>One of the most disturbing elements of the current war between Russia and the Ukraine is the capture and forced relocation of Ukrainians in the cities and towns of their capture to “filtration camps” inside Russia. They are kept in these camps until some of them are released in an arranged exchange. The rest, mainly the children and adolescents, disappear into Russia and there is little knowledge of where they went and in what numbers they are kept. In Russian, apparently, the verb “to disappear” is a transitive verb.
While the capture and enslavement of foreign nations has been a feature of pre-Biblical times (“By the Rivers of Babylon”, etc.) the capture and disappearance of civilian personnel has risen to an art form in the Soviet Union and carried out in post-Soviet culture by the Russians. Whole populations, like the Crimean Tatars, were forcibly deported to Central Asia and the Gulag by Beria and the NKVD. Other ethnic groups suffered similar fates. These forcible deportations became a key Soviet policy as the Second World War was ending.
However, it was not only the ethnic minorities inside the territory of the Soviet Union who suffered internal exile. The Greek Civil War of 1946-1949 pitted the Greek Communists (‘KKE’) and the newly-formed Cominform against Britain and the US.
British troops entered Greece in October 1944. The British arrived to restore order under the terms of the Lebanon agreement. They found that the communists had won control of the political and military wings of the resistance movements. The Greek Communist Party (KKE) had helped to build a united resistance movement in which the other parties of the left participated. The Greek Civil War was fought from 1946–49 between the Greek government army—backed by Great Britain and the United State and the Democratic Army of Greece –DSE (the military branch of the KKE) with the support of Tito’s Yugoslavia, Albania as well as Bulgaria which had Communist-led governments. Many of the DSE fighters were ex-partisans who had fought against German and Italian occupation forces during the Second World War. The support and intervention by the U.S. Government was crucial.
In March 1947 Harry Truman appeared before Congress and proclaimed the Truman Doctrine; a policy which became the template for U.S. foreign policy in the Cold War world. It stated that to contain communism in Europe and elsewhere the US could and would support any nation with both military and economic aid if its stability was threatened by communism or the Soviet Union. The U.S. sent assistance to Greece under the terms of the Marshall Plan.
The opponents of the Americans and British in Greece were not only the Greek Communists but the forces of the new communist international; the Communist Information Bureau (Cominform). In September 1947 the representatives of the communist parties of Yugoslavia, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Italy, Czechoslovakia, France and the USSR met in Warsaw and formed a new organisation to promote Stalinist control of the non-Soviet parties,
As the British and American forces gradually prevailed in the conflict there was a massive displacement of families in Greece, especially among those tied to the KKE. The KKE announced a program of “Initiative for Child Protection” which was meant to remove the children to safe locations in Eastern Bloc states. They raided villages of northern Greece. Adolescents and children of both genders were abducted en masse, to be transported to training camps in the Eastern Bloc, from whence many were armed, “trained”, and indoctrinated. Approximately 28,000–30,000 children were taken in total. There was a corresponding programme by the right-wing side of the war, notionally headed by Queen Frederica, aimed to capture and “reform” the children of left-wing families. Left- and right-wing forces actively competed during the war over who would capture the children of disputed towns first. Queen Frederica’s camps held around 12,000 children.
Those children abducted by the Greek Communists disappeared among the nations of the Eastern Bloc. Even fifteen years later less than 5,000 captured children had returned to Greece. The appeals for the relief of this lost generation of Greek children were addressed by two resolutions of the United Nations. On November 17, 1948, and also in November 1949, the UN General Assembly passed two resolutions condemning the removal of the Greek children, demanding their return. These and all subsequent UN resolutions were never answered.
That abandonment by the international community is likely to be the fate of the poor Ukrainian child captives.
Book: Dr. Niki Karavasilis, "The Abducted Greek Children of the Communists: Paidomazoma,", Red Dog 2006