Trajče Grujoski

Trajce Grujoski was born in 19th of August 1921 in the village Rakovo, Florina region in northern Greece near the today border with Republic of Macedonia. He was part of the communist youth from the late 30-ties. He got involved in the antifascist movement from the start of the war and was very active in his local community in Bitola where he was living in that time. He became part of the partisan movement in 1942 in the partisan detachment “Jane Sandanski”. In that period, he was sentenced to death in absence by the court in Bitola (under Bulgarian rule). In late 1943 he returns to Bitola in the underground resistance. After the war, he finished Law and economic faculty and was a professor at the University, but mostly politician on duties at the Federal government in Belgrade (Minister of Law) and Macedonian government (executive council) taking the role of vice president. He was also a judge in the constitutional court. Trajce Grujoski passed away on 17.07.2016.



Good afternoon professor. We are here together with the Professor Trajce Grujoski. At the beginning I would like to thank you for accepting to give us this interview and to be part of the project Faces of the Resistance. At the beginning can you please introduce yourself to us? What are your name, surname, place and date of birth? All right, I am Trajce Grujoski. I have graduated at the Faculty for Law and Economy in Skopje, at the University “Cyril and Methodius“. Than, I was lecturing as a Professor at Faculty of Economy and Faculty for Security at the University of “Cyril and Methodius” in Skopje, and lecturing at the University in Bitola “Kliment Ohridski“ for the subject Political system. Can you tell me when were you born? Your date of birth? I was born on 19th of August 1921 in the village Rakovo, the Municipality of Florina, Greece. Something else? This is OK. Would you like to know about my family? If you wish, you can tell us about your family, about your working career. I am married. I have a son and a daughter. From my children, I have 4 grandchildren and 6 grand- grandchildren. My wife passed away 4 years ago. She was a teacher. She was born in Shtip. Otherwise, our family was living in Bitola, Skopje and Belgrade. This was because of my working functions after the liberation. I was all the time engaged on political functions. At the beginning I was working, at the Presidency of the Government of Peoples Republic of Macedonia. In which year? This was at forty… Wait a minute, which year was the victory? At Forty-five. 1945. So, I was holding that function at ‘46 was Head of the Department for creation of the people’s governance. After that I was engaged on political functions. I went back in Bitola. I was president of the Municipal Committee and after that of the Area Committee. At the time there were only 7 areas on the territory of Macedonia. One of the areas was Bitola Area. I was the President of the Assembly of Bitola Area. Afterwards, I become a member of the Executive Council of the Republic of Macedonia. That was the Government of the Republic of Macedonia. I was working there 3-4 years and finally I ended there as a Vice President. I was holding that position for several years. From there, for a while I was a member of the Federal Executive Council. At that time I was delegated as a Secretary, we did not called them ministers – they all were secretaries. I was Legislation Secretary. President of the Federal Executive Council was Petar Stambolic. Finally, when my mandate ended, they offered to me other positions but I told them that I will go back in Macedonia. And I become judge at the Constitutional Court in Macedonia. It all ended there. That was it. At what year did you retired? Was it at the 80s? 80s – yes. Can we go back for a while at the 40s and that period? Yes? Can you tell me in what manner and who influenced the creation of your attitudes for the antifascist resistance? To tell you the truth, when I think of it, I wander how it happened. Because I was one of those young people who was not into politics. For me, the most important was my studying and the books. I graduated from high school with excellent grades and interest begun afterwards. Also, it is a fact that the time was such. It started... It came as a wave, in which every ordinary citizen felt joyful if they heard the words: democracy, justice and such words. I would go to movies, and I am a big fan of movies. The move theatre is full. We would have watched “The life of Emil Zola “, screened with Anthony Quinn (he thinks about Paul Muni) as a main actor. And in the dialogues, he would use such words as “justice.“ Everybody would get up on their feet and shout “Justice! Justice! Justice!“ This is one thing. In the school where I was going there were children from all over Yugoslavia. There was one, Bosnian who thought that he an deputy and he would climb on the table and give us a speech. He would address everybody. This was the influence. And he would use “justice“ and else. And finally in the school we had a literary group “Ivan Gundulic “. That was the name. We were holding speeches, literary essays, but also political discussions, disagreements, big ones, on political issues, just like today. This was the place where I started to determine myself. At that time, the creation of the Soviet Republic was recent. 1917 year. And we are … I finished at 1940. It is only 20 years after. As for the political situation in the world the most actual was Spain. There was a civil war in Spain, in which an international brigade was participating. They were communists, from all over the world. They were there and fought well. And all this had an influence. All young people in Bitola were talking about these events. This is how it got me, the wind of antifascism. Italy was in war with Abyssinia, in Africa. And the newspapers in the Yugoslavia Kingdom were interesting for me, for their objective writing. For the war, the Spanish and the Abyssinian, the newspapers were writing so well, that, while reading, I felt as I was there. As if, I was participating in the fights, in the hard times of the people and so on. And this is how in the school, we the students, have made an organization, but independent one, that had its own rules. We were gathering once a week. We discussed about actual political topics, and so on. And when the situation have calmed in the party in Bitola, I was invited and accepted immidietly to become