Extracts from the memoirs of Hristo Shaldev

1. Summary of Memoirs

I was born on 25th December 1876 in the picturesque village Gumendje, located in the beautiful and fertile valley at the eastern base of the Pajak mountains. Gumendje is encircled by vineyards, mulberry trees and a variety of mediterranean and other fruit trees. Its people who are Bulgarian, mainly work in the vineyards or the silkworm industry. Most of  Gumendje's requirements for vegetables, corn and timber are met by the surrounding villages.

Along the "Big River", flowing down the nearby steep valley, are located 18 water mills, including one of a more modern design rebuilt in the 1890s but still, as tor all the others, relying only on natural water energy. Until the 1860s Gumendje had a silk factory owned by a Jewish merchant from Salonika. The factory was subsequently purchased by the citizens and converted into a Bulgarian school. The town also had two other schools and the nunnery "Zogravskia metoh". During the 1880s, after construction of a new Church in the town-center, a new two-story school was built for education of the Bulgarian and Greekophile children. However because the building was owned by the Greek Metropolit from Voden, the school later became exclusively Greek.

Gumendje had two churches, an older one used by the Bulgarians and a newer one frequented by the Greekophiles. There were also three monasteries ("Metochs") Zogravski, Iberski and Bozigrobski - which all owned buildings and land.

Durig the Ottoman era, the Turks referred to Gumendje and the three and nearby villages of Kriva, Baroviza and Zurna Reka, as the "four Wakawski towns", and granted them certain self-governing privileges as well as prohibiting any Turk to live there. In return for these Turkish concessions the towns' people had to supply the Turkish army of the Vardar valley area (1500 cavalry) with overcoats.

During the 19th century the citizens of Gumendje, which is within the Enidjevardar district, were the first to begin the religious struggle against the Greek bishop. Subsequently these activists, which included my grandfather (Risto Shaldev) were often imprisoned in Enidjevardar and Salonika, or other districts. Their release could only be achieved by paying their gaolers large bribes.

The townspeople were both religious and studious, and thus during the period 1850 to 1900 they sent their children to study in Gabrovo, Plovdiv, Salinika, Adrianople (Catholic high-school), Voden, Berne, Athens and Russia. Some of the students graduated from Universities in Bulgaria, Austria and Greece. Included in this list, amongsst others, were Gono Mindoff (Moscow), Tanas Tankoff (Zagreb), Ivan Kandieff (Sofia), Dr Ivan Aleff (Athens) and the author (St. Petersburg).

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Because of Cumendje's productive agriculture yielding two harvests, grapevine and silkworm, and also due to the presence of the Silk factory and the numerous water-mills, the townspeople were in a sunny economic position. Furthermore as the town was far removed from the main thoroughfares, such as Salonika-Veles-Skopje or Salonika-Voden-Bitolia, it served as the commercial centre for all people in the Lower Boimia and Vardar regions. Accordingly this also increased its wealth and the diversity of its social life.

The magnificent landscape of the district have left an lasting impression in my mind and a deep appreciation of everything that I treasure about my country. Moreover the self-governing of the community, the elections of town-councils and mayors, the management of the properties of the church-houses, hotels, vineyards and mulberries by public auctions, the cooperative activities for the overall town maintenance, have imparted a sense of democracy which has been a guiding factor throughout my life.

While my primary and secondary education occurred in Gumendje, at the insistence of my grandfather, I was sent, jointly with two other local hoys to study in a theological college in Istanbul. It was on 17th August 1895, the third day of the Church holiday, when the town fair is visited by many people of the region, that the head teacher of Enidjevardar, Grigor Mokreff, a guest of my uncle (also a teacher), inducted me into the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. In that first political lecture I heard he told me:

Because we, the members of this Organization being Bulgarian, are fighting for an autonomous Macedonia, some prominent officials of the Exarchate and some chorbadjis refer to us as separatists. If our belief in the importance of achieving the freedom of Macedonia is classified by them as separatism, then we accept this charge and its political consequences.

At that time I was in my last year of High-school, but two days later I was bound for Istanbul.

