Adzhiev Trifon

Trifon Adzhiev, or the American, as we knew him, was born in the town Voden to a poor Macedonian family. From the age of 18 he was compelled to leave his beautiful birthplace and go to America, to search for work.

In America Trifon worked hard as did all the Macedonians and other foreign migrant workers. It was there that, for the first time, he saw the harsh exploitation of the workers that took place so that the various Rockefellers and other capitalists could become wealthy.

Once he had "earned" a few dollars with hard work and privations Trifon returned to his homeland.

Along with his dollars, Trifon also brought to his birthplace some new ideas - socialist ideas. He was no longer the earlier Trifon, he returned a different man. In America he had associated with progressive workers, revolutionaries and socialists and from them he learned about the exploitation by capitalists of the working class, of all working people. It was there that he saw the great contradiction in life: on the one side, the millionaires with their fortunes, huge multinational monopolies and on the other side, the poorest people.

With the small amount of money that he brought back with him, he opened a cinema. But it was not opened so that it could entertain the rich of Voden, but rather to serve the workers, the people. For that reason he showed progressive films, as far as it was possible at that time.

But he was not just the cinema owner, Trifon also spread communist ideas and stood with the workers. He fought for their every day rights, for democracy and socialism. He returned from America in 1922, just when after the First World War and the Asia Minor Catastrophe there was an economic crisis and great misery abounded. As a communist he joined the party organizations of CPG and became an active member of the party. He participated actively in the veteran movement in Voden and fought for the establishment of a veteran organization. He helped the textile and agriculture workers of the town to organize; the organization of their battles and for bread and a better life. In this battle Trifon became a local official of CPG.

The reactionary forces of Voden were alarmed by the development of the movements of the veterans and the workers of the town. The various industrialists (Kirchi and others) sought that the local powers take strong measures against the communists and specifically against Adzhiev who was the local leader and a man with authority among the local population. Accordingly, as early as 1926, persecutions against Adzhiev commenced. From then, he often found himself in the prisons and exile.

I met Trifon for the first time in 1929. We were together in exile on the island Anafi. He was of medium build, dark complexioned, with thick black hair, but lively and always smiling. In the collective of 21 exiles in 1929 Adzhiev was one of the happiest comrades and with relish told us adventures and anecdotes from his own life. He also told us about the American way of life, about the millionaires, the gangsters, the hard work done by the Greeks and Macedonians in America. He told us about the workers of Voden and their battles and he was more than ready to carry out any of the work required of the collective. He helped the comrades to tie up the bales of thorns and to lift them onto their backs, while he himself would lift the heaviest bales. We used the thorns to bake bread and for other cooking.

After 1929 Trifon suffered more; he was again exiled. In the time of the Metaxas dictatorship he was arrested and sent to the island Folegandros. In 1944 he was transferred to the Athenian camp Haidari. It was there that we saw each other for the second and last time. His black hair had turned grey from the passage of years but also from the sufferings in prisons and exiles. But Trifon was still the same. Always happy and with a smile on his face. That is how I remember him; and on 1 May 1944 when he, along with 200 communists, was executed by the Nazi followers. Trifon fell but until the last moment of his life he fulfilled his obligation to the working class, to his homeland and the people.

B Ashikis

From: For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters

© 2009

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For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters