Robev Kocho

Kocho Robev was born in Banica, Lerin region in 1915. His parents - Trifon and aunt Sirma were poor people, farm labourers their whole lives. Trifon from his young years until he was old was a migrant worker overseas and died there. Kocho's four sisters did farm work until they were married. Kocho and his older brother were servants from a young age and from the age of 14 worked in the Banica and other nearby mines.

It was also from a young age that he set off on the difficult path of a revolutionary. He was sympathetic to the workers' movement and its avant-garde - the Communist Party of Greece. From 1932 he was a member of the organization of Worker Assistance (Ergatiki Voitia) and in 1933-4 he took active part in the movement for the formation of an organization of miners. In the same years, he took part in the strikes and other actions of the miners. Kocho was an intelligent and courageous man. Despite his youthful age, his thoughts on professional issues were listened to even by the older workers.

The police took note of all that and Kocho was noted with a red pencil in the books of the state security.

In 1936 Kocho served as a soldier in Gr Lerin. At Easter he was in the village on leave and was celebrating in the village square with his friends. After a pre-arranged provocation by the police and the commander of the border units, there was a conflict between the Banica villagers and the soldiers that ended in a fight. The aim of the provocation was to give a reason to hit the democratic movement in the village of Banica, which at that time was quite well developed.

Even though Kocho was wearing a uniform with sergeant's stripes, he took the part of the villagers and did not obey the orders of the commander. For that reason he was demoted and four Banica villagers were sent into exile on the islands of Ai-Stratis and Folegandros.

On 29 Ocotber 1940 one day after the declaration of the Italian-Greek war, Kocho along with about 20 Banica villagers was sent into exile on the island of Hios. Hundreds of Macedonian patriots from Lerin, Kostur, Kajlarsko, Voden and other places were sent into exile on the Pelopponese and the Aegean Islands. The fascist rulers of Metaxas were afraid of the democratic forces and watned to hold them far from the front. That is why it kept the communists in the prisons and islands, despite that they wanted to go and fight on the front against Mussolini's fascist aggressors.

In the month of May 1941 the Banica villagers returned from exile. Macedonians also returned from other areas. The situation was hard and things were bad. The politics of the Greek reactionary and fascists forces, which among other things had the aim of creating hatred between the Greek and Macedonian people, the politics of 'divide and conquer', managed to succeed to some extent. At that critical time when the Greeks and the Macedonians should have been united in battle against the occupier, there appeared in some Macedonians a hesitation, indecisivenenss and even pulling back. Those Macedonians who were helping the Greek rulers were used by the foreign demagogues for propaganda with the aim of splitting the Greek and Macedonian people, in opposition to the people's liberation movement. However as a result of the correct politics of the CPG in the Macedonian issue for full and equal ethnic rights of the Macedonian people, the situation began to improve. Hundreds of communists - Greeks and Macedonians - managed to escape the prisons and islands and got close to the people. As a result of the tireless work of Trpovski and other party cadres the old party organizations were reorganized and new ones were formed, most in the Macedonian villages.

Kocho Robev quickly orientated himself and set off on the correct path. In 1942 he became a member of the CPG and carried out a lot of work in the organizing of his neighbours in the ranks of EAM. With his authority and influence among the workers he helped to spread the politics of the CPG. However he was now being followed by the local reactionary forces and was handed over to the Gestapo. On 18 January 1944 he was arrested along with Lazo Lochev and was taken to the Solun camp, "Pavlos Melas". During those same days hundreds of Macedonians were arrested from the villages of Chegan, Papdija, Krushoradi, Setina, Voshtaerni and taken to the camps " Pavlos Melas", "Domokos" and others.

After some months Kocho was released. He then worked as an illegal activist of the party. He was a member of the Banica regional committee of the CPG where he developed a significant activist record.

In 1946 Kocho was a 30-year-old man and politically mature. Thanks to his limitless faith in the party and the people's work, he was elected a member of the Lerin town committee of the CPG. And in this post Kocho showed himself to be committed to his trust in the party. He criss-crossed all of the villages and mountains near Lerin from Prekopana to Papadija, from Prespa to Patele; his work was exemplary in spreading the party line, in eliminating all divisive propaganda and actions, in the general struggle of the Greek people, as the only guarantee for the national and social liberation of the Macedonian people.

Kocho did not know what fear or exhaustion were. With decisiveness and fearlessness he completed all of his missions, he wanted everyone everywhere to learn the politics of the party, for the authority of the party to grow in every village. Meeting his obligation to the party and the people with passion and revolutionary enthusiasm, Kocho was killed in the village of Popozheni, Lerin region.

The monarcho-fascist forces acted brutally toward the corpse of the fearless people's fighter. Tied to the back of a truck they dragged it all the way from Popozheni to Lerin and along all of the main roads of the town. But their brutality backfired on them. Their brutal action fired the people's fury at the fascist regime, and strengthened the people's determination to fight until victory for democracy and peace.


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

© 2009

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For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters