While the whole world is paying respect to the Holocaust survivors and by having a memorial day for those who could not survive the atrocities done to them, there are still cases which took place many years ago and are still not addressed. The irony of it is that it happened in the territory of a country which is an EU member today.
Following is a brief summary of the Genocide in Chameria and of the Cham Albanian population, an issue that has not found a solution yet and needs to be addressed.
The history of Genocide in Chameria starts with the establishment of the platform of “Megalo-idea” drafted by the Greek Elite since 1844. This platform became the strategic document of the Greek state for expanding their territories to the detriment of the neighbouring people, especially Albanians. The first massive massacre was carried out by the greek terrorist forces in March of 1913 as soon as Chameria was annexed by Greece.
In carrying out this massacre, the Greek forces assembled in a treacherous way the 72 most distinguished figures of Chameria. They disarmed them and sent them off to the location "Perroi i Selanit" where they were massively massacred. No investigative process was undertaken by the Greek state and no one was sentenced for carrying out this terrorist act. This was the beginning of a wave of horrendous massacres which would follow for the next three coming years on the population of ethnic Albanian minority in Greece (imprisonments. killings of people, stealing of properties and forceful displacement of people etc.).
During the 1920-s the forceful displacements of the autochtonous Albanians in Greece reached the number of 50,000 persons and only from Chameria were 15,000 persons displaced. But the climax of genocide and forceful ethnic cleansing was carried out at the end of Second World War. It was led by the bands of the Greek General Napoleon Zerva whereas within 5-6 days in Paramithia and the surrounding villages they beheaded and massacred and killed over 600 women, old people and children. As the Greek historian N. Ziangkou stresses "… all the captured people went through the knife…" - meaning were butchered. Nobody was spared, not even the sick and the children.
From June 1944 till 1945 more than 800 people were killed and massacred in Paramithia, 1288 in Filat, 626 persons in Margellic and Parga and 192 persons in Gumenica. All over Chameria more than 2900 innocent people were killed out of which 214 women, 128 children (out of which 32 were under the age of three). Many women were raped and 78 others were abducted. On the way to Albania more than 2400 persons disappeared. The total number of people who were killed and disappeared is 5277 persons. 68 towns and villages were destroyed, 5800 houses were burnt down and cult and cultural objects (over 80 mosques) were razed down to the ground. Sheep, corn, olive oil, and other assets were appropriated and taken away.
This was the catastrophe on the Albanian minority, which the Greek state does not want to accept for as long as they do not ask for public apology and right the wrong done to this population.
INSTITUTE OF CHAMERIA STUDIES