When I reached Istanbul my first concern was to form a Macedonian revolutionary group within the college. Its first devoted members were: Hristo Mancheff from the village Woiniza-Veles district; Spas Zwetkoff from the Resen region later to be a teacher in the Adrianople district; P Deleff Karkaliasheff from the village Bogdanzi-Gevgeliia district; and Milan Jordanoff from Veles. During the Christmas vacation we attempted to raise the patriotic spirit of our classmates in the boarding house by staging the play "The Pretty Bogdanka and the Assassination of the Consuls". We also established a secret library of nationalistic books including the works of Zahari Stoyanoff, Hristo Boteff, Luben Karaveloff, Ivan Vazoff, the newspaper "Justice" and others. These were all purchased from the monies raised by the choir I conducted and which sang at christenings, weddings, masses etc.

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During the following college year 1896/1897 and while rehearsing the stage play "Prince Potemkin", the boarding house's master learnt about the existence of the revolutionary group and the library. The master after consultation and with the approval of the Exarchate, expelled all the group's leaders, which included myself from the college. Accordingly in February 1897 we were all returned to our respective home-towns. Two months later in Salonika, Ivan Nikoloff suggested to me that I frequent his bookshop, which was a meeting place for members of the Organization and a centre for the exchange of correspondence. At that time I was lodging in one of the boarding houses of the Greek ladies Andromacha and Kaliopa, the place where Damian Grueff, the district's school inspector, was also staying. This provided me the opportunity to meet all the members of the Central Committee of the Organization. Shortly afterwards carriers working routes through Malashevo, Struma and the surrounding Salonika area delivered a lithographic machine, sent by Gotze Delcheff from Kiustendil. I carried it to my room, and from there the revolutionary publication "Buntovnik" began to be printed.

It was in June when I and my fellow expelled collegians were asked by the Exarchate to return to Istanbul and take the final examinations. My notice was a telegram delivered by the Salonika Exarchist vicar. Being unsure I asked Dame (Grueff) for advice on whether I should go to Istanbul or stay in Salonika. In reply he said

It is better to work within the legal framework, when that is possible. Therefore you should return to Istanbul to complete your final exams and also to ensure that the Istanbul region is commanded by one of our good men.

The examination was not held in the seminary, but within the school of the church "St Stephan", located in the suburb called "Phener". Afterwards we were requested to enrol as teachers and to state our preference for locations. While his Excellency had promised me an appointment in Gumendje, the existence of a teacher vacancy in Phener caused my actual placement in Istanbul for the next two years.

During the my first year I became a member of the Istanbul Committee. This was also at a time when D Makedonski, the publisher of the newspaper "News", was killed by the Organization's gunmen on orders from the Central Committee. I held a position against such killings for both tactical and humanitarian reasons. Makedonski had promoted a policy through his newspaper of obedience to the Sultan. However after the press publicity concerning the killing, many rank and file members of the Organization were outraged by this incident and angrily accused the Istanbul Committee of complicity.

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The executive committee of the Istanbul Committee assigned me responsibility to coordinate the activities of all the Macedonians living in Istanbul. Most of the Macedonians were involved in the production of dairy products and were scattered throughout the suburbs of this large city, located on the coastline of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. However as I was living in the suburb of Phener, and a singer in the local church to which most of the Macedonians came every Sunday or holiday, I had the opportunity to contact and organize the majority.

During the 1898/99 school year, I was given direct charge of the Committee's activities. With the support of Nano Stoijanoff and many others, our operations spread throughout the whole Istanbul peninsula. Many teachers from the Bulgarian villages along the Blacksea coast and also from Strandja came to us for consultation and advice. However during August the Organization became embroiled in a matter which ultimately caused my departure from Istanbul.

It was after the 15th of August that Ivan Nikoloff, a member of the Central Committee, arrived in Istanbul on route to Sofia. Being a Sunday I went to Pera, the European suburb in Istanbul, to collect the mail. When I returned to Phener the pastor Ivan informed me that Ivan Nikoloff was looking for me. I therefore returned to Pera and met him in the hotel "Macedonia", located near the Galata college. In the evening we went for a walk to the beer-gardens Shishla and Beiolu, then returned to Pera to watch the first act of a stage play in the theatre "Tokatlian". By 11 pm we were back at the hotel where Ivan revealed the reason for his visit. He told me that the Central Committee had made a decision that Bishop Grigori of Bitolia should be killed. I immediately became agitated and thought to myself:

To kill a Bulgarian Bishop, whose appointment (by the Sultan's decree) was realization of the people's hopes and aspirations for thirty years? The Sultan would never issue another decree for a Bulgarian Bishop. And moreover what would be the judgement of the Western World on such an action? No, this should not happen.

I explained all these points to Ivan and asked him:

What possible transgressions of a Bishop could justify such a ruthless act, and furthermore why did you not carry it out in Bitolia or on the way to Istanbul? Why does it have to be in Istanbul the seat of the Bulgarian Exarchate?

Because I did not want it to appear I was refusing an order from the Central Committee, I told Ivan I would carry out the Central Committee's decision once I had received official confirmation in writing. Until then I would have the Bishop placed under constant surveillance. Furthermore I told Ivan I would immediately send a letter to the Central Committee in Salonika, and he indicated he would do the same. When I returned to my home I wrote the letter that night and next morning forwarded it via Austrian post. The following day Ivan Nikoloff departed

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for Sofia. After several days Lubomir Stoicheff (IMRO's messenger) arrived in Istanbul and following discussions between us the conflict between the Organization and the Exarchate was resolved.

Conditions for me in Istanbul steadily deteriorated. It became obvious that I would either have to go "underground" or depart for Bulgaria. However shortly afterwards I learnt about the possibility of obtaining a scholarship to study in Russia, and so I opted for this course of action and journeyed there in 1899.

During my period of study in Russia I organized groups in Kazan, Kiev and Odessa for the specific purpose of promoting the Macedonian liberation cause both verbally and through the press. I also had contact with the Ukraine revolutionaries, and on two separate occasions was permitted to attend their secret congresses held in Poltawa, and on one occasion given the liberty to present a discourse on the Macedonian Question. I still had direct contact with IMRO's Central Committee in Salonika, and in March 1903 we sent them 1100 gold napoleons, the proceeds of a social "Macedonian Evening" attended by the St Petersburg upper class and Russian academics.

Near the end of January 1903 we received a letter stating that an uprising was imminent in Macedonia and all volunteers should make for Sofia. The group from St Petersburg comprising five Macedonian and one Russian (Nikolai Blagowestenski) student, arrived in Sofia near the end of June 1903. The Russian, Nikolai, and I immediately departed for Kiustendil where we joined Dimiter Mirizchieff s band (cheta). We transversed the greater part of the Palanechian region and Nikolai often commented that "we have not seen any Turks at all". At one stage we diverged to Kratovo to meet the 3 bands of N Pushkareff in the mountain valley Maliste, and together we all proceeded to the Skopje district. Thereafter Mirizchieff decided to return to Bulgaria, however Todor Panitza, three others and I, excluding Nikolai, chose to remain and transferred to Pushkareff s band.

After travelling for several nights we arrived in the village Divle (Skopje district) where we delivered munitions and explosives. We then proceeded to the monastery "St George" of Vetren near Veles, and were there when the Ilinden Uprising was announced. Our band immediately entered into two actions: dynamiting the railway line alongside the Vardar river near Novacheni, and attacking the tunnel-bridge complex where the Pchinja and Vardar rivers met. The destruction of the railway line was only partly successful, as just several carriages of a goods-train were derailed. At the tunnel we encountered problems as our men attempting to dynamite the large bridge were observed by the Turks and after a short exchange of gunfire we had to retreat.

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After passing Kojlia, and making for the monastery of Vetren, we fought a continuous running-battle with the Turks until dark, only managing to withdraw towards Divlia under cover of darkness. We then linked up with Bobi Stoicheff s band and moved further north to the high ground of the monastery Gmuresh, where the Turkish army and cavalry encircled our position. This was the most intense engagement of our campaign, lasting some 16 hours from morning to late in the evening. Our casualties however were only one killed and two wounded. The Turks who mounted several major attacks on our positions suffered over one hundred dead and wounded, according to the villagers. During the night we retreated to Divlia, then bypassing the Turk positions headed towards Kratovo and Kumanovo.

We finally arrived at the monastery Pchinia, located in the Kozik mountain range, and here we were well fed and sent the wounded and messengers to Vrania. We intended to destroy the railway line near Diliani, however were told by informants it was under constant surveillance by Turkish calvary. We therefore decided to enter Serbia, which could be achieved without detection by either the Serbian or Turkish border guards. While on Serbian territory one of their border guards politely asked to move further inland so that the Turks would not observe our presence. The two wounded men were admitted to the hospital in Vrania, and we recrossed the Serbian-Bulgarian border near Bosilegrad and camped close to Kiustendil, from where the bands dispersed.

I returned to Sofia where N Pushkareff asked me to assume command of the "Palanechko" cheta in Kiustendil, as its present leader had been wounded. In an action that involved five bands we planned to occupy the "Krivorechka" region. However on crossing the border the large group was observed by the Turks and after two battles we were forced to retreat back across onto Bulgarian territory. Pushkareffs and my band crossed the border again, but were detected near Karamanzi and during this month of October engaged the Turks in our last skirmish of the Ilinden campaign.

It was near the end of October 1903 when we arrived back in St Petersburg, via Kiev, but without our friend Milan Stoicheff - a final year medical student killed near Kochani as a member of Hristo Chernopeev's cheta.

I graduated during the summer of 1905 and departed for Istanbul to secure a position as a teacher. However on arrival in Istanbul harbour I was immediately arrested and imprisoned in the gaol "Bujucksaptie". After about ten days, during which time I was interrogated, I was released on the condition I returned to my hometown.

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The conditions in Gumendje were intolerable. Hilmi Pasha had allowed his local authorities to support the Greek "andartes" in their persecution of the local Bulgarian population. The Turk's accomplices were killing, even in broad daylight, the peasants and townspeople, burning the water mills and destroying the vineyards and mulberry trees. The Bulgarian population of Boima and Vardaria, which covered the land from the Paiak mountain to the walls of Salonika, was so terrorized that the people only ventured outside the settlements to work the fields in large groups.

On 9 October 1905 I received my appointment as a teacher in Adrianople but when I went to Enidjevardar to arrange for a travel permit this was refused. On my way home that evening I met a group of townspeople aroused by the murder of the well known Bulgarian merchant Tano Zarinoff by Greek "andartes" in the marketplace. A meeting was held in the rooms of the old Bulgarian Church and it was decided to organize two protest delegations. The first would approach the Lord-mayor of Enidjevardar to convey the unbearable situation in the town and district caused by the Greek "andartes". The second, and smaller group in which I was included would attempt to meet Hilmi Pasha and the Councils. Receiving the necessary clearance to travel to Adrianople I left without delay.

The political atmosphere in Adrianople was more relaxed, the police force polite, and the movements of the population in the town and villages not so restricted. It was as if Adrianople belonged to a different government. This probably reflected the more conciliatory manner in which the "Valia" (senior Turkish official) enforced Turkish government policy. The conditions for the Bulgarians in Adrianople and surrounding districts contrasted sharply with the unendurable situation I had left in Macedonia.

The Exarchate appointed me to teach the history of Bulgarian literature, a subject I had not specialized in. Accordingly I sought guidance from Professor Jasimirski of St Petersburg. The philologist G Grasheff taught the Bulgarian language in the 4th and 5th grades, while I also had to teach Eastern Orthodox singing to all classes. The Exarchate assigned me to teach literature because of my 300 page thesis "The Spiritual Condition of the Bulgarian during his Bondage under the Turks", which had been highly regarded by Professor Iv Pilmoff and the Academic Council. For the students' final written exam I proposed three titles to the Exarchate: (1)- The Bulgarian Literature during the Century of Simeon. (2)- The Importance of the History of Paiisi for Bulgaria's Revival. (3)- How the Bulgarians living under the Ottoman Empire may be assisted to ensure their Economic and Religious Salvation. The Exarchate chose the latter title. The high-school graduates performed quite well on this topic and the school council jokingly remarked my marking of the papers was almost as extensive as the exam itself.

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With respect to my teaching of Church singing I departed somewhat from that normally expected. When in St Petersburg, and due to the influence of our musician Al Nikoloff, I became taken by the idea of re-establishing Old-Bulgarian singing because of its original religious significance. On this subject I have written several articles published in "The Musical Newspaper" and published in 1916 "Psalm Mass of the Old and New Bulgarian Songs". In this endeavour I was encouraged by some national songs I had heard sung by the people of Lozengrad, which were similar the Old-Bulgarian songs. Accordingly the pupils of the higher grades sang the popular Old-Bulgarian instead of the usual Mass songs. Through the pupils singing in the Churches of the different districts I was able to open a dialogue with the local worshippers and recruit them into the Organization.

The boys high-school "Peter Beron" had eleven staff members. We shared a close existence although we had not known each other previously. Some of my fellow teachers were Peter Alekoff, Peter Andreeff and Stoyan Simeonoff who were also members of the Organization. I also was elected to the committee as the treasurer, the chairman was P Waskoff and the secretary S Simeonoff. Waskoff had been at the school for a considerable time and enjoyed the respect of the whole community. Although by nature he was hot-tempered, he exercised self-control and was very tactful. His areas of expertise were mathematics and physics. Being a moralist who did not drink nor smoke he promoted the concept that committee members should be role models for the community.

After the "Preobrazhenski Uprising" coordination of activities in the Adrianople district, like that for other revolutionary districts, was difficult. Furthermore it was particularly important to organize the East Thracian region as it was not included in the "Mürzsteg reform program". Since the Central Committee had effectively been relocated to Sofia, management of individual districts depended almost entirely on their respective committees. The decisions of the "Rilskia Congress" had not been reported to the districts. Accordingly it became necessary to hold a meeting of the legal and illegal representatives of the district. This occurred during the Christmas vacation and was attended by Waskoff, Boiko Chawdaroff (just arrived in Adrianople) and myself. Chawdaroff, who I met for the first time, impressed me with his intellect and organizational skills. His report confirmed the disorganization within the district and the immediate necessity to correct the situation before further deterioration occurred. Thus it was agreed that the District committee should coordinate the activities of all official and unofficial local committees. Furthermore it was also decided that I would start publication of a revolutionary newsletter. Helped by the primary school teacher, M Maleef, we began to print the newsletter "Struggle" using lithographic equipment hidden in the "Ildaramskata Bulgarian Church". Maleef contributed poetic prose while I prepared the main articles and information using the pseudonym "Lefter". The

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editing of material was performed in the high-school without knowledge of its head, N Waskof. The newsletter was only published thrice, and I believe copies were forwarded by an Adrianople Bulgarian merchant to the Ministry of External Affairs.

I was also given the responsibility of organizing the suburb "Saruk-Magdanskata mahala", situated near the fortifications of Adrianople. According to P Waskoff, the residents of this area were not strong supporters of the Organization. With a number of the older students I started to attend service in the local Church and sing during Sunday service. I managed to convince the members that the finances of the school and Church would benefit by cultivating some land. A number of the younger boys took up this challenge and planted onions, later these same boys became active workers within the Organization.

During the summer holiday period I journeyed to Dedeagach, staying for about three weeks. The committee was in disarray and unfortunately I could not improve the situation. I re-established contact with previous members of the Organization, both merchants and teachers, but they were all very apprehensive.

When I returned to Adrianople the headmaster handed me a letter from the Exarchate which informed me I had been relocated to Skopje. I am not certain of the reasons for this transfer but I suspect that the headmaster had been displeased with production of the newsletter "Struggle" being associated with the high-school. Since East Thrace was not part of the "Mürzsteg reform program" (only Macedonia), perhaps a different strategy was necessary and this should have been considered by the committee after my departure. In Dedeagach, where the Church dignitary was Pastor Nikoloff, the chairman of the local Organization and Boiko Chawdaroff were assassinated during the following summer.

I decided that in Skopje I would maintain a low profile and not join the Organization activities. However after being there less than four weeks a Local committee member informed me that the District committee had ordered that I assume leadership of the Local committee. The other members of this committee were Stephan Petroff, Atanas Jakimoff Albanski, Hristo pop Pandoff (teacher in Kavadartsi) and Jancheff from Shtip who failed to attend a single meeting. The region's voivoda was Mishe Rasvigoroff, who I knew since the 1903 Uprising. During a reconnaissance trip to Shtip, he was killed, or more precisely burnt to death in a house set on fire by the askers. Because of the ongoing harsh oppression of the Bulgarian population by the Turkish administration no investigation was possible, however it was rumoured that Jancheff was involved.

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The organizational network of the district was in chaos and the voivodas nominated from Sofia were not always wisely selected. To destroy the Organization's activities the Turkish government condoned the actions of Serbian "chetnizi" who attacked Bulgarian villages, murdered village officials and demanded that the people swear allegiance to "Patriarch" (Greek) rather than the "Exarch" (Bulgarian). The village militia were constantly engaged in resisting these Serbian forays, which consumed most munition stores. The desperate nature of the predicament necessitated a meeting of representatives from all Local committees in the district. As a result I was delegated to journey to Sofia and secure appropriate material assistance for the district. I arrived in Sofia shortly after D Petkoff was assassinated, and when most Macedonian activists had been arrested or had fled into the countryside. However I made my submission the Minister of External Affairs on the following points: the policy of Hilmi Pasha and his attitude towards Macedonian unity; the cooperative Greek-Serbian military action to control Porechieto, Asot, Struma, Muglen, Lerin and Moril and thereby isolate northwest and southwest Macedonia and destroy the Organization (a plan which was later realized by the Belgrade and Athens governments in the Balkan Wars). Finally I stated that the survival of the Organization was totally dependent on the help of the Bulgarian government. These arguments were accepted and Michail Savoff, the Army Minister informed me that material would be sent to the district through Boris Sarafov.

