Bulgarians in Thrace and Macedonia in 1913

Bringing to ruin the Bulgarians in Thrace, Macedonia and Asia Minor in 1913

The policy of Bulgarian ethnic suppression in Southern Macedonia was applied with great ferocity from the start of the Balkan War led for the liberation of the Balkan peoples from Ottoman domination, in which Bulgaria and Greece were allies.

According to Turkish official statistics of 1900, there were 1,181,336 Bulgarians, 228,702 Greeks and 700 Serbs in Macedonia. At the outbreak of the war in 1912 in Vardar Macedonia there were 641 Bulgarian schools with 1013 teachers and 37,000 students, and in Aegean Macedonia - 340 schools with 750 teachers and 19,000 students. In 1912-13 the Greek armies invaded Macedonia and applied the method of ethnic cleansing in the territories under their command. The situation of the Bulgarian population there became even worse during the Second Balkan War or Inter-Ally War of 1913. Right after the war declaration, over 200 Bulgarian priests, teachers and notables were arrested, thrashed and imprisoned in Thessalonica. In early July the entire Bulgarian population was forced to sign statements declaring that they had become Bulgarians under pressure from the Exarchate and now they professed the "real orthodox faith and Hellenic nationality".

A lot of information about the murders and atrocities committed by the Greek army against the civilian Bulgarian population during the Balkan Wars 1912-13 is given in the so-called Carnegie Enquiry, organized by the Carnegie Foundation, in the name of the American philanthrope and generous donor Andrew Carnegie. The enquiry committee was formed to make an on-site enquiry into the atrocities committed during the Balkan Wars, of which the Bulgarians were accused by their neighbors. The enquiry results definitely disproved the Serbian and Greek allegations. They revealed exactly the opposite: mass violence and carnage of civilian Bulgarian population in the Greek occupied territories. According to the final data of the Carnegie Committee, the Greek army had burned down 161 Bulgarian villages with a total of 16,000 houses. The population suffered back-breaking terror to declare themselves Greek. In its report of 410 pages, this international committee, set up specially to investigate the causes for war and the armies' treatment of the civilian population in connection with the slanderous anti-Bulgarian allegations in the European press, set forth abundant evidence of atrocities committed against the Bulgarian population by the Greek armies for the purpose of driving it away or Hellenizing it. The evidence attached to the committee report included many letters (texts or facsimiles) by Greek soldiers from 19th regiment of the Seventh Greek Division sent to their friends and relatives, in which they boasted of their ugly "exploits" over the Bulgarians. The postal dispatch of these letters was intercepted and thus they came to the knowledge of the international committee.

In his reportages about the Turkish atrocities against the Bulgarian population in Batak during the April 1876 Uprising, MacGahan wrote that the human soul and conscience rebelled at the description of some terrifying acts. For the same reasons I shall not quote the ugliest and most sinister lines in these letters but only a part of what would give an idea of the methods for destruction and banishment of the Bulgarians and everything Bulgarian from there:

July 11, 1913
"Dear brother from Serres to the border we burned down all Bulgarian villages... Jona Christo Tzigaridis."

"We burn down all Bulgarian villages we occupy and kill all Bulgarians who fall in our hands. S. Z. Kalivanis."

July 12, 1913
"I captured five Bulgarians and a girl from Serres... I killed the girl. I took out the eyes of the men while they were still alive... Love, Kosta"

The committee's conclusion was definite: "The documents in the possession of the committee provide sufficient evidence that a policy of assimilation was conducted towards the Bulgarian population in Southern Macedonia. The methods of assimilation and physical annihilation have been applied systematically and without any humaneness." (p. 186)

Lyubomir Miletich has left us a documentary work describing the violence over the Bulgarian population in Macedonia during the Inter-Ally War entitled The Greek Atrocities in Macedonia during the Greek-Bulgarian War, published in Sofia the same year 1913. This book bears testimony not only to the violence and slaughter of civilian Bulgarian population but also of the purposeful and brutal driving away of the Bulgarians from the area of Thessalonica done by the army at the king's order and with the silent consent of the clergy:

"Their cruel act to the small Bulgarian garrison in Thessalonica on June 17 and 18, 1913, was a clear sign that the civilian Bulgarian population will suffer badly too. Our fears increased when from the beginning of the war the European press repeatedly published Greek accusations of some outrageous crimes committed by the Bulgarians over the Greek population... Unfortunately, soon an unprecedented in our dismal history flood of miserable Bulgarian refugees, more than a hundred thousand, crossed the old Bulgarian border to persuade us that our fears had come true, that the will of the Greek king and the Greek government to ruin the Bulgarians in the Thessalonica hinterland was fulfilled. The Bulgarians who had not managed to flee were ruthlessly killed and their women and children were raped and the majority of them killed too. All Bulgarian villages were burned down together with the sheaves and even the unharvested fields, the cattle was driven away, the people's money was robbed, the household belongings destroyed or taken away. In this way the planned extermination of everything Bulgarian was achieved... Around Thessalonica there were no Bulgarians left, nor in the area of Doiran, Demirhissar, Serres and Drama. Now Hellenism will be "entitled" to keep "forever" these Bulgarian lands, and Bulgaria will not dare claim them."

In the preface to his book The Greek Atrocities in Macedonia, from which the above quotation was taken, Prof. Lyubomir Miletich pointed out that it was written in response to the Greek accusations of the Bulgarians. He described monstrous pictures of the savage massacres of Bulgarian population. The reader is stunned by the insolence of the oppressors who dressed in Greek clothes mutilated and half-burned corpses of Bulgarian men, women and children to present them to the European committees as Greek victims of Bulgarian violence. Denouncing with numerous examples the slanders against the Bulgarians, Miletich winded up his expose with a grave verdict and belief that history would some day restore justice:

"After all this, from defendants we turn into frightful accusers. In the first place, we shall demand from history a moral punishment of the actors for the monstrous atrocities they committed systematically and massively on the innocent Bulgarian population in all parts of Macedonia through which the Greek army marched during the last war. The slaughter and burning of live people in the villages of Akandjali, Spatova, Krushovo, Gyuredjik, Gorno Brodi, etc. will glare in history as atrocities unsurpassed by any barbarian people. History will also have to record the mass murders and arrests of tens of thousands of Bulgarians in Southern Macedonia, who were faraway from the theater of war, in the insidious hands of the Greek authorities. The Bulgarian people, when it learns in detail about these horrors, will remember them well and will strive with all its strength to get satisfaction some time. Until this happens, the popular conscience will not be at peace."

Miletich wrote these words in September 1913 without suspecting that soon, instead of the desired moral satisfaction, history would bring further bitter afflictions, further persecutions and extermination of Bulgarians in this part of the Balkans.

On the last pages of his book, Miletich underlined that he only mentioned in passing about the fate of the Bulgarians in Southwestern Macedonia - the regions of Voden, Lerino, Kostur, etc., who even at the moment (the autumn of 1913) were fleeing, looking for salvation in Bulgaria, and thousands of them would be spending the winter in the open, in tents or oxcarts. The author mentioned that he intended to write a separate book about their hard lot. "Even now the refugees continue to suffer loss of life as hunger and epidemics sweep away the weaker ones. Many refugees are missing, probably dead or killed, ambushed somewhere on the roads."
Writing this, Miletich did not know that only a few years later a new and larger wave of refugees would sweep over the cut down and exhausted from bloody wars homeland.

Before I pass on to the ruin of the Thracian Bulgarians, to which Miletich devoted his homonymous book, I want to mention another chronicler of the time, Kiril Parlichev, who described the violence against the Bulgarians in Macedonia committed by the other ally of Bulgaria in the Balkan War against Turkey - Serbia. In his book The Serbian Atrocities in Macedonia (1912-15) published in Sofia in 1918, he recounted about the forceful denationalization of the Bulgarian population there:

"Upon entering Macedonia, the Serbs demonstrated hostility to the local Bulgarian population... They went around asking the question, 'What are you?' and invariably got the answer, 'Bulgarian'... For the governance of Macedonia the Serbs introduced special regulations and the citizens who did not comply with them were considered traitors and brought to courts martial."
Kiril Parlichev gave dozens of examples of atrocities and slaughter of Bulgarians in Macedonia in 1913 - in Skopje, Kumanovo, Veles, Tetovo, Debar Galichnik, Prilep, Gostivar, Gevgeli, Krushovo, etc. 64 people were tortured to death in Debar, and another 200 in the region. In Ohrid, dozens of citizens were shot including the teacher Dimiter Ivanov and the priest Georgi pop Angelov. The number of victims in Kochane reached 201, and in Negotino 331.

Particularly harsh was the fate of the Thracian Bulgarians during the Inter-Ally War and after it. Lyubomir Miletich wrote about it in The Ruining of Thracian Bulgarians in 1913. This great Bulgarian scholar, who was doing a research on the southern Bulgarian dialects at the time, made his own enquiry there with the precision of a conscientious investigator, checking up his information with several sources. The results were staggering, as he wrote: "the ugliest picture in the twentieth century".

The ruin of the Bulgarians in Eastern Thrace and Asia Minor in 1913 could hardly be obliterated from the Bulgarian memory. On June 23, 1913, the Turkish government ordered the Turkish army to cross the state border between the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria established by the London Peace Treaty of May 31 the same year. Bulgaria was already at war with Greece and Serbia at the Macedonian front and in Thrace there were no Bulgarian troops. Furthermore, the Bulgarian authorities had confiscated all weapons from the civilian population at the insistence of the international observers at the pretext of avoiding revenge on the part of the Bulgarians for the atrocities in the preceding years. The Turkish army invading Thrace acted on the method we call today "ethnic cleansing" with the obvious purpose to destroy all Bulgarian settlements and permanently remove all Bulgarians from Eastern Thrace, and thus liquidate the arguments for accession of these lands to Bulgaria.

According to data from neutral sources, the international Carnegie enquiry established that only in two out of the 16 regions of Eastern Thrace 16,000 Bulgarians had been killed by the regular Turkish army. The total number of the Thracian Bulgarians killed was between 40 and 60 thousand. This number would triple if we add the death toll of Bulgarian refugees, running for their life to the Bulgarian borders, who perished during the flight or afterwards of starvation or disease. The genocide against the Bulgarian population in Thrace was applied by a regular army, which by all international norms qualifies it as a grave war crime against humanity.

The Bulgarian administration in Edirne and in the other cities and the Bulgarian population itself at first could not believe the Turkish armies had crossed the border set by an international treaty. Under the London Peace Treaty of May 31, 1913, on the ethnic principle Bulgaria was given the lands northwest of the line Media - Enos. Nevertheless, while the Bulgarian army had to fight and shed blood at three fronts, the Young Turks government ordered General Enver Pasha to seize the region of Edirne. The protocol to the Istanbul treaty contained a clause providing for exchange of border population within a strip of 15 km. Turkey took advantage of this clause, as Peter Koledarov noted in his study The East-Thracian Issue and Turkish-Bulgarian Relations, to depopulate Thrace of all Bulgarians: "The advancing regular army, accompanied by bashi-bazouk hordes barbarously attacked the defenseless Bulgarians. These were subjected to such tortures as the first Christians suffered and as Bulgaria knows from the Batak massacre. First, the Turks plundered the livestock, food and property, calmed the population, made them do the field work and bring in the grain, then went on to complete their plan the depopulation of Thrace of all Bulgarians."

When the Bulgarian government tried to react against the Turkish violation of the treaty via its minister plenipotentiary in Istanbul, it was restrained by the Great Powers with the argument that this was a European issue and as such its solution was within the competence of the powers signatories to the peace act from London. This statement awakened some hope that the Turks would not be allowed to cross the established border and retarded the withdrawal of the civilian Bulgarian population, who after a while were compelled to stampede from their hearths even without taking its essential belongings or survival food-supplies.

Seven years after he wrote and published his book The Ruining of Thracian Bulgarians in 1913, Lyubomir Miletich returned to this topic in a public speech delivered before Bulgarian intellectuals on May 16, 1920. In it he blamed the Great Powers, which with their conduct aggravated the situation of the civilian Bulgarian population fallen under the blows of Turkish reoccupation.

"When after the intervention of Romania in the Inter-Ally War the outcome of the struggle became evident and the Turks set out from Chataldja to Lyule Burgas and Edirne, in Istanbul was the late Nachovich, whom the Bulgarian government had assigned after the signing of the London treaty to restore the good relations with the neighboring country. Nachovich started negotiations for a bilateral agreement, which immediately arouse suspicion and reproaches: How dare the Bulgarian government enter in negotiations with Istanbul and interfere in a European business? Europe will make the Turks respect the guarantees given by it. Bulgaria need not intervene in the dispute. The Bulgarian government, which was in a tragic situation, clutched at these assurances, persuaded Nachovich not to negotiate with the Turks and refused any direct agreement with Istanbul... However, there came a moment when the Turks reached our old border and threatened to invade southern Bulgaria if the Bulgarian government continued to reject an agreement with the Sublime Porte... Just then Europe came to Sofia and with the same insistence as it earlier forbade us to talk with Istanbul told us: "Hurry up and make an agreement, because you have only three or four days left. We cannot get the Turks out of Edirne, and they intend to go all the way to Plovdiv." So, the Bulgarian government had to make haste, cut and throw away, save whatever could be saved... Enos - Media was out of the question, of course, but the Turks pushed us further back than Maritsa river, which in a note to the Great Powers they had indicated as the limit of their invasion. If Europe had gone back on its solemn obligations, why should they keep a hollow promise?"
These diplomatic talks remained hidden for the population who did not suspect the real danger till the last minute, when it was too late for a normal pullout. Even the Bulgarian administration in Edirne and in the other Thracian cities was in the dark. For the Bulgarian population the Turkish invasion was surprising and treacherous. Very indicative is the insidiousness with which a large part of the villagers in Bulgar Koy were killed. First, the men were summoned on the pretext of informing them about some regulations. The men were lined up and fusilladed, then the village was set on fire, women were raped and killed... Twenty years later, a survivor of the massacre signed with his initials N.K. under an article in Burgaska Poshta newspaper of August 1, 1933, entitled The New Batak, recounted his memories of the torments and humiliations experienced by the survivors of the bloodbath in Bulgar Koy:

"We wandered in the woods for fifty five days. Tormented by hunger, we decided to give ourselves up in Keshan. I would rather not speak about the tortures to which the men were subjected, the rapes of women and girls before we finally got to Bulgaria..."

The village of Bulgar Koy in Eastern Thrace, which was a wealthy and prosperous purely Bulgarian village of over 3000 inhabitants, went down in history as the "Thracian Batak". But while Batak in 1876 opened the eyes of the world for the atrocities committed over the Bulgarians, these same eyes remained blind for the massacres of Bulgarians in 1913 such as the one in Bulgar Koy. On July 9, Turkish horsemen came to the village and ordered the public crier to summon all men from the age of 15 upward at the bridge outside the village to hear the speech of the detachment chief Enver Bey. 460 odd men instead of a speech heard the Turkish officer's command: "Fire!" All bodies were checked up and if anyone was still alive he was finished off by stubbing with a knife. And this was only the beginning. The village was set on fire at four ends. In her despair Kostadina Kalfova, sister of the writer Damyan Kalfov, climbed a wall and jumped into the flames with her baby in her arms. Another frenzied mother, according to the account of K. Terziev, fell exhausted by the well, dropped her two children inside and jumped in the well herself. There is no refugee from Eastern Thrace, or refugee descendant, who cannot tell about some lost child during the terrible flight so that it would not give away the rest with its crying from hunger and fatigue. Decades later, a great comfort to these wretched people was to tell how, thanks to the finger of fate, children separated during the runaway or orphaned
met as grownup men and women.

Similar scenes like those in Bulgar Koy, as Peter Koledarov wrote in his book The East European Issue and Turkish-Bulgarian Relations, occurred in many Bulgarian villages. He mentions an insidi-ousness applied to the Bulgarians in Thrace by their recent allies the Greeks. The French writer Pierre Lautie had come to Edirne to see the "Bulgarian barbarisms", reported by many European newspapers. He was shown dead Bulgarian men and women dressed in Greek clothes. They were photographed and the photos sent to Europe as evidence for the "Bulgarian outrages".

Concerning the pogrom of the Thracian Bulgarians in 1913, the documentary historic literature describes scores of instances of massacres and ruining of Bulgarian villages in Thrace, stampeding to Bulgaria, in which all Bulgarians who made it to the border found they had lost some of their kin, if not the whole family. The trauma from the horror of this flight manifested itself years later in the next generations. It has left deep marks in the songs, tales and national psychology of the Thracian Bulgarians, a hard-working, vital and meek population, as all foreign travelers before the Liberation described them. Many Bulgarian writers as Konstantin Petkanov, Anton Strashimirov, Georgi pop Ayanov, Hristo Silyanov, Ormandjiev, etc. poured out their pain and sorrow for the miserable fate of the Thracian Bulgarians in hundreds of pages, a bit forgotten today by the Bulgarians weary of their daily cares. But even without opening these books, the Thracian lot will remember itself at fairs and commemorations - in Petrova Niva in Strandja, at Madjarovo in Thrace, Haydushki Polyani outside Slaveyno in the Central Rhodopes, and at many other sacred places for the Thracian Bulgarians. There the fathers' and grandfathers' tales come to life, full of sorrow and nostalgia for the "promised land" without a hint of revenge - just bitterness that no moral judgment has been passed, that even the minimum compensation has not been given - material compensation.

Since in the past ten years or so the descendants of the refugees from Eastern Thrace and Asia Minor have repeatedly brought up the question of compensation for the property left behind in Turkey with their banishment from the country, I will quote some official statistics. Only the statements of 3013 refugee families from Eastern Thrace submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs list immovable property left in Turkey as follows: 3336 houses, 323 shops, 13,989 farm buildings, 211 mills, 555,733 decares of fields, 13,440 decares of meadows, 2425 decares of gardens, 13,125 decares of vineyards, 66,786 decares of woods. Related statistics concerning 1650 refugee families from Asia Minor gives the following data: 1527 houses, 119 shops, 1070 farm buildings, 106 mills, 249,130 decares of fields, 3867 decares of meadows, 2664 decares of gardens, 6738 decares of vineyards, 124,855 decares of woods. Bearing in mind that the refugees from Eastern Thrace are estimated at two hundred thousand people, we can imagine what property is in question. This is only information about real estate. The movable property no one can appreciate. It is known that the Thracian Bulgarians, being industrious and frugal people, were quite wealthy. Their persecutors were aware of this and mercilessly tortured anyone they
got hold of to say where they had hidden their gold. "The moment they came along with drawn knives, we stretched our arms with gold coins in hand because the blackamoors slew everyone on their way who failed to produce some gold," Rahila Radilova, a refugee from Lozengrad, told me some years back in Burgas. The miserable people gave away and tried to keep something back because they knew soon others would be coming exacting a ransom for life. The longer you had what to give, the longer you survived. They hid the little children under the bundles and other luggage in the carts, because the "blackamoors" exacted ransom per capita, young or old. Thus some children died of suffocation. Grandma Rahila could not explain to me what she meant by "blackamoors", she only said they were small people mounted on likewise small horses who galloped very fast. She also said they had seen nothing bad from their Turkish neighbors. I also remember the story of Bay Stoyan in Burgas, a refugee from the village of Eni Koy, now within Istanbul, about the sad fortune of his grandfather Stoyan. His grandfather was a very rich man and when the Balkan War broke out a Turk neighbor came to him and said:

"Stoyan, things will get bad for you. Sell out and run away from here, but don't go north, because it will never be all right there. Go to Italy!"
"Me run away? Hey, I can buy half Constantinople!"

They did not heed the Turk's advice. The grandfather proved stubborn, did not say where he had buried his gold and was slaughtered. His sons and daughters did not go to Italy but escaped with the other refugees to Bulgaria.

Many places in Thrace can be called a pantheon of thousands of innocent Bulgarians, chased and killed in the early 20th century and mainly in 1913 just because they kept their Bulgarian faith and their Bulgarian identity. What does "Ilieva Niva" mean today to our contemporaries? Name of a locality near Ivaylovgrad, where a memorial was erected in memory of 200 children who perished in the surrounding woods during the exodus. Only at the close of the 20th century, the age of European and humane progress, in which also some of the largest-scale annihilations of people by ethnic, racial and religious principle took place, the Thracian Bulgarians erected in Madjarovo a little St. Petka chapel as part of a Thracian pantheon. It commemorates the thousands massacred Bulgarian refugees from Thrace who were moving across the Armagan Valley from the delta of Maritsa towards the Bulgarian border. These Bulgarians had gathered in Alexandroupolis and Fere where the foreign consuls advised them to come in order to be transported by ship to the ports of Burgas and Varna. However, this plan failed and the Bulgarians, flocked at the Aegean coast, decided to set out for Bulgaria on foot via the Armagan Valley. About 23,000 people had gathered. Some returned to their reduced to ashes homes, but 21,000 set off for the Bulgarian border. The raids on the caravan started even as it left Alexandroupolis. Anticipating easy spoil, bashi-bazouk had come together incited by army officers, who systematically applied their plan of banishing the Bulgarians from Thrace. A group of young men led by Dimiter Madjarov formed a band to guard the refugees. The small band desperately fought the constant bashi-bazouk raids. The line of refugees was long and dispersed and could not always be timely defended against the sudden attacks. The Bulgarians who perished in the crossing of this valley are estimated at several thousand. Their exact number will never be known, as well as the number of those who died of starvation and thirst on the Aegean islands of Crete, Mitilin, Kithira, Milos, nor the graves of the exiles in the regions of Laris, Volos and Feisal. Part of the survivors from the many-thousand-strong train of refugees later settled in the border village of Yatadjik which grew into the town of Madjarovo, after the name of the voivode defender. For some of the refugees this was the end of the journey to their Golgotha, as on October 4 about 2000 people were massacred.

