Pilaeva Gija

"Why are you crying for your plaits? So what if they cut them? They will grow again. They cannot cut your strength, which they can see. Not being able to do anything else, they take out their anger on your hair, your nails. Let them cut; let them pull out your hair. Do you see Marija? Every day she gave her blood. Katina is being melted by a high temperature and when they come, they say: "Make a declaration so that we can take you to hospital." But the girls cut them off with one look. That is how we conduct ourselves here; that is how we fight. Head high. Do not be afraid of them and not of death. Let's sing a Macedonian song from our village. It softens the pain; it makes us forget hunger and the cold in the prison."

And that is how Gia Pilaeva's song started - Gija from the village of Ekshisovo, Lerin region. She spoke like that to the fighter women who were newly arrived to the prison, to encourage them.

"We, sisters, will sing our song and for them, that song is death. When they prosecuted me, they were waiting for me to burst into tears and to beg them to release me. But they did not hear that from me, and they did not hear it from any of the fighters…

They asked me "Hey, did you take bread to the partisans?" "

Yes I did." I answered them because I have children.

"Why are you spreading propaganda?"

"I am not spreading propaganda," I said, "I am telling the truth."

Following that I was sentenced to seven years in jail. But I was not afraid. "You," I said to them, "cannot take my years. Someone else will do that account."

I remember that in 1945 a group of women had gone to protest to the government because the hiti [a local Macedonian name for the members of the right wing military group X ("Khi")] from Surovichko had arrived and were beating Ilija Valjagata. The brigadier shook with anger but he could not detain us. When we left he sent the hiti to capture us.

Gija hid her pain and told about 1941 when she joined the party. She worked illegally as an informant, for the illegal cadres that she was watching over…

One day just as she started her song she choked and stopped. She tried to smile and said, "I do not know, today I don't feel well, but it will pass. Will you sing and it will pass…"

Gija Pilaeva fought that way in the prison for three years. She gave her all and died in Gedi-Kule. She died from the torture and hardships in February 1950. She died to bring Liberation a bit closer.


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

© 2009

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For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters