occupation of
"Acknowledging" this peace-loving gesture of the Chams, the Greek government thanked and mobilized them, but instead of arms, it gave them picks and spades to do construction work.
With this act, the Greek government showed its lack of confidence in theili overlooking their readiness and estranging them from itself; with the intention of accusing later on the Muslim Chams of being collaborators with the occupiers.
Shortly prior to the occupauon ot Greece by Italy, the Greek authorities, out of fear for what they had done towards the unprotected Cham population, deported the men from 14 years old and more to concentration camps on the isles of the Aegean Sea, the islands of Medilin, Hio and Corinthus, etc.
On the way to the concentration camps the Greek official circles created the psychosis that they were prisoners of war who had killed the sons of the Greek people, thereby hiding the truth that they were innocent people forcibly torn away from their homes and from the war front.
During the exile in the camps of the Mathausen type, the Chams were illtreated and physically liquidated, meanwhile, in the Chameria region there were only unprotected women, old folk, children, subject to killings, robbery and rapes by Greek criminal gangs.
L. Stavrianos, The Balkans Since 1453,
Council, dated 29.11.1924, in Journal Officiel de Ia SdN:4 October 1924, Process-Verbatix du Conseil. Annexe 689 pp
UNHEARD OF GENOCIDE AND EVICTION OF ETHNIC ALBANJANS FROM THEIR HISTORICAL
The criminal bands of Greek chauvinism resorted to cruelest atrocities in this region. The cruelty committed against this population were beyond imagination. They included killings, rapes, inhuman treatment, such as cutting different body organs, the nose, ear, etc. massacred women, babies and pregnant women. More than 600 men, women and children were killed within 24 hours in the town of
There were hundreds of other unidentified and missing persons. During 1944-1945, the Greek chauvinists perpetrated massacres, acts of robbery and rapes against the Albanian population of Chameria; 2900 young and old men, 214 women, 96 children were massacred, 745 women were raped, 76 women abducted, 32 children, younger than 3 years were massacred, 68 village were razed to the ground, 5800 houses and sites of worship were burned down or destroyed, all the furniture houses and 84752 kilos of olive oil, 67434 quintals of corn, 4453 work animals, domestic animals were stolen. The terror was of such proportions that the Albanian Muslim population had to leave their ancestral land for
EFFORTS TO INTERNATIONALIZE THE CHAM QUESTION
EFFORTS TO INTERNATIONALIZE THE CHAM QUESTION
After their violent expulsion, the Cham immigrants who had Greek citizenship and Albanian nationality, were immediately organized in
The new Albanian government after the war took the Cham issue to the Peace Conference in
The miserable situation of the Chams and their demands were also presented to the Paris Peace Conference (1945) by the then Albanian Foreign minister.
As well as this, many attempts to internationalize the question and to secure the support of the Allied Powers were made by the Cham National-Liberation Committee, as the most direct representative of the Cham population.
Many memorandums and telegrams of protest were sent to the Allied Powers and relevant for as to the General Assembly of the United Nations in London and New York, to the Council of the Allied Foreign Ministers in London and Mosóow, to the San Francisco Conference, to the governments of Great Britain, United States of America, to the House of Representatives ‘in Washington D.C., to London and Moscow, to the Mediterranean General Staff; etc.
These demands were not supported or answered. No support or answer was given even by the representatives of the British, Russian and Yugoslav missions that took part in the second Cham Congress held in Vlora-Albania (September 194.5) and saw for themselves the catastrophe of this population.
The international Investigation Commission of the United Nations, during the verification of the tragedy on both sides of the border, drew the proper conclusions in 1946-1947, replete with real facts and evidence about the massacre and painfuI tragedy of the Cham people.
After this, only the international fora, after having specified the displaced Cham population as immigrants, gave an economic aid of about 1.2 million dollars and other material aid for thousands of Cham refugees who had no bread and no home.
THE 1947 -1990 ENIGMATIC SILENCE
At a time when the Chams hoped for a solution of their legitimate rights, their attempts were ensued with total silence. The 1947-1990 period is one the most grave acts of this tragedy, because that was done by the Albanians themselves. It is the state of the antinational, communist dictatorship of E. Hoxha itself that kept silent. Such silence is still a mystery.
THE GREEK OFFICIAL ATTITUDE AFTER THE EXPULSION OF THE MUSLIM ALBANIANS OF CHAMERIA
As a result of this assimilation and discriminatory policy, it was impossible for them to assert themselves in Chameria.
2. After 1945, the action to change the demographic structure of Chameria and it colonization with Greeks, Arumuni and gypsies began.
3. The property of the expelled Chains was given by the Greek government to new settlers without the legal right of ownership.
4. The present Greek government follows a discriminatory policy towards the Chams in
5. The Albanian place names were replaced with Greek place names.
THE DEMOCRATIZATION PROCESS IN
The victory of democracy and the destruction of the communist system in
As e result of pluralism, on January 1991, the "cameria" Patriotic-Political Association was created in continuation of the efforts and aspirations of the martir population of Chameria.
The Chameria question is part of the program of most of the political parties in’ Albania, which are trying to solve it in accordance with the spirit and standarts of the international human rights documents of the UN, the CSCE and the Council of Europe.
First of all, the "Chameria" Association as well as the Albanian democratic government have asked the Greek state and government to settle this outstanding problem, judging that the bilateral way is the most efficient manner to deal with it. So far, the Greek government and its high officials have adopted a negative attitude.
According to the Greek official stand, the Muslim Chams will not be allowed to return to Greece "because they have collaborated with the Italian-German invaders during the Second World War and as such they are criminals of war and are punished according to Greek laws" (Statement ,of Prime Minister Mitsotakis, in Tirana, May 1992)