Kapitanchova Mara

Mara the partisan. Maca Kapitanchova of the village Chegan, Voden region, was given that name in the partisan ranks and villages of Kajmachkalan.

Chegan is the last village in the western end of the Voden region. It is near Kajmachkalan mountain and at the time of the liberation battle of 1941-1944, it became known as a partisan village. The partisan ranks from Voden and Lerin met there. They rested there and gathered food supplies. All of the villages were organized into EAM and EPON. The strong warrior spirit of the Chegan villagers was expressed in Maca Kapitanchova, the first woman partisan from the region of Kajmachkalan.

At that time she was a 30-year old woman. She was tall with a smiling face, full of life and optimism. She inspired bravery and decisiveness among men and women. She was a committed member of CPG and a loyal fighter for ELAS. She treated party orders and ELAS orders as law. We saw her holding a gun in the ELAS units and in the white nurse's blouse in her own home which was turned into a hospital for ELAS, working tirelessly, day and night with the wounded and sick partisans. Even though Maca was the mother of two little children, she was one of the most active women of the national liberation movement in the region.

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End of 1943. On the eastern front the initiative is in the hands of the famous Soviet army which is pounding the Nazi sympathizers from Zhitomir to the Polish border. The Second World War in the deciding phase.

The people in the occupied areas became hopeful as a result of the victories of the Soviet army. Their will for liberation is strengthened.

In the Voden and Lerin regions, the ELAS partisans had liberated great sweeps of areas. They even controlled some of the villages on the plains. The Macedonian and Greek patriots are convinced that the end of the Nazi occupation is near. The ranks of CPG and EAM, of ELAS and EPON, are growing. The Nazi forces are not able to operate in confidence and cannot make strikes against the partisans on their own. In January 1944 with the aid of one of the Bulgarian fascist regiments, which was transferred there from Bitola, operations began in the whole area - from Prespa to Karadzhova. With a mania that had not yet been witnessed, the fascists threw themselves viciously against the innocent villages and villagers.

On 19 January they surrounded the village of Chegan. When they entered the village, they met some women and their first question was -

"Do you know where Maca Kapitanchova is?"

Maca was among those women. One comrade who was beside her squeezed her hand gently. That day, 180 people from Chegan were arrested. Young men, old men and one woman, Maca. She and 18 comrades were selected to head the column. The weather was very bad; knee high snow. A terrible storm whipped up, gusting from the north. They were forced to go on foot along the Solun footpath. No one knew where they were being taken. They reached the village Banica. There 19 of the oldest ones were loaded onto an uncovered truck. The others were forced to walk to Lerin. And the path from Chegan to Lerin is not a short one. It takes 12 hours on foot in summer weather. Many were unable to walk and they were mercilessly beaten. In Lerin they were locked into the high school building, which had been adapted for use as a concentration camp. They were locked up there with villagers from the villages of Papadija, Setina, Krushoradi and others. There were some Vlachs - sarakachani from the huts of Papadija and Farmaki. More than 400 people were jammed in together. They were there more than a month without heating and without a proper roof. That winter was extremely bad. The temperature reached 28 degrees below zero. The food - if you could call it that - was handed out into their cupped hands. The soup flowed between the fingers. The "national solidarity" (Etniki alilengii) went to the camp and distributed cans and some other foods.

In Lerin, Mara, along with the village priest, suffered harsh torture. She was swollen all over from the beatings. After a month, about 25 people were freed and all of the others were sent to Solun, Domokos and other camps. In Solun, Mara appeared before a court and was sentenced to death. It was there that they shot her.

Maca Kapitanchova remained loyal to our people and to the CPG to the last moment of her life. She is one of the most brave of our people's heroines in the time of the Nazi occupation, a symbol of the united battle of the Macedonians and Greeks



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

© 2009

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For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters