Prologue

The information contained herein may be very familiar to some of you because you lived it, just as I lived it. It is not, however, familiar to your children or to younger Chereshnitcheni, because they were born after this period. This is why it is important to me and many others to record these events we witnessed before all memories are gone. It is imperative that this part of our history, which is so important to us, not be lost to our descendants.

The object of this endeavor was not to write a great literary work of art. The reader may find instances of errors in grammar, syntax, punctuation, etc. I do not claim to be in the front ranks of the great writers, but merely a chronicler of events that transformed my beautiful and thriving village into a precipitous decline.

The fate of the village of Chereshnitsa is not unique. Many villages and towns in Aegean Macedonia suffered the same fate, and in some instances to an even greater degree. However, I am zeroing in on Chereshnitsa because it is my village, and it is dearest to my heart.

This is my remembrance of these events. Others may have the same or different memories. I cannot speak to that. I can only share what I know and let it become a part of the total remembrance of these events.

So that you will have a better understanding of what I am writing and why, I have given you at the beginning general background information of what was happening in Greece and elsewhere in the world at about that time. Chronology of events is one example. Brief village history and political climate is another. In some instances I even went further back, such as the Illinden uprising against the Ottoman Turks. At times I have included events outside the village of Chereshnitsa so that you will get the whole picture.

You will note throughout the text that references to surnames or family names are made in more than one format. One name is the initial family name, the name that they were born with. The other is the changed name to the Greek format after the Aegean part of  Macedonia came under Greek rule.

My goal is to present events that I witnessed or that I have read, based on available evidence. What I have written may offend some; I can only hope that I offended all equally. I wish to again emphasize that these are my remembrance of the events and therefore any errors in fact or interpretation are mine alone.

The men of the Village, circa 1936: (L to R) Squatting: Dineto Kotoff, Stefo Tsinin, Gileto Bellioff, Dineto Tsinin,, and StefoBartanoff. Standing: Poliak (Name not known), Dineto Pliastoff, Yanko Nikoff in rear, Koleto Pliastoff, Unknown, Elia Popoff, Giri Despin, Kiro Zekoff, Mitcho Mamourino, (the next two are not known), Bouri Mangoff, Unknown, Doneto Todorchin, Itso Stasin, and Koleto Pavloff.