Dr. Alex Bebler

Peace and Greece


Shot for "Common Crimes"—i.e., Resisting the Nazi Occupation

The Athens Government tried to deceive world public opinion by asserting that the patriots, who had been sentenced to death two or three years ago, were being shot now, allegedly, for "common crimes." Certain sentences passed by the Greek courts prove that this assertion is perfectly untrue. The court of appeal at Thebes by its sentence No. 44 of September 17, 1947, condemned to death Elephterios Barbounis because he had killed at the beginning of 1944 a member of a Security Battalion, during a fight between the ELAS detachment in which Barbounis served and the said Security Battalion, which fought under the command of a German officer. The court of appeal at Lamia by its sentence No. 26 of December 22, 1947, condemned to death Vasilios Dimfotos, because he had killed a Greek quisling who was serving the Germans as a guide in German uniform during the fighting against the ELAS forces. This "murder" took place during a fight between the Germans who were guided by the said quisling and the ELAS detachment in which Dimfotos served.

There have also been cases where the tribunal condemned patriots of the Greek resistance movement for allegedly having assassinated persons who were actually still alive or who never existed. Thus for instance, Alias Deloglou was condemned to death and shot for having killed a certain Dimitropoulos. In the course of the trial it became known that Dimitropoulos was alive. But, Deloglou was shot just the same. Eftimios Coscoletos was accused of having killed, during the occupation, a certain Nikolas Efstatiu from Aso, near Corinth. During the trial the mayor of Aso proved that this Nikolas Efstatiu never existed, neither at Aso nor in any other of the surrounding villages. Nevertheless, Coscoletos was condemned to death and shot. (Blue Book, page 42.)

It is estimated that the tribunals have condemned to death more than 2,900 fighters of the Movement of National Liberation, who fought during World War II for the cause of the United Nations. They have been condemned for alleged "crimes" of this sort, on the basis of accusations which were only a pretext for the extermination of political enemies. Naturally these crimes, these frightful abuses of authority, have aroused the indignation of democratic people throughout the world. In many countries, in Great Britain, the United States of America, and here in France, for instance, protest meetings were held. Voicing the unanimous feeling of the Soviet peoples, on May 14, 1948, the Government of the U.S.S.R. handed the Greek Government a note drawing attention to the protests and indignation which the mass shooting of Greek fighters against fascism evoked, saying that Soviet public opinion demanded an immediate stop to these crimes. The Government of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia addressed a similar note to the Greek Government on May 18. Even the French Government instructed its representative in Athens to ask the Greek Government to explain the massacre of these soldiers of liberty. And the British Government, under pressure of public opinion, tried to absolve itself of responsibility for these events by a "Declaration."

The United States Government, however, immediately issued a statement that the United States of America had "no intention to protest"; which obviously was intended to embolden the regime in Athens to resist the pressure of world opinion and to carry on with its crimes. Similar encouragement was given by you last year, Gentlemen, when you voted on the resolution concerning Greek affairs, by which you also incurred heavy responsibility.

It often happens in Greece that even the summary justice of a court martial is dispensed with. Then democrats are assassinated in the streets or in the prisons. As early as 1947 the public opinion of the world was stirred by the news of the assassination of Zevgos, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece, by police agents who admitted the crime. So far the murderers have not been put on trial. These practices continue. We read in the Greek press that in January 1948 Poulides, a well known Athens lawyer, who was also a counsel for the Yugoslav Legation in Athens, was killed in the streets of Tripolis, while the police were in the vicinity. No one has been brought to trial for this murder, either.

A particularly savage terror is exercised, and cruel massacres of the population are perpetrated by organized fascist groups, especially by the X-ites and MAY. The MAY, an organization "for the protection of the countryside," is shown by official documents to be recognized by the Athens regime as a military formation, and is supplied with arms and clothing by the American Mission. The operations of both the X-ites and MAY are conducted by army commanders. These groups are scattered all over Greece and are used as an instrument of terror by the Army and the Ministry of Public Security. When their crimes become public, the Government tries to deny them, but everyone knows, and official documents prove, that the Government is giving its support to these terrorist units and is making use of them.

The fact that these fascist organizations have been terrorizing the Greek population for three years with impunity and without being held responsible for their criminal actions, clearly proves that they enjoy a favored status. Here are a few admissions found in the Greek rightist press concerning this matter.

The newspaper Elephteria in its issue of May 25, 1948 published an article by a lawyer, signed I. M., in which we read: "Three X-ite chiefs, Pavlakos, Kamarineas, and Gerakaris are operating in Laconia. They are responsible for hundreds of murders, rapes and acts of violence. In the village of Selenitsa, Gerakaris killed 35 men, women, old men and children. He raped the daughter of Vasilos Kivelos in front of her mother and slaughtered both of them, as well as thirty other inhabitants of the same village. Pavlakos, Gerakaris and Kamarineas, come from the Security Battalions (formations of collaborationists during the war). They entered Kalamata, opened fire on people at random, and have not been punished for this. Another chief with the name of Pavlakos, who lived at Levetsova, in the region of Sparta, compelled a boy of 16 to kill his own mother in the village square, without any reason; threatening to kill both of his sisters and himself if he failed to carry out this order. And the child actually murdered his mother Stavroula Theoharaka. The inhabitants of the village fled during the attacks of these bandits."

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