Kljanev Mijale

Mijale Kljanev was born in 1907 in the progressive and revolutionary Lerin village of Patele. The progressiveness and revolutionary spirit of Patele dates from olden times. From the time of the birth of the battle for national education about the struggle, Archimandrit Panaret Mishajkov, from the village of Patele, was one of the passionate fighters for Slavic education and culture in Macedonia. Patele was among the first villages in Lerin where a VMRO committee was formed, and its brave son, Dine Abdurmanov, was one of the first chetniks in the area, who in 1902 died heroically in his own village together with the legendary commander Marko Lerinski fighting for the liberation of Macedonia from the Turkish yoke. Mijale was the son of Aleksandar Kljanev, an Ilinden fighter.

The national liberation traditions of Patele are closely tied to the modern revolutionary movement of the Greek and Macedonian people for democracy and socialism under the direction of CPG. Patele again was the first Macedonian village in Lerin where as early as 1924 a healthy party organization of CPG was formed, which played a decisive role in spreading the communist ideology in the Lerin region. Patele is a good host for the creation of revolutionary fighters. In one such environment Mijale grew and developed.

From a young age he was sensitive to the double slavery under which the Macedonian people lived - he was disgusted by the barbaric forces of the Greek government, which banned the Macedonians from speaking their own mother tongue, banned them from identifying themselves as Macedonians. But at the same time he could see that, in Patele, with a population comprised entirely of Macedonians, not all were the same. Some were rich - a very small number - while others, the much greater number, were poor. Mijale's family was very poor. His father died when Mijale was very young. He could not afford to go to school and was compelled from a young age to throw himself into the battle to earn a crust. He worked as a cleaner in other people's homes, a fisherman, and later as a labourer-stone worker.

Mijale did not go to school, did not sit at a pupil's desk, but studied in the school of life; he was educated by CPG whose member he was from 1928. He grew more mature each day, always learning something new. He saw that not only the Macedonian workers but also the Greek workers lived the same hard life, because they too carried the same burden as he did, they too were poor.

The revolutionary traditions of his own village, his hard working life and the education he received from CPG helped Mijale to become an outstanding patriot and passionate partisan, an internationalist. Mijale was remote from every kind of nationalism and chauvinism. He treated as brothers all of the democratic and patriotic Greeks and was a peerless fighter against the faction in the Macedonian liberation movement which divided people along the lines of nationality. He was hard as granite, like the rocks he dug up, against the enemies of the people and the Party. But he had a humane and passionate heart and was full of love for the people. He spoke softly, quietly, persuasively. He was totally committed to the people and the Party. There was no life for him outside the Party. Thanks to those qualities he grew into one of the best Macedonian cadres of CPG in Lerin.

In 1932 Mijale became secretary of the Surovichko regional committee of CPG. His activity was tireless and extensive. Despite the terrible terror that was surrounding the villages, he formed party organizations and spread the policies of the CPG into the Macedonian as well as the Greek villages of Surovichko. All of the progressive people in Surovichko - Macedonians and Greeks - respected him and praised him. In the month of July 1932 he participated in a board advising cadres of CPG in Macedonia. But leaving the meeting, he was betrayed and arrested. He was imprisoned for five months in the Lerin prison.

In March 1933 he participated actively in the pre-election campaign, before the elections for the people's representatives. In July 1934 he participated as the delegate from Lerin to the Greek Anti fascist Congress in Athens.

All of that activity was closely followed by the local reactionaries and police. They were waiting for a suitable time to deal with the brave people's fighter. In March 1935, during the days of the Venizelos fascist coup after a local provocation by the local reactionaries and police, Mijale was arrested together with four of his friends. All of them were removed to brutal exile in the Surovichko police cells and from there to the military prison in Larisa. Mijale lay imprisoned for six months in Larisa, then for six months in the Dramski prison, and a full four years in the Egina concentration camp. And from Egina he was sent to exile on the barren little island Gavdos, close to Crete.

Mijale's life in the prison was exemplary. One of his comrades, a Greek, expressed himself as follows in his memoirs -

"In our beautiful collective, in the Larisa prison, the name of Mijale Kljanev, the avant-garde fighter from the historical village of Patele, will remain impressive as though written with the most beautiful ever lasting script, and beloved by us, we who lived together with him there. We saw his faith and his qualities and we tied ourselves to his honourable recollection of the prison and exile. An activist of the Party outside and a driving force in his own village, he rose up and became one of the most active founders of the collective. He was a proud defender of unity and discipline and set an example in all of the sectors of the collective life. He valued political education particularly and he wanted to pass it on to all… when we met again in the Egina prison, Mijale was again an exemplary prisoner in every way."

And the comrades he lived with in the island Gavdos spoke with the highest praise about Mijale. He was always happy and worked day and night for the collective. He was an outstanding gardener and there, on that barren and stony island where nothing would grow, he managed to grow tomatoes, capsicums and other vegetables that the exiled men could eat during those difficult years.

In Gavdos he was upset by the German occupation. But from 1941 Mijale managed to escape and get over to Crete, where, under the pseudonym Mavridis, along with the heroic people of Crete, he fought for four years in the ranks of ELAS for the liberation of Greece from the Nazi occupation. In a battle that took place there his hand was badly wounded. Mijale's family knew nothing of him, whether he was alive or dead. It was the same with his friends. Most thought he was dead. And totally unexpectedly, one February day in 1945 after 10 years, Mijale returned to his own village, to his own family. But he was only with his family for one day. The next day he went to the Lerin Regional Committee of CPG and threw himself again into the battle.

In 1946 he was again arrested and thrown into the Lerin prison. From there he was taken to the Solun prison and later to the hell of Makronisos.

Five to ten days went by and Mijale did not return from Makronisos. This time he did not return to his nearest, to his own people. They all asked:

"Where is he? What happened to Mijale. Is he alive, will he return?"

But he did not return this time.

"One day, in 1949, they took him from us," wrote the author Kostas Anafiotis, "and we did not see him again. They took him to convey him to Crete to face some kind of "charge". He left us smiling and saying good bye, relaxed, even though we all felt - and he himself knew this - that taking him to that dark climate in those dark days of the Civil War, meant a thousand unknown dangers for him. We shook his hand with dark foreboding that we would soon hear bad news about him. And our hearts did not deceive us. One day the dreadful news reached us: Mijale Kljanev is no longer among the living. He was killed, gangster style, while taken from one police holding cell to another, without any court conviction, without any proper law. By the law of the jungle. He escaped the living hell of Makronisos but did not escape death... Dark years, filled with hatred and bloodletting. May they never be forgotten and may they never return. May the blood of Mijale Kljanev, the blood of thousands of brothers, nourish the tree of forgiveness, love and peace for our tortured homeland. Not a different hatred; not another war. PEACE!"

Mijale's life was rich with revolutionary activity, activity for democracy and socialism on our side. He met all the hardships and storms with his head held high, and it was with real heroism that he endured all the interrogations he was subjected to.

Mijale Kljanev lived for 42 years. But half of his life, 21 years, the best years of his youth, his hard working years, he spent without rest, without reservation for the party, for the people, for a happy and carefree life for the Macedonian and Greek people. It is with full justification that the Patele villagers were proud of him and that all Macedonian people are proud of their dignified son and his exemplary fighting life.

St. Kochev


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

© 2009

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For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters