No. 53.--EVIDENCE OF GEOGHI VARNALIEV, Headmaster of the Bulgarian School at Kavadartsi, near Tikvesh.
On July 1, when the battle of Krivolak began, he was arrested with seven other Bulgarian notables and informed by the prefect that a state of siege existed, and that they would be kept as hostages till the end of the war. They were three days in prison, but were released after the Servian defeat. The secretary of the Servian prefect did everything possible to ensure their safety. Some drunken gendarmes were, however, left behind in the Servian retreat, and these killed the servant of the mayor and wounded a woman. The Macedonian volunteers of the Bulgarian army then occupied the town and behaved well, but left on July 7. There then began a systematic burning of all the Bulgarian villages in the neighborhood. This was carried out by Turks, accompanied by Servian soldiers and officers. Among the villages burned were Negotin (800 houses), Kamendol, Gornodissal, Haskovo, etc. The peasants from these places came to their town and told their stories of massacre and pillage. On July 8, the Servians arrived in Kavadartsi and killed twenty-five Bulgarians, mostly refugees from neighboring villages, among them were the mayor and five notables of their own town. The mayor was accused of tearing up a Servian flag and helping the Macedonians. Two lads aged thirteen and fifteen, named Dorev, were killed because a bomb had exploded near their house, and they were absurdly suspected. He saw the bodies, which were all buried, still bound, just outside the town. He witnessed the pillage of about thirty shops and the burning of fifteen houses. Four women went mad from fear in their flight from Kavadartsi and two of them are said to have killed their own children, lest they should fall into the hands of the Servians.
NO. 54.--EVIDENCE OF TWO OLD VILLAGERS, natives of Istip, who walked to Sofia, a journey of three days and three nights, in order to give their testimony to the Commission; their names must be suppressed since they live in Servian territory.
They stated that they left Istip with the Bulgarian troops and sought refuge in the neighboring villages. Bands of Turks arrived and went round from village to village, burning the houses and violating the women. In the village Liubotrn, which was burned, eleven men and three women were killed and most of the women were violated. The leader of the Turkish band was a certain Yaha, of Veles, who had always led the bashibazouks under the Turks. He had under him about 300 men, and laid waste all the country around Istip, Radovishta and Kochana. Many women were carried off by the Turks to their own villages. Later on the pomaks of Tikvesh arrived with wagons and did much plundering. The district was now relatively calm and the Servians were disarming the Turks, but they believed that the arms taken from some Turks were secretly given back to others.
[NOTE.--The above evidence, general in its character, relates to much that the witnesses saw and to much which they learned from others. It does not all rank as firsthand evidence, but appeared to be too serious to be disregarded.]
No. 55.--EVIDENCE OF LIEUTENANT R. WADHAM FISHER (see also No. 9).
After the conclusion of peace Lieutenant Fisher visited the district overrun by the Servian army in the second war. He found the village of Sletovo near Kotchana, which he knew well, burnt down. He also visited the village Besikovo. Here the Montenegrins had killed twenty-eight of the villagers, a child had been burned alive in a house, and four women had died as the result of violation. In the next village, Priseka, five or six men bad been killed and four women had died as the result of violation. In these villages everything had been taken, crops, clothes and money, and the people were starving, without shelter, on the mountain side. The Servians had used their corn in the trenches as bedding, and the peasants were reduced to picking out the grains from it. The Servians were levying a house-tax of five francs, even on burned houses.
No. 56.--THE SCHOOLHOUSE MASSACRE AT SERRES. Deposition of George T. Belev, of Strumnitsa, a Protestant, aged 32. (See also Nos. 18-26.)
Mr. Belev was serving as a bearer in the medical corps attached to the Seventieth Bulgarian regiment. He had transported two wounded soldiers from Nigrita to Serres. In Serres, on Friday, June 21, he entered the bakery of an acquaintance, a man from his native town. He was there arrested by Greeks and confined for two days, together with four other Bulgarian soldiers.
The deposition continues thus:
On Tuesday, June 25, we were taken to the bishop's palace to appear before a commission. In the hall there were several men sitting at a table in a corner, among them an ecclesiastic. They looked at us and said, "Take them away." From there we were taken to the girls' school, near the bishopric. The door was shut, and we were given the word of command in Bulgarian, "March. Form ranks." The following eight persons had been brought from the bakery [the names follow]. We found there four soldiers from Old Bulgaria. When we had formed our ranks, an evzone came up to us, and with him a certain Captain Doukas, and many Greeks of the town. They took from us one by one our coats and belts and all the money we had. From Theodore Inegilisov they took eight Napoleons and a watch, and from me a silver watch worth thirty francs, and ten francs which were in my purse. Then they placed us beside the staircase, drew their Turkish sabres, and ordered us to mount. Two of them with drawn sabres took tip position on either side of the stairs, and as we went up they rained blows upon us. I received a blow on the left hand. Pando Abrachev had his right hand broken and his head cut open, and the others were also struck. We were then driven into a room about twenty-five meters square, where we were kept during Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Tuesday, we had nothing to eat and were not allowed to go to the lavatory * * * [He explains how he dressed Abrachev's wound.] * * * On Wednesday, we each received half a loaf and were allowed to go to the lavatory under escort. On Thursday, the Greek bishop arrived and went over all the rooms. He made sort of speech to the prisoners. "We are Christians. Our Holy Gospel forbids us to massacre. We are not like the Bulgarians, we shall allow you all to return to your homes. Fear nothing, we shall do you no harm." He added, "Give them bread and water," and went away. We felt more at ease, believing that a bishop would not lie, and passed the rest of the day in hope. But in the evening, men were chosen from all the rooms and taken away, to the number of fourteen. They selected the Bulgarian gendarmes who had been arrested and the militant comitadjis, including Christo Dimitrov, who had a mill in which he used to shelter, revolutionaries. * * * Thirteen of these were slaughtered on the second story, and we heard their cries. We still hoped that a selection would be made, and that we should not all be killed. * * *
Next day (Friday, June 28) Dimitrov was brought back alive to our room. After him came a Greek priest. He opened the door of our room, and said in mockery, "Good day, lads." We did not answer. He repeated it, and still we were silent. Then he said, "Why don't you answer? 'Good day' is a civil word. Aren't you Bulgarians?" We did not answer. Then he asked us, "Would you like to see your glorious Tsar Ferdinand? Would you like to enter Salonica. So you shall, quite soon." Then the priest went away.
Two hours later we heard firing. Our troops were entering the town. We were sure that it was our army, for the Greek guns could not have been heard from that particular quarter. As soon as the Bulgarian guns came into action, the Greeks ran all over the building to gather us together in one room. We were seventy persons, pressed like herrings in a little room and there we remained for half an hour. Meanwhile they ran to see whether the Bulgarians were coming in. When they had ascertained this, they made us come out two by two, to bind our hands. Then those who were bound were led up to the upper story and killed. The first to be taken up was a little Greek of the village of Kolechino, near Strumnitsa, who had lived in Serres for seven years. He had been imprisoned by mistake. He begged for his liberty, explaining that everyone knew he was a Greek, that he was married and was a rich merchant. But no heed was paid to him, and he was killed. There was time to massacre all the seventy persons; it did not take more than an hour. There were plenty of executioners, and they worked quickly. Thirty men were bound, and then when they saw that this took too long, they stopped binding us.
Among the executioners was Charalambi Popov, a Grecized Bulgarian, the same baker in whose house I was arrested. The others were inhabitants of Serres, and two vlachs belonging to the Greek party from Poroi. One named Christo often came to Strumnitsa, and many a time I have gone surety for him. The other who is lame is named Tzeru, and knows no Greek. He killed with a yataghan, with which he severed the head from the body. The others used Martini bayonets, but some had Bulgarian Mannlicher bayonets. * * * I was taken with three others, two of them men from Dibra, and none of us, were bound. We mounted the stairs, crossed a large hall and entered a big room. I went first and the executioner followed with his bayonet in his hand. * * * We were half dead with fear, and could hardly walk. Through the door of the room I could see slaughtered men, and some who were still alive and groaning. One was decapitated. The room was full, and the bodies lay two or three on top of each other. There was no room for me. Then the executioner made me go to another little room which was empty. It was my acquaintance the vlach, Christo. I took one step into the room, and at the next step he struck me in the neck. The force of the blow was broken by my collar, but I fell on my face. He then put his foot on my back, and struck me six blows with the bayonet, on my back, behind my ear, under the right jaw, and in the throat. When the sisters of charity afterwards gave me milk, it flowed through this last wound. I don't remember crying, and did not feel it when the index finger of my right hand was cut off, nor did I lose consciousness * * * In the big room three or four people were killed at once, but in this little room the other victims had to look on while I was dealt with. I heard one of the men of Dibra struggling at the door of the room and trying to snatch the bayonet, until another executioner came up to help, and then they beat him pitilessly. He cried out, "What harm have I done to you. Leave me alone." Then they caught his hands, and flung him on top of me. I felt a heavy weight. They cut his throat and finished him by thrusts in his back. His blood flowed all over me and soaked my coat until I felt the warm stream wetting my body. He died on the spot and never stirred. Two others were then brought in and killed on top of us. They did not struggle; they were already half dead from fear. Then came more.
