Suljov Kosta

(As I knew him among the fighters)

It was September 1947 when the monarcho-fascists with the help of the Americans carried out military operations on Gramos. A few detachments of DAG were operating in Sinjachko so that they could draw the attention of the enemy army. On 12 September the enemy was compelled to hit Sinjachko and after a battle which lasted a whole day, 12 of us partisans moved to Vich. I had the good fortune there to meet Suljo. Until then I had only heard his name but I had not met him.

The enemy held Shestevskata forest, Portata, Glavata and Kalugerica. We had to hold the Bishenska crossing, Bapchor and Lunzer. In precisely these days, the Greek police patrols emerged from the Shestevskata forest, passed along Zherveni and tried to climb Konomladska slope so they could hit us front on. We had to stop them from taking the slope. Suljo took a decision in a minute and explained to us:

"Comrades, if we let them climb the slope they will do us damage and our task is to make sure they do not take even a step forward." And with a pistol in his hand, like an eagle, he set off. With three light machine guns and one light mine launchers he climbed the slope. The enemy fire began to thunder. But Suljo knew what he was doing. We saw him run to the mine launchers and put in a mines. We had only 15 mines, which lasted a few minutes, and that was it. It was not necessary to deceive the enemy. Then with continuous shouts of "Ura!" Suljo reached the top of the slope first. At this point he fought with grenades of which we had only a few. Suljo ordered us to withdraw, while he was the last to stay so that he could look after us while withdrawing. We gathered at the agreed spot. We had none killed; none wounded.

The next day the Greek police patrols set off from Kalugerica and Kula for Turie. They thought they would not find a living soul. They did not know that Suljo during the day is like the eagle and at night time like the wolf. He did not sleep but just thought where the enemy might appear. The companies were arranged so that one could keep an eye on the other. He went from one company to another even though it was still day time and he was as easy to see as a fly in milk. It was as if the cannon ball from the village Maala had been warned; they thundered. Not a second passed without a grenade landing. They were rushing to try and scorch the land to make a place where a partisan would have to be watchful.

Suljo got so close to the Greek police patrols that they began to hop away like hares. They left behind weapons, killed and wounded soldiers and escaped toward Kalugerica. From the nearby hills they heard voices - "Suljo, give them what they are asking for."

The next and last battle was in spring when Gorenci was hit. Yes! That is when it was. The partisans fought in Chereshnica in Suljo's own village. In the street partisan songs were being sung and partisan dances danced. The place bubbled. Suljo danced and sang along with them the song:

"On that Vich mountain

On the Prekopanska plateau…"

That oro was his last. The same day, in the evening, he got closer to the enemy in the Olishkiot monastery. It was preparation - information, couriers, handing out of munitions, stock take of the weapons. Before the sun set, the column was ready for the command to march. Suljo did not stand still - one moment he was at the front, the next he was at the tail; making jokes and smiling he encouraged all the fighters. The march lasted for about two hours. Then we were at the edge of the village and strict measures were put in place. The first ones stopped and the command of the headquarters was passed by whisper from one person to the next, "Comrade Suljo to lead!" not a full minute passed and Suljo was in place. That was it. We entered the village. The fighters neared the schoolhouse, the church and the mosque where the Greek police patrols, MAI and soldiers were entrenched. It was as if the village dogs were also prepared; not one barked. Suljo was between the church and the school. A narrow road was between him and the enemy bunker. In the house he saw a gap and jumped to the enemy bunker and from the window of the school house he shot with his bereta while the Greek police patrol hand bombs fell like a rain from the first and second floors. At once, just as he was ready to throw a hand bomb, they saw him and shot him. He did not manage to throw it. His last words were: "Go on, boys…" Suljo's comrades continued the battle.

The next night enemy bombs did not fall from the school house; instead Greek police patrols were jumping out to save themselves from fire and bullets. Some saved themselves and escaped to Kostur to tell what happened in Gorenci. After that they did not return there.

For his courage and operations Suljo was promoted to the rank of major, posthumous hero.

S Papageorgiu


From: For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters

© 2009

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For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters