Forming of the Local Campaign Committees

On the day after the establishment of BCCC, on April 14, togeth­er with Boris Andreev, Hadzhikimov arrived in Veles. There he found all houses having signs that they were inhabited by Bulgari­ans because the Germans were assaulted the Jewish homes. In the town there were demolitions from the Germans' bombings, wound­ed and killed people. The Veles town Hall was already taken by the Bulgarians, led by Konstantin Vanev. More precisely, the Serbian authorities had left before the German invasion.

A long discussion took place in the hall of the community center “at the presence of many people” a prolonged discussion has taken place. A conclusion was reached that a campaign committee should be formed, which to follow the line of BCCC for accession of Macedonia to Bulgar­ia The tasks of the committee according to the report of April 14 for its establishment were to represent Veles before all authorities and to pro­tect its economical, political and cultural interests.

The campaign committee chose Executive Committee with Lazar Krepiev as President, Boris Andreev, Deputy President, Dr. Angel Panov, Secretary, Lazo Stoianov, Secretary and as advisors were elect­ed Panko Brashnarov, Sazdo Hadzhipetrushev, Strahil Georgov, Dr. Dimcbe Smilev and Strahil Gigov (Document No. 10).41 As one could see the popular communist functionaries Panko Brashnarov and Stra­hil Gigov were among the people chosen in the management body of the campaign committee in Veles. The committee appointed the local lawyer Nikola Pavlov - Butika as mayor of the town.

Macedonia newspaper instantly informed about the event. That was the first local committee and its formation was also a historical event. Veles had a long history in national liberation struggles. That was why the formation of a local Bulgarian campaign committee was accompanied by unseen enthusiasm. The newspaper pointed out that V. Hadzhikimov had widely clarified the tasks of the committee. His words were sent off with long Bulgarian “Hurrah” - for the freedom of Macedonia, for Bulgaria and for Tsar Boris III. (Doc­ument N, 11),42

The campaign committee in Veles immediately organized an ac­tion for discovering and restoring the graves of the Bulgarian sol­diers and officers who had perished during World War I. Bones of dead soldiers were found in the yard of Saint Pantaleymon church. The population had hidden the crosses from the Serbs. In that con­nection on May 4, Sunday, the campaign committee organized a ceremony of worship before the remains of the dead. The chief of the Bulgarian garrison in the town spoke before the people present there. The population was in high spirit despite the fact that 160 innocent citizens were killed by bombs and shells.43

In his native town of Shtip, Vassil Hadzhikimov was met by eng. Dimitur Karadzhov. The Bulgarians there, as in many other towns in Macedonia, had immediately taken power. Dimitur Karadzhov was chosen by the citizens as chairman of the municipality. Well known by his fellow-townsmen, Hadzhikimov organized a meeting, where he explained the position of the Central Committee. The citizens had elected an advisory body and an Executive Committee with Dimitar Hadzhigrigorov as president, Dr. Todor Gichev as Deputy President, Liuben Mitrov as secretary, Petar Parlev as Deputy Sec­retary and advisors Traicho Stanchev, Mishe Ikonomov, Slavko Garlichkov, Mishe Muftiev, Doncho Hadzhisankov, Petur Golev, Todor Yanev, Traycho Hadzhipetsov and Kotse Nikolov (Document No, 12).44 Member of the campaign committee became also Nikola Kirkov, relative to Kirkov - the participant in the Salonica outrages. Its member was also Vassil Grankov - convicted to 10 years in Serbian jail because of his activities in the campaign committee.

Shtip was badly damaged by the German bombings but that did not stop the citizens from organizing and taking measures for nor­malization of life, Karadzhov and Hadzhikimov liberated the Serbi­an families that were shut in a special camp by the town population.

The activism of the population of Shtip was not accidental. For 23 years the town was buried under the lava of Serbian hatred. ,,And the one who wants to know what is a Serbian slavery", wrote Hadzhikimov", shall come here to understand something more - what is Bulgarian spirit and strength, Rightly the people from Shtip are thought to be the most persistent and strong Bulgarians. In spite of all suffering and assimilation they have kept their language and con­sciousness not only their national belonging, but about the role they have played in the past for the liberation of Macedonia and would play now for the new and united Bulgaria”45

The campaign committee in Shtip organized a search of the re­mains of the soldiers and officers from the Bulgarian army who per­ished for the liberty of Macedonia during the World War I. They were found secretly buried without crosses in the church yard of “Holly Merry” in Novo Selo.

In 1915 the Eleventh Infantry Macedonian Division, formed of Bulgarians from Macedonia waged a combat in the area of the vil­lage of Krivolak, Shtip region. Against it were the armies of Entente, which consisted of representatives of different nationalities. They were sent to fight against the Bulgarian army in order to prevent the unification. Many Bulgarians from Macedonia died in the Krivolak combat. There found his death the who for his 15 years of revolu­tionary activities was not even wounded - Hristo Chernopeev. Ivan Mihaylov reported in his memories for his funeral as well for that of Captain Milosh Stanishev from Koukoush and that of lieutenant Tsirounkarev from Kostour: “Many people had gathered for their fu­neral in the school yard behind the altar of the church.” With the coming of the Serbian authorities in 1918 the graves were endan­gered that was why the crosses were removed. When Vardar Mace­donia was liberated in April 1941 it was necessary the graves of oth­er people that were without crosses and names to be found. Usually they were in church yards - holy places for every Bulgarian. Ac­cording to Ivan Mihaylov the graves of the heroes buried in Shtip were worshipped by the local people. They were obliterated by the Serbian authorities that established after the World War II.46

After Shtip, Hadzhikimov organized a campaign committee in Kochani. President of the committee was Priest Gligor, Deputy Pres­ident was Blagoy Dzhirov, Secretary was Todor Manassiev, Deputy Secretary Liubomir Efremov, Cashier - Metodi Varadinov and ad­visors were - Ivan Dvoiakov, Todor Varadinov, Dr. Stoyan Iliev, Gosho Trendov, Petar Popov, Dr. Apostolov and Todor Nishadzhiev. In the management body were also Blazhe Dzhidrov, Priest Gligor, Ivan Nakov, Mito Pendov, Todor Nankov, Milan Dimitriev, Boris Chakaruv, Gosho Todorov, Milan Yanakiev, Petar Nakashev, Dr. T. Apostolov, Kr. P. Georgiev, Stoyan Nikolov, Todor Varadinov, Se-rafim Zahariev, Dr. Stoyan Iliev, Todor Manassiev, Petur Popov, Lazar Babamov, Sazdo Aytoski, Mishe II, Popkov, Todor Nishandzhiev, Slave Iliev, Stephan P. Gerassimov, Boris Zahariev, Liubo E. Samitov, Dime Ivanov, Todor P. Efremov, Asparouh47, Hariklia Sarafska, Petar Ivanov, Al. Teodossiev, Dimitur Teoharov.and Mctodi Varad­inov.

After Kochani, V. Fladzhikimov went to the village Vinitsa, where on April 18 a local Bulgarian campaign committee was founded. At the head of the executive council was the president of the campaign committee Todor Ivanov. Deputy President was the old fighter for freedom Boris Palikrushev, Lazar Ivanov was Secretary, Cashier was Todor Gerassimov and for advisors were chosen Priest Ivan Stoykov, Milan Arsov, Trayan Doudanov, Simeon Gerassimov, Todor Bamov, Todor Karamakov, Stoimen Ivanov and Stoyan Panev (Doc­ument No. 13).48

After the establishment of a campaign committee in Vinitsa, V. Hdzhikimov organized others in Pehchevo, Tsarevo Selo (Delchevo), Berovo, Radovish and Stroumitsa. Along with the town commit­tees were formed villages' ones.49 The president of BCCC, Stephan Stephanov organized a committee in Kratovo, his native town.

The citizens of Koumanovo, hearing the proclamation of the BCCC about its creation and from Macedonia newspaper its appeal for taking the power locally and accession to Bulgaria, immediately sum­moned a meeting on April 18 for the formation of a committee. For president was chosen Georgi Garev, for his deputy was chosen Dr. Yossif Andonov, for First Secretary - Ivan Dotsev, Second Secre­tary Vlade Lipkovski and for cashier - Vlada Shoumanov; members of the council were Dimitro Tassev, Alexander Kovachev, Alexander Dimkov, Todor Spassov and Nikola Peshev. The meeting was not attended by a representative of the CC, but the citizens unanimous­ly adopted its ideas. They declared that would follow ,,all ideas de­veloped BCC". The meeting was closed with loud Bulgarian “Hurrah” (Document No. 14).50

In the town of Sveti Nikola Hadzhikimov arrived on April 21. There he summoned a meeting that proceeded very animatedly. The most respected person was Toma Klinkov, but he was married for Serbian woman. (The mixed marriages between Bulgarians and Serbs were one of the ways for assimilation). That fact made him disliked by some of the people present. Some of them pulled out knives and guns. With big efforts Hadzhikimov managed to pacify them. At the end the meeting voted for Klinkov and elected him as president. For Deputy President was chosen Kiril Lazarov, for Secretary - Georgi Lazarov and for Cashier - Stoyan Yanev (Document No. 15).51

Until entering of the Bulgarian army campaign committees were formed in the most of the towns in Vardar Macedonia but they were not united in a network. That happened after the tour of Hadzhiki­mov in the region during which he unified the documentation and the methods of work. After Veles, Shtip, Vinitsa and Sveti Nikola he prepared himself for organizational work in the rest of the towns. The plan for his further activities, outlined in Skopje by the mem­bers of BCC, stipulated the formation of committees firstly in the western part of Vardar Macedonia and after that in Aegean Mace­donia Together with Ivan Hadzhov, a teacher from one of the sec­ondary schools in Sofia, born in Strouga, and with the driver Slave Popankov, Hadzhikimov set off to Tetovo.52

In the beginning of the drive out of the Serbian authorities was created in Prizren an Albanian committee, headed by Bedri Piani and Redzhep Mitrovitsa. The activities of that committee were di­rected to taking the local power in the towns of Kosovo and Metohia as well as in western Macedonia - in Tetovo, Gostivar, Debur, Slrouga and Ohrid. The committee's course of action was to work for the integration of that regions with “Great Albania” against the Italian occupation. That was why in those towns almost simultaneously were created Albanian and Bulgarian committees that started to fight be­tween themselves. In some of the towns where there were some Ser­bian families faithful to Serbian chauvinism, Serbian committees were formed.53