a member. It was the time of Stiv Naumov (People’s hero of Jugoslavia). Stiv Naumov was student at Belgrade University. - This was in 1941, right? That is right. And I knew him because he was from the Aegean part of Macedonia. His village and mine were close. Even we thought that we are relatives. And whenever I would saw him sad, I would tell him: “Do not grief, because we the Aegean Macedonians will reform Macedonia“. He would start laughing, and his laughter was from his heart. He used to have this contagious laugh. This made me even closer to him. I was with him every day. And he made me a member of the Communist Party. After that, the events started to happen.... I become a member of the area committee of the League of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia (LCYY). That area committee was led by Desa Miljovska, she was … Kiril Miljovski’s wife, from Bitola. And this is how we activated the area committee, and I was responsible for LCYY in the schools. At that time, in Bitola there were 5 high schools. In every school in Bitola, we formed LCYY organization. It became popular and it started to be shown as an example and so on. And this is how it started to grow … my ego, the human, but also new perspectives were open to the organization. During one brake-in in Bitola organization, that was somewhere in 1941, there was a brake-in in the organization, in the party. And the Bulgarians started to arrest. I got upset when I heard that one of my friends was arrested, his name was Andon Panov. We knew each other since we were children, we were together all the time, and we also joined the party together and so on. And right from the working place where I was, I got up and said: “I have to go out”. And I got out on the street. And on the street, the group … at the corner of one street, it is the main street beside the cinema… there was this one guy; we called him … (incomprehensible) … from Bitola, with few policemen. He was pointing at the communists and the policemen were arresting them immediately. I passed by and he moved his head. And I was not even 20 meters away; the policeman was running after me. “What do you want? “ “Come with me.“ And I responded: “Why do you need me to come? I have things to do. I am not coming.“ He got me by my shoulders, he pushed me away and he brought me on the corner, where everybody else were gathered, and they gave each other a sign, confirming that it was me, that they got the information about, and took me straight in the basement at the Police Area Quarters in Bitola. When I went inside, there were ten like me, brought there: communists, LCYY and so on. We are all standing and looking at the wall. That was the order. And one by one we are called for hearing. My turn came to be called for a hearing. And I was told: “Tell us when did you become a communist?“ And I responded: “Who told you that I am a communist? I am only a student.” “No, we know everything!“ (Repeated phrese in Bulgarian). “Well OK“– I respond, “If you brought me here tell me what do you want me to do?“ “Well, you will tell us if the communism will win?“ I said: “As far as I study at school, and we learn about political economy and also in other subjects, it is writen everywhere that the communism will not win. And… what do people think that I do not know. I am only a student." He brings a piece of paper and says: “Start writing now. Everything you know. “(The phrase is in Bulgarian) I immediately understood that he does not want to ask me who am I in the organization with in LCYY or the party or who are the communists from Bitola. He did not ask any of this, I did not answer anything. And I started telling him immediately, that in the political economy the subject for which I have an A grade, is writen, this and this. And I also told him other things. I don’t know if this was deliberately, because of some intervention, I do not know. But my mother, a common villager, and I was her’s only, 5th child. 4 died before me. And she did everything in the world to keep me alive. She even named me so I could last (Trajce means “someone to endure”). And I guess, I have asked her afterwards, she would not tell me openly but eventually she said: “Well. OK, all right “something like that, and I realized that she intervened. In the Police, everywhere: “Let my child go, and so on … “ So it was relatively OK for me, because they did not beat me. I wasn’t beaten at all. The things I have written meant nothing. They were holding me in the basement for one day. We were together with others, some well known communists and they let me go. They let go the others as well. From all that have been captured, only 4 were sent to concentration camp in Bulgaria. The others were all let free. At that time it was still new (Bulgarian occupation), and they did not want to leave an image of being rough… tough … I don’t know. So that trial… that arrest was short and it ended like that. After that I said that I will never be imprisoned again. And on the key day, I ran away from home. I was not sleeping at home, for few days. Because I assumed that they will come. - It was after you were let go from prison at that time - Yes, at that time, after few months. All right… I assumed that they might come. And I slept outside. And our house was in wide open area, at the suburb of the city. The people knew nothing of communism and such things. I was not compromised. And while listening at night, I could hear my dog barking really loud. I had a big dog. When I was sure that there was a crowd at my house, I was speaking to myself: “Well, this is for me." I knew they were comming for me. And… Who were they? The Police, right? Yes. Yes. It was during the summer. At the end of the summer. In ’42? In ’41. Maybe it was August, or September, this is how I got in the partisan squad. And from then onwards, they did not cought me, they did not beat me, I was not forced, they did not torture me. I have saved my neck. - Once more, this was in ’42, we are talking now? Correct? You went in partisans in ’42. - Yes, correct. 