On March 4, 1948, "Radio Free Greece" announced that all children under the age of 15 would be evacuated from areas under control of the Provisional Government. The older women were instructed to take the children across the border to Yugoslavia and Albania, while the younger women took to the hills with the partisans. Widows of dead partisans soon became surrogate mothers for the children and assisted them in their journey to the Eastern Bloc. Many people also had their children evacuated By 1948 scores of children had already died from malnutrition, disease and injuries. It is estimated that 8,000 children left the Kastoria area in the ensuing weeks. The children were sorted into groups and made way for the Albanian border. The partisan carers (often young women and men) had to help and support the children as they fled the Civil War.
Thousands of Greek, Bulgarian and Aromanian children were evacuated from the Areas under communist control. Although a United Nations Special Committee on the Balkans (UNSCOB) report confirms that villages with an ethnic Macedonian population were far more willing to let their children be evacuated. They are now known as Децата Бегалци (Decata Begalci) "the Refugee Children" in the Republic of Macedonia and the ethnic Macedonian diaspora. It is estimated that from 28,000 children to 32,000 children were evacuated in the years 1948 and 1949. According to some sources, the majority of the children sent to the Eastern Bloc had an Ethnic Macedonian origin and spoke their native Slav vernacular, but this is disputed by official KKE documents and statements made by political refugees in the years after the evacuation. Exceptions were made for children under the age of two or three who stayed with their mothers while the rest should be evacuated. Many of these children were spread throughout the Eastern Bloc by 1950 there were 5,132 children in Romania, 4,148 in Czechoslovakia, 3,590 in Poland, 2,859 in Hungary and 672 had been evacuated to Bulgaria.
The official Greek position was that these children had been forcibly taken by the Communists to be brought up under a socialist system. The abduction of children is referred to by Greek historians and politicians as the Paedomazoma an allusion to the Ottoman Devşirme.
Read more about this topic: Refugees Of The Greek Civil War
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