At the same time (1906) we finally received the new decisions and regulations of the General Congress held at Rila monastery in 1905. However these regulations appeared more applicable for a government and not a clandestine revolutionary organization such as IMRO. Because the new regulations aimed at establishing numerous smaller independent "cells" many voivodas attempted to interfere in the activities of school bodies, commercial grievances and even divorces! In the absence of astute judgement such endeavours would be detrimental to the reputation of the Organization. Resolution of these matters was the domain of local councils or the Metropolit's deputy and not the Organization. Furthermore the new regulations required that a General Congress be held every year, something that failed to eventuate in 1906 and 1907 because of the political situation and the extra independence afforded each district.

All these inadequacies formed the basis of a meeting held by the District committee and which finally decided to

1. re-establish, with modification, the old centralized system.
2. elect a Central Committee located within the territory of IMRO to deter the activities of other separatists.
3. coordinate the activities of the Organization and the Exarchate, each working within its own special realm.

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4. intensify IMRO's activities to secure introduction of the "Mürzsteg reforms" and thereby finally the autonomy of Macedonia.

That summer vacation was spent in Gumendje where I received notice from the Exarchate that I had been dismissed from my teaching position and banned from any position within Exarchist districts. Later I learnt that Hilmi Pasha had decreed that sixty Bulgarian teachers had to be removed from the Ottoman Empire. I went to Sofia where I secured a position as tutor at a Teachers college, which later became the No. III high-school. The military coup in Turkey (Young Turks Revolt-1908) occurred during this period.

I was next offered by H Lafchieff, head of the Exarchist teaching division, a position as manager for all schools in Prilep. I remained there until 1912 when I transferred to the Salonika girls high-school immediately prior to the outbreak of the Balkan War.

A few days before the declaration of hostilities between Bulgaria and the Greece-Serbia alliance (2nd Balkan War-1913), a meeting of all teachers was convened and the impending crisis explained with the strong suggestion that we immediately return to Bulgaria. At this meeting I stated that the Macedonian intelligentsia should stay with its people and we should all face this situation together. The war started on 16 June 1913. After the capitulation of the Bulgarian Salonika garrison, the few remaining teachers, the Archimandrite Evlogi, his secretary Hristo Bostandgieff and the Bulgarian citizens of Salonika were arrested. They, together with prisoners from the whole of Macedonia were placed on ships and exiled in the Greek Islands. My group which comprised some 1000 people was sent to the island Itaki in the "Pontiiskoto More". Together with another 1000 soldiers we remained there until mid November 1903. My internment left an indelible memory of the fact that during all this time we only heard the cursing and swearing of our new masters and not a single word of sympathy. The following translation of a passage written by a Turkish officer is most appropriate:

The Greeks take pride of being the bearers of Christianity in Eastern Europe, but Christian morals and religion have not touched their souls.

After my release from exile, on the pretext that I was migrating to Russia, I immediately journeyed to Bulgaria where my wife and four young daughters joined me one month later.

During the school year 1913/14 I taught at Aitos and in the following year relocated to the high-school in Kiustendil. When WWI started I was mobilized and served in the 5th Macedonian regiment under the command of Boris Dringoff. After WWI I continued my teaching at the girls high-school and later in the Institute for Teachers. At this time the Serbian (Yugoslavian) press started to publish articles suggesting I was responsible for the re-establishment of IMRO in

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Vardar Macedonia. I was relocated to Pazarjik near Plovdiv and later to the No. III high-school in Sofia, where in 1934 I retired after a 34 year teaching career in Macedonia, East Thrace and Bulgaria.

In Sofia, for many years I was secretary of the "Ilinden Organization", editor of the newspaper "Ilinden" and later the magazine "Iliustratsiia Ilinden". For four years I was also editor of the magazine "Geographic Reading Matters" which produced sixty issues of enjoyable reading matter for the people.

I am saddened that I cannot spend the remaining years of my life in Gumendje, and at the same time I am indignant that the youngest generation of Vardar Macedonia has disavowed both the achievements and self-determination of their fathers, grand-fathers and great-grand-fathers and has been misled by the Serbian theories of Professors Novakovic', Cvijic' and Belic'.

Sofia, 18th August 1947.

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