You consider me 'a good Bulgarian and a man of strong character and will'. You also point out that I bear the name of a fighter for Macedonian national liberation who died the death of a hero. Allow me then to be honest with you and with the general, whom I thank very much for the greetings he sent.
I came to you at a time when the movement you head is facing a historic stage in its further development: the time when Macedonia, torn apart and cut up into pieces, is more than ever surrounded by a world of enemies; when the glorious heroic liberation movement of the Macedonians, which has manifested so much 'strength and tenacity, firm will and unbreakable revolutionary energy', despite its mistakes, is isolated and lonely, and for this reason (surely you can see it!) - is exposed to the hourly danger of being destroyed by the united international and Balkan imperialist reaction; a time, finally, when the organization and its members are encircled by a dense network of malicious intrigues and blackmail with the help of which united reaction is trying to divert the organization from its only possible road of further action for liberation -the joint struggle of all oppressed peoples under imperialist domination.
I came and made you a concrete and clear proposition: to start negotiations here on the spot, with the full knowledge of the current situation and the concrete needs and balance of forces, on the basis of supporting the real struggle for national liberation of Macedonia further, of eliminating the dangerous isolation of the Organization and establishing contacts between it and the Soviet Union and all other inter-Balkan and international forces, which are the sole stronghold and guarantee of the people fighting for free Macedonia in the present age of hard struggles against imperialist Balkan and international . reaction. That is what I myself proposed to you. I also proposed the mediation of some of my comrades in settling the temporary misunderstandings between us. I considered and continue to consider this as an honest 'extending of a fraternal hand'.
What was said in Vienna and elsewhere, what negotiations took place, what manifestoes were written, signed, published, etc., I did not and do not know. For the present time, we can leave this sadly ridiculous story aside because imperialist reaction is on the alert: it will not forgive anybody who dares disturb its order and peace. It is working hard and may soon attack where its strike is least expected and from the direction from which it is least expected - an attack on the IMRO by united Bulgarian, Serbian and Romanian imperialism under the supreme auspices of Entente capital. Danger is imminent! Look out, leaders of the Macedonians fighting for freedom and prosperity! You are facing a historic responsibility!
None of those who address you through me wants to undermine the foundations of your noble cause. On the contrary. International and Balkan reaction is placing a mine under your revolutionary cause; if you waste only a little more time, it will be detonated, and you will face the tragic dilemma of either 'diverting the Macedonian national movement from its natural course which has been marked by the blood of the best sons of the Macedonian people' and turning it into an obedient tool of imperialist strife and competition, or of taking the path which I have outlined above, but under much more difficult conditions. and with much more bloodshed and sacrifices. Nobody speaks of or expects adventures, 'youthful fancies' or 'extremely dangerous leaps'. On the contrary, being fully aware of the great responsibility which they bear to the masses and history, the comrades want the negotiations, the adopted decisions and the future joint struggle in conformity with the concrete conditions and possibilities to be prepared in such a way as to ensure a 90-95 per cent chance of final and decisive success. However, this preparation and these percentages will be the result of the unification of all the people's forces against international and Balkan imperialist reaction which is already uniting.
This is what I think and suggest, which allows me to repeat once again that I am fulfilling the behest of my dead father.
August 7, 1925 With best wishes,
K. A. Yankov
P.S. My comrades are looking forward to a definite answer to these concrete propositions. Please send the answer through the same channel, and if you accept the proposition, fix the place and time of the first meeting. If you need further explanations and preliminary talks, I am ready to meet you in person. I am sending a clipping with a report about the solidarity established between the Croatian Agrarian Party and Radich on the question of Moscow.
The Macedonian Revolutionary Organization was founded in 1893 by Gotse Delchev, Pere Toshev, Damyan Grouev, Dr Hristo Tatarchev, Peter Poparsov and Gyorche Petrov.
The aims which the founders of the Revolutionary Organization set themselves were the conquest of political freedom and autonomous rule of Macedonia under the protection of the Great Powers.
They started their work by endeavouring to draw into the ranks of the Organization, above all, the intelligentsia, the teachers, the priests and the artisans in the towns. Since the latter were more alert than the rest of the population, it was easier to win them over to the cause of the Organization. They formed local groups and organizations. The people enthusiastically welcomed their initiative.
Organization began to work among the Bulgarian population in Macedonia
among the entire Bulgaria population, but only among that part of
belonged to the Bulgarian Exarchate; it
did not trust the Bulgarian non-Exarchists, i.e. Patriarchists, the
and the Protestants. As far as revolutionary activity among the other
nationalities went - Turks, Albanians, Wallachians, Greeks - this
not arise for the founders of the Organization. The leaders of the
were afraid lest the Organization fail at the very beginning and thus
for a long time the idea of the revolutionary struggle, if they started
among all nationalities in Macedonia. And this fear was well founded,
there existed great distrust among the different nationalities which
Art. 1. The Macedonian Bulgarian women, irrespective of where they live shall organize in societies with the following aim:
a) to protect their own nationality and that of their children from Serbian, Greek and any other assimilation;
b) always to keep intact their own love and that of their relatives for the dismembered and enslaved homeland.
Art. 2. Any literate Bulgarian Macedonian woman of age - a girl or a mother, who holds her nationality dear, and is able to keep a secret, can become a member of the Secret Cultural Educational Organization.
Art. 3. When joining the Organization each member shall take the following vow:
I swear in the name of God and the Homeland, in my honesty and conscience, to work for the preservation of our Bulgarian nationality in Macedonia under Greek and Serbian rule.
I swear to accept each member as my own sister and help her to the best of my ability whenever necessary.
I swear to fulfill the provisions of this Statute, and also the orders of the leading bodies of our Cultural Educational Organization.
I swear to keep secret everything connected with this organization.
If I violate this vow, let me be punished by God, despised by my sister members and expelled from their society.
Art. 4. In every inhabited place the Macedonian Bulgarian women shall organize in societies consisting of seven members. The members of these societies shall call each other sisters.
The organizer of each society shall be its teacher and leader.
Art. 5. Three members in an inhabited place can found a society.
The society is complete with the admission of new members, each candidate being recommended by one sister and supported by another two sisters.
Art. 6. When a society is completed, each of its members may form another incomplete or complete society according to Art. 5.
Art. 7. The first society founded in a given town shall be the main one in this town and all other societies in the town and the district shall be subordinated to it.
Art. 8. The main societies in the towns of a district shall be subordinated to the main society in the district town.
Art. 9. The main societies in Bitolya, Skopje and Soloun shall be the central ones. All district societies in the former Bitolya sanjak, including those which, at present, are under Greek domination, shall be subordinated to the Bitolya Main Society; all district societies in the former Skopje sanjak shall be subordinated to the Skopje Main Society, and all societies in the former Soloun, Syar, and Drama sanjaks - to the Soloun Main Society.
Art. 10. Each member should be an exemplary daughter, wife and mother. She should serve as an example of patriotism, modesty, honesty, industriousness.
Art. 11. Each member should promote all other Macedonian Bulgarian women's consciousness and sense of belonging to the Bulgarian people.
Art. 12. Each member should do her best to educate her own and the other Bulgarian children in a national spirit, insisting on Bulgarian being spoken at home - the local dialect or the literary language.
Art. 13. Each member should by all possible means resist the attempts at Serbian and Greek assimilation of children and of the younger generations in general. For this purpose, the members should teach the children to read and write Bulgarian and shall disseminate primers, readers and appropriate children's books. They should tell the children folk tales and teach them to sing Bulgarian folk and other songs, as well as to recite poems by Bulgarian poets.
Art. 14. The members should tell children about events of the Bulgarian Church and revolutionary struggles, and also about the deeds, merits and suffering of the outstanding local Church and revolutionary workers.
Art. 15. The girl members should not marry Greeks or Serbians, and in the event of a their marrying a man of any nationality other than Bulgarian, they should bring up their children as Bulgarians.
All members should exert their influence on Macedonian women not to marry foreigners.
Art. 16. Each member should preserve the national customs and rituals,
such as those for Christmas and New Year, Epiphany, Shrovetide, Easter, St George's Day, Midsummer Day, engagement and wedding ceremonies, birthday and christening rituals, funeral ceremonies, etc.
By preserving the national way of life the Bulgarian nationality has managed to survive five centuries of political and spiritual domination.
Art. 17. Each member should campaign in the villages for the preservation of the national costumes and for the rejection of any foreign influence, especially Greek and Serbian.
Art. 18. Each member should fulfill any order of her sister teacher relating to the preservation of our Bulgarian nationality.
Art. 19. The sister teacher and leader shall have the following obligations in addition to those valid for all members:
a) to call together the sisters subordinated to her at least twice a month and always when it is necessary so that the latter can inform her about the work they have done, and decide how to eliminate the obstacles they have met in their work;
b) to lecture on Bulgarian history, especially from the National Revival onwards;
c) to familiarize her sister members with the work and merits of outstanding Macedonian women in the struggle for Bulgarian churches and schools and in the struggles for liberation;
d) to settle any disagreement between members, and to maintain an atmosphere of comradeship and sisterly love;
e) in general, to help her sister members with advice and action, and to make them better serve the Bulgarian nationality;
f) with her behaviour and devoted work for the Bulgarian cause, the teacher and leader should try to arouse the pride of her fellow townswomen, and to instill in each of them the feeling of pride of their being good Bulgarians.
The Bulgarian mothers, wives and daughters deserve a place of honour in our history. Let us be worthy of the Macedonian Bulgarian women of the past!
The Regular Annual Congress of the united Macedonian emigrant organizations in Bulgaria at its meeting on February 16, 1925, examined the situation of the Macedonian population under Greek rule.
The Congress noted the following:
1. The Athens government not only tolerates, but implicitly encourages the terror exercised by small and big rulers over the Bulgarian, Wallachian and Albanian populations with the purpose of forcing them to emigrate. The fact that Lieutenant Doxakis, who killed 19 Bulgarians near the village of Turlis, Drama district, in July last year, has been sentenced to 15 days detention for not fulfilling the order of his superiors to take the arrested men to Syar - with no charge brought against him for the massacre — this fact speaks of the mentality not only of the military and administrative authorities but also of the judiciary in Greece.
2. Mr. Politis, representative of the Greek Government at the fifth session of the League of Nations, signed the protocol on the protection of the Bulgarian minority in Macedonia only in order to avoid the public discussion of the Turlis massacre and other acts of violence. This is proved by the fact that the Greek government did nothing for the application of this protocol, and even rejected it 4 months later, on the basis of a vote in Parliament.
3. The motive with which the government of the Greek Republic justified its renunciation of the Protocol, i.e. that the protection of national minorities is envisaged by the Lausanne Peace Treaty and that this is quite sufficient, does not sustain criticism.
After the conclusion of the Lausanne Peace Treaty tens of thousands of Bulgarians were driven by force out of Macedonia, many innocent people were maltreated, arrested without any grounds and killed after this treaty was signed.
The Congress decided:
It asks the League of Nations to assume the role assigned to it by the treaties on the basis of which it was founded, and take the national minorities in Macedonia under Greek rule under its strong protection, to put a stop to the process of driving the local population out of their homes and estates only because they are not Greeks and allow the Macedonian intelligentsia in exile — priests, school teachers, lawyers, physicians and all other people, who were forced to emigrate, to return to their homeland; to return to the Bulgarian and other non-Greek communities their churches, schools and charitable establishments, and in general, to ensure the application of all clauses for protection of national minorities by an International Commission as envisaged by the Geneva protocol, which was signed by the Greek Commissioner for the Bulgarians in Greece, and by the Bulgarian Commissioner for the Greeks in Bulgaria.
Nobody can envisage what the consequences would be if the Bulgarian families in Macedonia, who have been inhabiting that land for 14 centuries, continue to be driven daily out of Greek territory, because there is no worse adviser than despair. By informing the Secretariat of the League of Nations, the Congress of the Macedonian Emigrants in Bulgaria divests itself of all responsibility for the future.
The Regular Annual Congress of the united Macedonian emigrant organizations in Bulgaria, at its meeting on February 16, 1925, examined the situation of the population in Macedonia under Serbian rule, and established the following:
1. The Belgrade government continues to pursue an oppressive policy towards the local Bulgarian, Turkish, Albanian and Wallachian populations in Macedonia, and the greatest terror is exercised against the Bulgarians, because they are the main target of the Serbian denationalization policy.
2. In order to stifle all free manifestation of the national consciousness and feelings of the Macedonian Bulgarians, the Serbian government exercises terror not only through the organs of military and administrative power, but also through the violence practiced with impunity by various bandits, robbers and degraded individuals holding state jobs.
3. With the same aim of
local Macedonian population, the
The Congress decided:
1. It appeals to the
of Nations to send an impartial international commission to hold an
2. It asks the League of Nations, by virtue of the treaties by which it was founded and by virtue of the rights embodied in those treaties, to compel the Belgrade government to apply the clauses on protection of national minorities on the territory of Yugoslavia, signed by its own representatives in Saint-Germain. The objection of the Belgrade Government that there are no Bulgarians in Macedonia, that the Macedonian Slavs are Serbs or without a definite nationality is ridiculous: this is contrary to scholarship and reality. The Bulgarians in Macedonia have been living there for 14 centuries. When the Serbs conquered the northern part of Macedonia there they found a Bulgarian culture which was better developed than the Serbian in Serbia proper. We demand that the schools and churches be returned to the Bulgarian population in Macedonia, that the exiled priests, teachers, physicians, lawyers and others be Remitted to go back to their homeland; that the forbidden Bulgarian script and culture be restored - in short, we demand the application of the clauses envisaged in the treaties for protection of national minorities.
3. The Congress requests that the League of Nations send its organs to Macedonia under Serbian rule, and supervise the application of the above-mentioned clauses on national minorities.
The present situation in Macedonia is fraught with danger and the Annual Regular Congress of the Macedonian emigrants in Bulgaria, reporting this to the Secretariat of the League of Nations, which is called upon to safeguard peace in the world on the basis of the treaties, divests itself of any further responsibility.
The Regular Annual Congress of the united Macedonian emigrant organizations, which was held from February 14 to 17, 1925, representing the opinions and wishes of over 300,000 Macedonian refugees in Bulgaria, asks the governments of the victorious Great Powers:
1. To exert their strong influence on Serbia and Greece so that the latter would sincerely and faithfully apply the treaties on the protection of national minorities with regard to the Bulgarians in Macedonia under Greek and Serbian rule.
2. Considering that today more than in the past the Balkan Peninsula is a powder keg which has, on many occasions, started fires spreading far beyond their boundaries and even in the whole of Europe, the Congress asks the governments of the victorious Great Powers to prepare and impose through diplomatic channels the unification of Macedonia, now arbitrarily divided between Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria, and to make it a self-governing political entity, because only such a solution of the Macedonian question would result in a lasting peace in the Balkan Peninsula and in the rest of Europe.
working for justice in international relations and peace on earth. The Regular Annual Congress of the united Macedonian emigrant organizations in Bulgaria, which took place from February 14 to 17, 1925, representing over 300,000 exiles from their native land, having established that the terror of the aggressor countries - Serbia and Greece, is being intensified in Macedonia, calls on you, our fellow champions of national self-determination, of political freedom for the oppressed and a lasting peace on earth, to raise your noble voice in support of unfortunate Macedonia, which has on many occasions given proof of its staunch national consciousness and unbreakable will for independent political and cultural life. In reply to those who are oppressing and slandering us, who question or deny our national consciousness and our political aspirations, you may confidently demand the carrying out of a plebiscite among the native inhabitants of Macedonia, provided the freedom of the people's vote is guaranteed. We are ready to defer to its results.
Such a plebiscite, to the results of which both the oppressed and the oppressors would submit, will put an end to the friction which endangers peace in the Balkans, and will spare much precious human blood.
The Regular Annual Congress of the united Macedonian emigrant organizations in Bulgaria, which was held from February 14 to 17, 1925, taking into account the present situation in the Balkan Peninsula, six years after the second division of Macedonia between Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria, noted the following:
1. Although victors, the Serbian and Greek peoples are today far worse off than before the wars.
2. The violence perpetrated by one people upon another has always been the source of revolutions and wars, and consequently of bloodshed, poverty and suffering.
1. Appeals to the Greek and Serbian peoples to call on their governments to be just in their treatment of foreign elements,, because power is something relative, and if it is allowed to dominate over law, the fate of all small peoples will be unenviable.
2. Appeals to the Greek and Serbian non-chauvinist intelligentsia to disseminate the idea of a Balkan Federation among their peoples, with united Macedonia as a member enjoying equal rights in it, so that all Balkan peoples may have equal rights and freedoms and be able to develop their material and spiritual culture to the utmost.
The Regular Annual Congress of the united Macedonian emigrant organizations in Bulgaria, which took place from February 14 to 17, 1925, taking into account the fact that the Greek and Serbian oppressors in Macedonia every day resort to still more terrible and inhuman methods of government in order to wipe out or drive the Bulgarian population out of the country, while outside the country they bribe special people as tools to falsify scholarship on Macedonia, and to justify the domination of Greeks and Serbs over this land which is foreign to them, decided:
Thanking the friends of Macedonia for everything which they have done up till now, to defend its just cause, it asks them to continue to raise their voice as authoritative scholars and public figures in order to expose the slander and fabrications and to highlight the truth about the national character and political aspirations of our land, at the same time condemning the bloody regime of oppression and extermination which reigns in Macedonia today before the European factors of peace and humanity.
The Regular Annual Congress of the united Macedonian emigrant organizations in Bulgaria, which took place from February 14 to 17, 1925, was pleased to note that:
1. The Macedonian exiles in America are increasingly strengthening and rallying the ranks of their organization, in order to make it able to express the material and moral aspirations of the Macedonian slaves.
2. Rallied in a strong union they have been upholding the cause of their ill-fated homeland ever more energetically and more worthily before the American public.
3. Being aware of the need of unification of the efforts and harmonization of the activities of all Macedonians, they have made commendable efforts, most auspicious for the outcome of our struggle, to strengthen their contacts with us, who are more numerous and nearer the homeland, and to support our undertakings both with fraternal sympathy and financial help.
The Congress decided:
It calls passionately upon its Macedonian brothers in America to hold high the banner of unity and cohesion in the name of the freedom of our homeland; to keep intact and further promote their contacts with us, and to coordinate their activities with ours because it is only the concerted efforts of all Macedonian patriots that can guarantee the freedom of their homeland.
The Regular Annual Congress of the united Macedonian emigrant organizations in Bulgaria, which took place from February 14 to 17, 1925, noted with regret that the Bulgarian government, represented by the respective ministers, has not accorded an appropriate reception to the representatives of the emigration, and has neither heard them with due attention, nor has it devoted sufficient care to the question of the satisfactory settlement of the refugees.
In all fairness, the Congress deems it its duty to thank the government for the temporary settlement of the wretched Bulgarian refugees from Macedonia in the severe winter, though these arrangements could have been made earlier.
However, the question of the refugees is far from being solved by this temporary settlement.
Both state and national interests, not to mention the duty of humanity oblige the Bulgarian government to spare no efforts in providing housing, land and agricultural implements for the peasant refugees, and houses and credits for the craftsmen, because only in this way can they and their children be saved for the nation and be useful citizens of the state. The law passed about refugees would remain only on paper if credits for its implementation are not ensured and the appropriate organs are not entrusted with its strict fulfillment.
The Congress asks the Bulgarian government to heed the voice of the emigrants, whose will is expressed by the National Committee.
The Regular Annual Congress of the united Macedonian emigrant organizations in Bulgaria, which took place from February 14 to 17, 1925, learnt with regret from N. K's report that a large number of the Macedonian emigrants have not joined the ranks of the united societies and brotherhoods and that another part of them, though a small one, have devoted themselves exclusively to the service of various political parties. The cause of the liberation of Macedonia is so great and noble that it demands the concerted efforts of all people for its realization - rich and poor, old and young, illiterate and intellectuals, men and women.
It should be placed above all parties in Bulgaria; it would gratefully accept the support of any social grouping, but if any grouping were to use it as an instrument for achieving its party political aims, that grouping would be committing a heinous crime.
The Congress considers that as a citizen of this country each Macedonian refugee may have his own political convictions and belong to one or another party, but as a member of our organization he is only a Macedonian, and should serve only Macedonia.
The Congress established that in their activity some emigrant organizations go beyond the provisions of their statutes and trespass on spheres of work that are not properly theirs. In order to achieve unity and harmony of action it is desirable for each organization to keep within the limits of the special tasks which it has set itself. The united Macedonian emigrant organization which consists of the societies and brotherhoods in Bulgaria, is common for all and open to all Macedonians. According to its composition and its statutes, it should remain the only emigrant organization which expresses the political aspirations of the emigrants.
In the name of the martyrdom of our dismembered and enslaved homeland, the Congress appeals to all Macedonian emigrants in Bulgaria to join their local societies and brotherhoods and to rally round under the banner of our organization, which is also the banner of Macedonia.
The Regular Congress of the Macedonian emigrant organizations in Bulgaria, which took place from February 14 to 17, 1925, noting with genuine joy and pride the growth of the Macedonian Youth Union in the country and the cultural and patriotic activity of the young people organized in it, who are making their worthy contribution to the liberation cause of their fathers and elder brothers, unanimously decided:
1. It warmly greets the organized Macedonian youth and its cultural and educational cause.
2. It wishes the Union still more successful development and wise activity for the welfare of the homeland.
3. It calls upon the unorganized Macedonian youth to join the firm ranks of the Macedonian Youth Cultural and Educational Organizations, as well as on all Macedonian fathers and mothers to encourage the participation of their children in the above-mentioned organizations, which preserve and promote the Macedonian youthful spirit.
4. To oblige all brotherhoods to protect the development of the Macedonian Youth Organizations with all possible means and to preserve inviolable the unity within the ranks of these organizations, being invariably guided, in their relations with these organizations, by the latter's statutes and Congress decisions.
Long live the militant Macedonian youth - our mainstay and hope for the bright future of our people!
Long live free Macedonia!
The Regular Congress of the Macedonian emigrant organizations in Bulgaria, which took place from February 14 to 17, 1925, noting with great pleasure that at the beginning of this year the Macedonian students abroad organized a Macedonian Students' Union to protect the land's cultural heritage from foreign encroachment and to be its loyal guard in defending its noble, freedom-loving aspirations, unanimously decided:
1. Enthusiastically to greet the cultural and patriotic cause of the organized Macedonian students.
2. To wish the Union strength and rapid progress of the cause of our cruelly wronged homeland.
3. To appeal to all Macedonian students abroad to organize and rally under the banner of the Macedonian Students' Union, because only in this way can they fulfill their duty to the ravished and humiliated Macedonian homeland 4. The organized Macedonian emigrants in Bulgaria will by all possible means support the enthusiastic honest and wise service of Macedonian students abroad, at the altar of the enslaved homeland.
Long live the Macedonian Students' Union for the cause and future of militant and free Macedonia!
In conclusion I should like to ask you about your opinion of the Greek 'ABC', i.e. of the new attempt of the Greek pedagogues to create a Macedonian-Bulgarian primer. No matter how poor and unpractical this primer is, is not this a confession, a proof of the Greeks' admission of the wrong, done to our country after 1913?
Isn't this ABC a proof that it is not possible to stifle the Macedonian consciousness and to change the way of life, the language and culture of the Macedonian Bulgarian? We, Macedonians in the New World, shall not be surprised if one day we hear the news that you, Serbs, have also started to work out something like the Greek ABC. Sooner or later, this will be your first step to the confession that a Macedonian cannot become a Serb. I say, that this will happen, because time and the Macedonian resistance and struggle will compel you to do it.
Two facts should be considered if the truth about Serbian educational policy in Macedonia is to be understood: 1. that the Serbian schools and all other cultural and educational establishments have as their primary aim the denationalization and Serbianization of the Macedonian population, which is admitted also by Prof. D. Stanoevic in his article 'Radic and Our Universities', published in the newspaper Politika of December 19, 1925, and 2. that honest and good teachers are not sent to Macedonia and do not go there despite the great extra pay which they are offered.
The vast majority of teachers appointed at our schools are lechers, drunkards, good-for-nothings and Russian counter-revolutionaries. The latter, who can also be assigned to the first three categories, are the most dangerous for the pupils because of their servile behaviour to the headmasters and because of their weak character. The few honest and able teachers who come by chance to Macedonia, are either moved immediately to another job, or fall in with the low standards of their colleagues. A large number of teachers are sent here as punishment for dissolute habits and immoral actions. And here they give rein to their unbridled conduct and dissipation. We had such a typical case in Veles, where the headmaster of the high school, S. Simic, tried to rape a school girl who had gone to his office on business. A great noise was made in the press about this shameful act, and that made the Belgrade authorities send an inspector to look into the case. The inspector from the Ministry arrived in Veles, spent a few days there, and then he departed. Some time later a royal decree was issued, according to which S. Simic, until then deputy headmaster, was promoted to first-class headmaster!
Everybody knows that the teachers drink heavily, and very often they go to school drunk or with a hangover. This is what a pupil told us:
'It is a common occurrence to have a teacher drunk in class. The moment he enters the classroom he begins to swear, then he sits down at his desk and falls asleep. The period ends, the bell rings for a break, but there is nobody to dismiss us as the teacher sleeps like a log. At last the pupil on duty decides to wake him, and he swears at us and drives us out of the room.'
The headmasters and the other spineless teachers consistently try to corrupt the pupils and recruit informers and spies from among them, who are to keep watch on their comrades and report to the headmaster. These unscrupulous 'enlighteners' even use the pupils to fight their political enemies, as was the case with the notorious Simic, who made the pupils testify against a young man from Veles whom he detested, and the latter was brought to court and charged under the law for the protection of the state. Naturally, this blackmail was brought to light also thanks to the pupils who refused to commit perjury before the court, and revealed the whole baseness of this framed-up charge. It also came to light in court how they had been forced to give false evidence. Some of the pupils were made to repeat the class for their daring, others passed with a supplementary examination and all were given poor conduct marks.
The Serbian conquerors use a variety of methods to achieve their aim - the Serbianization of the Macedonian population, and its young people in particular. I shall mention those that are practised most widely. Above all, a revolting Serbian chauvinistic atmosphere is being created and maintained at the schools. The pupils are forbidden to think and speak in their mother tongue, to receive letters in it (let alone write in it), to read books other than Serbian; every opportunity is used to extol the Serbian spirit and to abuse and humiliate everything Bulgarian; Serbian culture, military strength and courage are being constantly praised; the study of scientific subjects and modern languages is neglected, and at their expense, the heads of the pupils are filled for hours with the Serbian language, Serbian literature, history and geography. The natural sciences are not studied at all. The same applies to general history and foreign literature, with the exception of the brief study of Croatian literature. And whatever has to do with anything national Serbian is studied in the greatest detail, for four years in the senior classes. Long incomprehensible epics and poems are learned by heart, the heads of the young people are filled with innumerable facts and names which they will never need, while the most important events of world history and the most significant natural phenomena remain unknown and incomprehensible to them. The subjects given the pupils for home and class work are disgusting in their unscrupulous tendentiousness.
The Macedonian pupil has to think and write about Kaimakchalan, the role of Southern Serbia in the unification of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, facts about Serbian culture in Macedonia, Slivnitsa, etc., and that is done in such a way as to please the teacher. In his school activities the pupil is denied all independence, initiative or means of self-expression; he becomes an apathetic creature who would enter life as a good-for-nothing, or at best, a servile job hunter if he does not learn something outside school and if he does not develop.
Excursions are usually organized for the pupils to various parts of Yugoslavia where the young Macedonians are lavishly treated. Two years ago a group of pupils from Shtip were entertained by the King himself in Belgrade, though afterwards some Serbians of pure blood expressed their indignation in the press that the children spoke 'pure Bulgarian', which was an expression of awful ingratitude.
The Serbian chauvinists set up various sports clubs, football and other sports clubs, make the pupils give concerts, shows, etc., and the disgusting demoralizing tendency of Serbianization is manifest everywhere.
Naturally, the Serbian
teachers do not always choose the means which would achieve their aims.
of achieving something, they very often make fools of themselves, and
even the most manageable pupils with their methods. A characteristic
the speech of the high school teacher A. Lazarevic, which he often
his students: 'You are Macedonians and want to have an independent
don't you? What you deserve is machine guns and bullets rather than
constitutions. Casting pearls before swine is the same as giving you
life. We will not give up Macedonia. We will never leave this place,
though we feel as if we were at the front during the war.' Such talk
produces the opposite result to what is desired...
RADOVISH. From No. 11 of Feb. 10, 1926. Towards one o'clock on the same day we reached the Skopje railway station where the train stops for about half an hour. During that time several sweepers and a Serbian attendant came into our carriage and the attendant ordered them to sweep the carriage. As I had run out of cigarettes, I asked in Bulgarian one of the sweepers whether I could buy some at the station. One of the sweepers offered to buy me cigarettes as soon as he heard me speak in Bulgarian, paying no attention to the threats of the attendant who was in charge. From this I gathered that this sweeper was a pure Bulgarian whose heart started beating faster when he heard Bulgarian speech and he eagerly began to speak in Bulgarian...
The news of my arrival in Radovish from Shtip by car spread immediately and people thronged into the house to bid me welcome. Only a detached observer can describe the enthusiasm with which the townfolk greeted my arrival there. This joy of the citizens gave me even greater courage to start my work. My first concern was to introduce myself to Milan Nikolov, Chief Constable of the district. His wife was from Radovish and was an acquaintance of my wife's. This made it easier for me to be received by the district constable and stay longer in Radovish. On the same day I paid a visit to the military commander who was a lieutenant, and the local chief of the gendarmerie, who was a captain. The district constable received me on the third day after Christmas.
During the three Christmas holidays I paid visits to many of my fellow-citizens and was greatly moved to see them. When I heard their speech, when I saw their children and heard that they too spoke the same language as their parents, when I saw their enthusiasm and their hopes for an early liberation, I often couldn't help weeping for joy.
Immediately upon my arrival three despicable creatures - all of them local people - were assigned to spy on me. They were Yosif Kolev, son of the Turkish bailiff, Pepo and SLAVE TOUSHANOV. The townspeople, however, warned me from the start about their mission.
The village population has kept up its morale better than the townspeople, although at first glance it seems more servile than the citizens.
From all my conversations, observations and investigations I conclude the following:
I. The primary objective of the Serbian authorities is the denationalization of the population. They employ the following means to achieve this end:
a) they lavish enormous funds on spying, bribery and enlisting the support of influential Bulgarians;
b) they woo the more influential Bulgarians who are not keen on organizational work;
c) they woo the local intelligentsia and endeavour to gain control over the émigré intelligentsia;
d) they show off. Everything of better quality has been sent to Macedonia: well-dressed officers and soldiers, well groomed horses, well-paid and rabidly chauvinistic officials, exclusively Serbs or Montenegrins, etc., etc.;
e) they crack down on any manifestation of Bulgarian spirit without being too nice about the means: arrests, convictions, beatings, fines, etc.;
f) they strengthen the 'Oudrouzhenie’ (Societies) Against the Bulgarian Rebels;
g) they strengthen the anti-cheta units;
h) they open cultural establishments.
II. Firmness and national awareness of the local population who believe in a brighter future.
III. Preserved language, customs and manners.
IV. A certain decline among the adolescents who are susceptible to the negative influence of the authorities through debauchery, spying, gambling,
V. The need to keep in mind the state of consciousness from an organizational point of view.
1. To ensure that in each town there be an experienced person entrusted with the task of maintaining the national awareness of the population and of constantly recruiting fellow-workers to keep up the national spirit in the countryside.
2. To spare no efforts in our work among the youth, using young people as channels of influence.
On my way back I stayed for three days in Shtip, where I found a higher level of national awareness than in Radovish. Everywhere the population speaks Bulgarian. Serbian is spoken only at the cafes, visited by Serbian officers and officials. In spite of the fact that there are quite a few officers and officials in Shtip the population has remained impervious to their influence. I found an opportunity to meet patriotic Bulgarians whose names I will not mention and from whom I learned that the village population, too (with the exception of the peasants of Burlev Chiflik), has the same patriotic spirit and national awareness as the townsfolk. 'Open our breasts and you will see "Bulgaria" written inside' - such were the eloquent words of these patriotic citizens. I was asked: 'What are the prospects for an early liberation?' I told them that Bulgaria and our men who are at the head of the Organization have not forgotten them, but that they should have patience because, as they knew, the Great War had ended in a disaster for Bulgaria, many territories had been detached from her - Tsaribrod, Bossilegrad, Dobroudja, etc., and at first Bulgaria was unable to raise her voice, whereas the clouds were beginning to clear now and Bulgaria's voice was now being heeded in the League of Nations, etc. At that point one of the townsmen took off his hat and said: 'Even if Bulgaria were to become as small as my hat, we would find comfort in the fact that her name would still be glorified. Danger would threaten when her name would no longer be glorified and then we, Macedonians, would be doomed to extinction.' These words spoken by the man I had been talking to were very strong and I realized how great was his love for Bulgaria.
Here, as in Radovish, all their cultural establishments are stagnating. Most active in the Oudrouzhenie (Society) Against the Bulgarian Bandits are Mihalche Kalamatiev and Tsiklev. The former is considered to be the chairman of this Oudrouzhenie (Society) for the entire region of Bregalnitsa. The people of the town believe Kalamatiev to be more dangerous than S. Mishev.
Kalamatiev has been touring the villages and in a speech at a meeting of peasants has urged them to renounce any national consciousness. His speeches at Sveti Nikole have been particularly remarkable.
While I was still there I learned that Kalamatiev and Tsiklev had been dismissed from the leadership of the Oudrouzhenie (Society); an official announcement about this was expected from Belgrade. Their dismissal was received with great relief on the part of the townspeople. I shall give a report personally about the reasons for the dismissals. I met Kalamatiev and talked with him just at the time of his dismissal which accounted for the look of anxiety on his face. He avoided discussing political questions. I met the Zupan (governor) of the district of Bregalnitsa who is an educated, clever and cunning policeman. To his question about life in Bulgaria, I told him that it was all right. He wanted to find out whether there were again assassinations as before. I told him that everything was normal. I asked him about his opinion of a rapprochement between Bulgaria and Serbia. He answered outright that this would be hard to achieve, mainly because of Macedonia. The Bulgarians say,' he went on, 'that even if Macedonia does not become ours, then at least - here he paused and I continued: - 'it should have autonomy.' At this he sighed and went on: 'Yes, yes, Mr. ..., autonomous Macedonia; but we see everywhere your 30-year-long influence and we not only see it but we feel it as well. Let us, too, remain in Macedonia for 30 years, if we could hold out all that time, and then we may talk about plebiscites and autonomy for Macedonia.' In this respect he cited as an example France's refusal to hold a plebiscite in Alsace and Lorraine, as suggested by Germany, because the population of these provinces, although French, had been Germanized under Germany's influence.
VELES. When I entered the town the shops were closed because the St Sava Day was being celebrated. The people of the town were strolling along the streets in large groups. I remained with the impression that the population here was more freedom-loving than that of Shtip. In the evening the men, women and children of the town were strolling along the right bank of the Vardar and they spoke only in Bulgarian. I spoke to many friends and acquaintances in Veles who quite imprudently talked to me in Bulgarian. They took me to the 'Zagreb' cafe, a large modern establishment. There they told me: 'Look around yourself. We are all Bulgarians here. There is not a single Serb. The Serbs have been ordered to keep away from us like goats from sheep and have been compelled to go to the "Belgrade" cafe only.' In fact, to my great surprise, I did not see a single Serb and I felt as though I was in Bulgaria. I questioned them about their conditions, about the way they felt under the new government, etc., and received the same answer from everybody: 'The Serbs fear us and we have imposed our will on them in all respects, but there is one thing to be regretted: the young have got into bad ways - debauchery, drunkenness and gambling.' I asked them not to neglect these young people and to advise them to give up these vices. I recommended the setting up of temperance societies and in general, to keep in touch with the young and to exert beneficial influence upon them.
From what I saw in Veles I can say that the population there is on a much higher level than even the Shtip population.
GEVGELI. From No. 44 of June 30, 1927. After an exchange of greetings my uncle, father of Hristo, a Serbianized young man, said: 'Whatever happened, happened at our expense; they come wearing sandals and they leave with top hats.' His son Hristo, the Serbianized, came, too, and very politely invited me. He helped me through the registration formalities and in the legalization of my stay in Gevgeli. The only thing I was not allowed to do was to wear the cockade of my railwayman's cap. I met the people who had been recommended to me, I gave the password the Old Man told me and they received me very kindly. They told me that the population was behaving very well but there was a great deal of terror, especially in the villages. Formerly, before the old anti-rebel unit which consisted entirely of Serbs, was disbanded, life in the town had also been full of danger.
On June 10 Tosho Mitov took me to Palyosha at the butcher's. Tosho told me that three or four days before Easter a congress had been held in the village of Palyurtsi, chaired by the governor of Bitolya and attended by all the more prominent farmers. The aim of the congress was to discuss ways of fighting the Bulgarian 'bandits'. Various opinions had been put forward, none of which had been endorsed by the governor. The opinion of one Turk was adopted: 'We can fight them as soon as arms are issued to us.' At the end they posed for a photo but many tried to conceal their identity and did not want to have their picture taken.
On St Saviour's Day there was a fair in town, so I had the opportunity to meet many peasants from the countryside. Among the other acquaintances I saw Georgi Ikonomov, aged 24, from the village of Kovanets, who had been sentenced to death for giving shelter to rebels and had been later pardoned. He is now chief of the militia in his village and remains a good Bulgarian. I saw again Palyosha and he showed me where he had been wounded. The King had given him a cigarette case as a present and had told him that he could kill all those, whom he suspected, but he did not harm anyone, although he knew the people who had given shelter to Ivan Markov: the brothers of Georgi Hadjimitrov, Hristo I. Angov, Letter Komitkin, Tosho Mitov and Lazar Kostov.
I also met Lazar Kostov and Lefter Komitkin, both good Bulgarians. Lefter advised me that when chetas are sent, they should ask for the cooperation of the more prominent people such as Mitov, Nakov, etc., and, as for himself, he said he was ready at any moment. I also visited the village of Bogoroditsa where I met acquaintances of mine. Kolyo Doichinov, a Hellenized man, used to get Dnevnik newspaper from Soloun every week.
In the village of Stoyakovo I met a priest who had once been Hellenized and who had told me: 'Good evening! Why, you, lost chickens, you've scattered'! I answered him: 'Well, Father, God willing, we might gather again as soon as you come to your senses.'
The National Representative for the Gevgeli district is Anton Beshirov, a Serbianized man from Gevgeli. All people in the town are praising him and Palyosha. The town had been preserved thanks to these two men. Pure Macedonian is spoken everywhere. Old Bulgarian revolutionary songs are sung in the town.
BITOLYA. From No. 3 of December 20, 1926. There are four national societies: SRNAO, ORUNA, HANAO and MANAO, which were set up first in Serbia and thereafter in Macedonia.
1. SRNAO stands for the initials of the Serbian National Organization. It does not admit members from any other nationality or race. It is a strictly confidential national society, or party. Its main goal is to preserve morale and educate people in the nationalistic spirit of great Serbia.
2. - ORUNA stands for the initials of Organization of Yugoslav Nationalists. This organization is set up on a federative basis and endeavours to bring writings closer together and to win equal rights by legal, constitutional means. Since the membership of this society was drawn from all nationalities -Croats, Slovenes, Dalmatians, Bosnians, Herzegovinians and Macedonians -the Serbs began to grow apprehensive of this union of nationalities and that is why they disbanded it and set up another, purely Serbian one, under the same name. Offended by that, the Croats set up their own Croat National Society - HANAO - in opposition to ORUNA; The membership of HANAO is exclusively Croatian and the organization itself exists only within Croatia. I hear that the two organizations - SRNAO and HANAO - are in sharp conflict.
MANAO is the Moslem National Organization, founded in Bosnia by soma Moslems in order to uphold the national Moslem spirit among the Bosnians.
PRILEP. From No. 91 of January 27, 1927. The Chema Ruka (Black Hand) organization does not exist in the town, nor does any other Serbian nationalistic organization; it is rumoured, however, that there is a secret branch of the Natsionalna Otbrana (National Defence) organization.
The national spirit has been preserved both among the urban and the rural population. Young and old alike consider themselves Bulgarian, speak Bulgarian and sing only Bulgarian folk and patriotic songs. There is absolutely nothing Serbian with the exception of some Serbian words which have been diligently avoided recently. All folk customs have been preserved. The memories of the past are alive, the names of the fighters who fell in the struggle are mentioned with tenderness. Nothing has been forgotten; on the contrary, the' stupendous struggles for Macedonia's liberation seem to be standing out in bolder relief in their consciousness. Out of the holidays only the day of the Saints Cyril and Methodius is solemnly celebrated, but not in the same way as formerly. The Serbians are trying to impose the most ceremonious celebration of St Sava's Day as a national holiday, but people take no part in the festivities and the Bulgarians deride this holiday. There are no educational organizations. There are only nationalistic Sokol (Falcon) sports and football organizations. The membership of the Sokol organization consists of both Bulgarians and Serbians, while there are two football organizations - 'Macedonia' - consisting only of Bulgarians, and 'Yugoslavia' - consisting only of Serbian officials and officers.
There is no Omladina (Youth) society.
The IMRO has a great fascination for the population. All are living with the memories of the past and strongly believe that the IMRO will continue the struggle and will be ultimately successful.
The members of the IMRO, i.e. its former functionaries, keep up their spirit. Some rural leaders cannot reconcile themselves with the present situation and conversations on such topics bring tears of sadness... Former leaders have seldom yielded to the Serbs, but the rest of them have grown old.
Neither the school, nor the army are in a position to ensure the Serbian assimilation. As soon as the child gets out of school and enters the marketplace, the Serbian language is already forgotten; the same is true of the soldier when he leaves the barracks. At the beginning he may gabble some Serbian, but afterwards, because of the derision on the part of the other young people, he leaves off Serbian and resumes speaking Bulgarian. At night the urban population turns in very early; the pubs are not frequented by Bulgarians. Only those trusted by the police - the drunkards and merry-makers - are free at night. There is also a variety bar where Serbian singers perform, but it is frequented only by Serbs and some degraded Bulgarians. Generally speaking, high morality has been preserved.
The population hates the Serbs; it lives with the hope of better days. Serbian newspapers are only read when they carry something about Bulgaria or about the Macedonian question. The population is greatly depressed when Bulgaria is mentioned in unfavourable terms. All good news from Bulgaria gladden and all bad news hurt them. At present people are particularly well aware of the bad situation in Serbia and this brings them great joy. Their hope rests with the IMRO. Families have Bulgarian books and read them, while Bulgarian newspapers seldom arrive. The newspaper of the IMRO is distributed among them from time to time.
OHRID. From No. 5, January 27, 1927. The clerks are usually Serbs and when Serbs are lacking, Bulgarians are also appointed. They endeavour to establish close contacts with the population, but the overwhelming majority are alien in their sentiments and keep apart; however, some have already been influenced. The population is perfectly aware that it is treated as a conquered people and for the officials Macedonia is California, as people put it. Corruption among the officials is widespread, but there are also people who serve the pan-Serbian idea and thus cannot be corrupted. All the important and responsible administrative posts are held by Serbs who are also propagandizers of the pan-Serbian idea. Particularly useful are the Bulgarian officials, in whom the population sees its defenders.
MAKEDONETS. Outside the school all factors operate along three lines.
1. To compel the population to say that it is Serbian by forcing all officially to call themselves Serbs. However, those who have been influenced are few -the majority remain good Bulgarians and Ohrid can be justly said to have remained a bastion of the Bulgarian spirit. If anyone dares ask to be registered in the proper official documents as a Bulgarian, he is persecuted.
2. To convince the intelligent and more alert Bulgarians that they belong to a special Macedonian nationality, without being either Serbs or Bulgarians, but they are not influenced even by that. In actual fact, many Bulgarians formally say: we are 'Macedonians', but this statement is meant for the Serbs and the Macedonians who are not trusted. Many of those who are not familiar with history, innocently believe in this and agree to say that they are Macedonians -neither Bulgarians, nor Serbs, without realizing that the Wallachians and Greeks, the Jews and the Albanians are also Macedonians, but all of them are not Macedonians by nationality and remain Greeks, Wallachians, Turks, Jews, Albanians, etc.
3. Those who cannot be forced to renounce the fact that they are Bulgarians are required at least not to demonstrate their Bulgarian nationality, because officially they have been registered as Serbs and the Serbs have tried to influence in a better way such stubborn intelligent Bulgarians, telling them that no one forbids them to call themselves Bulgarians, but that they should not set a bad example in this way to those, at least, who do not feel themselves Bulgarians and encourage them to call themselves Bulgarians, too. They have been told that they cannot allow the question of the minorities to be raised from within.