Approaching Tetovo, Hadzhikimov was convinced that the Al­banian danger should not be neglected. Gathered in groups by the road, the Albanians shouted after the car instead of greeting him, with which they expressed their pretensions not only to that area but even to Skopje. With his arrival in town Hadzhikimov and his escort found out that during the period with no authorities an Alba­nian committee was formed that pretended for accession with Albania. Some Serbian teachers had created a Serbian committee and the Bulgarian population had formed a “national committee” with­out adding Bulgarian or Macedonian to its name. There was not management body at the head of this committee. The citizens of Teto­vo fought for the chairman's position - who would lead the commit­tee and the community. “Here are the rivalry, the ambitions and the reminders of the old party groups. Political legacy of different re­gimes since the Turkish yoke.” The struggle was between the follow­ers of Svetoslav Andreychin, brother of the killed by the Serbs Boris Andreychin and the respected from all citizens Trifon Apostolov. Hadzhikimov was impressed by the great organizational division of the committee, with a lot of councils. ,,Perhaps every devoted citizen of Tetovo, feeling the historical moment, sincerely strived to be part of it, or that was probably due to our fault, remainder from the old times, everybody to be first, all of us commanders and leaders." The struggle was not on principle or on interpolitical basis, nor for the main course which the committee followed. A certain-course of ac­tion was not agreed on. By the words of V. Hadzhikimov, the squab­ble was “repulsive”. He explained briefly the position of the BCCC and appealed for stopping the arguments in that critical for the Bul­garians moment and for placing the interests of Macedonia higher then the personal ones.54

To cohere the citizens of Tetovo V. Hadzhikimov organized a worship celebration in front of Mara Bouneva's house, who shot the Serbian hangman Velimir Prelich. The mother of Mara Bouneva - a lonely old woman - met the guests that wanted to bow before the awesome heroism of that Bulgarian woman. Everybody kissed the hand of the woman and went out of the house “as if after church”.55

The committee founded by the citizens of Tetovo was renamed in a local campaign committee. Even Hadzhikimov did not succeed to organize it in a structure similar to those of the rest of the committees. The citizens of Tetovo preserved the structure they had created. The committee had several councils: political-jurisdictional, administrative-managerial, financial, and social economical. Each council consisted of at least 5-6 advisors and the same number of “additional” ones.

In the political council were included: Svetoslav Andreychin, Mihail Serafimov, Trifon Apostolov, Al. Filipov, Nikola Veterov, Mihail Neshov, Nikola Pavlov, Mihail Zahariev, Hristo Zdravev. Addi­tional advisors were Trpe Mihailov, Georgi Mladenov, Todor Toulev, Slavko Gerassimov, Stephan H. Naumov, Kiril Hristov. In the adminis­trative managerial council were Trifon Apostolov, Mihail Serafimov, Kouzman Naydenov, Apostol Iv. Gyugyuvchev, Ilia Simov, Boris.M. Neshov, Simeon Kostov, Kroum Bozhinov, Trpe Iv. Boshnakov. Addi­tional advisors were Kiril Mitroushev, D. Rostov, Andrei V. Stefchev, Nofo Dimov, Zaharia Zakov. The financial council included Hristo Zdravev, Hristo Dzhinlev, Milan H. Naumov, Al. Panov, Gougoush Gougoushev, Gligor Veterov. Additional advisors were Yastro Momirov, Doushan Veterov, Zaharia Tomov. And members of the social economical council were Bilbil Trpev, Hristo Pavlov, Simo Momirov, Andrey Ivanov, D. Sarov, Dr. Gligor Evchev, Dr. Simo Petrov, Andrey Hristov, Metodi Mihaylov. Additional advisors were Paskal Georgiev, Boris Petorushev, Peter Simov, Georgi Minov, Nikola Veterov and Mihail Neshov were secretaries of the committee.56

The committee consisted of 58 people in total - 15 intellectuals, 19 tradesmen, 13 clerks, 7 craftsmen, 1 priest, 1 worker and 2 more people. Or in the campaign committee participated 26.3 % intellec­tuals, 33.3 % tradesmen, 22.9 % clerks, 12.3 % craftsmen, 1.7 % priests, 1.7 % workers and 3.3 % other. The conclusion was that the members were representatives of all circles of the population. The organizing and the formation of local committees in the villages of the Tetovo region was one of the most important and task of the committee.57

Near Tetovo was the German camp for prisoners of war. The campaign committee in Tetovo, headed by Hadzhikimov succeeded in negotiating with the German military authorities and in liberating the Macedonian Bulgarians prisoners of war.

On May 24 the committee organized a manifestation in honour of the Slavonic teachers St. St. Cyril and Methodius, that was tradition­ally was celebrated as a day of the Bulgarian letters and culture. Every year until today that celebration had been an expression of the Bulgarian spirit. That was why even with their presence in the streets, the citizens of Tetovo (about 10 000 people) showed to the foreigners, mostly Italians, that the town and the region were pure Bulgarian. The people not only participated in the manifestation but used it to raise Bulgarian flags and slogans before the Italian authori­ties for accession with Bulgaria.58

That expression of the Bulgarian belonging of the population of Tetovo was imposed from the Italian occupation in that region. In the beginning of May the journalist Velko Spanchev visited Tetovo and some villages in the area. He found out that everywhere the population expected “with love and indescribable devotion” the ar­rival of the Bulgarian army and the establishment of the Bulgarian administrative authority. In the same time, however, as he said, the population was scared that that could not happen, i.e. it was possible that beautiful Bulgarian region to remain under foreign rule - that time Italian. His observations Panchev sent as a letter to the Bulgar­ian central campaign committee. The anxiety of the population, ac­cording to him, increased every hour because of the persistent activ­ities of the Albanian propaganda and the rumours that Tetovo, Gos­tivar, Galichnik, Debur and Ohrid, Strouga and Ressen would be Albanian.59

The reason of those fears was rooted in the establishment of an Albanian committee in Tetovo. Under its direction, the Albanians organized big demonstrations and insisted for the liberation of Teto­vo region from Italian occupation and accessed to Albania. The Muslim religion of the Albanians made them initiate actions against their own economic interest, because Tetovo region was economi­cally related to Macedonia and to the west was bound with high mountains.

The town of Gostivar was decorated with German, Albanian, Bulgarian and Italian flags. The Bulgarian committee carried out propaganda for accession with Bulgaria, and the Albanians - for integration with Italy. In the town there were no state authorities in the town. The Italian army occupied it on May 10. The activity of the local Bulgarian campaign committee continued long after the estab­lishment of the Italian rule, it continued to gather signatures and send petitions to the Bulgarian Tsar and other institutions for the accession of Gostivar region to Bulgaria.60

In Gostivar Hadzhikimov met Atanas Poptraykov. The latter met him with tears in his eyes and “overwhelmed him with the generos­ity of a man ready for revelation.” His father, an old Bulgarian priest, was brutally killed by the Serbs. Until late at night Poptraykov spoke to the guests about the torture to which were subject all Bulgarians during the Serbian rule.61 On the next day, April 23, 1941 the already established committee was reorganized and renamed in a lo­cal campaign committee. Its president was Dr. Dimitur Ivanov, Dep­uty President - Sofroni Petrov, Secretary - Mihail Filipov, Cash­ier - Andon Andonov and advisors were Silvian Despotov, Sarandi Sotirov, Tsipre Lazarov, Evgenii Trimchev, Genadii Issakiev, Roussi Avramov and Krusto Mitov (Document No. 16).62

After Gostivar and the organizing of the local campaign commit­tee, Hadzhikimov went to the villages of Leunovo and Mavrovo -two pure Bulgarian villages with population of about 1000 people.63

The priest Spiro Lichenovski met Hadzhikimov in Debur deeply touched ,,Never, never in this life you would experience a more glorious day than this when the old priest Lichenovski was holding .my hand, with tears in his eyes, as if he was nestling Bulgaria to his breast, wrote Hadzhikimov. “Nice, honest people from Debur. It is clear for me now. Where the regime of the enslavement was most unbearable, there have grown the most honest Bulgarians - hard as steel and unbreakable as a century-old tree.” 64

An Albanian Committee was formed immediately after the sur­render of Yugoslavia in Debur and started operation: demonstra­tions and meetings were organized in honour of the liberation and for accession to Albania. In that respect the Albanian committee was very active. It got in touch with the Central Albanian committee in Prizren on the day of its establishment. So the situation in Debar was rather specific. At that case of Italian and not of German occupa­tion, the activities connected with the formation of a campaign com­mittee had the features of outlaw actions. In that region the Alba­nians and the Italians-behaved as if the were at home. There were no Bulgarian meetings for the formation of the campaign committee, nor loud Bulgarian “Hurrah”. The meeting that took place in the home of one of the Bulgarian teachers on April 24 resolved the ques­tion. Priest Spiro Lichenovski was chosen for president, for Dep­uty President - Teofil Koukov, for Secretary Rafail Stamatov, for Cashier Nikola Stoyanov. Twenty people were chosen for advisors (Document No. 17).65 A few days later that committee sent in Skopje Pavel Traykov to inform BCCC about the situation in Debur (docu­ment No.18).66

According to Hadzhikimov, however, that committee could hardly perform any activity. It was possible only illegally. But the purpose of creating campaign committees was not to operate ille­gally, but to make the population active. In any case the committee was constituted and recognized the policy of BCCC for accession to Bulgaria.67

Despite that the meeting was secret, the Italian authorities obvi­ously suspected something about the mission of Hadzhikimov in Debur. Due to that reason he was arrested and "taken to the Italian commandant. The Italians searched the car and confiscated the first issue of the Macedonia newspaper, issued by BCCC. After a few hours of investigation when it was that Hadzhikimov and his messen­ger had no intention to organize an assault they were set free to go to Ohrid Actually they were saved by people from Ohrid and Strouga who reported in BCCC in Skopje for the accident.68

Vassil Hadzhikimov did not manage to organize campaign com­mittees in Ohrid and Strouga, or more precisely, he did not do it personally. The Italians forbade him from staying that region so he went to Ressen. That however did not mean that the citizens of the two active Bulgarian towns were left without campaign committees. On the contrary, committees were established and they were the most active in Vardar. Macedonia.

The citizens of Strouga acknowledged the declaration of BCCC in Skopje. The intellectuals in town took the initiative for convening a meeting on April 21, 1941. With several words Svetoslav Milev opened the meeting and explained its goals. He announced before the citizens present that BCCC was formed in Skopje and it appealed through the radio and the press for the establishment of committees everywhere “where Bulgarians lived”. The discussions were held “with unseen enthusiasm and rapture”. A Counseling Committee and Executive Committee with extended membership: Svetoslav Milev, President, Anastas Moysov, Deputy President, Filip Kavaev and Boris Chakurov, Secretaries, Krustio Bilianov, Cashier and five people for advisors. In the name of the members chosen, President Svetoslav Milev thanked for the great honor and confidence, and promised that the Executive Committee would work hard to the well-being of the people. He appealed the people present to support mor­ally and financially the committee and “to work as one to the benefit of the people and for the grandeur of Bulgaria.” The meeting was closed with the Bulgarian “Hurrah”. (Document No. 19)69

The same day a booklet with the declaration on the BCCC was printed for the Bulgarians in the town and in the region. In that way the committee announced to the citizens the course of the BCCC for accession with Bulgaria and asked them as Bulgarians to arrange a festive meeting of the Bulgarian army “that could arrive any mo­ment”. The appeal was to “all Bulgarians to meet the Bulgarian army with flowers and dressed in colorful national costumes of their na­tive region and the houses to be decorated with Bulgarian flags” (Document No.20).70

The local campaign committee in Strouga took measures to de­tain people .who exercised Serbian administrative power in the re­gion “until Bulgarian authorities were restored in Strouga". That meant the clerks from the Serbian administration should provide an account for the inventory and the cash-books (Document No. 21)71

The committee in Strouga sent its Deputy President Anastas K. Moysov to 'Skopje and empowered him to report about all matters related to the work of the committee and to the situation in the town and the region (Document No. 22).72

Due to the aspirations of Italy towards Ohrid and the obstacles to organizing the Bulgarian population, V. Hadzhikimov did not suc­ceed to form in person a campaign committee in that sacred place. The town and the region were inhabited by Albanians. A local com­mittee was formed immediately after the obtaining of the informa­tion for the creation of BCCC. It raised the slogan for accession with Bulgaria. An Albanian Committee was established as a counter mea­sure and it worked for integration with Albania. The two commit­tees organized demonstrations and meetings in the town square in the town center. Sometimes the two groups stood against each other - one with the Albanian and Italian flags, the other with Bulgarian and German ones.73

The citizens of Ressen, who lived near the dividing line with Ita­ly, were afraid of the uncertainty and, being anxious not to remain under Serbian rule after the war, they became easy victims of the Italian-Albanian propaganda. Led by a group of local people - the mayor Georgi Danovski, his deputy Lambo Gcshtanov and Georgi Donev, wrongly informed of the situation and influenced by the destiny of Ohrid destiny, Strouga and other places occupied by the Italians, the people thought that their town had to join them. A list passed from hand to hand and the citizens signed it, convinced that they had taken the right decision. Krustio Traykov went round the houses and spread propaganda for accession with Bulgaria.74 With the help of that old fighter for liberty in 1912-1918 wars, Hadzhikimov managed to organize on April 23 a meeting on which to clarify the position of BCCC and its tasks. Donev with his whole group readily entered the committee. A local campaign committee was formed for the town of Ressen with a counselor body and an executive commit­tee with president Krastio Traykov, President, Simeon Tatarchev, Deputy President, Dr. Vl. Tudzharovski, Secretary, Tashko Georgiev, Deputy Secretary, Nikola Spirov, Cashier, Lambo Tashev, Boyan Popov, Mihail Nochev, Petur Veliov, Pasko Strezov, Simeon Tanov and Mihail Proyov, advisors. Members of the councellor body were: Krustio Traykov, Dr. Georgi Donev, Vladimir Tudzharovski, Pande Lyapchev, Mihail Milenkov, Toma Dochov, Boris Kioropanov, Krustio Iliev, Nikola Spirov, Mihail Nonchev, Boris Bakalov, Mone Radenov - a worker, Stavre Panov - a joiner, Milan Giurchinov - a baker, Lambe Geshakov - a butcher, Simeon Tatarchev - a student, Sime­on Panov - a shoemaker, Anastas Dorev, Kroum Bozhinov, Ilia Bozhinov, Pasko Strezov, Kiro Velov - a farmer, Vangel Dochov, Tashko Sekov - a driver, Tashko Georgiev, Eftim Yankov - a clerk, Al. Bossilkov - a trader, Ekim Tomov, Peter Veliov, Kroum Popov, Lam­be Toshev, Pande Mishev — a worker, Dr. G. Strezov, Kruste Nizamov, Iv. Chukalev, Sotir Tashev, Milan Nechev and Alexander Bozhilov.75

On the next day Hadzhikimov organized village campaign com­mittees in Tsarev Dvor and Asamati after which he went to Bitola. In that big administrative centre the Bulgarian population have to fight as in Skopje in order to take the municipality from the Serbian ad­ministration. Actually the struggle was not as that much against the Serbian administration than for giving evidence to the German au­thorities for the Bulgarian character of the town. The citizens of Bitola formed an initiative committee; that also happened in other Macedonian towns. That showed that the formation of Bulgarian committees in 1941 was a spontaneous deed of the Bulgarian popula­tion for its self-determination and not just an act of several enrap­tured intellectuals. Another question was that the committee in Bito­la did not carry the name “campaign”. The arrival of Hadzhikimov on April 25 created order and settled the things. The structure of the committee was reorganized and campaign was added to her name. A counseling body of 43 members and an executive council of 14 members were elected. President of the committee was Dr. Boris Svetiev - active follower of IMRO, Deputy President - Petar Petsakov, Secretary - Sotir Trenchev, Deputy Secretary - Stephan Sve­tiev and Cashier - Stephan Traykov. For advisors were chosen Hristo Rizov, Trpko Trpkov, Nikola Dolenchanets, Mihail Frangov, Ahil Dimitrov, Peter Mihailov, Serafim Lazarov, Vangel Atsev and Bozhin Stephanov (Document No. 23).76

It was not difficult to understand why the citizens of Bitola met obstacles in establishing the Bulgarian authorities. Bitola was the second administrative center in Vardar Macedonia. There were a great number of Serbian settlers-colonists. According to the reports of Bulgarian police, there were about 1000 Serbs and 200 Serbian followers.77 The latter were more dangerous for the Bulgarians than the Serbs because they were born in Macedonia and passed for Macedonian Serbs, During the war most of the colonists were driv­en to their native land by the Bulgarian authorities but after the war they came back.78

As it was evident from the case with Bitola, the population in Mace­donia did not expect the arrival of a person as V. Hadzhikimov who would organize the taking of power by the Bulgarians and the estab­lishing of municipality authorities. The people acted according to the situation. Various types of bodies were formed in the different places. With the arrival of Hadzhikimov those bodies were affiliated with BCCC and were given the name ,,campaign committees". In some places it was quite the opposite: after obtaining the news for the formation of BCCC, local Bulgarian campaign committees were founded without the presence of a management body representative.

