Execution of the 12 young men

The execution of the 12 young men from the village of Vatasa, near Kavadarci was carried out by the Bulgarian fascist army on 16 June, 1943.

Nevena Hadijordanova, the sister of the executed Vaso lived to tell this story. She survived together with three other girlfriends from the village.

"They gathered us from our houses early in the morning. One by one they brought us in front of the village inn. Twelve young men and four young girls, all of us members of the antifascist organisation from Vatasa.
When they brought me in front of the village inn, those that were already there were facing the brick wall. But they still saw me and I gave them a little smile. One of the Bulgarian soldiers noticed:
"Laugh, laugh!!!. Enjoy your last laugh."
After that they called us one by one to go inside the inn for questioning.
"Questioning and brutal torturing." When they called me inside, I saw my friends with ripped shirts and bruises on their faces, around their eyes, and their bodies.
The twelve young men, me and my three girlfriends were asked the following questions: "Tell us where the Partisans are?, Who brings them food?, Tell us while you're still alive!!!. No-one from us said a word.
- I don't know!, I didn't hear!, I didn't see! - those were the only words said by their dry lips. Four hours of hearing and torture - from 8:00 a.m till 12:00 noon. No-one said a word.
After the hearing and torture, the 12 young man were lined up two by two.
They left accompanied by the army and police. They even took us - the girls outside. We left accompanied by the sergeant and two agents. As soon as we got outside, we saw our friends on the bridge. They took them up stream the river Luda Mara. The members of the antifascist group from Vatasa gathered at that spot.
Hotness! Tiredness! The agents returned. We - the four girls tried to see our friends, but the road upwards is curved. That is why we could not see them until we reached the top, at Duloro Dovce. The young men were sitting down. Then they were ordered to get up. They were pale and bruised.
My brother Vaso was one of the oldest in the group. It appeared that he felt the danger, and that is why he said: "Sergeant. I will go back to close the inn".
-Your father will close it - answered the Sergeant.
They took us through the narrow track in a row by one, downwards to the river Luda Mara. The young men were walking in front, and then us the girls. One soldier came close to me and whispered: "You will see what will happen now".
-What? - I asked him whispering.
Then an officer came close, yelled something and interrupted the conversation.
-Sit down! - commanded one officer.
We - the four girls were standing aside. Some of our friends were just sitting down. My brother, probably convinced that a catastrophe was about to happen, did not sit down, but he started running towards the river.
-Dime Cekarov and Gerasim Matakov started running after him.
-Shoot! - a command was ordered.
All of the weapons held in the hands of the ten fascists fired. They fired at those who were running and at those who were sitting down. All that could be heard was the sound of shots being fired and the screams of the wounded. The nine young men that were sitting down did not move. Their bodies were filled with bullets. Some ran after the three that were running away. Dime was wounded in the shoulder. The young men continued to run. Then the shooting stopped. The mad killers were returning to the group.
-Would you like to see your brother? - said the commander.
-No, I do not want to see him the way he looks now! - I answered. Then, the Bulgarian police and soldiers stabbed the young men in their hearts and some of them were still showing signs of life. Another thing was left undone - to take their belongings. They took their pocket wallets, hand watches and also other belongings.
On the way back, when we entered the village, the people saw that we were returning without our friends. It was clear what had happened. Instantly we could hear crying from all sides of the village. The fascist killers said: "Here are the girls" - to the head of the village, and one officer ordered me to call my father.
-Lazo, your son was guilty! We killed him and the other boys. Here is your daughter and don't let her go outside.
The whole village was crying everyone even the kids went to the place where the bodies of the twelve young man were. They dug up a trench, because they were threatened not to move the bodies to the village. They buried them and they said their last respects.

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