“The Angels of Bitola” and “Тhe Flyless Hospital of the Balkans” – Bitola after the end of the First World War

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Bombarded Bitola (Monastir) during WW1

When the doctors arrived in Bitola, the city was “open graveyard”. Wolves and dogs were wandering on nearby hills, digging the shallow graves, and eating the remains. On many places, scattered human remains could be found, and in the villages lived human skeletons, wrapped in rags, surviving by eating roots.

Bitola was full of orphans for which no one knew where they came from, nor how did they managed to survive the war. Many of them occasionally appeared naked in the Red Cross feeding stations, while others were found crumpled in the rubble of their homes, slowly dying of influenza, typhoid or famine. Soldiers and captives returning to their homes were an additional problem with their improperly treated wounds, and among the female population, venereal diseases posed to be a major problem.

„The war has been won; now the peace must be won” was the motto of the American mission and they immediately started with their work.

Мајка со прегладнети деца во Битола за време на Првата светска војна - фото Манаки
Mother with starving children in Bitola during the First World War – photo Manaki

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