Prilep, the native town of Metodii Koussev, Danail Krapchev and Dimitur Talev, the brothers Yordan and Dimitur Chkatrov had always been a Bulgarian stronghold in Macedonia. As early as 1838 the citizens had a Bulgarian church, rejecting the dominance of the Greek Phanariot clergy. The formation of a campaign committee in the town did not pass without mishaps. The Serbs gave away the municipality and the Bulgarians organized a committee for taking of the administrative power. In spite of that, however, like the citizens of Tetovo, they could not agree who should come at the head of the municipality. The struggle for prestige was led on personal basis between the groups round the old teacher Milan Nebrekliev and of the lawyer Rampo Ivanov Toplichanets. 79

The arrival and the interference of Hadzhikimov appeared to be on time. The lawyer as more conciliatory gave priority to Milan Nebrekliev who became president of the newly formed campaign committee. The election took place during the meeting on which a decision was made the policy of the BCCC for accession with Bul­garia to be followed. The citizens perceived the idea the committee for taking the power, with its sections - cultural educational, infor­mational, preparatory and financial, to be renamed in “advisory body” with the local campaign committee, formed on April 26. For secre­tary was chosen Alexander Hadzhizdravev, and for cashier - Haralambi Achev. Advisors in the executive committee were Kosta Milchinov, Kosta Zhabliankov and Milan Yoskov. The name of Dimitur Chkatrov was added to the minutes later in a different hand­writing, which meant that he was not present and was chosen later on. His name actually was not among the members of the Central Bureau, that existed up to then, nor in the operating commissions. (Document No. 24).80

Even before the arrival of Hadzhikimov the members of the com­mission had arrested, all Serbian clerks and policemen who were guilty for the murder of several young people from Prilep, who had deserted from the Yugoslav army: The committee organized allow­ances by the municipality to the families of those killed in the strug­gle with the Serbian authorities. In the town was initiated an action finding out the graves of the Bulgarian officers and soldiers from World War I.81

On his way back to Skopje, V. Hadzhikimov founded a local campaign committee in the village of Drachevo in Skopje region. In his memoirs he indicated that at the head of the committee was a man from the Zhezhovs family, but he could not recall his name.82

The Bulgarian women from Macedonia always kept their na­tional consciousness alert and played important role in the revolu­tionary struggles. In that crucial moment, abreast with the tradition, they took active part in the events. By the initiative of a group of women patriots from Skopje in the presence of the Secretary Organizer of BCCC, Hadzhikimov founded a Women's Union with BCCC. The constituent meeting was held on April 30, 1941 in the hall of the musical school in Skopje. On it was chosen the executive Committee wit the following members: Mariika Ivanova Shaleva, President, Ekaterina Voynova, Deputy President, Rada Stoycheva and Kostadinka Hadzhimaneva, Secretaries, and Sonya Atanasova and Gana Atanasova, Cashiers. As advisors were elected: Elena Ivanova, Vic­toria Atanassova, Kitincheva, Liuba Dimcheva, Spaska Voynova, Gana Tsvetkova, Radka Zografska (Document No. 25).83 In honour of its formation, the Women's Union with BCCC sent a greeting tele­gram to Tsaritsa Yoanna (Document No. 26).84

After a short stay in Skopje, Hadzhikimov together with the jour­nalist Kroum Naoumov set off to the south and formed campaign committees in Gradsko, Valandovo, Dimirkapia, Bogdantsi, Doyran and Gevgeli.85 His final aim was Salonica.

The situation in Aegean Macedonia, however, was quite differ­ent from that in Vardar area: Instead of open meetings of the citi­zens, secret ones were organized. During the tour, Kr. Naoumov, who spoke German fluently, got in touch with the German comman­dant and the military authorities and tried to convince them that the administrative should have to be taken by the Bulgarians, Every­where the answer was ”We have nothing against it. Give us a proof that you are majority and everything will be all right." They knew very well that by means of unbearable assimilation in Aegean Mace­donia the Greek authorities had driven away greater part of the population to Bulgaria and in their place had settled lots of Greek refugees from the Asia Minor. At that time Enidzhevardar counted 9000 people and from them 6000 were Greek refugees. However that did not disturb the apostle spirit of V. Hadzhikimov. The Greeks were shocked by the defeat and were scared so they did not oppose to the active Bulgarian spirit. “A well organized minority al­ways will be stronger than a demoralized majority."86 Of course, Hadzhikimov had in mind the changing of the ethnic feature of Aegean Macedonia in near future when the refugees from liberat­ed Bulgaria would come back.

Before Salonica, Hadzhikimov visited the towns of Lerin, Voden, Enizhevardar and Gyumenzhe, and he managed to organize com­mittees in Voden and Lerin.

The documents for the formation of the campaign committee in Aegean Macedonia were not preserved. V. Hadzhikimov indicated in his memoirs the following people as active participants in the com­mittee in Lerin: Georgi Torkov, Kosta Apostolov, Pandil Giorev, Kosta Naoumov, Dimo Bachani, Filip Bozhinov Penev and Spiro Atanassov. The active members of the committee of Voden were Atanas Samarzhiev, Peter Kovachev, Hristo Radivchev, Peter Samardzhiev, Georgi Tressinchev, Sotir Koronov, Georgi Gendzhev, Georgi Hadzhipeev, Vangel Sarakinov. In the committee of Goumendzhe: Georgi Vassilev, Peter Katranov, Hristo Hadzhimichorov, Georgi Trenkov, Dino Pophristov, Dimitur Dzekov, Hristo Koussidonov, Hristo Zelenkov, Todor Todorov, Blagoy Avramov,  Avramov brothers. In Enidzhevardar, Hadzhikimov did not organize a committee, but in his memoirs he pointed the most active members with whom he was in touch were Georgi Daskalov, Georgi Parishov, Mihail Mandalov, Dimitur Mandalov, Hristo Babaliev, Georgi Touchov Doumov, Dimitur Popkochov, Peter Ugrinov, Hristo Makrishov, Perikli Giupchanov, Georgi Yankoulov, Georgi Kaiafov, Kolio Kadriev, Stamat Mechov and Georgi Zeskov.87

I shall give only one example of the situation of the Bulgarian population in Aegean Macedonia, where it was subject to a continu­ous moral and physical torment. On September 21, 1941 the German authorities in Voden gave an order the Bulgarians from the town of Goumendje and the near villages to declare their national origin. However, the Greek municipality authorities released that order not until the evening of October 4. The deadline was at October 5, 5 p.m. The few Bulgarians who learned about that order were warned from the Greek administration that those who declare their national­ity would be deported. So the German authorities did not obtain accurate data for the ethnic features that region. 88

In Salonica Hadzhikimov found an organization already creat­ed for taking the power - Club of the Bulgarians from Aegean Mace­donia. The idea for the name “club” obviously came from the Bul­garian constitution clubs from 1908. That club, however, according to Hadzhikimov resembled a representative office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sofia rather than an organization which would raise the slogan for taking of the power and accession to Bulgaria, The club was under the management of Chaushev, Yaranov and Beshevliev.89 After a tour round Salonica Hadzhikimov estimated that it would be better not to establish campaign committee, but leave the activities to the club.90

The emigration from Aegean Macedonia to Bulgaria also want­ed to help. A letter from the citizens of Kostour who had a commit­tee in Sofia is preserved. The committee appealed to the Tsar of the Bulgarians, Boris III with a request for the accession of Kostour re­gion to Bulgaria. They described in details the history of the region, proving their right to belong to Bulgaria.91

After his tour in Aegean Macedonia, Hadzhikimov returned to Skopje. He deviated to Gevgeli, where on a meeting of the popula­tion on May 29, 1941 a local campaign committee was formed. It consisted of 50 people. The president of the Executive Committee was Dr. Mitsev (Document No. 27). Deputy President was Alex­ander Hadzhinankov, Secretary was Todor Mandalov, Deputy Sec­retary - Hristo Paketchiev and Cashier - Vassil Hadzhikarkalashev.

On the next day, May 30, Hadzhikimov formed a committee in Kavadartsi, the main town of Tikvesh area. There the meeting chose for president of the committee Blagoy Atanassov. Deputy President was Hristo Seizov, Secretaries were Georgi Badev and Slavcho Temkov, Cashier Blazho Shkartov and advisors: Blagoy Elenov, Peter Todor­ov, Nikola Shishkov, Vassil Hadzhivassilev, Metodi Manev, Blagoy Grigorov, Pane Shahiyazov, Dimitur Apostolov, Hristo Choulev and the priest Blagoy Zaharkov (Document No. 28).92

That did not mean however that in Kavadartsi the people ex­pected Hadzhikimov to form a committee. As in other places, it was already formed. On April 23, 1941 they had organized a meeting on which for a president of the campaign committee was chosen Vassil Seizov, The meeting voted for a greeting letter to Tsar Boris III, pronouncing him “Tsar of all Bulgarians". The letter contained an appeal “whole Macedonia to be included in the borders of United Bulgaria" (Document No. 29).93 Greeting letter was sent also to Bogdan Filov. In it the Bulgarians from Kavadartsi and the region shared their joy with the prime-minister for the liberation of “classical Bul­garian land Macedonia". They expected eagerly the Bulgarian government to take the power in the region (Document No.30).94 In the presence of Hadzhikimov only the president of the committee was changed - the Deputy President Blagoy Anastassov was chosen for that position. Not in vain in the minutes for the formation of the committee in Kavadartsi it was said that the goal of the meeting was to reorganize the committee on a broader basis among the citizens with an aim unanimity between the population in Kavadartsi to be created" to the benefit of the country and the people".45

After Kavadartsi, Hadzhikimov visited Negotin. There he stayed at the house of Doncho Moyssov, a barber, father of the well-known Lazar Moyssov, at that time a student al Kliment Ochridski Sofia University. There a campaign committee was already formed, with Yordan Bouhov at the head. That happened on April 13, 1941 when a so called community committee was formed with members Yordan Bouhov, Georgi Bozhkov, Pane Apostolov, Ivan Mishev, Boris Chavoushov, Yordan Kamchev and Dime Danailov. For president of the committee and for mayor of the town was elected Yordan Bouhov. The citizens of Negotin reported in Skopje that they have taken the municipality. In their letter to the BCCC they turned to it as if it was their government and asked for instructions for further activity (Document No. 31).96

The formation of campaign committees round Macedonia should not be examined as a deed of several activists patriots but as a peo­ple's deed, as a statement of the alert Bulgarian spirit in the crucial time of April 1941. It represented the national self-determination, a desire of the people, who after the liberation from the Serbian rule wanted to be accessed to the liberated Bulgarian Fatherland. It should be reminded without underestimating the work of the activists, that if the formation of the campaign committees was performed in an avalanche manner, the reason for that was that the Bulgarian popu­lation in Macedonia was psychologically prepared for such a sacred deed. They needed only a spark to be ignited. Not everywhere V. Hadzhikimov managed to go personally. In many places the Bulgar­ians took the initiative by themselves to form committees and take the power. So in Kratovo the citizens gathered on May 2 and after some discussions about the situation they formed a local campaign committee for the town and the region. Their purpose was to be “useful to the Bulgarian country". For president of the committee was chosen Dr, Trayche Manev, for Deputy President - Kotse Chepishev, for Secretaries - Dimitur Popandov and Georgi Axentiev, and for Cashier - Ilia Potsev. Advisors in the Executive Committee were Doncho Shantartakov, Georgi Ignatov, Stephan Chepishev, Risto Tsrevarov and Vakenti Goloubov (Document No. 32).97

There was no information about the formation of campaign com­mittee in Stroumitsa. Zaria newspaper however wrote that in the town and in the villages the power was taken by the population. Civil militia was formed and armed by the German authorities.98

Interesting were also the events in Lazaropole - a big Bulgarian village in the western part of Macedonia. At the meeting where 150 people were present Yakim Georgiev and Toma Petrov explained the line and the tasks of BCCC for Macedonia. For President was chosen Yakim Georgiev, for Deputy President - Georgi Simeonov and for Cashier - Kiril Vassev (Document No. 33). The same day Yakim Georgiev informed BCCC that a campaign committee was formed in the village and requested further instructions. In a letter the population of Lazaropole acclaimed the course of BCCC for ac­cession to Bulgaria and asked for protection of their interests before the Italian authorities until the arrival of the Bulgarian army (Docu­ment Ho. 34).100

After several days, on May 8, the president of the campaign com­mittee in Lazaropole was changed. In the report was said that the change was implied due to health reasons. For a new president was chosen Gavril K. Koukov. The whole management was changed as well. For Deputy President was elected Ivan Petrov and for Secre­taries were chosen Avram Popov and Georgi Simeonov. For Orga­nizing Secretary was chosen Arso Ginev and for Cashier Kiril Vassilev. Members of the Executive Committee became Tosho Grouev, Stephan Stephanov, Radoil Damianov, Kouman Yoskov, Vlado Geor­giev, Kruste Donev, Yanko Sekov, Atanas Kouzev, Tomo Kostov, Pane Tripounov, Tofe Fidanov, Arso Ginev. What was the real rea­son for this change remained unclear. A control commission and an advising council that consisted of 97 people.

It was possible the change of the management to be due to health reasons as the activity of the campaign committees was very dynam­ic and had to be managed by healthy and energetic people. Maybe it was not by accident that after the election of Gavril Koukov for president, the citizens sent a delegation to the Italian military au­thorities with an application to raise the Bulgarian flags in every house. Of course, in order to gain permission they had to raise the German and the Italian flags as well. However, the Italians did not agree easily, knowing well the inclinations of the population, its Bul­garian national belonging, and after all its aspirations for accession.

The people from Lazaropole managed to obtain what they want and showed determination and defiance. They turned their church celebration in manifestation of their desire their native land to be integrated to Bulgaria. Like during the Revival the struggle for inde­pendent church was the cornerstone for self-determination of the Bulgarians so that church celebration turned into a feast of Bulgari­an spirit.

The church with its representatives should serve mostly in the name of Bulgarian. But that was not the case in Lazaropole. The priest refused the proposition of the president of the local campaign committee to mention the name of the Bulgarian Tsar in the service. It happened that instead of the church playing a leading role in the struggle for accession with Bulgaria, that role was taken by the cam­paign committee chosen by the peasants. (Document No. 35).101

The impressions about his tour round Macedonia as well as his consideration about the formation and the functioning of the cam­paign committees Hadzhikimov expressed later in a short report to the commander of the Bulgarian army in Macedonia. (Document No. 43).102

The minutes of the meeting for the formation of a campaign com­mittee in the town of Kroushevo were not found. V. Hadzhikimov did not visit the town personally. An invitation to Tsar Boris III to join the celebrations in the town in 1903 makes it evident that a commit­tee was already formed in the town. The invitation was signed by the deputy president of the committee and the mayor of the town, Ivan Popov. Along with expressing their joy with the liberation of Kroushevo the citizens submitted their patriotic feelings" to the Tsar. (Document No. 36).103

The social structure of the campaign committees was exception­ally variable. In the lists with hundreds of participants in the counseling bodies and the executive committees one could find the names of craftsmen, peasants, doctors, lawyers, tradesmen, millers, butch­ers, engineers, barbers, workers and teachers. However the clerks predominated. It was impossible exact and specific social character­istic of that movement and its power to be given. The short period during which they existed, the abrupt and underlined domination of the national element allowed only a general estimation of that activity. At the head of the movement were the intellectuals who inspired the tradesmen, craftsmen, farmers and others. As it was ev­ident a greater part of population actively participated in the forma­tion of the campaign committees in 1941, which added a democratic element to the task of establishing Bulgarian authorities from the very beginning, and this gave to the task a democratic character from the beginning.

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