Department 5

A Macedonian revolutionary and graduate from the Faculty of Philology in Sofia; he was a teacher in Ser, Skopje, Thessaloniki, Sofia and Stara Zagora, and one of the members of the Central Committee of the SMRO; in 1902 he was appointed foreign representative of SMRO in Sofia; he was a strong supporter of the Ilinden Uprising in 1903, though after the uprising he took the side of the conservative wing that advocated for centralization of the SMRO (IMRO). He died in Sofia in 1922.

Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (1893-1903)

Македонска револуционерна организација (1893-1903)

The experience from the previous rebel attempts, the intensive revivalist movement and progress, the increasing number of Macedonian intellectuals, especially teachers, steered a widespread liberation movement which depleted Macedonia during the nineties of the 19th century. The peak of this movement was the establishment of the Secret Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization. The Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (MRO) was established on October 23, 1893 in Thessaloniki, and its founders were: Damjan Gruev, Ivan Hadzi Nikolov, Petar Pop Arsov, Hristo Tatarchev, Hristo Batandziev and Andon Dimitrov.

MRO was determined to fight for political autonomy of Macedonia within the Ottoman Empire through a nationwide uprising. Furthermore, autonomy was comprehended as a transitional step towards the creation of a single Macedonian state. For the fulfillment of this purpose important program documents with a clear objective (a Constitution and a Statute) were adopted, and subsequently an extensive network of secret committees was created and a strict hierarchical armed force was organized – squads across the entire ethnographic territory of Macedonia. The Organization was widely supported and accepted by all layers of the Macedonian society, and it gradually grew as the most important factor in the struggle of the Macedonian people for unrestricted development and change of the public and social system of the Ottoman Empire. Such development contributed the revolutionary organization to be called the “Underground Republic” and to act as a state within a state with its own judicial authority, its police and a substantial armed national enforcement, punitive squads, its own learning force comprised of teachers, members of the Organization, activists for the Macedonian cause and a secret postal service.

 

ГОЦЕ ДЕЛЧЕВ (1872-1903)GOTSE DELCHEV (1872-1903)
Gotse Delchev was born in Kilkis (today Kilkis is in northern Greece); he was a teacher, a revolutionary, graduate of the Military School in Sofia, and the so-called heart of the MRO. His actions were engaged in two directions: as a military organizer and ideologist of the revolutionary struggle. Being a military organizer, Gotse Delchev was the founder of the Chetnik institute comprised of: squad instructors, propagandist bands, rural police and a national army. As such, he was appointed chief inspector and head of the Macedonian bands activist, who also greatly contributed to the development of the Macedonian revolutionary organization and the inclusion of the Macedonian peasants in MRO as the most numerous human potential. The ideologist Gotse Delchev, together with Gjorche Petrov, in drafting the first Constitution and Rules of SMRO in 1896, laid the basic ideological stands of this Organization. Thus, the first article of the Constitution states: “The Secret Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization aims to fully unite all disgruntled elements in Macedonia and the Adrianople region, regardless of nationality, and to reach political autonomy of these two areas through a revolution”. Along with Gjorche Petrov, Gotse Delchev was elected as the first member of the Overseas Branch of SMRO in Sofia in order to disable the stream of Bulgarian politics and propaganda in Macedonia and to prevent foreign interference in the internal affairs of the Macedonian Organization, to support to the Macedonian emigrants in Bulgaria, provide resources, weapons, ammunition, revolutionary literature, safeguarding border checkpoints and more. He was an opponent of the idea of raising an insufficiently prepared a nationwide uprising as was the Ilinden Uprising, encouraging the idea of a strategic or a permanent uprising. In 1903, Gotse Delchev, probably by treason, was killed in an Ottoman ambush in the village of Banica, Serres (now in the Republic of Greece). His most famous thought is: “I understand the world solely as a field for cultural competition among nations.”
ХРИСТО МАТОВ (1872-1922)HRISTO MATOV (1872-1922)

ПЕРЕ ТОШЕВ (1865-1912)

PERE TOSHEV (1865-1912)

He was a teacher, a revolutionary, a warlord and one of the organizers and ideological activists of the MRO. Pere Toshev was a great opponent of the Bulgarian Exarchate as the prime mover of the Bulgarian ecclesiastical and educational propaganda in Macedonia. He greatly contributed to the development of the revolutionary network in Prilep and the surrounding area. Following the decision for the uprising, he was actively involved in the preparation of the Ilinden Uprising and took part in the squad in charge for the Mariovo region. After the uprising he took part at the Congress in Prilep and the Rila Congress where he pleaded decentralization and democratization of the MRO as a form of reorganization after the failed Ilinden uprising, in order to preserve the independence of the Macedonian revolutionary work and to prevent penetration of foreign policy in the internal affairs IMRO. During his revolutionary efforts, he was a fierce pointer of the impact of foreign propaganda and he was advocating for simultaneous running of cultural activities within the revolution. He was killed in an Ottoman ambush at Drenovo Gorge in 1912.
 

