Alcibiades Diamandi or Alcibiadi Diamandi, Alcibiade Diamandi. or Alkiviadis Diamandi (in Greek: Αλκιβιάδης Διαμάντης) (sometimes spelled Diamanti or Diamantis) (August 13, 1893 in Samarina, Greece – July 9, 1948 in Bucharest, Romania) was an Aromanian (Vlach) political figure of Greece, active during the First and Second World Wars in connection with the Italian occupation forces and Romania. By 1942 he fled to Romania and after the end of the Second World War he was sentenced by the Special Traitor's Courts in Greece to death. In Romania jailed by the new Communist government and he died there in 1948.
- 1 From Samarina to Rome via Bucharest
- 2 The Athens years
- 3 2nd Word War: The "Roman Legion" of Diamandi assists the Italian occupation forces while he promotes the idea of Vlach Autonomy
- 4 A Vlach Manifesto in occupied Greece
- 5 Refuge in Romania
- 6 Mysterious Diamandi's incomplete life story
- 7 Terminology
- 8 Bibliography
- 9 References
From Samarina to Rome via Bucharest
Diamandi was born in Samarina (at over 1,600 metres, the village situated at the highest altitude in Greece) to a family of wealthy Aromanian merchants. After attending the Romanian primary school in Samarina, he studied at the Greek Lyceum in Thessaloniki (at that time still part of the Ottoman Empire) and on the eve of the Balkan Wars in 1912 he left (as many other Vlachs of Greece) for Romania, where he enrolled at the Commercial Academy (Academia Comercială) in Bucharest, and graduated from it. As Romania entered World War I in 1916, Diamandi volunteered for military service, briefly serving as officer.
It is not clear whether he was discharged from the Romanian Army or rather dispatched by the Romanians to Albania where, under the Italian and French tutelage (see Birth of Albania), he was one of the supporters of the Vlachs from Pindus who asked from the Italians and the Romanians to support them in an autonomous canton under the protection of Italy. This attempt is called in later bibliography "Principality of the Pindus" and it received a clearly negative answer from the Romanians, as well as from the Italians who promptly withdrew from Pindos. After the withdrawal of the Italians, he became consul of Romania at Sarandë in Albania in 1926. From there he fled to Rome—where he became involved with Benito Mussolini's Fascist political movement. He contacted the Romanian Legation and was issued a Romanian passport, with which he was able to travel to Greece. According to the Greek author Stavros Anthemides, Diamandi was 'pardoned' by the Greek authorities in 1927 for his resistance to Greek authorities.
The Athens years
Shortly after the presumed amnesty, he arrived in Athens as the "vice president of the National Petroleum Company of Romania", as an oil importer. This was coupled with importing lumber from Romania to Greece and some other business ventures. He rented a flat in the fashionable Kolonaki district, and frequented the bars and cafes of Piraeus, where he was involved in a brawl with a Greek navy captain. During the squabble, Diamandi was wounded by a bottle flung in his direction by his adversary, and the resulting scar was used to identify him later on when he was on the run.
Diamandi frequently traveled to Rhodes (which was at the time an Italian possession), managing to attract the attention of the Greek Counter-intelligence Services. It is widely assumed that the Greek government was aware that Diamandi was an undercover Romanian agent who was trying to incite the Aromanians against the Greek state. During Ioannis Metaxas's regime, Diamandi was served with an expulsion order, but he managed to avoid being forced out and continued his activities.
2nd Word War: The "Roman Legion" of Diamandi assists the Italian occupation forces while he promotes the idea of Vlach Autonomy
When the Greco-Italian War started, at the end of October 1940, Diamandi was already in Konitsa on the Albanian-Greek border. The invading Italians offered him the rank of Commendatore, and he served as translator and assistant to the Italian Chief of Staff General Alfredo Guzzoni. After Italy's initial defeat, Diamandi was forced to seek refuge in Tirana (at that time under Italian rule) and re-entered Greece with the Italian armies five months later in the spring of 1941.
This time he discussed a so-called "Autonomous State of the Pindus" (Αυτόνομον Κράτος της Πίνδου) or "Autonomous Vlach State" (Αυτόνομον Βλαχικόν Κράτος) in the territory of Epirus, Thessaly and parts of Macedonia, which was supposed to constitute a "Vlach Homeland". This planned state or canton is sometimes called "Principality of Pindus" (the name used to mainly refer to the events in Pindus in August 1917). Diamandi's deputy and right-hand was the Larissa-based lawyer Nicolaos Matussis, while the third in the hierarchy of the nascent state was Rapoutikas Vassilis.