All have been forced to add the ending 'ich' after their Bulgarian surname because the characteristic 'ov' of the Bulgarians remains; but from a psychological viewpoint this is dangerous because the population gets used to being called 'ich', the national awareness is gradually dwindling, and people begin to grow indifferent to their nationality. It is sufficient for the Serbs first to blunt the Bulgarian national awareness and to make Bulgarians indifferent to this feeling and then to work for the cultivation in their souls of a Serbian national awareness, too. No matter how little success has been achieved along this line as well, this is still a success for the Serbs.
Before the Macedonian population the Serbs claim that the Macedonian dialect is a Serbian and not a Bulgarian dialect, but the population mocks this, particularly the older people who say that if our dialect was Serbian and not Bulgarian, why then don't we understand the Serbs but understand very well when a Bulgarian of Old Bulgaria talks to us?
The Serbian officials deliberately allow their children to speak the local dialect because in this process the Bulgarian children, too, learn some Serbian words and thus start speaking in a Serbo-Bulgarian language. The Serbs consider this, too, a success, while the population is pleased that the Serbian children speak Bulgarian, without perceiving in this the danger that their children have also learnt without noticing it some Serbian words and use them even in their conversations with their parents.
Even the teachers do not forbid the pupils to speak the local dialect during breaks; initially they are even satisfied when the children begin to use only a few Serbian words to enrich their vocabulary and to show off before their parents that they know more. Children gradually find it easier to explain some purely scientific school subject in Serbian. And the Serbian words, used by children, gradually infiltrate the speech of their parents as well. Precisely here the greatest enemy of the Bulgarian spirit is time.
In their desire to present the Macedonian dialect as a Serbian dialect, the Serbs take as an example individual Serbian words, which are also used by the Macedonian population and are not current in Bulgaria, e.g. koukya (house), etc. with other examples confusing the minds of many people.
The Serbians do not allow the use of the literary Bulgarian language and the population, even the intelligentsia, is afraid to speak in it; when someone speaks it people gladly listen, but there will always be someone reminding you: adapt your language lest you are punished by the Serbs. Under such an oppression literary Bulgarian is rarely heard. Even good Bulgarians will remind you that you should say 'God help you', instead of 'Good morning'. Serbian, however, is patiently listened to.
The Serbs try to introduce Serbian customs but the population resists them and keeps its own customs. Failing in this undertaking, whenever there is a similarity between the local Bulgarian customs and the Serbian ones, the Serbs proclaim these customs to be Serbian rather than Bulgarian, just as the Macedonians were Serbs. Thus, for instance, the population had a service for 'Slava' (an ethnographic custom) in the same way as the Serbs, therefore it is allegedly Serbian. However, there is a difference between the Serbian 'Slava' and the 'Slava' festivity in Macedonia; but precisely here things are becoming mixed up and under the influence of the Serbian 'Slava' people begin to treat for 'Slava' and to say: we have SLAVA. However insignificant that success may be, the Serbs nevertheless avail themselves of such little successes. The Serbs are also beginning to mark some local saints of the people, e.g. the Saints Cyril and Methodius, whose Day has only recently started to be celebrated, but the population notices that change and gives it its own interpretation.
The Serbs tolerate the singing of Bulgarian folk and revolutionary songs and the population sings them with pleasure; the Serbs think that in time these songs will be forgotten and replaced by Serbian songs, particularly by the younger generations. Although seldom, young people also sing Serbian songs.
Most of the Serbs are convinced that the Macedonians are Serbs and that the Macedonian population calls itself Bulgarian due to the Bulgarian propaganda, because this has been instilled in them both at school and everywhere else. Therefore they wonder when you talk to them about Tsar Samuil,, about Basil Bulgaroctonus, about Paissi, the Patriarchate of Ohrid, the Miladinov brothers, G. Purlichev, etc. They are most uneasy when Serbian scholars, who have recognized the Macedonian population to be Bulgarian, are mentioned. That is why work should continue along this line even among the Serbs themselves.
The Serbs call even the Mohammedan population Serbs of another religious creed; however, this does not make them less desirous of deporting the Turks.
The TERROR, perpetrated by the Serbs, is very brutal, the population is very frightened and does not dare resort to overt underground struggle, although there are enough people ready to launch it. If, however, the official recognition by the Serbian authorities of some people's right officially) to call themselves Bulgarian could be won, the question of the legal struggle for the recognition of the Bulgarian nationality would be very easy.
In any case, we should overcome the fear from the open struggle (1) for national rights; (2) for the abolition of the ending 'ich'; (3) openly and officially to call themselves Bulgarians, and (4) to have their own schools and churches. These rights have been guaranteed by the Serbian Constitution (Statutes), by the penal law and by the treaty on the minorities.
The authorities and the Serbs show particular patience and tactfulness in Serbianizing the population. In many cases they openly say that they do not expect particular results from the old generation, but the growing generations were theirs. They foretell the Macedonian Bulgarians the fate of the Morava Bulgarians. A Morava Bulgarian has told a citizen of Ohrid that his fellow citizens would grow accustomed to the Serbian name like them. The Serbs' patience, tactfulness and the diverse measures, taken by them to assimilate the population, have made a strong impression. And yet their influence is weak, BUT IT DOES EXIST. The population is looking for a way out of this situation.
Everything is aimed at annihilating the Bulgarian spirit: by the end of 1918, after the demobilization, about 800 people from Ohrid and the district were interned. Despite the severe measures the population's spirit is high and few have yielded to Serbian influence.
The following measures should be taken to increase the national influence: (these measures have been explained by the man, who provided the reporter with information).
The following societies exist in the town of Ohrid: hunters', sports, temperance, schoolchildren's, Adriatic guard, the Mutual aid, St Clement society to make the town more beautiful, and a women's charity society. These societies have been founded at the instigation of the authorities. There is a local propaganda committee in the town and the district, headed by the district governor, which is in charge of the persecution of the IMRO.
TIKVESH region, from No. 34, February 3, 1927. The songs about the fighters Dobri Daskalov and Pepo Samardjiev who perished are still sung to this day and their names are still revered.
KOSTOUR, from No. 4, February 1, 1927. The people above 25 live with the hope of better days, but this question seems to be non-existent for the youth. The national holidays are not celebrated. The past glorious deeds and heroic exploits are only commented in whisper and in intimate talks and meetings. The Bulgarian language is not persecuted as earlier; Bulgarian speech can be heard as before at the markets in Kostour, Hroupishta and elsewhere. Out of school and at play children freely speak their mother tongue. Two or three years ago the teachers brutally punished every child who would dare speak Bulgarian even in the street. Here and there in the villages, where there are younger teachers, something like teams for sports' exercises have been organized among the pupils. Folk songs are dying out. The old ones have been forgotten and there is no one to compose new ones.
KRATOVO, from No. 110, February 17, 1927. Vanche Venza Alimounov, former organization leader, is Chairman of the Oudrouzhenie (Society) against the Bulgarian Rebels; Mite Vakov, who boasted that last summer he had been to Bulgaria with a passport, is vice-chairman and secret agent; Vanche Gligorov, a merchant, is the Society's treasurer; he is well disposed towards the IMRO; Dimiter Andon Popov, a grocer, is its secretary, also well disposed towards the IMRO.
The peasants are hostile to the IMRO and that is why when a cheta is discovered and they are called to join, they run like wild beasts.
RESEN, from No. 1, February 26, 1927. The population has overcome its fear and is speaking everywhere in its mother tongue. Bulgarian songs are sung during visits and at weddings.
LERIN, from No. 10, March 14, 1927. The population has a high spirit and every day awaits the liberation of Macedonia by the movement for autonomy, which is much talked about, even in Greek circles. Bulgarian is invariably spoken at the market; particularly in the villages, where Bulgarian songs are sung; even the Greek refugees have learnt Bulgarian and speak it with the local Bulgarians.
The population cannot organize festivities as in the good old days when, for instance, horos were danced, songs were sung, etc.; all this is now gone.
On February 22, the Greeks handed out declarations in the villages by which they made everyone declare under oath whether he was Bulgarian or Greek; those, who said they were Bulgarians, were arrested and beaten.
On May 29, 1927 two Serbian secret police agents followed Dimiter Gyuzelev, born in Doiran, a student of philosophy at the faculty there, from the post office to his home, pointed their revolvers at him, arrested him, and took him to prison. At his lodgings they found a copy of a Macedonian Bulgarian newspaper published abroad, scholarly literature and prose in Bulgarian. That was enough for them to subject the poor student to inhuman torture in order to force from him a confession as to whether he took part in the dissemination of Bulgarian newspapers and other publications. Several times Dimiter Gyuzelev was taken home on a stretcher and in a closed car as he was unable to move as a result of the brutal torture he was subjected to in order to make him say what he had hidden and where. At the beginning of June 1927 all Bulgarian Macedonian students in Zagreb and Ljubljana were arrested and then freed after a prolonged interrogation and a search of their lodgings, because nothing compromising was found there. However, in the middle of June and in August the three police authorities carried out more indiscriminate arrests of Macedonian students in Belgrade, Zagreb, Skopje, Bitolya, Shtip and Veles. According to some sources, 40 students have been detained, and all are imprisoned in Skopje. The police, the prosecution and the press say nothing about what they are charged with. Let us mention several other cases to show the ways in which the Serbian authorities treat the young Macedonian students in the Skopje prison. Boris Andreev, bom in Veles, a student of veterinary medicine in Zagreb, was subjected to these kinds of torture: he was beaten up until he lost consciousness, needles were driven under his nails, etc., which we mentioned in our appeal of June this year. In addition, his chest and arms were burnt with hot iron, and during the night he was taken out of town and threatened with murder in front of an open grave, in order to give the evidence which the police needed. Kiril Vangelov, pharmacist, and Kiril Dimov from Shtip, lost their minds from the beatings. Toma Petrov from Skopje, a law student in Belgrade, is on his deathbed as a result of the tortures he endured. Being aware of the horrible tortures which awaited him, if he was caught, Todor Popyordanov from Kochani, a student of medicine in Belgrade, threw himself under the fast train at Zemlino station when he learned that he was wanted by the police.
You know that after our homeland was conquered, the Serbian authorities expelled all Bulgarian teachers, priests, bishops, physicians, lawyers and journalists who were born and lived in Macedonia, in order to Serbianize the Macedonian Bulgarians more easily. The Serbian authorities believed that by exercising physical terror against the older people, imposing a barrack-room discipline and severity on the younger people, and disseminating deceptions among school children, they would manage, in the course of 10 to 15 years, to make the Macedonian Bulgarians Serbian. They relied to a great extent on the schools in their hopes and were confident that the children would leave school imbued with the Serbian spirit. Serbian chauvinism, which was thwarted in its expectations, is now taking its victims from among those who have preserved their national consciousness despite going through all the assimilation efforts of the Serbian schools and university.
Being aware that the right of national self-determination is an intrinsic part of the spiritual life of every individual, and that as early as the 18th century human conscience condemned the inquisition methods of legal prosecution and punishment, we ask you to defend our fellow students, who were arrested and tortured by the Serbian authorities, in the way you think most appropriate, and to raise your voice in protest against this encroachment on the most essential and inalienable rights and freedoms of the individual and citizen.
Things in Macedonia cannot be measured by European standards, because they cannot be applied there. I personally have always considered that a great mistake is made by those people, who after a few weeks of stay in a country, and especially if they do not know the local language well, think that they know everything that they need to know in order to have an idea of the country, and especially of the nature of the political situation there, and even immediately to express their firm and fixed opinions. This great error is very often committed by people from Central Europe in connection with the beautiful land of Macedonia. Different people who have traveled throughout Macedonia write books in which there are no descriptions of their impressions and experiences, but already a fixed and complete conception according to their investigations. A conception, which, of course, due to lack of knowledge of the local language, is based only on superficial phenomena, or on chance exchanges of opinion with chance interpreters, and not on a full knowledge of what is really the case.
I hoped to avoid this mistake, and I declared in advance in Berlin to my Bulgarian-Macedonian friends that I would make a trip through Macedonia only when I had an interpreter with whom I could make myself understood with a few words. And so it happened that I had the opportunity to travel throughout Macedonia quite well and without any drawbacks.
Macedonia is a country populated by pure Bulgarians; the Serbs there now are only settlers and colonists. The Macedonian Bulgarians are by no means an amorphous half-savage mass living there by chance but are pure Bulgarians, with a national consciousness created long ago, who, for almost a century, have been fighting - cut off from Bulgaria - for their political and spiritual freedom. And during the years after the War it is possible to see in Macedonia how valorously the Macedonian Bulgarians there are fighting for their sacred rights. The Macedonian Bulgarians are fighting with an idealism without parallel, and whoever calls these militants 'brigands' and 'gangsters', is a deliberate liar and a schemer.
Fate has ordained that Macedonia should be the arena and spectator of constant struggle, whipped up by national religious and political passions. Before the war, every year, the European press frequently reported these struggles and even now, from time to time, news appears in the European press which does not always correspond with the truth. There are constant reports that the Bulgarians are 'breaking' the peace in Macedonia and they were a 'misfortune' for it. In the country I was able to find out that all this biased information was not true and that just the opposite was true. If today someone goes to Skopje, he will not be able to hear that the majority of the population speaks Bulgarian. It stands to reason that the people do not dare speak Bulgarian publicly, because otherwise the citizens will either be shot en masse or will be thrown into prison. It is forbidden to teach in Bulgarian in the schools, as well as in the churches and monasteries, and there the services are held in Serbian.
The centre of Macedonia are the districts of Ohrid, Prilep, Prespa, Moglena, Ostrovo, Kostour, Veles, Skopje, Voden, Melnik. There the population is pure Bulgarian - not only the language, but the entire spiritual life is Bulgarian. In these places I spoke with hundreds of peasants, workers and intelligentsia and all immediately assured me that they were Bulgarians and that they wished to be Bulgarians in their own land. All over Macedonia I was able to see that the population is peaceloving and very weary from the recent wars; but they told me - we shall have to take to arms again because we are being tortured and are not left in peace. The Macedonians are Bulgarians and their duty is to work for the liberation of this land, it is their duty to their children.
These thoughts here are expressed in a short article, but once again I should like to point out that whatever I have seen and heard in Macedonia I would like to make public without any political combinations before European public opinion.
The impressions recorded above are the first I had there. War, unrest, bloody uprisings, dark slavery, murder, violence, persecution fill the pages of this Macedonian book. When is it that the word 'peace' will finally be inscribed on the last page of this terrible struggle? 'Peace', 'free Macedonia', 'Macedonia for the Macedonians'? When these words are printed then we shall have a happy and free Macedonia and the population of the land will look forward to a happy and peaceful future.
Under this title, the Belgrade newspaper Politika, on the 14th of this month, gives 'horrifying and shameful statistics' about the Slovene schools closed, or turned into Italian ones, in the lands occupied by the Italians. Thus from 1918 up till now, the Italian i authorities have gradually closed all schools, and now out of 222 primary schools only a few have remained and out of the high schools not one has remained.
And the newspaper Politika is angry at the fact that the League of Nations tolerates such a scandal and does not plead the case of the Yugoslav minorities in Italy, the more so, as it is well known that Yugoslavia had given to the minorities 'the greatest rights in every respect'. Indeed, we too are ready to remonstrate with the League of Nations, but before doing so, we shall give the following statistics: after taking over Macedonia, the Serbian authorities at one blow closed 641 Bulgarian schools with 1,013 teachers and 37,000 students, 761 Bulgarian churches with 6 bishops and 833 priests, tens of library clubs and other cultural institutes. As can be seen, those horrifying and shameful statistics refer to the Serbian state, which, according to Politika, has given rights to the minorities. It is shameful cynicism to cry over your own minorities, when you yourself are trampling on and stifling other nations.
As for the misfortune of our brothers in fate, the Slovenians under the barbarous regime of Mussolini, we express our heartfelt sympathy with them, because we well know what it means to live under the pressure of the chauvinistic and assimilationist madness of an oppressor.
And there is only one way to liberation: the common mass revolutionary struggle and the union with all oppressed peoples.
Many German newspapers have published an article from the agency Telegraphen Union which, among other things, states the following:
'However, the biggest worry for the economy of Macedonia is the lack of an outlet to the sea. In Macedonia a person is convinced of the obvious fact that in 1913 it was very unreasonable to divide this country among Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria, and that the after-effects of this division were exacerbated as a result of the peace treaties of 1919. For centuries, Soloun was the natural port of Macedonia. Today it is severed both from Macedonia and from Albania.
Moreover, from the political and national point of view, this 'change of regime' has done practically nothing to bring the population and the government closer together, nor have tolerable conditions been created for cultural and political development. The turning of Bulgarians into Serbs has not succeeded, and it is especially typical that young Macedonians finishing their education in Serbian higher schools preserve their Bulgarian Macedonian feeling and remain irreconcilable to the Serbs. And, taking into consideration the fact that the population there is, in general, conservative, it is easy to understand the disillusionment of the Serbs. Village schools have a rather superficial influence on the youth, and, in the course of three or four years, they forget almost everything they study in school with the exception of reading and writing. But since both Serbs and Bulgarians have one and the same alphabet -the Cyrillic one - there is nothing to prevent former Serbian students from writing Bulgarian words with the same alphabet.
After seven years of rule by terror, there has been created a situation which is best summed up in the answers given to my question by a Serbian gendarme in Shtip, and a rich peasant from the same locality. To my question as to the nationality of the population from the district of Shtip, the former answered:
'They now call themselves Serbians. But this is not true. They are all Bulgarians.'
The latter had answered:
'For six years now they have been impressing upon us that we are Serbians. All right, we agree to be Serbians, but if some change occurs, then in 24 hours we shall become Bulgarians.'
I repeat. The national consciousness of the population is very strong, indelible and it is cultivated by the intelligentsia.
In terms of cultivating national feelings, a very important role was played by the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization — the 'Committee' as they call it in Macedonia - whose influence is even now very strong. This, I would call it, mystic faith in the power of the mysterious all-knowing and ubiquitous Committee working for the fulfillment of the Macedonian national idea and fighting for autonomy of the country, is as indelible and sacred as the national feeling itself. I am not sure whether every Macedonian knows who King Dusan was, and what he did, but I can guarantee that they all know who Dame Grouev, Gotse Delchev and Todor Alexandrov (the hero of the Macedonian movement) were and they honour their names.
Finally the Serbs had to retreat on one point: they found themselves forced to allow the use of the Bulgarian Macedonian dialect not only in private communication and in the streets (before this was punished) but in spoken contact with the authorities. The authorities say that the language of the Macedonians is not Bulgarian but a Serbian dialect. This, however, is a kind of self-deception. There is no need for a person to be a philologist; it is sufficient to know the Yugoslav languages in order to realize right away that the Macedonian language is a Bulgarian dialect. If it were to be considered a Serbian dialect, it could be said equally correctly that the Czech language was a Serbian dialect. The Serbs have not gone further. But this concession is enough to prove that the Bulgarian Macedonian consciousness is invincible.
For some time the names of the killers of old Mishe Gavrilov and his son Hristo have been known in our town. From the very beginning it was clear from which circles they came, but today the moral and physical killers are known with certainty.
The murder was ordered by Zhika Lazich through Srnyakovich, and the physical killers are Stoyan Sudikliiski, Sane Dolanetsa, an enemy of the armed detachments, and several policemen. The policemen were ordered to stay in front of the Kezhovitsa baths, and they fired into the air when the first shot of the killers was heard. This shot was needed to deceive the citizens while the killers hid for some time in the office of the governor of the province. However despite all measures which the authorities took, there are citizens who have witnessed this crime. Today the killers are going free shamelessly telling their friends of their loathsome crime of October 31, 1927.
Hristo Bouyukliicheto was killed by a group of gendarmes on the road from Shtip to Tsarevoivillage.First they kidnapped Baroukchiev instead of him, and were going to kill him, but when they realized their mistake they set him free, and caught the victim they were looking for. Hristo realized when they took him out of the town that they were going to drown him, he tried to resist, and refused to walk. He was stabbed with a bayonet, and was thus killed.
A young man from Berovo named Simeon, was likewise killed by the gendarmes near the town, while 'he was being taken to Tsarevo village for interrogation'.
Four peasants from Sassa, Kochani district, were bayonetted by the gendarmes even before being arrested and brought to trial for helping the rebels and for participation in the IMRO.
The butchers receive rewards for these killings and rob their victims. While drinking in the taverns, they describe their crimes.
Earlier old Spiro Razvigorov, the father of the deceased Mishe Raz-vigorov, was arrested in connection with the attempt on General Kovachevich's life. After the interrogation, when he was cursed and spat at, they let him go home.
At the same time the following people were detained, and then released: Povche Gichev (watchmaker) and Dimiter Kovachev-Djoklev. The latter was beaten up until he practically lost his mind by the notorious torturer of the Shtip prison, Marko Zernogoreza, nicknamed the Comitadji.
We hear that the authorities could not find evidence of the participation of the teacher Nedkov in the assault on Kovachevich, and they are now going to try him for other things, i.e. for his work as a tax collector in the village of Orizari, Kochani district, during the war, and for his interview given to the Journalist Orisher. Gramkov, who was sentenced by the Serbians to 12 years imprisonment, is known to be innocent. The peasant who had to prove that the former had maintained contacts with the IMRO, was tortured and beaten to death. However, when in the courtroom he had to identify Gramkov, he said: 'Gentlemen, judges, do not make me commit a sin, and become the cause of this young man's death! I do not know Gramkov and I have never seen him in my life.' Despite this, however, Gramkov was sentenced to 12 years penal servitude. This is how people are being killed, sentenced and arrested in our parts.
A letter from Prilep
The beginning of May 1928
The 'do-gooder' Vassil Turbich, arrested in connection with the murder in the Bitolya district.
The 'do-gooder' Vassil Turbich who recently sent an inquiry through the newspapers to Koroshets, the Minister of the Interior, in our defence, is carrying out his 'good deeds' in secret. We, the people of Prilep, know him very well as a rebel in the past and as a robber of other people's property and 'national' representative at present. Lately this 'do-gooder' has become cunning enough to purge his district of the intelligentsia in a very peculiar manner in agreement with the big shots in Belgrade. When he wants to get rid of somebody who stands in his way, he whispers to him secretly: 'Run away, or you are going to be killed.' So far he has given this message to 7 men in the town, and we are waiting to see how many more will receive it. Naturally, the victims flee to Belgrade, expecting that there they will be left in peace, and leave all their property behind. This method of purging people works very well, and probably Turbich, as a member of the 'Zabrana' Union will be rewarded for it.
This is the truth about the assault against the district police chief, which was staged by himself. The aim of laying the bomb was to arrest Iliya Antonov, the teacher and the mayor of the village of Bouchin. The latter had moved to one town where he thought he would be safer.After those two and several other men were arrested, the 'inquest' was concluded. Iliya Antonov and the mayor of Bouchin were put in 40 kg heavy chains and they will be put on trial as members of the IMRO and for 'participation in the assault'.
Ivan Boyadjiev, who was killed, had been warned about it by Turbich. It is interesting to know why, since he knew he was going to be killed, Turbich did not name the source of his information.
We know the following about the murder of Mitsko, the mayor of Bach, Bitolya district: his wife saw the senior policeman who asked him to go out in the night and killed him. As she knows the killer very well, she immediately went to Bitolya to lodge a complaint with the governor, but instead of receiving protection, she was advised to 'keep her mouth shut'. These are the highly praised administrators in Macedonia — professional murderers from the gendarme up to the governor.
Dear Mr. Georgiev,
I have been planning to write to you for a long time, but I have been busy, and have no time to write to you in detail. I shall be brief today, but will write to you about everything in a few days. I have even written two letters containing information from our comrades, and if you think it fit, you may publish them in the newspaper. They are not well put together but, anyway, you are going to edit them, and that is why I am sending them as they are. I am also sending the picture, and the last parcel for the parents of the victims will be dispatched today. The gardeners in the main towns of the Ortash and Prossyakov districts have been given 10 pictures each to have at their disposal in the event of their needing them. The gardeners from the Ortash district are looking for 2 revolvers. Shall we buy them here or are you going to send them? Please, write to tell us if we can send 18 pictures to the hospital there at the beginning of this month. I sent them some last month but I have not sent them any this month. There are some people who are asking for grants. We are going to support them for the time being, and I shall give you their names in my next letter
I would like you to give me permission to meet a gardener but it will not be for some time yet, and I shall write to you about it later.
A lot of information is coming about the situation in the monastery, shall
I write to you about it in detail? What I mean is letters like these which I send to you.
I got a letter from Mr. Deyanov, and I have begun work in connection with Kyustendil. If I get more detailed information I shall answer you.
I have not heard from you for a long time and I do not know whether you are in Sofia. Please write to let me know whether you have received the present letter.
One of these days I shall write to you about everything in detail.
Many greetings and my respects,
P. S. Haven't you any news to give us?
.... Macedonia is a country of 65,000 square kilometres and its boundaries to the east are the River Mesta and the Rhodope Mountains, to the north and north-east and north-west are the mountains Rila, Osogovo, Cherna Gora and Shar, and to the west - the mountains Korab and Bigia, and to the south – the mountains Pindus and Olympus, the River Bistritsa and the Aegean Sea.
Its population is 2,300,000. Before the Balkan war of 1912 Macedonia was part of the Turkish state. In spite of the fact that up till 1908 the Macedonian population was deprived of political liberties - which it acquired after the revolution of the Young Turks on July 24th, 1908 - this population, even during the bloody regime of the Sultan Abdul Hamid, enjoyed cultural rights. All the nationalities of this country had their schools, libraries, cultural institutes, churches. Soon after the wars of 1912-1913 - initially the Balkan states - Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece - formed an alliance against Turkey, while later, they fell out over the division of the spoils, and fought among themselves, namely, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece, which were joined by Romania and their recent adversary Turkey, against Bulgaria - after these wars, as we were saying, at the congress in Bucharest in June 1913 Macedonia was divided between Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria and about half its territory was given to Serbia, 4/10 to Greece and 1/10 to Bulgaria. After the World War, certain changes in its division took place, and the district of Strumitsa was taken from Bulgaria and given to Serbia.
The situation in the three parts of Macedonia, which was 'liberated by the Balkan Christian states' is as follows:
In Macedonia under Serbian oppression, all governments in Belgrade, regardless of the general tenor of their home and foreign policy, have followed one and the same policy as regards the Macedonians: to change the national character of the country, to assimilate and denationalize its population. In order to achieve this goal, the governments have resorted to most disgusting means, and this they have done in front of the representatives of the Great Powers. The Macedonian people, i.e. all nationalities living there and on whose behalf we are speaking: Bulgarians, Albanians, Turks, Jews, Wallachians, Greeks, Gypsies, are deprived of all political and civil rights. All Serbian governments have treated them and are treating them as Serbs, thus: the Bulgarians as pure Serbians, i.e. not only as regards nationality, but also as regards religion, the Turks and Albanian Mohammedans - as Serbs of the Mohammedan religion, the Jews as Serbs of Jewish religion, while the Greeks and the Wallachians, being a small minority of several tens of thousands, due to political considerations, in view of friendly relations with Greece and Romania, are treated as the only minorities in the country.
The Macedonian people are outlawed. Arrests, extraditions, beatings, tortures, heavy sentences, very often capital punishment, murder, these are ordinary phenomena there. Mass murder is not rare, either. In 1923, 29 peasants from the village of Garvan (Radovish district) were shot with machine-guns. Prisons, not only in Macedonia, but throughout Yugoslavia, are full of Macedonians. In Yugoslav prisons there are a total of 7,500 Macedonians, many of them in preliminary detention. Terror in this part of Macedonia is one of the means by which the Serbian government rules and not only through its army, police and gendarmerie, but also through the former and present members of armed detachments as Pekjanets, Trbic, Kalamatiev and hundreds of other killers. In order to change the ethnical character of the country the Serbian governments have settled Serbs in the lands of the Macedonian peasants, and they are not only expropriators of the lands of the Macedonian peasants, but also agents of an imperialist policy of denationalization. These colonists are to the Macedonian population what the Kurdjalis were a century ago in the Balkans. The Serbian MP's from the Democratic Party, which is now in the government, declared not long ago: 'Macedonia is being governed as it was 600 years ago.'
As for the state of the Macedonian people in terms of culture, we shall give just a few statistics which speak more eloquently than anything else: When this part of Macedonia was under Turkey, the Macedonians of Bulgarian nationality had 641 schools, including 40 grammar schools and 4 high schools, 1,013 teachers, 37,000 students and 761 churches with 839 priests. Today all this is non-existent. The Turkish nationality had its own schools; the Albanians also. Today almost all Turkish schools are closed, and there are no Albanian schools.
If we look at the economic situation of Macedonia under Serbian domination, we shall see that towns, which were previously developing rapidly and the population of which lived in comparative well-being, are today in complete decline. Many towns, with the villages around them, are deprived of their natural outlets; such towns are Bitolya, Debur, Prilep, Tetovo, Gostivar, Kichevo, Veles, Kavadartsl, Shtip, Radovish, Strumitsa, Doiran, Gevgeli, Koumanovo and even Skopje.
The Serbian governments are doing their best to destroy the Macedonian population economically. The majority of peasants have no land. The agrarian reform worked out by the Serbian government seven years ago is not being implemented. Furthermore, the government is depriving the Macedonian peasants of their land and is giving it to colonists, and former cabinet ministers, deputies, former and present officials and members of armed detachments. But this is not all. It exploits the labour of the tobacco-producers by buying the tobacco from the producers through its monopoly organization at 5 to 12 dinars, while the best tobacco which costs the producers themselves a minimum of 30 dinars to produce is being purchased for 24 dinars a kilogram. The same thing happens with other agricultural products. The labour of the peasants, who represent 92% of the population, is being appropriated in various ways: through ordinary robbery, through making them sell their produce at prices below production cost, through various taxes and fines and, finally, bribes, which are something normal there. The economically ruined peasantry influences the conditions of the population in the towns. In the towns large masses of workers are out of work and they are actually starving. The majority of workshops are closed. Between January and March, over 600 shops closed. Artisans and tradesmen are undergoing an unheard-of crisis. They do not receive credits from the state banks, and thus they are forced to take loans from various money-lenders to whom they pay 120% interest. Even those Macedonian tradesmen who support the Serbian governments are deprived of state credits.
The policy of the Serbian governments in Macedonia is a policy of lawlessness, terror and robbery. These governments look on Macedonia as a colony; they treat the Macedonian population in the way the big imperialist countries treat the colonial peoples.
If we analyze the way the Macedonian people live under Greek domination, we shall see that the situation is the same: it is under the same system and suffers the same treatment. The Greek governments drove the Turks out of Macedonia after robbing them; they create difficulties to the Jews in order to make them leave the country; they drive out the Bulgarians. They drive them out in two ways: unlawfully by maltreating them, arresting them, punishing them most severely by exiling them to the islands or killing them. The incidents in Soloun,, Kavala, Drama, Lerin, Boutim and Turlis, where 17 Macedonian peasants were shot dead, are well known and there is no need to dwell on them here. Bulgarians are also being persecuted on 'legal grounds', i.e., according to a criminal, cruel and barbaric treaty, signed between the Bulgarian and Greek governments and providing the so-called voluntary emigration of the population. According to this Treaty, tens of thousands of Macedonians were driven away from their homes and left naked and poor. These unfortunate people, who had earned their living in their own towns and villages, have been for years roaming Bulgaria in poverty and misery, dying of disease, and sometimes even of hunger; they are exhausted and without any means of livelihood, and the Bulgarian government which pretends to take care of them and which has secured an international loan for the refugees, is actually using the misfortune of the refugees for its own ends.
There is no difference between the attitudes of the Greek and Serbian governments, as regards the Macedonian nationalities. These nationalities in Greece, such as remain, are being treated as slaves. Lack of political rights, economic oppression, administrative arbitrariness and terror, exile, imprisonment, murder - this is the situation in which the nationalities find themselves. In this part of Macedonia there are various boards like the one called 'Macedonian Fist'; they are stooges of the government, like Captain Stefan and his acolytes, who go from village to village terrorizing and killing the population. Here there is also corruption among the officials, gendarmes, police, officers. Here, too, there are colonizers but to greater degree. Of the Greek peasants, workers, artisans, merchants and intelligentsia who were driven out of Asia Minor, East Thrace and Bulgaria - a total of 1,400,000 people- half have settled in Macedonia. The Greek governments make use of those refugees for political purposes. They had to settle them somewhere, but instead of taking the land of the local population and driving them away, they should have taken the lands from the big landowners, churches and monasteries, and they should have taken funds for their settlement from the Greek capitalists. The Greek governments settled refugees, but always to the disadvantage of the local population of Greeks, Bulgarians, Albanians, Turks, Jews. We should add: we are not against the Greek refugees; they are not enemies of the local population they are the brothers of the Macedonian peasants, workers, artisans, merchants, intelligentsia. But we protest against the Greek government's policy of denationalization, assimilation and oppression towards the local non-Greek nationalities, against the oppression of the local Greeks, since they use the wretched refugees to achieve their own aims and, in this way, they whip up enmity among the different nationalities in Macedonia.
The condition of the Macedonian people, in terms of culture, is the same as it is in Macedonia under Serbian domination. We shall give some statistics about the situation. As far as the Bulgarian nationality goes, in 1912 the Macedonian Bulgarians in this part of Macedonia had: 349 schools, including 20 secondary schools and 6 high schools, 750 teachers, 19,000 students, 378 churches and 300 priests. All these are now non-existent. Turkish schools and mosques are also non-existent. In Macedonia under Greek domination, in accordance with the criminal agreement in Lausanne for exchange of population, there are no Turks left.
If we analyze the situation in that part of Macedonia which is under Bulgarian domination, we shall see that here the situation is different from that of Macedonia under Serbian and Greek domination. The Macedonian Turks and Greeks who lived here previously have been driven out. The population of this part of Macedonia, being of Bulgarian origin, have cultural rights. They have their own schools, churches, etc. And this is the only difference between the situation of the Macedonians under Serbia and Greece and of the Macedonians under Bulgaria. In every other respect, the situation in this part of Macedonia does not differ from that in the parts under Greece and Serbia and, in some respects, it is even worse.
The political regime existing in Macedonia under Bulgarian rule is one of the most tyrannical in the world.
The present regime throughout Bulgaria is tyrannical and criminal but, in the part of Macedonia under Bulgaria, it is barbaric in the literal sense of the word. This is neither more nor less a satrapy of the Bulgarian government which is exerting all power mainly through Macedonians organized in an organization called the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, headed by Ivan Mihailov and General Protogerov.
In Macedonia under the rule of the bloodthirsty fascists, the population has neither civil nor political rights. Freedom of the press, of assembly, association and speech — these are unheard of in these parts. These rights are being enjoyed only by a group of people supported by the Bulgarian government, people who are exploiting the population which is being treated worse than the slaves in Asia and Africa. Newspapers legally published in Bulgaria are forbidden here. Every one who does not support the rule of the Bulgarian fascists and their stooges - Protogerov and Ivan Mihailov - is persecuted. In this area the population has absolutely no opportunity for expressing its own will. During the last elections, on May 29 this year, in this part of Macedonia the tickets of the Bulgarian opposition parties were not accepted, and the only tickets for which the people were allowed to vote here was the ticket of the government of Lyapchev, imposed on them by the killers Ivan Mihailov and Protogerov. And, in order to mislead public opinion in Bulgaria, and especially abroad, they called their ticket that 'of the entire community'.
During the last few years, many crimes have been committed in this part of the country. In 1923 after the coup, when the government of Stamboliiski was overthrown, 100 Macedonians were killed; in September of the same year, 110 people were killed, and, in 1924, again in September, 160 people - the most active leaders of the population during the Turkish domination - were killed; in May 1925 - 80 peasants, workers and artisans from the district of Nevrokop were killed because they were suspected of being the political friends of the eminent Macedonian revolutionary, Todor Panitsa, who was killed by the same gang in the Burgtheater in Vienna; in August the same year, 28 peasants from the district of Gorna Djoumaya were killed. Murder has become an ordinary thing in this part. To say nothing of the beatings, rapes, arrests and tortures to which the population is subjected every day.
As for the economic situation of the Macedonian Bulgarians in this part, they live under the most tragic conditions. Poverty, hunger, unemployment, high prices of essential imported goods, low purchase prices for the main crops - tobacco, in particular - which are fixed by the tobacco companies, whose chief agents in robbing the population are people belonging to the gang of Protogerov and Ivan Mihailov, this is the position of the Macedonians under Bulgarian rule.
For three months a terrible tragedy has been taking place in the dark subterranean cells of the Skopje prison: almost 80 Macedonian youths, half of them students at different universities in Yugoslavia, are being subjected to unspeakable torture. The cream of young Macedonia is today writhing in the bloodstained hands of the murderers from Belgrade. Rotting flesh in living bodies, broken ribs, splinters under the nails, bleeding wounds - this is the condition of the young Macedonian prisoners. Moreover, moral torture, threats of shooting beside a newly dug grave, Jesuitical lies, - this completes the tragic plight of the arrested.
Why were they arrested and why are they being submitted to such monstrous tortures? The answer to this question is very clear.
The tyrants in Belgrade know that Macedonia is a foreign land, that it is inhabited by a nation alien to them and that for many years it has been carrying on a struggle for liberation and independence. When they came to our homeland for the first time they knew this truth and they tried to find ways of changing this situation, of turning Macedonia, which they needed so much, into a Serbian province. They also knew that the older Macedonians, reared in struggle and living it, would not so easily bow their heads and would not so easily become 'real Serbians'. That is why they paid the greatest attention to the young people, to the children just growing. And the oppressors started: they converted the schools into places where the policy of Serbianization was carried out, where by kindness, gifts, prizes and all sorts of Jesuitical methods, they are trying to poison the young! souls with Greater Serbian chauvinism; many Sokol organizations, football teams, etc., were founded under the control of experienced Serbianizers, where Greater Serbian leprosy was systematically introduced; they increased the number of scholarships, free excursions throughout Yugoslavia, receptions and dinners given by the King and cabinet ministers; and all over Macedonia brothel and taverns have been opened, and the authorities systematically encourage profligacy, junketting, etc. All this is being done in order to direct young people into paths that will most easily distract them from their everyday grievances and the needs of the enslaved people, as well as to ensnare them in the web of Serbianism and chauvinism.
However, the oppressors miscalculated. In spite of their manipulations, the Macedonian youth did not give in. The Serbian imperialists are full of rage because yesterday's children, whom they hoped would help them make Macedonia Serbian, are maturing as young people with a Macedonian consciousness irrespective of whether they are Bulgarians, Wallachians, etc. The Serbian rulers cannot accept the fact that their last hopes in connection with the young people are dying; they tremble at the thought that these young people will join the struggle and will continue the cause of the liberation of their enslaved people. And, since there remains no other way - the tyrants have resorted to mass terror and bloody bacchanalias.
This is the basic reason for the sadistic fury with which the Belgrade torturers have lately hurled themselves upon the Macedonian youth. They easily found a pretext for their hellish plans: a provocateur 'revealed' an organization and named several victims in Skopje, who were arrested and the 'questioning' started... Unfortunately, 4 days later, other provocateurs and foreign agents organized a senseless attack, which was most welcome for the Serbians: they widened the arrests, increased the tortures, since they wanted at all costs to establish that the arrested youths were accessories to the attack. Thus began the horrifying tragedy, which to this very day, is going on within the thick walls of the Skopje prison.
The endless suffering and cries of the desperate victims are heard afar. Professors from Zagreb, Ljubljana and Belgrade have visited the prisoners and witnessed the tortures to which they have been subjected. But the tyrants from Belgrade gagged them with their blood-stained paws, and as yet they cannot .say anything to tell the world about the barbaric deeds of the arrogant rulers. The cries of the victims have gone beyond the boundaries of Yugoslavia. And protests have been heard from afar: the cream of French science, literature and politics have raised their voices in defense of the arrested young people. The five thousand strong Macedonian emigration is deeply moved and is energetically defending its unfortunate children. The protests will continue and must continue until there is an end to the horrors of the Skopje prison.
And let the tyrants know that they cannot bury the thousands of Macedonian youths in one prison. Let them know that prisons create not only martyrs but also heroes, fanatical fighters, who will work with even greater enthusiasm and self-sacrifice for the cause of the people.
The newspapers have given full information about the trial. What should be noted is that, at the first sitting, when it was announced that the defendants would speak openly and bring the Macedonian problem before the court, the entire nation awaited the trial with great sympathy and impatience. As the paper Makedonsko Delo wrote, the trial was postponed at the request of some of the defence lawyers who wanted the chairman to be changed, a very well based request, since the chairman was biased. But the defendants would not agree to this, they discharged their lawyers and fully supported the chairman. This came as a surprise to all. The explanation is as follows: V. Trbic and the mayor of Shtip D. Karadjovhad gone to see the defendants in prison and tried to persuade them to behave as Yugoslavs and not as Macedonian Bulgarians, to admit that to a certain extent they were guilty and regretted their action. If they behaved in this way, most probably the majority would be acquitted, a few would get a light sentence and would later be amnestied or pardoned.
These promises were the reason for the lack of militancy in the behaviour of the defendants. Some of them spoke of some vague South Slavdom, while others declared outright that they were Serbs and that Macedonia was Serbian. All agreed with the defence of the lawyers which was based on the same principle. This behaviour of theirs impressed the people unfavourably. The disillusionment and despair now are far greater than before the trial. The government did not fail to plead their own cause, even through the mouths of the defence. The speeches for the defence were, in the majority of cases, hymns to the idea of Greater Serbia. The inhuman terror and torture to which the defendants had been subjected were not sufficiently exposed in court. Some of the defendants went so far as to say that they had not been beaten up.
The interest of the people towards the trial was great. Many streets around the court house were full of people. The defendants were passed through other streets on the way to the court and the police drove the people away with whips. The people are full of indignation and disgust at this Draconian sentence, but there is also great disillusionment and regret at the behaviour of the defendants, which was lacking in seriousness and maturity. This was a blow to the entire Macedonian intelligentsia and the entire Macedonian people.
As all over Macedonia, here, too, in our district the situation is very bad, the economic crisis is serious. Thanks to the good harvest last summer, and to the fact that masses of people go to other places to work, the population here is still able to make both ends meet. Of course, there is no question of buying clothes or other things, because the money-lenders and the usurers take everything. Also, the corrupt officials will do no work unless they are bribed. As a matter of fact, it is not possible to make a distinction between taxes and bribes, because the officials go so far that nobody knows what is for their own pockets and what is for the state.
The political atmosphere is very heavy. Up till now, since we have not been subjected to attacks by gangs, the situation has been bearable. But here, too, conditions have changed. All who call themselves Serbs and the new Serbian settlers are required to spy on the population. Almost every family has someone in the 'black list'. In this list are the names not only of the more alert citizens, but of all who were Exarchists in the past. The authorities are trying to set the Albanians and Turks against the Bulgarians and, with their help, stifle the 'Bugarashi', whom they bitterly hate. But it is doubtful whether they will succeed, since the Mohammedans in these parts have suffered quite a lot from the oppressors from Belgrade. They feel that the Government only intends to use them, and that tomorrow it will turn against them, just as it did previously.
Every evening Serbianized people and settlers hide under windows and even climb over walls to eavesdrop at different houses. Each is assigned a person to spy on, and later he reports to the authorities. Besides, people considering themselves Serbians and settlers are organized in the armed militia.
To it are recruited only those who are most loyal and devoted to the government.
Three weeks ago, there was a rumour that three members of the Committee had-passed through our region. Of course, this was only a rumour; most probably someone was having a joke, but the entire police, army and gendarmerie were alerted. And nothing happened.
Here, we also have a 'people's' militia. It consists of Turks and Albanians. They don't rely on the Bulgarians. Usually the 'people's' militia guards bridges, passes, etc., and is controlled by strong detachments of gendarmerie. These latter usually stand sentinel at naturally or artificially fortified points.
I said the pressure was strong. But this also has another side, because a law of physics says: the stronger the pressure from outside, the stronger the resistance from inside. The knife which Belgrade is twisting in Macedonia has two edges... And in the end, Belgrade will be vanquished...
A number of events in Macedonia and South-East Europe in the past year, which are still fresh in the memory of all, have once again confirmed that the situation in the Balkans, created by the treaties of 1919, is based on extremely insecure foundations. It is becoming ever clearer to all that no real calm and lasting peace can exist where injustice and oppression reign over whole nations. This is especially true of our homeland, Macedonia, lacerated and enslaved, deprived of all national, political and cultural rights - even of those which were solemnly promised to it in the international treaties - and subjected to an inconceivable moral and physical terror which compels the oppressed population, in its efforts to secure its existence and its rights, to resort to revolutionary means of struggle, made inevitable under the conditions obtaining in the country.
In order to put an end to this situation, which is a source both of the sufferings of the Balkan peoples and of a great danger to peace, the Sixth Regular Annual Congress of the Macedonian Emigrant Organizations in Bulgaria considers it its duty to declare, that, as events for several decades now have shown, there is only one way and that is to put into effect the formula advanced by the great British statesman and humanitarian Gladstone: 'Macedonia for the Macedonians'. In the name of this great and lofty aim the Congress calls on the governments of the Great Powers to intervene, so that Macedonia be granted self-government, assuring them that they will make thereby an invaluable contribution to Balkan and European peace and will help to redress a glaring injustice.
In the past year, too, the Greek government did not do absolutely anything to recognize and secure to the Bulgarian population in Macedonia its national and cultural rights envisaged under the treaties on the protection of the minorities, the observance of which is an irreversible undertaking of international significance. On the contrary, while continuing morally and physically to oppress the Macedonian population and to apply the method of compulsory emigration, the Greek government invariably aspires at an aim, which is exactly the opposite of the principles which gave rise to the stipulations on the protection of the national minorities. Having rejected the protocol, solemnly signed in Geneva, having also failed the obligations undertaken by virtue of the so-called 'questionnaire' of Mr. Chamberlain, today Greece does not even try to remember the famous 'Primer' which was a mockery with the sufferings of the Macedonian Bulgarians and with the treaties on the protection of the minorities and their guarantor - the League of Nations. Instead, last year an attempt was made, though without success, to insult again the most cherished feelings i of the Macedonian Bulgarians by requesting the so-called liquidation of church and school property in Macedonia on the basis of an arbitrary and far-fetched interpretation of a convention which, in any case, has caused endless harm to the Bulgarian population under Greek rule.
In view of all this and still trustful of the lofty mission of the League of Nations to see to it that the treaties on the minorities are implemented and to defend the oppressed and enslaved, the Sixth Regular Annual Congress of the Macedonian Emigrant Organizations in Bulgaria requests the League of Nations:
1. To secure the cessation of the moral and physical oppression of the Bulgarian population in Macedonia under Greek rule.
2. To ensure the serious and effective protection of this population under the treaties on the minorities, the implementation of which is under the supervision and guarantee of the League of Nations. In this respect, in our opinion, an institute should be created which should observe and secure on the spot the genuine fulfillment of the obligations which the Greek government has assumed and which it cannot abrogate either by domestic legislation or by their tacit repudiation.
3. To give a real opportunity to the refugees to go back to their homeland and to ensure their life, property, honour and national rights and to return to them their property in the settlements they have left not voluntarily but under undue pressure and violence.
The intensification of Serbian terror and atrocities in the past year has inevitably led to resistance on the part of the oppressed population and to a series of revolutionary acts on the part of the IMRO or of selfless sons and daughters of our nationality. The assaults at Pchinya, Gevgeli, Oudovo, Shtip, Alexandrovo (not far from Skopje), etc., as well as the exploit of Mara Bouneva in the centre of Skopje, were an expression of the protest and indignation of a nation, brought to the utmost limit of its patience due to unbearable violence and atrocities, mercilessly practiced by a government, which not only does not intend to fulfill its obligations under the treaties on the protection of the minorities, but even exerts all its force to crush every striving for human and national freedom among the population. The hopes of some people who in certain recent statements made in Belgrade saw the possibility of the establishment of a more tolerable regime in Macedonia, were utterly belied. On the contrary, in spite of all failures and frustration of their own efforts so far, the Serbian authorities in Macedonia have taken measures amounting in practice to a complete military occupation.
Taking into consideration all this and in view of the serious eventual consequences of this state of affairs, the Sixth Regular Annual Congress of the Macedonian Emigrant Organizations in Bulgaria has decided to request the League of Nations:
1) to take steps to put an end to Serbian terror and to ensure the observance of the national and cultural rights of the Bulgarian and other nationalities in Macedonia under Serbian rule which — we can say this without any exaggeration - need a real and effective international protection more than any other national minority in Europe. An unbiased enquiry with the participation of representatives of disinterested states made on the spot and in the absence of the Serbian administration, would easily ascertain the solid grounds of the Macedonian complaints and the justice of the Macedonian demands;
2) to establish in Macedonia a special organ to control on the spot the implementation of the treaty on the minorities;
3) to ensure the repatriation of the numerous Macedonian refugees, guaranteeing their personal security and the enjoyment of their human and national rights.
1) Bulgarian public opinion invariably and in all cases manifests fraternal sympathy with the Macedonian liberation movement;
2) in spite of this, individual people, guided by excessive and unjustified pessimism or partisan motives, sometimes try to inculcate delusions and accuse the Macedonians that by their struggle they infringe on or endanger the vital interests of the Bulgarian state;
3) the Bulgarian governments persist in their inertness and do not take any steps for the protection of the enslaved Bulgarians in Macedonia although there are explicit agreements to that effect and although Bulgaria itself most frequently suffers many of the consequences of the present intolerable situation in Macedonia, the Congress, taking all this into consideration, decides:
1. It calls on public opinion in Bulgaria never and under no circumstances to yield to any anti-Macedonian insinuations which misguided individuals may try to spread among the free Bulgarian people, and always to keep in mind that Macedonia's struggle is not only a struggle for political liberties but also a struggle for the national self-preservation of the Macedonian Bulgarians, i.e. of almost one-third of the entire Bulgarian population.
2. It calls on the Bulgarian governments to intercede in defence of the human and national rights of the enslaved Bulgarians, ensuring, through tireless and systematic preparations, the early or more distant success of their efforts in this direction, made before the foreign governments and European public opinion.
The Sixth Regular Annual Congress of the Macedonian Emigrant Organizations in Bulgaria conveys ardent and cordial greetings to all fighters for Macedonian freedom and to the entire population in the enslaved country, which stoically and firmly continues to resist the efforts of the imposed foreign rule and heroically fights to break the shackles of slavery. The Macedonian expatriates bow their heads to the heroic exploit of so many known and unknown heroes, who over there, in the heart of our beautiful country, have written a new glorious page in the annals of the Macedonian aspirations for freedom.
The Congress also ardently greets all Macedonian organizations and institutions in Bulgaria, America and elsewhere, which assist the liberation movement or aid the Macedonian expatriates to meet their economic and cultural needs.
At the same time the Congress considers it its pleasant duty to address respectful greetings to all those noble men who, knowing the truth about Macedonia, spare no efforts and time to defend its just cause, whenever they find a suitable occasion to do so. We express our warm and invariable gratitude to them, as well as to all humane and peace-loving people, who raise their voice in defense of wretched Macedonia.
In view of the declarations of prominent Serbian statesmen who have recently been raising so zealously the slogan 'The Balkans to the Balkan Peoples,' as the foundation of an all-Balkan solidarity and as the only salutary principle of the peaceful development of the Balkan peoples, the Sixth Regular Annual Congress of the Macedonian Emigrant Organizations in Bulgaria finds it necessary to state the following:
1. The Macedonian emigration to Bulgaria considers that it truthfully expresses the ideas of our enslaved people outlined in long revolutionary and legal struggles when it points out that the realization of the formula 'The Balkans to the Balkan Peoples' would be only possible if all Balkan peoples are equal and free, and mutually observe their legitimate rights. For this purpose an autonomous or independent Macedonia should be established within its ascertained geographical frontiers.
In this way justice would be done to the principle of Macedonia's autonomy, expressed by the first apostles of the Macedonian liberation movement - a principle to which the Macedonian emigration in Bulgaria adds that the realization of the idea of a Balkan federation or confederation is conceivable only under the afore-mentioned conditions. Therefore, the above-quoted statements of Serbian statesmen who are the champions of a regime, unparallelled by its brutality and efforts at denationalization, are nothing but the guise of crude chauvinism, of the ambition to subordinate the Balkans to Belgrade.
The Sixth Regular Congress of the Macedonian Emigrant Organizations in Bulgaria, noting and taking into consideration that:
1) the Convention on voluntary emigration, signed against the will and the interests of the refugees, has been applied from the very beginning and up to this day in Bulgaria with regard to the Greeks in an atmosphere of tolerance and freedom, while in Macedonia under Greek rule its application is accompanied by terror, blackmail, single or group assassinations and results in a mass influx of refugees to Bulgaria;
2) the evaluation of the quantity and quality of the property of Greeks who emigrated from Bulgaria took place under the most favourable conditions, while for our compatriots in Macedonia this evaluation took place under the most adverse conditions, some of them artificially created by the Mixed Greek-Bulgarian Commission;
3) the tariffs for the assessment of property established by the Mixed Greek-Bulgarian Commission are unfair as regards the property of our compatriots, refugees;
4) in the application of the rules on the tariffs the Mixed Greek-Bulgarian Commission and its sub-committees have not been observing uniformity in their work and in the evaluation of property in Bulgaria and Macedonia, and thus in fact the tariffs are applied only in Bulgaria, while property in Macedonia is evaluated at a rate which does not even come up to the amount paid for one-year rent;
5) the refugees are actually plundered and the state treasury is defrauded as a result of these acts of the Main Mixed Greek-Bulgarian Commission and its sub-committees, in which the neutral members representatives of the League of Nations have the final say;
6) the Bulgarian government and its representatives on the commissions entrusted with the application of this convention which is fatal to our nationality, have not defended the interests of the refugees and those of the state treasury with sufficient vigour, tactfulness and understanding;
7) the temporary certificates received by the refugees for their already undervalued property, are further devalued on the market because even the
Bulgarian National Bank considers them as documents, the payment of which is not guaranteed;
8) the recent decision of the Main Greek-Bulgarian Commission to reduce the exchange rate of the drachma and the agreement of the Ministers of Finances of Bulgaria and Greece to extend the term of reimbursement of the bonds from 12 to 30 years constitute a further devaluation of the property, injuring the interests of the refugees,
1) whereas the application hitherto of the Convention on voluntary emigration has proved to be a privilege for the Greek emigrants, it was also a means of plundering our compatriots by virtue of an international treaty through the brutal driving away and blackmailing of the Bulgarian population in Macedonia;
2) it does not recognize the liquidation of the property of our compatriots as lawful and just, because the application so far of the rules on the tariffs represents a brazen violation of the right and inviolability of foreign-owned property;
1) the repeated extension of the time-limits for filling applications to leave, because they aim the depopulation of Macedonia of all Macedonian Bulgarians;
2) the activity of the Bulgarian representatives on the Mixed Commission and on the sub-committees, because they have failed to defend the right of the Macedonian Bulgarians, have made possible the ruin of our refugees and have defrauded the state treasury; and
1) to draw the attention of the Bulgarian public, of the members of Parliament and the Bulgarian government to the above findings and to request them to take the necessary steps;
2) to request the Bulgarian government to do its best for the revision of all past decisions of the Mixed Greek-Bulgarian Commissions on the evaluation and liquidation of the property of our compatriots and in the future closely to follow and control the work and decisions of these commissions;
3) to ask the Bulgarian government immediately to take the necessary measures to stabilize the rate of exchange of the provisional certificates by issuing regular bonds, reimbursable within 12 and not within 30 years.
The construction of the church of St Nikola in the town of Koumanovo began in 1843. Its initiator was the young man Georgi Ivanov Borozanov, assisted by several older men: Ivan Borozanov, Tasso Novosselski, Dimiter Karamanov, Giyo Chorobenski, the priest Nesho and his brother, and other men, all Bulgarians, and the services were never held in Greek, only in Slavonic. In the yard, opposite the altar before the construction of the church there was a very old school; the cemetery was also in this yard from time immemorial. The initiators of the construction of the church and other young people had studied at that school. They were educated in the Slav-Bulgarian language, they wrote with goose quills and used the letters which we have seen in the notebooks of our fathers and grandfathers who went to that school, but we do not remember the names of the teachers from stories of our relatives.
After the construction of the church, a new one-storey school was built near it with its own large, walled in yard, and it existed until 1910. From 1860 to 1863 the teacher Simeon Filipov from Shtip, a man of independent thinking, taught there. Up to his arrival the children had used primers with azbuki, vedi, etc., and spelt our words like this: buki az = ba, vede az = va, etc. and when Simeon Filipov came he began to teach them a, be, ve, etc., and they spelt be a = ba, ve a = va, etc., without using primers but cardboard letters and diagrams with letters and syllables, which were pasted on square boards, and the latter were nailed to well polished stakes fixed to both sides of the desks. The pupils wrote with metal pens and goose quills; they had ink horns on their belts and studied arithmetic, which was called rekam. They read a book called encyclopaedia, which was written in Bulgarian with Slav letters, studied the Book of Hours, the Psalter and the Gospel. After Simeon Pilipov, Konstantin Kratovets (Kakavan) became a teacher in 1864. Then in 1865 and 1866 Mihail Georgiev from Kratovo was a teacher for 2 years, and in 1867 and 1868 - Arso Koukouryak from Kratovo, also for 2 years. In 1869 - Kostadin Prilepchanits; in 1870 and 1871 (2 years) the priest EfremSkevra from Shtip; from 1872 to the end of 1874 - Mihail Hristov Popov from Vranya who had graduated from the Aprilov High School in Gabrovo, and in 1885 he was replaced by Arso Petroushov, and Kotse Ivanov Borozanov, both from the town of Koumanovo. From 1876 to 1881 Mihail Hristov Popov from the town of Vranya again taught at the school, and at the end of 1881 he was detained by the Turkish government in Kanli-koule - Soloun, and spent 6 years in prison. In 1872 the children began to be taught in the pure Bulgarian language with the primer and reader of D. V. Manchev from Plovdiv. They studied arithmetics, spelling and writing in special notebooks with metal pens, and also Bulgarian history with textbooks, religion, catechism and geography, using maps distributed by Manchev. There were maps of the earth's hemispheres and the five continents, as well as a map of the Balkan Peninsula from which they studied towns, rivers and mountains in detail. The school and the teachers were entirely supported by the income of the church of St Nikola; the teacher Mihail Hristov Popov received 5,000 grosh a year, the other teachers before him were also paid by the church but it is not known how much. There were rumours that in the last two school years (1879-1880 and 1880-1881) Mihail Hristov Popov received a salary also from the Exarchate but whether this is true and how much he received, is not known for certain. In the 1881-1882 school year the teachers were Peter Trendafilov and Ivan V. Novosselski, from the town of. Koumanovo. They took the place of their teacher M. H. Popov, who had been arrested. They received 600 grosh each for the 7 months in which they had classes, only to keep the school going. They were also paid by the church. Todor Bozhkov from Veles and Ivan V. Novosselski from the town of Koumanovo were teachers in the 1882-1883 school year. The former was paid 50 Turkish lires a year by the Exarchate, and the latter - 2,000 grosh a year by the church. Todor Bozhkov, teacher of the Exarchate with an annual salary of 50 Turkish lires, and Peter Bozhkov, also from Veles, with an annual salary of 2,000 grosh paid by the church of St Nikola, were teachers in the 1883-1884 and 1884-1885 school years. From 1885-1886 to 1888-1889 Peter Trandafilov and Alexander Dimov Borozanov, teachers of the Exarchate from the town of Koumanovo, who had graduated from the Bulgarian high school in Soloun, were teachers with an annual salary of 35 lires. At the beginning of 1886-1887 the number of the staff was increased with the appointment of Dimiter Ouzounov from the town of Ohrid as a senior teacher with an annual salary of 75 Turkish lires from the Exarchate. During the 1887-1888 school year D. Ouzounov taught school for two months and then he died in the town of Koumanovo and was replaced by Ivan Kraev from the town of Skopje, a teacher of the Exarchate with an annual salary of 50 Turkish lires, until the beginning of the 1888-1889 school year. During the 1888-1889 school year the teachers Ivan Kraev, Alexander Dimov Borozanov and Peter Trendafilov were arrested by the Turkish authorities and courtmartialled in Skopje; Hristo Kenin from the village of Bogdantsi, Gevgeli district, was appointed in their place, and during that school year he taught alone.
(Avksenti Georgiev Borozanov can provide information concerning the following years.)
The first girls' school in the town of Koumanovo was opened in the 1882-1883 school year by Alexandra Martinova from the town of Veles. She was appointed by the Exarchate, but her salary is not known. She was succeeded in 1883-1884 and 1884-1885 school years by Katerina Nikolova Papoushkova from Skopje, followed by Tima Dimitrova from Skopje in 1885-1886 and Efrossina Yotova from Ohrid from 1886-1887 to the 1891-1892 school year. All teachers were appointed by the Exarchate but we do not remember their salaries. The girls' school was separate from the boys' school. It was in that school building in which Simeon Shtipyanets taught in 1860 and other teachers after him before the girls' school was set up in 1882.
(Avksenti Georgiev Borozanov can provide further information also about this school.)
1. The village of Malino. The teacher Ivan from the town of Koumanovo taught the children in the Slav language in 1870. He was paid by the schoolchildren's parents in money and in kind.
In 1871 and 1872 (two years) Andon Damyanov, born in the village of Kokoshine and graduated in Shtip, was a teacher in this village. He taught the children in Bulgarian with books he bought in Shtip.
2. The village of Kokoshine. Andon Damyanov was a teacher in Kokoshine (his native place) from 1873 to 1881. He taught in Bulgarian, provided books from Shtip, and was paid by the pupils in money and in kind.
3. The village of Sopot. Apostol Markov was a teacher there in 1871 and 1872 (two years). He was born in Ohrid, taught in Bulgarian and was paid by his pupils in money and in kind.
4. The village of Nemenitsa. Hadji Pop Krustyo, born in the same village, taught in Slavonic from 1864 to an unknown date; he was paid by the pupils in money and in kind.
5. Monasteries: Prohor Pchinski on the river Pchinya near the village of Starets, the Karpina Monastery of the Virgin Mary near the village of Orga, the Gradish Monastery of the Virgin Mary near the village of Gradishte and others, were the centres of education during Turkish times up to 1890.
6. We avail ourselves of the opportunity of recording the following story:
There is a small room cell-like, with a small window, in the attic to the right, i.e., the southern part of the church in the Prohor Pchinski Monastery, where books and scrolls were kept written by hand in print letters on hare skin. An old rickety staircase led from the interior of the church to this room, and one had to be very careful not to fall down. Some curious worshippers and children used to climb these stairs to see these books of hare skin; we used to handle them, look at them, and very surprised in our ignorance, we used to say:
See what they used to write on in those times, when there was no paper. This script is very old, it was printed by hand with a pen and we cannot read it. A student from Koumanovo at the Bulgarian High School in Soloun learnt about the value of the parchment manuscripts and told his teacher Georgi D. Popov, who taught Bulgarian at the same school, about it. The latter ordered him to go to the monastery in the summer holidays and take as many of those valuable documents of Bulgarian literature and history as he could. The student did as his teacher had told him, and went to the monastery, but to his great surprise, the manuscripts were no longer there. The abbot answered his question:
'When the Serbians conquered the town of Vranya in 1877 and the monastery was in their hands, they took all manuscripts, stuffed them in two sacks, loaded them onto a horse, and sent them to Serbia. After the conclusion of the peace treaty the monastery remained once again in Turkish hands, but the hare skin books were no longer there.' Everybody can guess the fate of these valuable parchments; the Serbians destroyed them because they could not benefit from them, and said nothing about them; if they had been to their advantage they would have rent the ears of the world with boosting. For us, the Bulgarians, this is an irrevocable loss and a thing of the past, but we mention it here as a reminder of the sacrilege committed by our enemies.
On the 23rd of this month, in the town of Bitolya, on the territory of SCS Kingdom, the trial was resumed of 15 Bulgarians, Serbian citizens, who were arrested a year ago and are accused of being members of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization: Dr. Assen Tatarchev, physician from the town of Resen, Vangel Gurbev, former mayor of the village of Gyavato, district of Resen, priest Sofroni Andreev and priest Nikola Andreev from Berovo, district of Bitolya, Hristo Rizov, merchant from Bitolya, and others.
This trial had already opened on the 27th of February this year, when the court questioned the defendants and the witnesses. It then became clear to the court that almost all the defendants had been subjected to terrible torture by the police and the organs of investigation in order to extract the confessions which these organs required. Thus Dr Tatarchev had been beaten many times and, as a result of the blows, he had become deaf; the defendant Hristo Angelov had gone mad as a result of beating; the defendant Pano Nahumov had become deaf as a result of beating; the defendant Hristo Lazarov described the ways in which he had been tortured and tore his clothes off before the court to show the scars and asked for expert medical examination; Dimiter Gochev also showed his wounds, etc. Detailed information on all this was given in the newspaper Politika, published in Belgrade, in issues for February 27th and 28th, 1928.
The entire accusation was based solely on some report by the voivoda Peter Traikov, which report the Serbian authorities had got hold of through the good services of the Albanian authorities. The court was not in the possession of the original of this report, but had a copy of it. Under these circumstances,
even for a court that has not given much proof of being independent it was impossible to arrive at a verdict, and the court deemed it necessary to adjourn th trial for a later date, in order to obtain the original copy of the document which was the only basis for the accusation and in order to summon some new witnesses. Meanwhile, the Albanian Press Bureau announced on the 11th of this month that it was authorized to declare that 'the Albanian authorities did not know anything about such documents, or their existence.' It is clear that the only proof on which the Serbian authorities have based their accusation against the 15 Bulgarians is a document, the authenticity of which is in no way confirmed.
In spite of all this, and in spite of the revelations that torture was used to extract evidence from the defendants, we, taking into consideration the bitter experiences of many other trials of the same nature in Macedonia, fear that the trial in Bitolya will not end without a larger or smaller number of the defendants getting heavy sentences, despite their obvious lack of guilt.
Indeed, this trial is only one of the many expressions of a system aiming at terrorizing and exterminating the Macedonian intelligentsia. The affair with the Macedonian students which ended with 9 defendants receiving heavy sentences and about which we had the honour to send to the most honoured League of Nations a detailed report on December 21st, 1927, file No. 4027, was the most glaring example of the forms which this system is taking and the aims which are being pursued. Since then, many trials have confirmed this.
Thus, in Shtip, Metodi Agapiev, former mayor of the village of Sokolartsi, district of Kochani, Haralampi Davidkov, mayor, and Stefan Hristov, a clerk to the village council, were accused of collaborating with the IMRO and were sentenced. Again in Shtip, on March 21st, 1928, Kotse Shekerinov and Dimiter Natsev received four years for distributing Bulgarian newspapers and one leaflet in connection with the election campaign.
Again in Shtip, in March this year, 20 local people, among whom there were eminent citizens and two women, were put on trial, on the pretext that they had helped the assailants who killed the Serbian General Kovacevic. Doncho Zhivadinov, former deputy mayor of the city of Shtip, Kolyo Delipetrov, merchant, and Pancho Burdarov, baker, were sentenced to death; Ilya Velkov got 20 years solitary confinement, in heavy chains; Georgi Zlatkov - 15 years; Anton Stamenkov - 12 years; Stamenko Donchev - 15 years; Atanas Rashkov - 12 years; Traiko Koutev - 20 years; and Mihail Baroukchiev - 12 years. Also two women were sentenced: Kata Nousheva - 5 years, and Yana Doneva - 4 months.
During the second half of March this year, in Skopje, there was a big trial against 14 eminent citizens from Skopje and from other towns in Macedonia. Among the defendants were Dimiter Shalev, deputy mayor of the city of Skopje, Hristo Traikov, former deputy of the Skupshtina in Belgrade, Toma Petrov, a student of law, brothers Gyorchev from Veles, etc. Here, too, as in other trials, the court was told that many of the defendants had been tortured in order to obtain confessions of the kind the Serbian authorities needed. Thus, the defendant Slavko Nanchev said that he had been taken out of the prison at night and led to the place called 'Gazi-baba,' where there are cemeteries, and there, before an open grave, he was made to confess whatever the police and the organs of investigation dictated to him. The student Toma Petrov declared that the Grand Zupan, Vildovic, had tried to persuade him to accuse some of his fellow citizens and had threatened him that, if he did not do as he was told, not only he himself, but his family as well, would be exterminated. The chief defendant, Dimiter Shalev, declared before the court that he was being persecuted only because 'he was a member of an old Exarchist family and because he had graduated from a Turkish high school and a Bulgarian University.' Detailed information on this was given by the Serbian newspapers Politika and Vreme on March 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th this year. The final sentences were: Milan Hadji Panzov - 10 years solitary confinement, and Georgi Gyorchev - 5 years imprisonment, while the others were declared not guilty.
From December 12th to 15th, 1927, in Bitolya, there was a trial involving a great number of Bulgarians accused of helping the IMRO and of taking part in the assassination of Spas Hadji Popovic during the summer of 1926. This assassination remains, to a great degree, a mystery and at the time there were mutual accusations in the Belgrade press on the part of the Grand Zupan of the town of Bitolya and of the deputy Vassil Trbic. The latter stated unambiguously that the assassins were from the circle of the Grand Zupan.
In spite of this, on December 15th, 1927 the Serbian court issued the following sentences: Vassil Nikolov Lipitkov, a 70-year-old man - death sentence; Pavel Stoyanov, Fidan Moysov and Dimiter Todorov - 14 years solitary confinement; Nikola Atanasov Abdouramanov - 20 years solitary confinement, in heavy chains; Mato pop Petrov and Mitsko Romanov - 5 years each of solitary confinement.
But there is an even more remarkable fact in the case. The Court of Appeal instead of upholding or reducing the sentence, as is usually the case, gave death sentences to Nikola Atanasov Abdouramanov, Dimiter Todorov and Philip Moysov as well as Vassil Nikolov Lipitkov.
So far, we have noted here only these political trials where the number of the defendants is quite considerable and which have had the character of mass persecution, or have raised some noise, due to the eminent social status of some of the defendants. There are, however, many more trials, some of which have ended and others will begin. Thus, in Kavadartsi, several young people were sentenced for collecting Bulgarian folk songs. A court case has been started against 23 peasants from the villages of Ayvatovo, Alexandrovo and Tanevtsi in the district of Skopje, accused of helping Macedonian revolutionaries. There is another trial involving three Bulgarians and three Albanians from the villages around Skopje, accused of the same thing, etc.
The aim of all these trials becomes still clearer when placed in juxtaposition to the constant assassinations organized by the Serbian authorities. We had the sad duty twice, in letters dated February 24, 1928, and March 31 of the same year, file numbers 903 and 1942, of sending you a long list of the names of the victims of this extermination organized by the organs of the government. Unfortunately, since then the system has continued and the black line of our compatriots, who were killed, is growing longer every day. Thus, on March 31st the same year the eminent citizen, Ivan Boyadjiev, was assassinated in Prilep. In an interpellation to the Minister of the Interior, the deputy Trbic said that the assassination had taken place after Ivan Boyadjiev had been all evening with the commander of the gendarmerie in Prilep ‘and that the assault was committed in front of the gates of the barracks of the gendarmerie, the seat of the police of the district and the city council.'
On the 29th of March in the village of Vitolishta, district of Prilep, the mayor of the village, Kolyo Dinov, was attacked and seriously wounded. The assailants were not caught, neither were they sought.
On April 3rd, in Kichevo, the eminent merchant Georgi Nikolov was attacked and wounded; the Serbian press says that the wounded man had once been 'the leader of the Exarchists.' The assailants were not sought by the authorities.
Again, on April 3rd, in the village of Beli, district of Kochani, the mayor of the village, Yordan Dimitrov, was attacked and killed when he was coming back from Kochani. The assassins were not caught.
Other nationalities are not exempt. Turks and Albanians are being also killed. Thus, on the 6th of this month, in Gevgeli, the Turkish notable, Ismail Ahmed, was assassinated.
It is not possible to give exhaustive information of this martyrology (blood register). The number of our assassinated compatriots is very great, much greater, as is stated in a document from the inner parts of Macedonia. This is an appeal of Macedonian citizens, published in the magazine Rad in Belgrade, and the newspaper Borba in Zagreb, which we deem appropriate to append to this appeal in translation, so that it can be seen that the actual situation in our homeland is still more terrible than we paint it in our many statements and complaints.
Taking in consideration all these indescribable sufferings of our compatriots in our native homeland, we, the Macedonian refugees, overwhelmed with emotion and pain, consider it our duty to turn once again to the League of Nations and appeal for its serious and speedy intervention in order to put an end to a situation which with each succeeding day is becoming more unbearable and more dangerous. If the cry for help, coming from the hearts of the Macedonians is not heard, and if violence is not stopped by the means available to your high institution, as well as to the Great Powers, we, who follow events very closely, are afraid that the evil may acquire such dimensions that it will result in serious and irreparable consequences.
The information we have about the position of our compatriot Macedonians in the SCS Kingdom is more and more alarming. Far from improving, the situation is deteriorating every day. To the general atmosphere of oppression and constant terror and to the facts described in the above-mentioned documents and appeals, let us add that, according to reliable information received from our homeland, recently, in the district of Bregalnitsa, between the villages of Orizari and Vinitsa, four peasants, whose names are still unknown, were murdered. In Shtip, Dobri Palikroushev and two young men, aged 19 and 21, were killed. In Shtip prison Kosare Razvigorov, from Shtip, was slain.
The situation in Macedonia has become so unbearable that this is already often being admitted by eminent political figures in the Belgrade Parliament, the most recent case being at the session on the 4th of this month. However, up till now the government of SCS has not taken any measures to improve the situation, nor are there any hopeful signs that such measures are envisaged by the government. On the contrary, all orders from Belgrade in connection with Macedonia merely lead to an increase in the general atmosphere of oppression and lawlessness, to a crueler terror against the conscience and individuals, to a further consolidation of the military regime, to a fuller extermination of more eminent townsfolk and peasants through a system of assassinations, trials and every other means of violence. What is more, the constant efforts of Serbian propaganda abroad to deny even the existence of Bulgarians in Macedonia is a pointer to the real feelings and intentions of the Belgrade government which is considering ways of oppressing Macedonia more efficiently and more cruelly with a view to denationalizing it. There is no doubt for everyone more intimately acquainted with the situation that this latter aim of the Serbian policy is unattainable and that Macedonia will never become Serbian. But oppression and violence inevitably provoke resistance and opposition. Deprived of national and political rights, deprived of any lawful means for self-defense, the Macedonian population is deeply stirred by discontent and unrest and, while at the moment everything is quiet, tomorrow it may explode into an irresistible movement. We can catch the reverberations of muffled underground war between the government and the population, a war which is daily becoming hotter and which is full of dangerous surprises.
On December 9th, 1919, as is well-known, representatives of the Serbian-Croatian-Slovene State signed the Treaty for Protection of Minorities in Paris.
Article 1 of this treaty states: 'The Serbian-Croatian-Slovene government undertakes to acknowledge as a basic law the stipulations contained in Articles 2 to 8 of this chapter. No law, regulation or official act of the government shall contradict these stipulations, or supersede them.'
In accordance with Article 9, the SCS Kingdom undertakes to assist citizens who do not speak the official language, to educate their children in their own language and at the end it states:
'The stipulations of this Article apply only to the lands annexed by Serbia and the Serbian-Croatian-Slovene Kingdom from January 1st 1913 onwards.' It is obvious that the reference here is that part of Macedonia which was appropriated by Serbia in 1913, because only the northern half of Macedonia and the sandjak of Novi Pazar were conquered by Serbia in 1913, while the other lands were acquired by the SCS Kingdom after the Great World War. In 1913 Serbia found in the part of Macedonia which she annexed a Bulgarian pedagogical school in Skopje, a Bulgarian high school for classical languages in Bitolya, a Bulgarian school for priests in Skopje, five-grade girls' schools in Skopje and Bitolya; three-grade Bulgarian schools in all other towns, primary Bulgarian schools in all towns and villages, or a total number of 641 schools, 1,013 teacher, 37,000 pupils. These schools were closed by the Serbians and the teachers were expelled. In 1913 Serbia found in the annexed part of Macedonia Bulgarian bishops, under the Bulgarian Exarchate, in the bishoprics of Debur, Ohrid, Bitolya, Skopje, Veles and Strumitsa. They were expelled and replaced by Serbians; 761 churches were seized and 833 priests were driven out, deprived of their parishes or forced to submit to the Serbian church hierarchy. On top of all this, the SCS Kingdom had built an insurmountable wall between the population of Macedonia and its refugees so that brother cannot visit his brother, neither can they even communicate by letter.
In view of the situation
which today prevails in Macedonia under Serbian rule, and which facts
be unbearable and dangerous, we consider that the honourable League of
is the only institution that can halt the fatal march of events and
least comparative quiet. It would be sufficient if the SCS Kingdom
its obligations in connection with Macedonia, in terms of protecting
minorities, which obligations are under the supervision and guarantee
League of Nations, but have until now remained a dead letter, as far as
Macedonia is concerned. On behalf of the Macedonian emigration in
well as on behalf of our brothers who have remained in our oppressed
deprived of any possibility of expressing their wishes openly, we most
insistently appeal to you to submit this petition to the honourable
the League of Nations at its forthcoming session, so that the most
measures may be taken for the actual implementation of the stipulations
concerning minorities, in respect of the national, cultural and
rights of the Bulgarian and other nationalities in Macedonia under
domination. In our opinion, the following measures could be very
A special organ of the League of Nations should be constituted in
monitor the implementation of the Treaty on minorities. 2. The schools
churches, created at great sacrifice by the local population, should be
again. 3. The numerous Macedonian exiles should be allowed to come back
their homeland, and their personal security, as well as their civil and
political rights, should be guaranteed.
Due to the abnormal regime in Macedonia under the rule of the SCS Kingdom, the war between the rulers and ruled has continued there, even after the signing of the Peace Treaty. The implementation by the SCS Kingdom of the Treaty for the Protection of Minorities in Macedonia under the guarantee of the League of Nations, will put an end to this war, and conditions will be created for cultural and political evolution through legal, cultural and political competition, as in all modern law-governed states which are also multinational.
We are deeply convinced that if the honourable Council of the League of Nations undertakes this task, in line with its lofty mission, and with the treaties under its guarantee, the results will be most happy both for Macedonia and for the pacification of the Balkans and Europe.
The Seventh Regular Annual Congress of the Macedonian Emigrant Organizations in Bulgaria, which was convened on January 20, 1929 in Sofia, discussed the conditions created by the peace treaties in the Balkan Peninsula, and noted the difficult political and economic situation of the peoples in that part of Europe and the absence of possibilities for their peaceful development. The Congress declares that the Peace Treaties of 1919 relating to the destiny of South-east Europe run counter to the loudly proclaimed principle of self-determination of nations and to the hope of the weak and small nations to have their individual existence guaranteed and protected. This is especially true of our homeland - Macedonia, which was unjustly torn into pieces which are now within the boundaries of the Serbian and Greek states, and being subjected to unparalleled cruel moral and physical oppression. This intolerable situation which has been imposed on the Macedonian population and the non-application by the Serbian and Greek governments even of the clauses on protection of minorities, which are included in the peace treaties to guarantee the elementary national, political and cultural rights of our compatriots, forced the latter to resort to the only possible means of self-defense - the revolution. Since 1919 the world has been witnessing an incessant struggle between the oppressed and suffering Macedonian population and the rulers imposed on it, a struggle which is the source of perpetual martyrdom for the peoples and which is a threat to world peace.
Taking all this into consideration and guided exclusively by the common interests of the Balkan peoples, the Congress unanimously emphasizes that the establishment of a lasting peace in South-east Europe can be ensured only through the implementation of the formula of the great English statesman William Gladstone: 'Macedonia to the Macedonians.'
The Congress calls upon the governments of the great Powers to intervene for guaranteeing the self-government demands by Macedonia, and assures them that they will thus satisfy the legitimate aspirations of millions of oppressed and underprivileged human beings, they will lay the foundations of the peace longed for by the Balkan peoples, and will ensure their fraternal coexistence along the road of their common prosperity.
The Seventh Annual Regular Congress of the Macedonian Emigrant Organizations in Bulgaria is compelled once again to draw the attention of the League of Nations to the fact that Greece continues to undertake nothing to recognize and guarantee to the Bulgarian population in Macedonia under Greek rule its national and cultural rights envisaged by the treaties on minorities, which the Greek state has acknowledged by its own signature.
The Congress regrets to have to note something even worse: pretending that it is ready to fulfill all obligations it has undertaken towards the Bulgarian population in Macedonia under its rule, without, in fact, intending to do so, the Greek state continues the system of physical and moral terror which has driven a great part of the Bulgarian population out of its native land and has made life for the remaining part of that population intolerable.
Taking all this into account, the Congress asks the League of Nations, which is authorized to supervise the fulfillment of the treaties on minorities, and to protect the oppressed and enslaved people, to inquire into the situation of the Bulgarian population in Macedonia under Greek rule, and to demand that the Greek government put an end to the moral and physical terror exercised over that population, give a real opportunity to the refugees from this part of Macedonia to return to their homes, and give them back the property which was seized when they were forced to leave their homeland against their own will, effectively guarantee to the Bulgarian population under Greek rule all rights which are envisaged by the treaties on minorities, so as to make it impossible for the Greek state in the future to shirk the obligations it has undertaken by virtue of international acts.
The situation of the Bulgarians and the other nationalities in Macedonia under Serbian rule last year continued to be characterized by unbridled violence against them, by encroachments on their most sacred rights, recognized in the peace treaties, and by a merciless and consistent violation of their national rights.
The feelings of bitterness which are daily growing with the obvious failure of the Serbian authorities to assimilate the Bulgarian population in Macedonia, which is alien to them, have led the terror practiced in that country to such outrageous brutality that it has even recently abandoned any concern for concealment from the eyes of mankind.
This is to be explained also by the fact that the supreme institution in Europe responsible for justice and peace among nations, has so far left un punished the numerous flagrant manifestations of terror in that part of Macedonia.
A long series or rigged political trials, accompanied by inhuman torture of the defendants, by an ominous chain of political assassinations and annihilation of all enlightened people in that land, trial and imprisonment even for the most innocent manifestations of national consciousness, such as the collection of Bulgarian folk songs and the singing of such songs, violations of family honour and forcible dissolution of marriages directed against Macedonian Bulgarians who have fled to Bulgaria - this is the dark path of the Serbian policy of denationalization in Macedonia, these are the methods used by the Serbian authorities to crush the will of a population which wants and has the sacred right to preserve its national identity and to develop on the natural and sound foundations of its national character. It is useless here to repeat the numerous examples of all the various manifestations of official Serbian terror in Macedonia, which the National Committee of the Macedonian Emigrant Organizations in Bulgaria has had the sad duty on several occasions in the course of last year, to bring to the knowledge of the respected League of Nations.
'The Hell in Macedonia' is claiming an increasing number of victims; the state is waging a war against its population there before the eyes of the whole civilized world. And that population, which has no opportunity of expressing its longing for freedom and justice in a legal way, cut off as it is from the world by the barriers of constant threats and violence, begins to believe more firmly, irrespective of its aspirations for peace, that the revolutionary struggle, the nameless graves of whose heroes are scattered all over our homeland, is inevitable and justifiable.
We, who are closest to their feelings, having experienced the intolerable situation of our brothers in our enslaved homeland, and being well informed about it, once again address our insistent and legitimate demand to the League of Nations:
1. To take real measures for the application of the clauses on minorities in Macedonia under Serbian rule, to open the churches and schools which the local Bulgarian population built in the past with great effort, and at the cost of great sacrifices.
2. To create conditions for the numerous Macedonian exiles to return to their homeland by guaranteeing their personal security and the exercise of civil and national rights.
This time our hope of being heard is greater, because it is being supported by the noble and explicit declaration made at the last session of the League of Nations, that it will not refuse to protect the sacred rights of the minorities.
Since the end of the Great War, the National Committee of the Macedonian emigrant organizations in Bulgaria has constantly informed the League of Nations of the abnormal position of the Bulgarian population under Serbian and Greek domination, and with a profusion of documents, has urged the necessity of taking measures, at long last, to implement the stipulations of the special treaties for the protection of the Bulgarian population as a minority in Yugoslavia and Greece. Unfortunately, up till now, the League of Nations has not succeeded in doing anything in this direction, and has confined itself merely to acknowledging the receipt of the memoranda of the National Committee and, at most, it has informed the governments of Yugoslavia and Greece of the content of some of them.
For the 54th Session of the Council of the League of Nations, which has just ended and at which the central problem was that of the minorities, the National Committee sent directly to the Chairman of the Council two memoranda (No. No. 1426 and 1428 from 20 II. this year), asking the enlightened Council to consider the necessity of solving the problem of the minorities in the Balkans, especially the minorities in Yugoslavia and Greece. The Committee sees this necessity as arising from the abnormal regimes established by the governments over the people in these states both as citizens and as a minority, and from the difficult position of the Macedonian refugees, the number of whom in Bulgaria alone is over 500,000, and who are pining to return back to their homeland.
We feel strongly that we would not be fulfilling our duty towards our compatriots in Macedonia and abroad or towards that high international institution for peace, the League of Nations, if we did not submit the above-mentioned memorandums to you, and we are confident that they will help to elucidate the problems of the minorities in general, the investigation of which the Council of the League of Nations will entrust to Your Excellency. From these memoranda you will deduce, above all, a striking and, we think, a unique fact - that among all the minorities in Europe, the Bulgarian minorities in Yugoslavia and Greece are in the worst position, and that they are actually deprived of every right. Not only are they deprived of all the rights they should be enjoying according to the treaties for protection of minorities, signed by Yugoslavia on December 9th, 1919 in Saint Germain, and by Greece on August 10th, 1920 - in Sevres, but they are also deprived of all human and civil rights: as you will see from the appended memoranda, their Bulgarian schools were appropriated and turned into Serbian and Greek schools as early as 1913; the Bulgarian bishops, teachers and priests were driven out or deprived of their bishoprics, parishes and posts; what is even more dreadful, the Bulgarians in Yugoslavia and Greece dare not speak their Bulgarian language in public, for fear of heavy fines and punishments, and they are forced to learn Serbian and Greek, and to speak these languages. Still less do these Bulgarians dare to pronounce their Bulgarian names or give expression to their national, or even to their family feelings by observing their traditions: they do not dare christen their children with the traditional names of their fathers and grandfathers, but are forced to give them names from lists prepared by church authorities alien to them; the Bulgarians in Macedonia under Serbian, domination do not dare observe their namedays, but are forced to celebrate the Serbian holiday of 'Slava.' We cannot refrain from stressing here, that the then heir to the Serbian throne, Prince Alexander, cruelly hit Vasilika Zoycheva, a four-year-old girl, when in 1913 he visited Skopje, because in reply to the prince's question as to what she was, the innocent child answered that she was a Bulgarian.
We shall not dwell here on the treatment of this unfortunate population by the Serbs and the Greeks: the appended memoranda will give a clear picture of the situation in this respect; we would like to stress only the most disgusting act on the part of the Serbian church authorities: they force the defenseless wives of Bulgarians who have fled from Serbian terror to live with village clerks and policemen - Serbs; they make them ask for divorces from their legal husbands and on the strength of these applications, written under duresse, the Serbian church authorities dissolve marriages to lawful husband blessed by the church against the real desire of the wives, which can be seen from their letters to their husbands, in which they explicitly state that they wish to join them and that they are trying to obtain passports (memorandum No. 100 from 12. I. 1929).
The National Committee has asked the League of Nations many times to organize an investigation, and to find out on the spot about the unbearable sufferings of the Bulgarian population in Macedonia under Greek and Serbian domination; such an investigation has many times been proposed to the governments of Yugoslavia and Greece, which have always disguised the real position in this unfortunate area and have officially shamelessly denied our just allegations; however, they have never expressed their readiness to accept an international unbiased investigation.
On the contrary, with every form of physical and moral oppression, they have stifled all expression of national feeling on the part of this Bulgarian population, in the hope that time will give them the opportunity, through oppression and terror, to assimilate it. In this respect, Greece has officially started to persecute the Bulgarian population from Macedonia under Greek domination and this has been accompanied by mass extermination (Turlis, Karakyoi, in the district of Drama), similar acts of violence (Garvan, in the district of Radovish; Lyubantsi in the district of Skopje; Polaki in the district of Kochani, etc.) were accompanied in Yugoslavia by a series of put-up trials and, thus, eminent Bulgarians were deprived of their lives, so that the government could get rid of all Bulgarians who would not give in and who cultivated within themselves and among their compatriots a Bulgarian feeling and their Bulgarian name.
We shall not dwell on the well-known means used by some victorious governments in order to shirk their obligations towards the minorities - they deny the existence of these minorities, they offer theories for their assimilation, etc.; these means are no longer approved by anybody; but we cannot refrain from drawing your attention to a new form in which, of late, the theory of the assimilation of the minorities, condemned by everyone, is being presented; according to this new thesis, offered by the small victorious states, the minorities, close in terms of race, language and faith to the ruling nation in the countries in which they have remained under the peace treaties, can easily merge with the common body of the ruling nations and, in this way, a fruitful unity of the nations and the country will be achieved. This thesis is not new: Mr. Melo Franco considered that all minorities ;should be assimilated by the ruling nations in the countries where these minorities remain; the new thesis; differs only in that assimilation is limited only to related nations; in essence, however, it does not differ from the above-mentioned theory for the assimilation of the minorities. That is why we are convinced that this thesis will not meet with approval and will also be condemned, just like the theory of Mr. Melo Franco. History, science and the soul of the minorities are against this thesis. We give explanations of this thesis in the enclosed appendix.
In submitting this short memorandum to your enlightened attention, the National Committee believes that together with the enclosed appendix it will throw light on the darkest side of the great problem of minorities and, in this way, the Committee is collaborating with the League of Nations in its lofty aim - to achieve peace among the nations, and we are confident that Your Excellency will make use of the information for your report on the problem of minorities and that, in the name of justice and humanity and the achievement of peace among the nations, you will plead at the conclusion of your report for a speedy and radical solution of the problem of minorities.
The Vienna newspaper Arbeiter Zeitung of the 2nd of this month under the title 'A Dark Affair' reports:
A correspondent from Yugoslavia states:
For one month already the 50-year-old Macedonian Bulgarian Panko Brashnarov, a former teacher, has been in the prison of Maribor. There are different rumours about his arrest. Brashnarov had just recently been released from Skopje prison after two years imprisonment. Some say that he went to the famous Slovene holiday resorts to restore his health, which has been completely ruined by the notorious tortures in prison and that there he was arrested and sent to Maribor prison; others say that Brashnarov attempted to flee across the border and he was caught; still others say that Brashnarov disappeared in a mysterious way in Veles, kidnapped and transported to Maribor to be killed there. Will he suffer the fate of the two Communists from Zagreb, who were recently shot 'in an attempt to escape' across the Austrian border? Mass assassinations are going on throughout Yugoslavia. It is possible that a terrible fate is awaiting Brashnarov. But European public opinion cannot quietly look on while Yugoslavia is being turned into a hell of murder and violence.
It should be noted that the entire Yugoslav press, at the order of the dictators, does not say a word about the disappearance of Brashnarov. This guilty silence shows the criminal intentions of the hangmen. Even after this dark affair was announced in the foreign press, the Belgrade newspapers still keep silent. This gives rise to even greater anxiety for Brashnarov's life.
But this case should not be allowed to pass into oblivion. From all sides the cry should be heard:
Where is Panko Brashnarov?
1. It approves the political, organizational and financial activity of the National Committee during the period under review, and thanking it for its valuable and consistent efforts to defend our people's cause, relieves it of all responsibility.
2. It notes with deep regret that while fulfilling its tasks in those days fateful for the Macedonian liberation movement, the National Committee has been consistently obstructed by the subversive actions of former members of the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, who after abortive attempts to use the legal organizations, as tools in their struggle against the IMRO, resorted to most indiscriminate methods of undermining the prestige of both the Macedonian National Committee and the legal Macedonian movement represented by it. In their overt struggle against the Macedonian emigration and its cause, these same persons, having flooded the country with calumnious literature, committed something outrageous, which nobody would have believed possible: they sent killers against the members of the National Committee, one of its secretaries was seriously wounded, and Pandil Shishkov, member of the Varna Macedonian Brotherhood, was murdered.
The Congress notes with profound indignation that, in concert with the subversive activity of the above persons, there operates another group, around the newspaper Vardar, whose role has been to sow unrest in the ranks of the Macedonian emigration, overtly or covertly, using base lies and slander, to make it lose faith, and to fan animosity and new strife.
Taking all this into consideration, the Congress condemns the splitting activities of the above-mentioned persons and declares to the public that those persons do not speak on behalf of anybody else, and do not represent anybody but themselves.
The Eighth Regular Annual Congress of the Union of the Macedonian Emigrant Organizations in Bulgaria, which took place from November 24 to 27, 1929 in Sofia, having analyzed in detail the situation in the Balkans, and especially the situation in dismembered and enslaved Macedonia, ventures to draw the attention of the governments of the Great Powers to the alarming fact that peace in that part of Europe is being seriously endangered and is being put to a severe test every day.
Having proclaimed the principle of self-determination for the peoples, the victorious countries imposed the Paris peace treaties. The destiny which these treaties assigned to the Balkans far from being in conformity with this principle contradicts even the most elementary prerequisites which can guarantee a peaceful and tolerable co-existence between the Balkan states. This is due to the fact that under the Neuilly Treaty the victorious states enabled Serbia and Greece to annex foreign lands, to enslave foreign populations which are hostile to them, and thus create and maintain hotbeds of oppression and terror, which are a danger to peace in the Balkans, and keep all Balkan peoples in a state of tension and insecurity.
If the relations in the Balkans have been poisoned by all this, they will be strained even further and become more imminently dangerous in future, due to the fact that our homeland Macedonia, which has been partitioned and subjected to a new domination against the wish of the population and against the general Balkan interests, is in a state of complete despair as a result of the outrageous oppressive methods of administration and assimilation used by the rulers in Belgrade and Athens.
Maybe the victorious Powers have included certain clauses in the peace treaties on the protection of minorities exactly because they suspected the mentality and intentions of their smaller allies, and did not want to give them a free hand. These clauses, however, continue to this day to be a dead letter as far as Macedonia is concerned, and instead of being granted their rights, the lot of the oppressed population is imprisonment and violent death.
Naturally, under these conditions in Macedonia and the Balkans as a whole, the spirit of unrest and rebellion is gathering momentum as it inevitably accompanies each act of oppression and injustice.
That is why the Congress of the Union of the Macedonian Emigrant Organizations in Bulgaria is determined to point out to the Great Powers that the only useful and certain way of bringing peace to the Balkans, and of ensuring rapprochement between the Balkan peoples and their prosperous development, is connected with the salvation of Macedonia, as indicated by the great Gladstone, 'Macedonia for the Macedonians,' i.e. the Macedonians should be masters of their homeland, and should settle the future of their people as they think fit.
The Eighth Regular Congress of the Macedonian emigrants in Bulgaria, which took place from November 24 to 27, 1929 is compelled once again to draw the attention of the League of Nations to the extremely intolerable situation in Macedonia which has been steadily deteriorating under Serbian rule which has led the Bulgarian population there, like the other oppressed peoples in Yugoslavia, to a state of real martyrdom.
When in 1913 and 1919 Serbia annexed that part of Macedonia which it is now ruling, it found an overwhelming majority of Bulgarians there with their own old culture, numerous schools, churches, newspapers, library clubs and libraries. This spiritual culture was immediately stifled and usurped and its leaders - teachers, bishops and priests, were maltreated, beaten up and driven away, while Serbian bishops, priests and teachers who were alien and most unwelcome to the Bulgarian population, installed in their place.
Despite the explicit obligation it has undertaken under the treaty on minorities, since then Serbia not only has done nothing to restore the violated national rights of the Bulgarians in Macedonia under its rule, but exercising physical and moral terror of a kind unparalleled in the world, is consistently annihilating all Bulgarians who have manifested their Bulgarian national consciousness even in the most innocent form.
This oppressive policy of assimilation has been pursued for 10 years now by ever more brutal and outrageous means. Political trials have been rigged, innocent Bulgarians have been thrown into prison and killed without a sentence, marriages have been broken up by force, and finally the enslaved population has been completely ruined economically, as a result of the regime in Macedonia under Serbian rule.
Furthermore, it should be stressed that this terror which has been exercised for a number of years, has intensified under the dictatorship, and has embraced all parts of the so-called Yugoslavia - today it is being exercised in the same ruthless manner over the fraternal Croat people, and also over Montenegrins and the other oppressed peoples in Yugoslavia.
The new administrative reform carried out by the Belgrade dictatorship is not only unable to relieve the miserable plight of these people, but it is evident that, intended to deceive the world, that reform in its essence is only the ultimate manifestation i of Serbian tyrannical policy and the attempt to have all oppressed nationalities in Yugoslavia assimilated by the small Serbian people.
Taking all this into consideration, we venture to point out to the esteemed League of Nations that this extremely tense situation in our homeland and throughout Yugoslavia, given the absolute lack of possibility for the enslaved population to fight in a legal way for their rights, and the fact that the crimes committed by the Serbian authorities in Macedonia and in other parts in Yugoslavia have not been so far investigated by the supreme institution responsible for justice and peace in Europe, that in these conditions the situation in Macedonia under Serbian rule and in Yugoslavia as a whole, presents a real threat to peaceful life in the Balkans, so much desired by all.
On the basis of the above, the Eighth Congress of the Macedonian Emigrant Organization once again asks the League of Nations to take quick and efficient measures to put an end to the terror being exercised over the Bulgarian population in Macedonia under Serbian rule, and for the restoration of the cultural rights of the enslaved population. The Congress holds the view that such efficient measures should be:
1. To set up a special organ of the League of Nations in order to supervise the fulfillment of the treaty on minorities on the spot;
2. To reopen the schools and churches, built by the local population in the past with many efforts and sacrifices.
3. To enable the numerous exiles to return and to guarantee their personal security and the exercise of civil and political rights.
1. Greece there found a population which was Bulgarian in its overwhelming majority, and having driven out a large part of it by force in a most ruthless fashion, destroyed all cultural establishments - schools, churches, library clubs and libraries of the remaining Bulgarian population.
2. Since then the Greek governments have done absolutely nothing to restore to that population its violated national and cultural rights, which are guaranteed to it by the treaty on minorities signed by Greece, irrespective of the fact that at the League of Nations (1924) Greece acknowledged the Bulgarian nationality of that population.
3. The vital interests of the Bulgarian population, subjected to constant physical and moral oppression which continues to drive it away from its homeland, have recently suffered a new blow - the Greek authorities deliberately, through intolerable taxes and fines and by granting privileges to the local and newly-come Greeks, have caused the economic ruin of the Bulgarian population.
Considering all this, the Congress asks the League of Nations to take the following measures which, in the opinion of the Congress, could guarantee the rights of the Bulgarian minority in Greece:
1. To set up a special organ of the League of Nations to supervise the implementation of the treaty on minorities on the spot.
2. To reopen the schools and churches which were built by the local population in the past at the cost of many sacrifices and efforts.
3. To enable the numerous exiles to return, and to guarantee their personal security and exercise of civil and political rights.
The Eighth Regular Annual Congress of the Union of Macedonian Emigrant Organizations in Bulgaria, which took place from November 24 to 27, 1929 in Sofia, deems it its imperative duty to express the profound gratitude of the exiled Macedonians to fraternal Bulgaria for the warm hospitality accorded to them, and for the moving sympathy with which it follows and gives moral support to the cause of Macedonian national liberation.
The destiny of Macedonia has never been nor can it be alien to the free Bulgarian brothers because the Macedonian Bulgarians have always been an inseparable part of the spiritual entity of the Bulgarian people.
During the long and painful centuries of political and spiritual domination, and during the epoch-making struggle for freedom of religion and education, spiritual contacts between the Macedonian and other Bulgarians were tried in the crucible of common sacrifices and suffering, and they have thus become indestructible.
The two wars, in which the free Bulgarian people made a supreme effort
and gave many costly sacrifices for the liberation of its blood brothers in Macedonia irrefutably prove the strength and tenacity of the spiritual unity between all Bulgarians.
Despite the fateful errors of some Bulgarian rulers of that time, who gave ear to dangerous enemy suggestions concerning the partition of Macedonia, ignoring the importance and the soundness of the principle of autonomy, the blood shed by the Bulgarian sons, and the moral and material sacrifices which the Bulgarian people sustained, remain sacred and inviolable in every Macedonian heart.
The imposed Neuilly Peace Treaty forged new fetters for Macedonia, and inflicted grievous wounds on the living body of Bulgaria. And while Macedonia continues to fight for its freedom, enduring great suffering, Bulgaria is making supreme efforts to heal its wounds, and to embark once again on the road of progress and all-round development. It should be pointed out that both Bulgaria and Macedonia today suffer from one and the same evil, which has been brought about by the Neuilly Treaty.
The Macedonian exiles in Bulgaria, who enjoy full rights and willingly fulfill all duties of Bulgarian citizens, cannot but share all troubles of the Bulgarian people most sincerely and participate in all its protests against the injustice imposed upon them.
Despite all obstacles and expectations of its enemies Bulgaria neither perished, nor ruined its future, which is full of bright hopes for the Bulgarian people. This frightens all secret enemies of a lasting peace, but it is a source of sincere joy to all enslaved Bulgarians, including the Macedonian Bulgarians.
Bulgarian public opinion, which has always expressed the feelings and wishes of the Bulgarian people, has always shown fraternal sympathy with the sacred cause of enslaved Macedonia.
Taking the above-mentioned into account, the Eighth Regular Annual Congress of the Union of the Macedonian Emigrant Organizations in Bulgaria firmly believes that public opinion in Bulgaria will continue to render its valuable moral support to the Macedonian liberation struggle, by:
- constantly acquainting the Bulgarian people with the intolerable situation of the Macedonian Bulgarians under Serbian and Greek yoke and by continually reminding the leading political figures in Bulgaria that it is their supreme duty to the people and their right under the peace treaties to defend the national, cultural, religious and educational rights of the enslaved Bulgarians — a duty which has not been fulfilled, and a right which has not been exercised up till now.
Taking into consideration the fateful mistake of 1912, when the salutary principle of Macedonian autonomy was forgotten, and the selfish Serbian suggestion of the partition of Macedonia was adopted, without consideration of the vital interests and wishes of the Macedonian populations, the most numerous of which is Bulgarian, taking into consideration also the lessons to be drawn from the two national catastrophes, Bulgarian public opinion should begin most energetic work both among the broadest Bulgarian people's masses and among the Bulgarian politicians, to make them adopt the idea of the autonomy of Macedonia, and impose it as a view of the Bulgarian state, an idea which would free Macedonia from bondage, would protect Bulgaria from further dangerous trials, would reconcile all Balkan peoples and would forever pacify the Balkans.
Aware that there were and there still are people and circles in Bulgaria of anti-Macedonian leanings, though their number has always been insignificant, and that unfortunately there exist certain Macedonians who encourage anti-Macedonian feelings through their criminal actions and writings, the Congress remains confident that Bulgarian public opinion, as in the past, so also today, will manage correctly to assess the motives of both, and will not allow the pure and sacred Macedonian cause to be smeared.
The Eighth Regular Congress of the Macedonian Emigrant Organizations in Bulgaria, united in spirit and determination to wage the struggle of its dear homeland to the end, considers it its sacred duty to send its fraternal greetings and admiration to the militant enslaved population in Macedonia, which, though subjected to the most terrible regime of violence, oppression and denationalization, continues to wage its heroic struggle for freedom and for the preservation of its national consciousness.
The Congress kneels down and pays homage to the glorious memory of all known and unknown victims of the sacred liberation struggle of enslaved Macedonia.
The Congress kisses the foreheads of the students, unjustly sentenced and cruelly maltreated in Skopje, sends them its warmest sympathy and greetings, as well as to all innocent victims languishing in the enemy prisons. The Congress sends its ardent greetings to the fighters in enslaved Macedonia, wishing; them high spirits and success in the great national cause.
The Congress expresses the same feelings of fraternity and unanimity with all Macedonian organizations in Bulgaria, America and in other parts of the world, which are tirelessly working for the attainment of its national ideals.
The Congress recalls with particular gratitude the noble efforts and support of all foreigners who, led by feelings of humanity and justice, insist to the Powers of Europe that the enslaved Macedonian population be guaranteed its most elementary cultural, national and human rights envisaged by the peace treaties, and so cruelly denied to our compatriots in Macedonia by the Serbian and Greek governments. Considering the feelings of humanity, love of peace and justice which have prompted the noble friends of Macedonia, the representatives of organized Macedonian emigration in Bulgaria cherish the sincere hope that they will continue to render support to the just Macedonian cause in order to create conditions for genuine and lasting understanding between the Balkan peoples and for the establishment of general and lasting peace in Europe.
His Excellency Sir Eric Drummond, Chief Secretary of the League of Nations, Geneva.
According to Article 2 of the Treaty signed at Saint Germain on September 10th, 1919 between the main allied forces and the Kingdom of Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia, the protection of the minorities living in the Kingdom is guaranteed by the League of Nations. By signing this Treaty, the Kingdom undertook to give rights to all minorities living within the boundaries of the country after January 1st, 1913.
According to all this, these rights and this protection apply to the Bulgarian population in Yugoslavia annexed to the latter after the above-mentioned date. On the basis of this Treaty, the population is appealing to the League of Nations, asking for the implementation of the Treaty for the Protection of Minorities - in this case, the Bulgarian minority in Yugoslavia, where it is a compact mass of the population living in Macedonia.
Ten years have elapsed since the Treaty was signed. In spite of this, the Treaty of Saint Germain, protecting the minorities, remains a dead letter. What is more: the Bulgarian minorities in Yugoslavia are not only deprived of the rights stipulated by this treaty, but they are subjected to systematic denationalization and forcible assimilation; they are deprived of political rights and are being turned into economic slaves and are doomed to poverty.
Contrary to the existing treaties, the Yugoslav government has destroyed all our cultural institutions — national, educational and political by closing 641 Bulgarian schools with 37,000 students; 1,013 Bulgarian teachers have been driven out, 761 Bulgarian churches have been confiscated and turned into Serbian, and six bishops were driven out, 833 priests were also driven out and all the Bulgarian libraries and library clubs in which we studied our mother Bulgarian tongue have been destroyed, Bulgarian newspapers and magazines have been banned in Macedonia. In short, the Yugoslav government has destroyed everything in Macedonia that could be used for the national, cultural and social development of the Macedonian Bulgarians.
In pursuing its policy of exterminating the Bulgarian spirit in Macedonia, the Yugoslav government has applied measures of a kind considered everywhere as a complete negation of contemporary civilization and elementary conceptions of freedom.
a) Contrary to Article 7 of the Treaty of Saint Germain, we have been forbidden to use our mother tongue, Bulgarian, in the streets, in our private relations, in trade, at meetings, etc., let alone using the Bulgarian language in publications and in the press. Bulgarian is altogether forbidden in government, town, etc., offices.
b) Our names have been forcefully changed by adding Serbian endings to them. Giving national names to our children is forbidden, and we are forced to give them names according to a list drawn up by the Serbian church authorities specially for Macedonia.
c) Reading Bulgarian books and Bulgarian newspapers is forbidden under the threat of the most severe punishment, and we never have an opportunity to read a line in our mother tongue. Four young people were convicted in Kavadartsi, because a Bulgarian book was found on them.
d) The singing of Bulgarian songs is considered an offence. In Tetovo many citizens, with their priest at the head, were convicted because they had sung Bulgarian songs at a celebration.
e) The Yugoslav authorities have forbidden us to celebrate our national and customary holidays, our namedays and the holidays of the different craftsmen, and have imposed the Serbian 'Slava' upon us instead.
f) In order to facilitate assimilation, the authorities force young women in Macedonia to marry Serbian gendarmes, and all protests against this coercion are of no avail. All state and town posts are barred to the Macedonian intelligentsia. Their applications are ignored, while they themselves are being expelled from the kingdom as was the case with Dr Piperkova from Skopje, Dr Naoumov from Ohrid and Dr Tsipoushev from Veles, or they are being interned, as is the case with engineer Karadjov and Dr Taoushanov from Shtip, or are being killed, as was recently the case with Blagoi Monev from Shtip, Rampo Popov from Prilep, etc. - not to speak of the numerous murders which occurred earlier.
The Bulgarian population in Macedonia has deep faith in the great mission of the League of Nations and would like to believe that the latter is keeping watch on the strict observation of the international treaties. That is why, cognizant of the rights guaranteed to it as a minority under the Treaty of Saint Germain, and notwithstanding its great sufferings owing to the forceful assimilation practiced by the Yugoslav government, the Bulgarian population in Macedonia, organized in its national organizations, decided to send us to Geneva in the capacity of its lawful representatives, in order to submit this petition to the League of Nations and to ask for its protection, as a national minority in Yugoslavia - something of which we have hitherto been deprived due to the well-known attitude of the Yugoslav government..
We, the undersigned Yugoslav citizens, born and living in Macedonia have held different public and political posts and have taken part in the political life of our country, in the capacity of representatives of the Bulgarian national minority in Yugoslavia, accepted the delicate and patriotic mission, to submit this petition to the League of Nations, and we are confident that, through this act, we are fulfilling a duty towards our own people and civilized humanity because we believe that we are helping, in a peaceful way, to obviate the threat to peace.
Stating all this, we take the liberty of drawing the attention of the League of Nations to the dangers threatening the very existence of the Bulgarian population in Yugoslavia.
At the same time, we declare that all these and other facts stated in the petitions, submitted either by the emigrant organization of the Macedonians, or by other organizations like the Balkan Committee in London, the French League for Human Rights or the American League, are entirely in accordance with the facts and with the wishes of the Bulgarian population in Yugoslavia.
In order to remove the difficult and unbearable situation which is creating conditions for undesirable events, we are confident that the following measures are necessary and expedient:
1. That the nationality of the Macedonian population be acknowledged and that the Treaty for the Protection of Minorities be strictly observed under the control of the League of Nations.
2. That our brother emigrants be allowed to return to Macedonia.
3. That there be an amnesty for all political prisoners, convicted by the Serbian courts solely because they wanted the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Treaty for the Protection of Minorities.
4. That Bulgarian schools and churches built with so much sacrifice on the part of the population before the Serbian rule in Macedonia be opened-anew.
5. In order to monitor the fulfillment by the Yugoslav government of its treaty obligations that a special commission, appointed by the League of Nations, be sent to Macedonia to observe the implementation of this Treaty.
The Macedonian population, whose representatives we have the honour to be, was happy at the news of your coming to the capital of Yugoslavia. This is a proof of the faith which this population has in the League of Nations and in its great mission to establish an era of complete tolerance in the relations among the nations, a tolerance necessary for peace. We are confident that this faith of our brothers will be justified by Your Excellency's attention to this petition.
On behalf of the Bulgarian population in Macedonia under Serbian domination:
Since the League of Nations came into existence, a series of memoranda, statements and petitions have been addressed to it by certain Macedonian organizations, committees and unions. Earlier, at the time of the 'peace' conference in Paris, before the institution in Geneva was established, one of these committees, the so-called Executive Committee of the Macedonian Charitable Organizations in Bulgaria, headed by Karandjoulov, Dr K. Stanishev, Bazhdarov and Pavlov, sent the well-known memorandum to the governments of the Great Powers, the victors in the world war. In this memorandum they, claiming to speak on behalf of the Bulgarian population in Macedonia and of the emigration in Bulgaria, several hundred thousands strong, demanded the union of Macedonia with Bulgaria. Of course, no country to which they had directed their appeal took heed of their demands. Macedonia remained in the position decreed by these imperialists and their Balkan stooges. Soon after, the League of Nations was established. It was charged with the duty of monitoring the observance of the 'peace' treaties with their provisions for the protection of the minorities, as well as the special treaties referring to the same minorities.
This institution was approached by a number of its members, as well as by various organizations, committees, unions, institutions and individuals in order to inform it of the position of the different minorities and to demand that the special treaties and the special provisions of the 'peace' treaties be observed. We saw how this institution received the various proposals of its members aimed at the alleviation of the position of the minorities, and especially of the 'Bulgarian minority in Yugoslavia.' Not one of the proposals, beginning with that of Professor Murray and ending with those of Stresemann and Dendurant, was accepted by the 'humane' League of Nations.
The fate of the
petitions of the various organizations committees and private
no better. The number of communications about Macedonia
was not small;
Mr. Penakov considers them to be 16, up to March of this year. No
been paid to any of these communications. Some of them have been thrown
the dusty archives of this institution. From that date up till now,
more memoranda and petitions of this kind have been addressed to the
institution and they have shared the same fate.
More than three months ago, three Macedonians addressed a petition to the League of Nations; this petition provoked a great noise in the above-mentioned Macedonian circles; it was enthusiastically hailed by friendly circles in Bulgaria and abroad. Because of the great noise aroused by the Macedonian fascists and because their wish to use it for their own political purposes, we shall dwell upon it in more detail.
First of all, let us see what the contents of this document are. The petition sent towards the middle of January this year to the Secretariat of the League of Nations discusses only the plight of the Bulgarians in Macedonia under Serbian oppression and gives a very weak, a completely weak picture of the situation there.
What does it say?
It gives information about the cultural oppression of the Bulgarian population under Serbian domination; it talks about closed schools, churches, libraries, reading-rooms; of the banning of publications, newspapers and magazines in Bulgarian; it mentions in passing the Serbian authorities' policy of denationalization as well as the fact that the Macedonian Bulgarians are deprived of their political rights; it briefly mentions the social poverty of the population; it says that the Bulgarian population has been forbidden to use its own mother tongue in the streets, in their private and trade relations, as well as at meetings and public and other offices; that no newspapers and other publications in Bulgarian are allowed to be used; it mentions the changing of names, the banning of Bulgarian books and newspapers and the singing of Bulgarian songs; the banning of the celebration of namedays, the forcible marriage of Macedonian women to Serbian gendarmes and the non-admission of the Macedonian intelligentsia of Bulgarian nationality to public and state posts.
Further on, the petition states that the Bulgarian population in Macedonia has deep faith in the noble mission of the honourable League of Nations, and that all the facts stated in the petitions submitted by the Macedonian emigrant organizations were in accordance with the truth and with the wishes of the Bulgarian population in Yugoslavia.
In conclusion, the delegation demands that the nationality of the Macedonian population be acknowledged, that the Treaty for the Protection of Minorities be respected, and the emigrants be allowed to return, that an amnesty be given, that the Bulgarian schools and churches be reopened and that a Commission of the League of Nations be appointed, charged with the supervision of the implementation of the Treaty for the Protection of Minorities (the delegation bases its demands on the Treaty, signed in Saint Germaih on September 10, 1919).
All that is in the petition, as far as the situation in Macedonia is concerned, is true.
However, does this give even an approximate picture of the barbaric regime under which the Macedonian people of Bulgarian nationality and, in general, the whole Macedonian population in this part of Macedonia, is living? Of course, not! Readers of this petition will think that the Macedonian Bulgarians have been deprived only of their cultural rights. They will not get the impression that the 'Bulgarian minority' has been deprived of all rights - the Albanian, the Turkish, the Wallachian and the other 'minorities' in Macedonia, i.e., the entire Macedonian population, the entire Macedonian people are in the same position, so that it is not only a question of a national minority, or of national minorities, but of an oppressed, enslaved people - that it is denied the right to exist as a nation, that it is denied every right to form its own national parties, organizations, unions; that it is deprived of the right to exercise the civil and political rights which existed before the dictatorship, though in a limited form, to exercise its election rights, to have its own election lists, to enjoy the limited freedoms of speech, of the press, assembly, associations and to enjoy even the right to have its own professional societies.
That it is subjected to unbelievable colonial exploitation and robbery; that its property and the produce of its labour is being plundered by the government, the banks, the merchants-exporters, the usurers; that it suffers greatly from corruption, which has reached incredible dimensions among all officials; that the peasants have become real pariahs and live in hopeless poverty; that the craftsmen and workers are in an unbearable situation and are on the verge of starvation; that even the merchants and industrialists are being persecuted in their businesses; that the intelligentsia is not only forbidden to take government and public jobs, but that its constant habitation are moreover the prisons of King Alexander, and that its fate is exile.
That mad terror is raging in the country; that Macedonia is swarming with gendarmes - they comprise more than half of their whole contingent in Yugoslavia - policemen and troops; that armed fascist gangs, counter-detachments, various patriotic organizations, various groups of colonists, etc. are terrorizing this population.
That since the bloody regime of the Serbs was established, 1,500 Macedonians have been murdered, and in many places there have been mass assassinations; that during this time twenty-five thousand Macedonians have passed through the prisons and about 4,000 have been sentenced to tens of thousands of years in solitary confinement; that, at this moment, about one thousand Macedonians are languishing in dungeons; that there are trials one after another, and scores of Macedonian public figures are being heavily sentenced; that the system of missing without trace' or of killing 'when attempting to run away' is in full swing in our country; that tens of villages have been destroyed and hundreds of houses burnt, and that, finally, since the establishment of the dictatorship up till now, all that has been said above has been intensified to an unimaginable degree, and that this part of Macedonia has been turned into a real hell.
Since those Macedonians thought of turning to the League of Nations, they should have submitted not a petition but a protest, an energetic protest -and since they had it in mind to organize a campaign, they should not have done it in favour of such a petition, but should have revealed the real situation of the 'Bulgarian minority' so that the world would have a clear idea of the Macedonian hell; they should have submitted demands in accordance with the real wishes of the entire Macedonian people, and, above all, of the Bulgarian population, and they should have named those responsible for this situation, as well as stigmatizing all forces who watch and encourage this policy of bloody terror, denationalization and national oppression.
However, they did not do this, which shows that they do not take the situation in Macedonia very seriously, that they do not feel really for the sufferings of the Macedonian population, and that they are not really so very much interested in creating in Macedonia a situation which will enable the Macedonian population to live freely and independently.
According to the census recently taken in the Voios province, Kozhani district, the Bulgarian-speaking population number 1,184 people... Some 949 of them are of Greek consciousness, 145 (30 men, 57 women and 58 children) are of dubious consciousness, and 90 of them (10 men, 34 women and 46 children) are of Bulgarian consciousness. Those of Bulgarian consciousness are not engaged in any activity.
(Second Bureau of the Division)
The Bulgarian-speaking majority in the Lerin district amounts to 77,650 people, 63,360 of whom have Bulgarian consciousness and 12,300 - Greek consciousness. Those of Bulgarian consciousness do not appear to be engaged in any activity. The Bulgarian Macedonian committee circulates various newspapers and magazines, which are sent in non-transparent envelopes to the various agents who distribute them to the appropriate persons ...
Mr. Prime Minister,
I have the honour to submit the following verified information about the visit of the Sokols from this banovina to Sofia on the occasion of the convention of the sports union 'Yunak.'
At Sofia station, the Macedonian activists, who had taken up positions all round, expressed great enthusiasm over the Sokols from the banovina of Vardar. The minute our people came out of the train, there began kissine embracing, shouting and sobbing. It was noticed that many, though very young knew each other, in spite of the fact that they had not seen each other for more than 10 or 15 years.
When the column started towards the city, some people shouted at our people with irony:
'These are Serbomanes!', while others, some of whom had penetrated into our ranks, shouted:
'You are not Serbs, you are Bulgarians! Shout: Hurrah. This is the Bulgarian greeting and not: Zdravo! Zdravo,' etc.
When they reached the school where they were to be put up, many of the Sokols of this banovina ran away and passed most of the day and the night in the company of the Macedonian activists. Some never came back until the time for the train to take them back to Yugoslavia.
The agitation of the Macedonian activists was systematic. They said to our people: 'You are not Serbs. You are Bulgarians. There is no peace in your parts, no freedom, you are not equal, you are under slavery.' There were some among our people who approved of this even in the presence of people who, they might suppose, would inform our authorities when they returned home.
Such was the behaviour of the Sokols from Koumanovo and Prilep.
After the service in the Cathedral, the Bulgarian hymn was sung, and another dynastic song, which some of our people knew and sang.
Many of our Sokols threw away their Sokol badges and replaced them with the badges of the Bulgarian 'Yunak.'
On parting at the station, our Sokols, as well as their hosts, expressed deep sorrow and, when the train started, our people, not using the Yugoslav Sokol greeting: 'Zdravo!' shouted: 'Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!' in spite of the warning of the Sokol leaders not to abandon our Sokol greeting and not to use the Bulgarian greeting 'Hurrah!'
On their way back, they carried many letters and snapshots, which were torn up by many of them at the special request of the leaders of the Sokol zhup, but many managed to smuggle them through due to the superficial customs examination.
The behaviour of the real Bulgarians was polite and friendly.
Since, on parting our Sokols had abandoned all propriety, the leader of the zhup, engineer Pajc, had to make a speech warning them that they should fulfill their patriotic and Sokol duties.
Informing you of the above I have the honour to remind you that this disloyal behaviour of the majority of Sokols of this banovina in Sofia actually shows that we are not sufficiently nationally rooted in these parts and that serious attention has to be paid to the national transformation of these people.
I must remind you also that the Macedonian activists in Bulgaria who have penetrated deep into the life of the Bulgarian nation and of the Bulgarian state, who have merged organically and firmly with all forms of the Bulgarian state, national, economic, cultural, scientific and artistic life, are still a great threat to our interests in Southern Serbia and that we could expect sudden blows on their part.
In view of the force and the tenacity of the Macedonian activists in Bulgaria and because of the instability of our elements at home in Southern Serbia, my opinion is that we should be very careful in our policy towards Bulgaria and we should not do anything which could facilitate and strengthen the influence of those in Bulgaria over those people here who are not yet nationally reliable.
I beg you, Sir, on this occasion, to accept my deepest respect.
The 16th Congress of the Macedonian political organizations in the USA Canada and Australia, which took place from September 5 to 8, 1937 with an absolute majority adopted the following declaration:
The sad messages which we are constantly receiving from our homeland Macedonia compel our meeting to acquaint enlightened public opinion in America, Europe, Australia and all other continents, as well as those who decide the fate of peace, with the tragic plight of the enslaved Macedonian people, which lives under the burden of unjust oppression.
In their unreasonable attempts to assimilate the Macedonian Bulgarians, who constitute the greater part of the population in Macedonia, the governments of Yugoslavia and Greece are persistently continuing their policy of forcible subordination and oppression of our suffering homeland.
Yugoslavia and Greece refused to grant the Bulgarians in Macedonia those national and political rights and freedoms which were guaranteed to them by the much vaunted treaties on the protection of national minorities under the rule of other nations. Yugoslavia undertook to respect these rights under clauses 2 to 9 of the treaty signed by the allied states with the Kingdom of Serbians, Croatians and Slovenians on September 10, 1919 at Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The Yugoslav government categorically refused to fulfill these provisions of the treaty on minorities, which guarantee the national, cultural and political privileges of the enslaved Macedonian people.
The present Yugoslav government persistently continues this policy. In order to divert the attention of the world public from the brutal treatment of the Macedonians in Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav government resorted to a clever stratagem: it concluded a ratified treaty of 'eternal friendship' with Bulgaria. This meaningless pact was greeted by certain circles and people as the first step towards the establishment of peaceful and friendly relations between the Balkan nations. Being fully aware of the designs of the existing regime in Yugoslavia, the 16th Congress, which expresses the will and wishes of the patriotic Macedonian organizations, resolutely rejects the 'joyful' agreement concluded between Belgrade and Sofia, guided by the following considerations:
1. The Bulgarian-Yugoslav treaty fails to restore the suppressed rights of the Macedonian population;
2. At the time when this treaty was signed, the Government of Dr Milan Stojadinovic.. continued to make unworthy efforts for the assimilation of the Macedonian Bulgarians under the conditions of Yugoslav bondage;
3. The 'rapprochement' proclaimed by the premiers of Bulgaria and Yugoslavia does nothing to alleviate the indescribable suffering of the Macedonian people, subjected to oppression and deprived of elementary human rights and privileges, despite the exaggerated false propaganda of the Yugoslav capital.
Resolutely protesting against the Bulgarian-Yugoslav pact which embodies the alleged 'eternal' friendship between the two nations, we voice our unconditional readiness joyfully to welcome any noble initiative for the establishment of genuine agreement not only between the South Slavs, but also between the other nations inhabiting the Balkan Peninsula.
The 16th Congress of the Macedonian political organizations in North America and Australia considers it its duty to draw the attention of the world public to the methods of violence used by the Greek government last year in an attempt to conceal the national character of the Bulgarian population in that part of Macedonia which is under the Greek yoke. The terror which is reigning in that part of our dismembered homeland is something that has never before been heard of. Since the time of the World War the Greek authorities have declared the persecuted Macedonian Bulgarians 'Bulgarophones,' i.e. Greeks who speak Bulgarian. They have been deprived of elementary national rights and freedoms, and also of freedom of religion, education and literature. The Macedonian people, however, has been firmly defending its national traditions despite those and other innumerable barbarous acts. Having become convinced of the complete failure of the Greeek policy of assimilation in Macedonia, the dictatorship of General Metaxas is resorting to new outrageous methods of oppression in its endeavour to crush the vigilant national consciousness of the Macedonian Bulgarians. Last year the Greek authorities forbade our Macedonian brothers and sisters to speak their mother tongue even in the sacred family circle. Those who violate this inhuman decree, and those who are unable to fulfill this order because they do not know Greek, are being subjected to ruthless repressions by the police authorities: they are heavily fined, exiled to the islands, thrown into prison, beaten up, etc., etc. From various towns and villages situated in the part of Macedonia under Greek rule we receive information containing appalling details of the unbelievable hardships which the Macedonian Bulgarians under Greek rule have to endure.
Reporting these monstrous facts, the Congress proposes the holding of an impartial plebiscite in the three parts of our dismembered homeland Macedonia, for a final expression of the will of the Macedonian people.
The Macedonian emigrants in North America and Australia declare that they are ready to undertake all expenses on the carrying out of an IMPARTIAL INTERNATIONAL INQUIRY to establish the truth about the situation in enslaved Macedonia justly and conscientiously. The Concr declares that if the necessary measures to discontinue the policy of forcible denationalization pursued by Greece and Yugoslavia in our homeland are not taken in due time, the Macedonian population in our homeland would consider it its right to resort to the ultimate means in its struggle for national preservation, i.e., to armed struggle. Such a conflict (which is least wanted by the peace-loving Macedonian people, longing for a peaceful and just settlement of the controversial international problems) may cause war, and still greater disruption not only in the Balkans, but also in the whole of Europe.
The Congress cordially thanks all noble and enlightened people who have had the courage to tell the truth about Macedonia, and to voice the just demands of the oppressed Macedonian population, which is fighting for its sacred human rights and privileges.
We express our infinite gratitude to the USA, Canada and Australia, the democratic laws of which gave us the possibility of telling the truth about Macedonia.
The patriotic Macedonian emigrants in North America and Australia solemnly voice their immutable decision energetically to support the great struggle which the Macedonian population and Macedonian emigrants in Bulgaria are waging for the realization of the sacred slogan, proclaimed by the noble statesman William Gladstone: 'Macedonia for the Macedonians!'
The Central Committee of the Macedonian Political Organization in the USA, Canada and Australia, expressing the feelings of the organized Macedonian emigrants in these countries, considers it a pleasant and imperative duty to greet the Governments of the USA, Canada and Australia, and also to express the joy of the Macedonian emigrants over the warm reception which they were accorded in these three great liberal countries when they left their homeland Macedonia. As citizens of the USA, Canada and Australia the Macedonian emigrants remain loyal to the democratic and liberal structure of these governments. As always, they are ready to make their modest contribution to the cause of the progress and prosperity of the countries which have offered them refuge.
They express their veneration and love for their native land Macedonia which has been subjected to cruel oppression in the last five decades. Taking into consideration the conditions created in Macedonia, particularly after the World War, and the international political situation which has been created in the Balkans in the last few months, the Central Committee of the MPO declares the following to the governments of the various countries and to world public opinion:
Up to 1912, i.e., up to the First Balkan War, all governments and freedom-loving and humanitarian institutions regarded the Macedonian question as the heart of the Near-East European problems. The idea of political independence of Macedonia, in the name of which its people fought, was considered the best means of establishing peace in Macedonia, and setting up an alliance of the Balkan peoples.
However, the three wars between 1912 and 1918 and the imposed peace treaties of Bucharest and Neuilly led to the most unfavourable settlement of the Macedonian question. As a result, Macedonia was divided into three parts and was subjected to worse oppression than that in Turkish Macedonia. A whole economic and geographic unit was dismembered in Neuilly and Bucharest despite the historic lessons and the economic considerations, and despite the explicit will of the population, which was manifested in a prolonged struggle. Instead of being the apple of discord, this land if independent, would contribute to fraternal cooperation, cultural creative work, and would be entirely free from foreign invasion in the Balkan Peninsula.
The treaty envisaging protection of minorities which, as it had been supposed, does not provide effective safeguards of the civil, national and religious rights of the Macedonian people, is not being observed by the governments in Belgrade and Athens. At present the use of the native tongue is being persecuted in Macedonia, the Bulgarian churches and schools have been closed down, the libraries have been burnt and plundered. The population of Macedonia suffers from the arbitrary actions, violence and persecution of its national culture.
On behalf of the Macedonian political organizations in the USA, Canada and Australia, we have always declared and now reiterate that we aspire to achieve full political independence for Macedonia by unification of its three parts which are now under the rule of Greece, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. This is the aim of our brothers in enslaved Macedonia and all Macedonian organizations in the world. An independent Macedonia would not only bring peace and happiness to its people, but would also ensure an alliance of the Balkan peoples, indicating the way in which their economic and national requirements can be satisfied. As a result of the implementation of the sound principle formulated by a great English statesman, William Gladstone, 'Macedonia for the Macedonians' - a stable basis would be provided for the implementation of the second sound principle - the Balkan Peninsula for the Balkan peoples.
The developments in Europe in the last few months go to show once again that the situation in the Balkan Peninsula is a threat to world peace as the Balkans have justly been considered a powder keg which gave rise to a number of wars. In connection with these events the world press has also focused attention on Macedonia, also forecasting various political combinations.
We should like to note that the political views of the responsible Macedonians on the solution of the Macedonian question are in the spirit of this declaration. We should also like to state with great emphasis that Macedonia is nobly trying to do its utmost to avoid wars. For five years — from 1912tol918, our country was the theatre of war. It knows what privations the civilian population and the soldiers at the front experienced. The three wars waged on the territory of Macedonia, far from bringing the long-awaited peace, divided the country and subjected it to intolerable oppression. That is why we greet with such sincere joy every undertaking aimed at promoting the peaceful settlement of existing differences and the elimination of injustice.
Injustice must be uprooted because the difficult conditions created in the Balkans after the World War are driving the peoples to despair and to actions which are undesirable even to themselves. The status quo' there is amoral and harmful. Its insistent preservation by force contradicts justice and freedom, economic and historical laws, and the principle of self-determination for the peoples. The cause of peace would gain nothing by the preservation of oppression in the Balkans, the most ruthless form of which is to be found in Macedonia. Justice and good will should triumph in that part of Europe so that the tortured people can achieve peace and arrive at a final settlement.
Committee of the MPO in the USA, Canada and Australia express profound
gratitude to all individuals of non-Macedonian origin who share its
to non-Macedonian organizations magnanimously supporting the just
the Macedonians. We call on the governments of big and small countries,
also on the whole peace-loving mankind to put an end to the suffering
Macedonians, and to create favourable conditions for freedom, humanity
peace. We all know that irrespective of the solemn pledge given by
governments in Belgrade and Athens are refusing to implement the Treaty
Protection of National Minorities. Instead, they are trying to use the
brutal measures of oppression which deprive the Macedonians of their
culture. We place our cause before the court of world conscience, the
world and the various governments, which will justly assess, to what
the above-mentioned facts correspond to the requirements of peace, and
principles that underlie human progress and civilization.
ЦПА, ф. 10, оп. 1, а.е. 66, л. 25-29; original, printed.
This is the
Greek name of the Bulgarian village of Zagorichane, in which Dimiter
The events in Europe and the defeat of some old allies and creators of the dictats of Versailles show that the artificially formed states are now disintegrating, so that a just solution of the problems in Europe can be achieved.
As everywhere, here in Macedonia, everybody reads the news with great interest and ardent expectation. We would be glad if this information reached more Bulgarian statesmen, politicians and public figures, and if speedy measures were taken against the evil that could again assail the Bulgarian people.
Everybody ought to know that today Macedonia is not lost to Bulgaria but, on the contrary, there exists a healthier Bulgarian spirit than ever before. Some call themselves Macedonians, but this is due to the terrible reaction which the name Bulgarian provokes in the Serbs. Gigantic is the struggle that our people has been waging under Serbian domination (we were left to the Serbs in Yugoslavia and they do whatever they please to us). Lately, due to the war in Europe, they look at us with a greater lack of confidence and are more on the alert.
It is well-known that all injustices, robbing, violence create reaction and disgust. This is exactly what the Serbs have achieved in Macedonia. When they came to Macedonia, they knew that Bulgarians lived in this country. And that is why they imagined that by cruel measures and lawlessness, they could frighten the people and win them for the Serbian cause. But all was in vain. And now they are surprised at the anti-Serbian feelings in the hearts of the majority of people.
The government of Cvetkovic is carrying out a policy of tricking the Bulgarian government and public opinion so that they will not aspire to Macedonia; otherwise, if the Bulgarians posed this question, the friendship between Bulgaria and Serbia would be destroyed...
We are against the giving of rights to the minorities in Macedonia, since for the Serb this is 'casting bread upon the waters’...
Conclusion: 1. The Serbs have in no way succeeded in Macedonia.
2. It would be good if the course of the policy of the Bulgarian government towards Macedonia and its people were changed.
3. Let Radio Sofia speak about Macedonia...
There is great sympathy for Russia. The common wish of the people is: let a gypsy come, only let this one (the Serb) go away. Anathema to any Bulgarian, who forgets his own brothers.