Area 14: The fight in South Albania (continued)

  1. Panoramic view of Korçë/Koritza (S/T Collection, Leiden)
  2. Postcard from Major Snellen van Vollenhoven (Dr. J. Koopmans Collection, Amstelveen)
  3. Postal stamp of the military administration in Korçë with the signature of Snellen van Vollenhoven on the back (Dr. J. Koopmans Collection, Amstelveen)
  4. Greek Orthodox cathedral of Korçë/Koritza (S/T Collection, Leiden)

The district of Korçë/Koritza was conquered by Greece in December 1912 (A). In accordance with the Protocol of Florence, the Greek army was supposed to leave the city and the region, however. The expectations had been set high. At the end of February, Major Snellen van Vollenhoven wrote to the Netherlands from Vlorë/Valona (B): “I have been assigned as commander of the healthiest district, Koreza, which is still occupied by the Greeks, but which they, willingly or unwillingly, will have to leave. I look forward to various adventures ….” On 3 March 1914, the Greek military did begin to leave the city. On 5 March, an Albanian gendarmerie corps, led by Snellen van Vollenhoven and Doorman, arrived and placed the city under military administration in the name of the Albanian government. They immediately commissioned an official seal containing the text “Commission de controle provisoire Korca” (Provisional Control Commission Korçë), with an Albanian double-headed eagle in the centre (C). Greek guerrilla fighters repeatedly attacked the city and received support from the Greek Orthodox bishop of Koritza (D). With the help of volunteers, the gendarmerie was initially succesful in repelling them. The reinforcements from Durrës promised by Essad Pasha, however, were noticeable by their absence. On 4 July, Snellen received an ultimatum from a provisional government put together by the comitadjis who asserted that they had come to protect the Christians in the city against rebellious Turks. After three days of battle, Korçë fell and the “ethnic cleansing” began. The Dutch officers were able to escape to Durrës.