Blog The social and historical parameters of the Greek abducted children (Greek civil war)

The social and historical parameters of the Greek abducted children (Greek civil war)

Posted by Author on in Blog 49

By Yannis Tsalouhidis,
Macedonia and the Historical Guilt,
Thessaloniki 1994, p. 76-79

An internationally unprecedented historical crime. The issue of the Greek children who were taken to Yugoslavia and the Eastern Bloc in 1948-1949 is still obscure as an insoluble incident of the Civil War in Greece. The parties involved stopped working on the issue, which is today exploited by the blatant Slavo- "Macedonian " nationalists in Skopje and abroad.
The varied and opposed terms given to the issue are indicative of the contrary opinions that the two sides have: "kidnapped" or "refugees", "Greeks" or "Macedonians", "mass kidnapping " or "exodus ", "genocide " or "rescue ". In order to clarify the issue, it is necessary to find more evidence, since we cannot gain access to the archives of the CP. of Greece, Yugoslavia, Skopje and Bulgaria, neither can we get the protagonists to talk and clear up many obscure parts. Those who brought about the tragic kidnapping ought to talk eventually.
The Greek Government brought the issue of the these children to the U.N. for the first time in March 1948, as soon as it was made known that the Greek Communist guerillas removed great numbers of children, between the ages of...

two and fourteen years old, from regions that were under their control in Thrace, East, Central, West Macedonia and Epirus to the "kind" northern neighbors of Greece. The guerillas of the "Temporary Democratic Government" in particular, conducted a census for the children who had to be moved and came to an agreement with the countries of the Eastern Bloc (including Yugoslavia) that would take these children in. So they paved the way for a quick transfer operation that resulted in the movement of 14,000 children out of Greece (they were taken to Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Romania. Albania was the transit area. No children were sent to the U.S.S.R. while a small number were sent to Germany).
In May 1949 the number of these children reached 24-25,000 and in 1950, the International Red Cross estimated a total of28,296 kidnapped children. The issue of the "repatriation of the Greek children " was on the agenda of the U.N. until 1952.
The Communists claimed that the removal of these children from their mothers was a humanitarian act and a counterweight to the government's policy to house the children in the "Queens Homes ", which, of course, were launched after the kidnapping. It was also known that you could take your child back if you wanted.
The issue was examined by the U.N., in the context of the Special Committee on the Balkans (SCOB), which did not include members from the Soviet Bloc, since they had refused participation in it. In 27 November 1948, the U.N. General Assembly unanimously issued the decree 193(III)C about the return of those children to Greece. Besides, the children themselves or their parents and their closest relatives wanted to return. About 8,000 children from Yugoslavia and a smaller number of those who were taken to the Eastern Bloc in October 1950 by the C.P.G, namely 2,347 children, were there with at least one parent who had taken part in the Civil War.
In October 1951, 12,172 repatriaton applications were submitted by parents and relatives in Greece and the U.N. decree was assigned to the International Red Cross in order to negotiate. The Eastern Bloc did not accept the decree, while on the other hand, Yugoslavia, despite being renounced by the U.S.S.R., was urged by the theory of the "Macedonian Nationality" and the 11,0000 children it had in August 1949 to claim that there was no Greek child on Yugoslav grounds out of the 5,060 that were written on the list it was given. When the International Red Cross's mandate was carried out in late 1952, the Eastern bloc gave no children back to Greece, while Yugoslavia gave only 538 children! V. Bartziokas, a leading member of the C.P.G., asserted that 8,385 children returned to Greece during the period 1952-1982.
The rest of the children were educated as "good Macedonians ", confirming what the British ambassador in Belgrade had said: "When they go back to Greece, they will promote the doctrine that Greek Macedonia is a part of the "Greater Macedonia ", whose heart is the autonomous Republic in Yugoslavia ".
The Communist ideology paved the way for the nationalist philosophy, whose insubstantial claims that there was a "Macedonian " minority, turned against the Greek stand. It is time the historians intervened to delve into every aspect of this grim affair, whose repercussions are still evident today.
We should bear in mind that the "mass kidnapping" of the 28,296 Greek children was only one facet of Tito's atrocious actions and of Gligorov, who executed Tito's will.
Tito’s and Skopje’s commissioners converted the consciousness and the citizenship of a great part of these children and with these new "Macedonians ", they revived the janissaries of the Ottoman period.
The "Union of Refugees of the Aegean" was organized in Monastiri, where every year the International Conference of the "Children of the Aegean " takes place. In 1988 the first conference was held, together with a symbolic march toward the Greek borders... "

SOURCE: Michael S. Chrysanthopoulos, The Macedonian File, The Greek minority in the FYROM under Bondage, 2010, pages 93-94

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