Dr. Alex Bebler

Peace and Greece


Refugees in Their Own Country

This decision for the enforced mass migration of the peaceful population of Greece was taken subsequent to the arrival in that country, at the close of 1947, of General Chamberlain, Chief of the Intelligence Service of the American Headquarters for the Near East. In the company of General Livesay, Chief of the American Military Mission in Greece, General Chamberlain visited all the military centers of the Athens Government. The inhabitants were always considerately given 48 hours notice to leave, but the majority had to abandon almost all their belongings. In the first two or three weeks about 200,000 of these "refugees in their own country" poured into various Greek towns. According to published data, the total number of these unhappy people reached the enormous figure of 700,000—which is one-tenth of the total population of Greece!

These displaced people found themselves in an unendurable situation; abandoned to their fate, without lodging, food or medical attention. The material help extended by the authorities is too meagre to save them from starvation. These masses of deportees, increasingly embittered, are more and more rebelling against those who put them in a position incompatible with human dignity—against the Athens Government and its foreign protectors.

The most pitiable victims of this terror are the children. Fleeing from death and the monarcho-fascists, great numbers of Greek children were led by parents, relatives or friends, especially during the period of military operations in the Spring and Summer of 1948, across the frontiers into the demo cratic countries. Many of these pitiable little ones, seeking peace and protection, have come to Yugoslavia almost naked, starved and utterly exhausted, often ill, and often wounded. They told us that conditions during the military operations of the monarcho-fascist government army had become unbearable. The bombing and machine-gunning of unprotected villages caused many heavy casualties among the civil population, old men, women and children. The monarcho-fascist raids often ended in massacres, in which not even children were spared. The Free Greece radio on June 12, 1948, broadcast the account of a horrifying crime: Continued next section.

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