In June 1941, Diamandi found himself in Grevena and then he went to Metsovo, where he founded the "Party of the Kοutso-Vlach Community" (Κόμμα Κοινότητας Κουτσοβλάχων) which was part of the "Union of Romanian Communities" (Ένωσις Ρουμανικών Κοινοτήτων). A "Vlach Parliament" was summoned in Trikala, but no laws were adopted—since the meeting was mostly for show; the Italians were not keen on sharing power in the region.
A Vlach Manifesto in occupied Greece
On March 1, 1942, Diamandi issued an ample Manifesto which was published in the local press and republished by Stavros Anthemides in 1997 (in his book on the Vlachs of Greece; see bibliography). The Manifesto was co-signed by leading Aromanians (Vlachs) intellectuals such as:
- the lawyer Nicolaos Matussi
- Prof. Dimas Tioutras
- the lawyer Vasilakis Georgios
- the physician Dr. Frangkos Georgios
- the teacher A. Beca
- the businessman Gachi Papas
- the physician Dr. Nikos Mitsibouna
- Prof. Dim. Hatzigogou
- the lawyer A. Kalometros
- the engineer Niko Teleionis
- Vasilis Tsiotzios
- Prof. Kosta Nicoleskou
- Prof. Toli Pasta
- Dim. Tahas
- Prof. Stefanos Kotsios
- Prof. G. Kontoinani
- Dr. Kaloera
- Prof. Toli Hatzi
- Giovani Mertzios of Neveska (whose son Nik. Merztios, in a twist of history, is a well known pro-Greek Vlach author of Greece)
- Pericli Papas
- Prof. Virgiliu Balamace (related to Nick Balamace, currently the Secretary of the 'Society Farsarotul' in the United States)
- ing. S. Pelekis
- K. Pitouli
- the lawyer Toli Hatzis
- Dim. Barba
Two Vlachs of Albania and Bulgaria, Vasilis Vartolis and the Samarina born writer Zicu Araia, also endorsed the Manifesto. In Romania, it was co-signed by the Veria-born George Murnu, a professor at the University of Bucharest. Diamandi travelled to Bucharest shortly after he met Murnu, and together they attended a meeting with the then Leader (Conducător) of Romania Marshal Ion Antonescu, and the Foreign Minister Mihai Antonescu. The status of the Principality of Pindos was discussed.
One option favoured by Diamandi was to put the Principality under the sovereignty of the Romanian Crown (as an associated "free state"). Another option was to link the principality to the ruling Italian House of Savoy. None of these options was to be realised.
Refuge in Romania
Towards the second year of the Italian occupation, guerilla actions broke out in the area, between the Greek Resistance supported by the Allied Forces and the Italo-German side. The chaos that ensued drove Diamandi to leave (either that or he was ordered back) to Romania. Diamandi was arrested by the Romanian Communist Secret Service ”Securitate” on February 21, 1948. He died in the Prefecture of Police in Bucharest some months later supposedly under torture by Soviet Agent Mihail Dulgheru.
Matoussi escaped, first to Athens then to Romania too, while Rapoutikas was shot dead by one of the Greek factions involved in guerilla activities just outside Larissa (the Greeks then tied his corpse on the back a donkey and paraded him through the Vlach villages of the Pindus - this was intended in order to scare the local populace and as a final proof that the so-called Roman Legion had reached its end).
Mysterious Diamandi's incomplete life story
There are many gaps in the biography of the secretive Prince Diamandi, and he is scarcely mentioned in most of the few books that deal with the period. According to the German scholar Dr. Thede Kahl (see bibliography), Diamandi was for a while Kingdom of Romania's Consul in the Albanian port Vlorë just opposite across the strait of the Italian town of Otranto. The Greek historians usually avoid mentioning him altogether, while other scholars who give vague reference to him (such as"Lena Divani". Archived from the original on 2007-08-18. Retrieved 2013-09-24. or Mark Mazower) make sure that they clearly distance themselves from Diamandi hence bestowing upon him apelatives like "extremist" and "shameful", failing to bring to the surface new data or impartial information as to the personality of Diamandi.
Alkiviadis Diamandi is given mention in 1995 by the British author Tim Salmon in his book about the Vlachs of Greece (see bibliography) as follows:
- A pro-Mussolini teacher called Dhiamantis who returned to Samarina during the Occupation and tried to set up a fascist Vlach state the Principality of Pindus. It is possible that the idea of autonomy struck a chord in some nationalistic Vlach breasts but they certainly were not the collaborators he accused them of being.
