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Title: Violence, resistance and collaboration in a Greek borderland: the case of the Muslim Chams of Epirus
Authors: Tsoutsoumpis, Spyros
Keywords: EpirusThesprotiaChamsSecond World WarviolenceEpiroTesproziaSeconda guerra mondialeviolenza
Issue Date: Dec-2015
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Spyros Tsoutsoumpis, "Violence, resistance and collaboration in a Greek borderland: the case of the Muslim Chams of Epirus", in "Qualestoria. Rivista di storia contemporanea. Anno XLIII, 2, Dicembre 2015. Collaborazionismi, guerre civili e resistenze", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2015, pp. 119-138
The ethnic infighting that took place in Thesprotia between the Greek and Albanian communities
during the Axis occupation has been described as a forgotten conflict. Indeed, until recently,
the only existing studies were those of local «organic» intellectuals who argued that the Albanian
Muslim minority collaborated collectively first with the Italian and then with the German
occupiers in the hope that an Axis victory would lead to the eventual creation of a Greater Albanian
state. The article will challenge these views and argue that the conflict was shaped by local
issues and antagonisms that predated the war and were often unrelated to nationalist agendas.
Politics were used by local actors of all nationalities as a means of expressing local differences;
however, the root of the conflict must be sought in communal relations. Both the victims and
the perpetrators knew each other, shared common cultural codes and often had longstanding
grievances. But this was not a parochial conflict waged between pre-modern peasants. Violence
became possible solely as a result of the war and the presence of supra-local actors – the Resistance
organisations, the Axis militaries and the British Military Mission – who gave peasants
the opportunity and means by which to settle their differences. The presence of these groups
served to nationalise the ongoing local struggles and led ultimately to an escalation of violence,
resulting in the bloody stand-off that took place in the summer of 1944.
Type: Article
ISSN: 0393-6082
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internazionale
Appears in Collections:Qualestoria. Rivista di storia contemporanea. Anno XLIII, 2, Dicembre 2015

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