Bulgars in Macedonia - NY Times

Bulgars in Macedonia - New York Times, 26 Mai 1919

Testimony of Another Witness with thе Allied Armies.

To the Editor of The New York Times

G. Gordon-Smith In his letter of May 19 cites only one Instance of Bulgarian atrocity in Macedonia, to which ho was eyewitness. I am sure he knows many more, as does any war correspondent who was with the allied forces In Macedonia from the time of the Bulgars' violation of the Greek frontier until the Serbians' return to Monastir: but the Macedonians themselves so poignantly condomned. the Bulgars that one needed no further evidence to be convinced of the barbaric tendencies of the invader.

I followed the British, Serbian, French, Russian, and Italian forces In their hardy pursuit of the enemy and in the lull of fighting visited one Macedonian village after another where the Bulgar had grounded his heel, talking with the headman and others as far as a limited knowledge of the languages permitted. These villages were Inhabited by people of Greek, Turkish, Armenian, Bulgarian, and Serbian origin as well as the native Macedonian. Sometimes four or five languages wero spoken In a community of several hundred inhabitants. Inured as they were to fighting for existence in this uncivilized country, all who had been 'In the path of tho Bulgarian Army (excepting the true Bulgars, whom it is significant to note the Serbs permitted to remain unmolested in their homes) expressed by every action and word horror and fear of the Bulgar soldier. It was touching to see thoir dread change to confidence as they learned that the Slavic Serbs were as light is to darkness compared to the Mongolian Bulgars.

I was at Ostrovo soon after the third Serbian Army had driven out the enemy. A Serbian staff Captain wholly unarmed went with me to look for a billet in one of the native houses. Knocks at the door brought no reply, until finally an elderly Macedonian appeared on the balcony above. In response to a friendly inquiry, he declared there were no rooms vacant in tho house. The Serb officer changed bis tone, demanding, with appropriate threats, Immediate admittance. After another delay the door opened slightly. " Walt," the officer stopped me as I was about to enter. " Not yet." Then to the natlve, "What!" he exclaimed, " are you a scoundrel of a Bulgar, or will you open the door like an honest man?"

The door swung back slowly and the native stood aside as wo entered, one hand under his rough cape as if clutching his broast in fear. " Throw that knife on the floor," said my friend very quietly. The hand pulled out a long pointed weapon from the folds of the
garment and dropped it at our feet. The Serb kicked It well out of reach. " You do not know this uniform?" The old man did not. " It is Serbian. I am a Serb. The Bulgars havo gone. They will never come back."

"Serb, Serb," muttered the Macodonian, softening a little

"We are come as friends," the Captain continued, "not to take unless we pay. See, here is a piece of silver for your miserable hospitality," and he tossed the coin.

The old man did not pick it up. He was silent a moment, then Began to plead. He almost threw himself at our feet, begging pardon, it was easy to understand; and finally ho picked up the coin and wished to return it, saying that he was an honest man, but that the Bulgars were murderers.

He began to tell the story, but his sobs and wallings broke up every word. Words were not needed, however. Ho lead the way Into the common living room and showed us red stains on the floor, while the mother covered her face with her hands and wept and cried, " Daughter ! Daughter! "

The Serbian officer soothed them with sympathy. He told them how his wife had beep left behind in the retreat from Serbia, at the mercy of the Invader; how British and French soldiers had come to Macedonia to drive him out of Macedonia and out of Serbia.

"Oh," wailed the old man, "that I could go with you. I am too old; but if ever Bulgar crosses my threshold again he must first push opon the door himself and when he does he will die. To Serbs and Serbian friends the door swings open wide." The wife, picking up a crying baby, nodded assent.

As In the days of Virgil, rumor travels swiftly and surely even in Macedonia, and soon all the people knew that the Serbs and their allies were unllike the Bulgars, and opened their doors with as much liberality as one could expect in that death-spotted land.

New lork, May 26, 1919

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