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