Some time afterwards there was a dead silence. I heard nothing but the firing of rifles and cannon. When I realized that there was none left in the building I decided to
get out from under the heap of bodies which had been weighing on me and drenching me with blood for about an hour. I rose with difficulty, sat down in a corner, and dressed my wounds, knotting a handkerchief round my neck from which the blood was flowing. It hurt a good deal, but I drew the handkerchief tight. I got up, found that I could walk, and went into the next room. There I found Christo Dimitrov sitting among forty dead bodies. He got up and began to walk, and others also stirred. * * * From the window no one was to be seen, and shells and balls were flying. A shell fell near our building and set it on fire, and we saw that we should be burned alive unless we went out * * * Eight men gathered at the door. There were about twenty wounded men who might have been saved, if there had been anyone to help. One, the ninth, Ilia, a tilemaker of Gevgheli, came down the stairs, but fell near the door. * * * [He goes on to relate how he found the Bulgarian troops and was placed in a vehicle, and ultimately, after much suffering, reached Mehomia and eventually was nursed at Tatar-Bazardjik.]
No. 57.--EXTRACTS FROM A DEPOSITION BY DR. P. G. LAZNEV, a Russian physician in charge of the Bulgarian Hospital at Serres.
After complaining that the Greek women of Serres pillaged the hospital, and stating that the Greek andartes behaved well in their dealings with it after the Bulgarian evacuation Dr. Laznev continues:
"On July 11, the Bulgarian infantry with mountain guns appeared on the heights which command the hospital, and a fight ensued between them and the Greek insurgents who were sheltered behind the hospital. The insurgents were driven back, and the hospital was in the possession of the Bulgarians. That lasted only for a half an hour, for stronger detachments of Greek infantry and cavalry arrived, and a continuous exchange of rifle and gun fire went on from three to six p.m. As before, the hospital was the center of the fighting. Our windows were broken and I was obliged to lay the sick on the floor in order to shelter them. One of them was wounded. Neither Greeks nor Bulgarians would listen to my remonstrances. At the end of the fight the Bulgarians withdrew. About an hour before their withdrawal the town was set on fire. Then came the victors, fatigued and excited by the fighting. They burst in, knocked our orderly down and beat him cruelly, threatened to kill the sick 'because the Bulgarians had burned the town'; struck my assistant Komarov on the chest and shoulders with the butts of their rifles, and pointed the barrels of their rifles at my breast. Finally I induced them to go away. Others meanwhile pillaged the upper story of the hospital, and stole everything, including my personal property. [Details follow of the difficulties which the doctor experienced in dealing with the Greek authorities.] As to the burning of Serres, I am obliged to declare that I do not know its causes. I can only make guesses. It may have been caused by the Bulgarian shells. As a strong wind was blowing, a fire started in one place would spread easily to the neighboring buildings. I can not accept the theory of the Bishop of Serres (that the Bulgarians first sprinkled the houses with petroleum and then two days later set them on fire). In that case the conflagration would have started simultaneously in the several quarters of the town."
No. 58.--DEPOSITION OF ILIA PETROV LIMONEV, a fisherman of Doiran, serving in the 70th Bulgarian Regiment (Fourth Battalion, Fifteenth Company), was imprisoned in the School at Serres, and succeeded in breaking out and disarming the sentries. His narrative contains two interesting details. His detachment reduced to thirty-two men, was separated from its battalion, and retreated through Demir-Hissar to the village of Kavakli. On July 6, it was surrounded by a Greek company numbering 200 men, and surrendered. "After disarming the Bulgarian soldiers, the Greeks bound them and massacred them. In this