The author finds the precedents of Diamandi's movement in the Vlachs' desire of separateness, which he sees as a sign of "strength". Other passages of his book emphasize this aspect as well.
- Up to the 1920s the Vlakholoi - the Vlach clan as it were- had been so strong that the government could not really interfere with them. There had been Romanian schools (financed from Romania from around the Treaty of Berlin in 1881 which forced the Turks to cede Thessaly to Greece, drawing the frontier through Metsovo and thus dividing the Greek Vlachdom in Yannina, Thessaloniki and Grevena up until 1940. In fact, there was one in Samarina itself.
- The Legion Diamandi had gathered under his leadership made reference to the Roman Empire's Legio V Macedonica. Chosen for the common belief that Legions were the factors behind the modern-day Romance languages and Latin Europe, the name particularly enhanced the connection with Romania - as the V Legion had spent time in both Macedonia province and Dacia - and presumably complimented Italian Fascism and its claim to Imperial dominance).
- The names of the main institutions and of the Principality itself were given in Greek and, where possible, Romanian. Reference in Aromanian was not available.
- Evangelos Averof-Tositsas, Η πολιτική πλευρά του κουτσοβλαχικού ζητήματος ["The political aspects of the Aromanian question"], Trikala reprint 1992 (1st edition Athens 1948), p. 94
- Stauros A. Papagiannis, Τα παιδιά της λύκαινας. Οι "επίγονοι" της 5ης Ρωμαϊκής Λεγεώνας κατά την διάρκεια της Κατοχής 1941-1944 ["Wolf children. The "descendants" of the 5th Roman Legion during the occupation 1941-1944"], Athens, 1998
- Anthemidis, Axilleas, The Vlachs of Greece. Thessaloniki: Malliaris 1998 (Greek).
- Tim Salmon, Unwritten Places, Athens Lycabettus Press, 1995 (see p. 149 and 215)
- T. J. Winnifrith, The Vlachs: The History of a Balkan People, Palgrave Macmillan, 1987
- Kahl, Thede, Ethnizität und räumliche Verteilung der Aromunen in Südosteuropa, Münstersche geographische Arbeiten, 43, Münster 1999. ISBN 3-9803935-7-7 (see pp. 55–56 on Diamandi)
- Koliopoulos, John, Greece: The Modern Sequel, Hurst 2001
- Herakles & the Swastika: Greek Volunteers in the German Police, Army and & SS 1943-1945, New York 2000
- The Vlachs: a forgotten minority in the Balkans, Birgül Demirtaş-Coşkun, Ankara University. Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies, Frank Cass, 2001, p.24
- The Ethnic Identities of European Minorities: Theory and Case Studies, Brunon Synak, Wydawnictwo Uniw. Gdańskiego, 1995 - Social Science, p. 50
- Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: Ethnic and National Groups Around the World A-Z, James B. Minahan, ABC-CLIO, 2002, p. 178
- After the War was Over: Reconstructing the Family, Nation, and State in Greece, 1943-1960, Mark Mazower, Princeton University Press, 2000, p. 46
- Evenimentele din lunile iulie-august 1917 în regiunea Munţilor Pind – încercare de creare a uneistatalităţi a aromânilor. documente inedite şi mărturii. studiu istoriografic şi arhivistic, Stoica Lascu, Revista Romana de Studii Eurasiatice, Anul III, Nr. 1-2/2007 In 1917 he signed telegrams / letters as Alcibiadi Diamandi and Alcibiade Diamandi
- Σταύρος Παπαγιάννης (Stavros Papayiannis), Τα παιδιά της λύκαινας. Οι "επίγονοι" της 5ης Ρωμαϊκής Λεγεώνας κατά τη διάρκεια της Κατοχής (1941-1944) (The children of the she-wolf...), Εκδόσεις Σοκόλη. ISBN 978-960-7210-71-5, 1999, 2004 (in 1942, in the proclamation of the Vlachs of Lower Balkans, he signed as Al. C. Diamandi)
- Victimele terorii comuniste. Arestaţi, torturaţi, întemniţaţi, ucişi. Dicţionar D-E, Vol.3: Dicţionar D-E, Lucrare revizuită de dr. Mihaela Andreiovici. Editura Maşina de scris, 2002, p. 73 accessed 03/08/2015
- Scoli si biserici romanesti din Peninsula Balcanica Documente (1864-1948), Adina Berciu-Draghicescu, Maria Petre, editura universitatii din bucuresti, 2004, ISBN 973-575-859-8, p. 94, p. 401