Founders of the MRO

IVAN HADZI NIKOLOV (1861-1934)

He was a revolutionary, a teacher, bookseller, a merchant and founder of the MRO in Thessaloniki, in 1893. As an opponent of the Bulgarian Exarchate, as the prime mover of the Bulgarian ecclesiastical and educational propaganda in Macedonia, he established the method of accepting new members to the Organization. His revolutionary efforts ended with failure of the Ilinden Uprising in 1903 when he retired in Sofia and continued his book trade and publishing work there.

HRISTO BATANDZIEV (1865-1913)

He was a teacher and a revolutionary, and founder of the MRO in Thessaloniki in 1893. In the period from 1888 to 1911 he worked as a professor at the Thessaloniki Gymnasium and as Secretary of the Municipality of Thessaloniki. In the aftermath of the Young Turk Revolution he was actively involved in the Association of Bulgarian Constitutional Clubs in Macedonia. With the outbreak of the Second Balkan War he was arrested by the Greek authorities and secretly murdered.

HRISTO TATARCHEV (1869-1952)
He was among the founders of the MRO and its first president, also a revolutionary and a publicist. In 1902 he was appointed representative of the foreign branch of SMRO in Sofia, together with Hristo Matov. He was a supporter of the idea of ​​a nationwide uprising opposed to the views of Gotse Delchev and Gjorche Petrov who advocated for a strategic or a permanent uprising. After the Ilinden Uprising he took the side of the conservative wing of the Organization, thereby representing a more centralized form of revolutionary activity. His finished his revolutionary engagement between the two world wars, and moved to Turin where he stayed for the rest of his life.

DAMJAN (DAME) GRUEV (1871-1906)
He was a teacher, a revolutionary and one of the founders of the Macedonian revolutionary organization. In 1893 he was among the initiators for the establishment and founders of the MRO in Thessaloniki. He was responsible for the dissemination of the Organization, as well as for the formation of the first revolutionary committees, or cores, which set the base for the Bitola Revolutionary District. Along with several other Macedonian activists and ideologists of the Macedonian revolution, he advocated for inclusion of the entire Macedonian population within the ranks of the organization, regardless of religion and nationality. In 1903 he participated in the preparation of the Ilinden Uprising as member of the Main Headquarters of the Bitola Revolutionary District, and after the Uprising he remained in Macedonia in order to restructure the organization. His standpoint on the uprising was to maintain a centralized form of revolutionary actions; however, he openly collaborated with the reformist wing that opted for decentralization and democratization of the work, while supporting unity of all ideologically opposed sides in the reform of the MRO. In 1906 he was killed in an Ottoman ambush near the village of Rusinovo, Berovo.

PETAR POP ARSOV (1868-1941)
He was a philologist, a teacher, a revolutionary and founder of the Young Macedonian Literary Group, while in 1893 he became one of the founders of MRO in Thessaloniki, and also author of the draft for the Constitution of the MRO. He was publisher and editor of the newspaper “Vinova Loza (Vine)” and author of the book “Stambolovism in Macedonia” where he revealed the policy towards Macedonia of the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Stefan Stambolov. Since he was arrested in Thessalonica he failed to take part in the Ilinden Uprising. Following the failed uprising, he was elected foreign representative of the IMRO at the Congress held at Rila, and advocating the standpoint that the reform of the IMRO should continue towards decentralization and democratization of the cause. After the Young Turk Revolution he participated in the National Federal Party and the parliamentary elections for the Turkish Parliament in 1910. He was a supporter for an independent Macedonian church and for independent education, and for the establishment of the Pedagogical High School in Skopje. In 1930 he moved to Sofia where he died in 1941.