No violator is interested in keeping record of their evil doings, and no people that fell victim to genocide or ethnic cleansing can collect exact information about its death toll. So, the different sources estimate the number of the killed, starved to death or swept by disease refugees from Eastern Thrace in 1913 at several dozen thousands.

The fate of the Bulgarians in Asia Minor at this time was very similar to that of their compatriots in Eastern Thrace. Their drama was even more complicated as some of them had to flee two or three times. Once in 1913-14 from Asia Minor to Western Thrace, again in 1919-22 for those who had returned to Asia Minor, and a third time in 1925 when they had to emigrate from Western Thrace up north to the new border of the Bulgarian state.

During the Balkan War and the Inter-Ally War the Bulgarians in Asia Minor were also persecuted and pressed to leave this land forever so that Turkish refugees from the Balkans could move in. The Bulgarian government took measures in their defense. Towards the end of 1913 the Bulgarian legation and general consulate in Istanbul organized the emigration of the Bulgarians in Asia Minor, proposing an exchange of their properties for those of Turkish refugees, which the Ottoman authorities did everything to foil.

The first large group of 912 Bulgarians from Asia Minor set off from Bandirma port for Alexandroupolis on March 20, 1914. On April 9 another group of 289 refugees set off for Alexandroupolis on the same boat. The third group of 669 on April 17, the fourth group of 629 on April 23, the fifth set out on May 4, etc. Eloquent of the circumstances of their emigration is a telegram sent by the consular clerk Zlati Cholakov in Alexandroupolis to the Prime Minister Radoslavov:

"At noon today I arrived here onboard the Nejib under Turkish flag with the banished 320 refugee Bulgarians from the village of Stingel. Our compatriots didn't have a rag to their backs. They were given one hour to leave the village and they set out on foot for Kemer port without any luggage. On the way they were intercepted by armed Turks who searched them and took away all their money and the women's jewelry. Kemer's police chief personally took part in the robbery."

In the final reckoning, by the end of 1914 over 7000 Bulgarians from Asia Minor had been repatriated with the assistance of the French railway company and on Bulgarian and Greek ships. These Bulgarians, however, were forced to leave all their property and were not even given the chance to harvest their fields, dooming them to starvation. Those who had money were ruthlessly robbed by the gangs, customs officers and border authorities. According to the treaty signed in Ankara (the Angora Treaty) the Bulgarian refugees from Asia Minor were formally given the right to go back some time and sell their property. But this remained only on paper. The Istanbul authorities warned those willing to go and settle their property matters later that they could not assist them or guarantee their life, which made such an initiative inconceivable. The record of immovable property abandoned in Turkey by the Bulgarian refugees from Asia Minor, based on the statements of 1650 families gives the following data: 1527 houses, 119 shops, 1070 farm buildings, 106 mills, 249,130 decares of fields, 3867 decares of meadows, 2664 decares of gardens, 6738 decares of vineyards, 124,855 decares of woods.
Violence over the Bulgarian population in Thrace continued after the war. The case of the ruined village of Huhla, Ivaylovgrad region, is very characteristic and not isolated. The local Turks warned their Bulgarian neighbors, whose arms had been confiscated before the withdrawal of the Bulgarian troops, that the bands of the so-called "Comotini Republic" set up in Western Thrace were planning a raid on them, but these disbelieved. Soon enough the outrages in the neighboring villages came to Huhla. First the icon-painter was killed in the church. Then the men were gathered in a house and slaughtered to the last one. The women and children were tied to a rope and taken to Ivaylovgrad, where they were kept for three days and resealed. Going back to Huhla they found the whole village burned down. They buried in the ashes the killed men without funeral service because the priest was dead too.

The total number of forcefully expatriated Bulgarians from Asia Minor in 1914 is estimated at 6500. In the next few years this number grew by several thousand. In the aggregate, about 200,000 Bulgarians were banished from Asia Minor and Eastern Thrace in 1913.