Friday marks 80 years since the massacre in the village of Vatasha, Southeastern Macedonia, when 12 young locals were executed by the units  of  the 56. Veles Infantry Regiment of the Fifth Bulgarian Army, in coordination with the police forces. They were commanded by Colonel Lyuben Arsov. The execution was carried out by Captain Boris Zheglov, Lieutenant Boris Kostov, and Sеrgeаnt Petko Oprekov.

The historian Petre Kamchevski explains this event.

“On June 16, 1943 the Vatasha massacre took place, the worst crime (along with the Dabnik slaughter) during the WW2 in Macedonia. Aiming to stifle the huge rise of the Macedonian resistance, and within the large June Offensive, the Bulgarian Fascist occupier  shot 12 young men and boys of age between 15 and 27 years”, Kamcevski, a chronicler of the region of Tikves, said.

The Bulletin of the General Headquarters of the People’s Liberation Army and the Partisan Units of Macedonia of September 1943 notes: “The young people were cut by machinegun bullets, and then stubbed by bayonets, some of them had their hands cut off and the eyes gauged, and all of them were robbed of the valuables they had on them”.

“Large crimes in history, however, don’t go unpunished”, Kamcevskki continues. “The execution squad that carried out the crime, was completely destroyed one year later, on July 12, 1944 by two battalions of the Second Macedonian Strike Brigade near the village of Stramashevo (in the same region). Lieutenant Kostov and the police commander Petko Oprekov were liquidated after the Fascist Bulgaria capitulated. Their command officer, Colonel Lyuben Apostolov was arrested in Bulgaria and transferred to Kavadarci ( city near the site of the massacre), where the People’s Court condemned him to death. The execution was carried out by the inhabitants of the village of Vatasha. The Regional Police Inspector Dimitar Raev and the Secret Police agent Boris Zhuglov were arrested, condemned to death, and executed”, Kamcevski points out.