ANDON DIMITROV (1897-1933)

He was a teacher and revolutionary, a lawyer and one of the founders of the MRO in Thessaloniki in 1893. In 1903 he was appointed director of the Exarchate schools in Prilep, and in 1904 he was elected member judge to the Bitola Appellate Court. After the Young Turk Revolution he was one of the founders of the Bulgarian Constitutional Clubs and at the founding congress of the said Union he was elected President of the same. Between 1915 and 1918 he worked with the Ministry of Justice of Bulgaria, and then with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria. In 1920 he was elected Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Macedonian brotherhoods in Bulgaria. Following the ideological differences of the conflicting groups within the Macedonian revolutionary movement he withdrew from active participation in it.

ANDON TOSHEV STOJANOV (DONCHO STIPJANCHETO) (1867-1931)
He participated in the Macedonian revolutionary movement, he was an activist and a messenger of the MRO. In 1896, while sneaking in bombs in rice bags, he was accidentally uncovered and imprisoned by the Ottoman police authorities, but in prison he endured the cruel and inhuman torture and never betrayed the Organization. After he was pardoned, he fled to Bulgaria where he continued to act for the Macedonian revolutionary movement.

Саможртвата на војводата Методија Патчев и  неговите соборци, 1902 годинаSelf-sacrifice of the war-lord Metodija Patchev and his comrades, 1902

On April 7, 1902, a rebel squad led by the commander Metodija Patchev in Kadino village near Prilep was attacked by Ottoman forces. On one side fought only seven Macedonian revolutionaries opposite a few hundred Turkish soldiers, gendarmes and mercenaries. The revolutionaries showed outstanding courage, military skill and a strong spirit refusing to surrender. Worthy of the oath of allegiance they committed self-sacrifice after the 24-hours battle.

РАФАЕЛ КАМХИ (1870-1969)RAFAEL KAMHI (1870-1969)

He was a Macedonian revolutionary of Jewish origin; an associate of many prominent Macedonian revolutionary activists and ideologists, and a facilitator of the Macedonian revolutionary work providing resources. In 1903 he took part in the Ilinden Uprising and in 1905 he attended the Rila Congress where he supported the decentralization and democratization of the Macedonian revolutionary act.

Советувањето на МРО во Ресен, 1894 годинаSession of the MRO in Resen, 1894
The depicted Session of the MRO took place in the town of Resen where the Macedonian revolutionary leaders adopted a range of important decisions for the future development of the Macedonian revolutionary movement. The important decisions for the Organization adopted at this event were: the Macedonian territory to be divided into revolutionary districts controlled by trustworthy persons; material resources should be collected not only from members but also by supporters of the cause; to engage as many supporters of the cause as possible in ecclesiastical and educational institutions; strengthening propaganda by printing local newspapers and dissemination of revolutionary literature; expanding the activities of the revolutionary committees and supplying them with weapons.
Грабнувањето на американската протестантска мисионерка Елен Стон од членови на МРО, 1901

Abduction of the American Protestant Missionary Ellen Stone by members of the MRO, 1901

The American missionary Ellen Stone and her companion Katerina Petrova Tsilka riding on horses were stopped by the troops of Yane Sandanski, Hristo Chernopeev, Krsto Asenov, Sava Mihajlov and others.
ЈАНЕ САНДАНСКИ (1872-1915)YANE SANDANSKI (1872-1915)
A Macedonian revolutionary, ideologist and military organizer of the Macedonian revolution, a follower of the standpoints of Gotse Delchev and an ardent opponent of the foreign policy and propaganda in Macedonia, a fighter for an autonomous Macedonian state and a ferocious persecutor of the “vrhovist” groups being implementers of the Bulgarian policy in Macedonia. He participated in the Ilinden Uprising through organizing and leading squads in the Serres Revolutionary District. As a participant in the Young Turk Revolution, Sandanski was one of the creators of the National Federal Party advocating for regional government of Macedonia within the Ottoman Empire. He took part in the Balkan Wars hoping on a Macedonian state, and as an opponent of the Bulgarian Tsar, while clearly expressing the standpoints of a separate Macedonian state, he was killed in 1915.
Француски весници од 1901 и 1904 годинаFrench newspapers from 1901 and 1904
The newspaper “Le Petite Journal” on its front page displayed the battle between a Turkish and a Macedonian squad, identifying the women in the Macedonian squad as Macedonian Joans of Arc. The newspaper “Illustration” reports that Macedonian “state officials” were visiting Paris.