1942, in which squad were you? In ’42, I joined partisans at “Jane Sandanski“ How did you managed to establish a contact … how did it look like… becoming a partisan? There, I had a connection in the city. The Area Committee had an established channel and when needed, a man is escorted; I was brought the same way. Where was the squad? The squad was at the village Lavci, on the mountain Pelister. I thought that I will find a big squad, an organization of a kind. Nothing. What I have found were students from the Gymnasium and high schools. There were also some intellectuals. That was the whole squad. We were thought that without the working class, the revolution is not possible. And that the intellectuals and the villagers, the craftsman, small owners, they are small scale owners, cannot make the revolution. One cannot trust them. And now, let me tell you about one event in Bitola. This was before the Bulgarians came, at the time of Yugoslavia Kingdom. Stiv, assigned me to be an instructor at a party organization workshop. An instructor, it meant that I will attend the meetings and will help them to understand the party gazette. The name of the gazette was “Proleter.“. And everything was OK, I was reading the articles, I interpreted them, we had discussions and so forth and so on. And a revision came for the party organization in Bitola, a member of the Central Committee of Yugoslavia. He comes to a meeting of our organization. And starts: “What are you? “ (The phrase is spoken in Serbian language); “Well, a worker “; “What are you? “, and he asked everyone and my turn came. “Me“ I am answering: “I am a student“; and it was like I stung him in the back, he jumped and yelled: “What are you doing here?“ and I got confused. “What do you mean, what am I doing here." "I was sent for a meeting“ “How dare you? What are you doing here? How dare you to be here? You are an intellectual, there is no room here for you" “There is no room for me because I am an intellectual. Can you imagine that?“ A dogmatic attitude and he himself is an intellectual and a member of the Central Committee of Yugoslavia. I thought: “I will not cause any troubles, I will go to Stiv.“ I went to him, and I told him for this, and he started to laugh: “Well this is how we are, this is how they are.“ It all came out OK, but that dogmatic attitude, you should have seen how it was like at that time. The working class, only they can make the revolution happen. And when I came to the partisan squad, there was not a single worker. Gosh “ I said, where he is now, let him… make a revolution without a single worker in the squad.“ And this is how this episode passed. I immediately become … they have assigen me in the squad headquarters. And because everything was full … I was deputy commissary for food. Meaning, I will feed the squad. It was OK, we lived, and we were all around, making combinations. After that the squad changed, the leadership and many things changed. I was assigned on different functions. From what I could find and read, 1941 and 1942 were extremely difficult for the partisans? They were. How did you make through? What motivated you in such harsh conditions? Especially, your squad had many fights, as far as I know. Yes. There were fights, but we were running. When shootings start, the only way is to run. And this is how we remained healthy. But, in a true sense of a war and when I was analyzing for myself, I was not satisfied. This was because there was no war. And when I was discussing there, I did not open the discussion based on my opinion, I was not sure, how will I be understood. Afterwards, the things started to move on. . It moved in a sence that the squad, started to have a structure, there was an assignment to educate the people. It took over the role of an educator. When the squad would enter a village, we would make a meeting with the villagers, would explain the situation, speak about politics, this and that… They would agree. It was understandable. Some would agree out of fear, some were determined that way and so on. The determination was ideological. This function was doing well. It was enough to speak about partisans. To say that: “There are partisans“…”Parisans came”, “We saw the partisans”. hey look like this and that. Because, the official propaganda was as following: “The partisans are the Serbs.” “The partisans want to gain Serbia back.”, “They are shumkari (people from the woods)”, “They are not good hosts." "They gamble with your lives, the villages” and so on. This was a very strong propaganda and it was different when they could see with their own eyes, to conclude that it is different, at the end they would change their views and this was how the truth was spread. So, this squad has gone a long way. At first, it got an assignment to go to Moriovo. In Moriovo villages… to change the people there. Where at? Moriovo. And where is that? Mariovo, between Prilep and Bitola. And where is that? Mariovo, between Prilep and Bitola. So, it is Mariovo. And apparently, Prilep partisan squad, is about to join and both squads, will establish a free territory there. And apparently, Prilep partisan squad, is about to join and both squads, will establish a free territory there. A free territory is something like a state, a semi state. The command is with the partisans, not the government. It is far away, thirty kilometers. And it was very hard to walk at that time, there were no roads. And this is how they made a decision; some headquarter there, that this will be a free territory. We organised ourselves, to go that way. We agreed on a password, we agreed on the day when people from Prilep will be there, and afterwards together we will combine … We went though many villages in Lerin Area, but everywhere we were forbidden to hold meetings because the people could see us. The Greek communist party has made a prohibition. It said: “You must not take any action on the territory in Greece. Othervise, the Germans will burn our villages.” And we had to respect that attitude. We would pass through a village, than to the next one and so, we reached the other side of the border, which was passed through a river. The river is Eleshka. . In the squad there was one guy Anestij. And we came to the river. It was at night. One could see that there is a big water, you’ve could have fall and drown. We had to strip ourselves to our underwear, to be able to step into the water. And he shouts: “When I was a child, the Serbs use to boast: (in Serbian language), “We steped over the Crna River right to our navel.” Now when I go back to Bitola, I will tell people that we were also stepping the Eleshka river (In Serbian) over the navel, up to our throught. “We steped over the Crna River right to our navel.” Now when I go back to Bitola, I will tell people that we were also stepping the Eleshka river (In Serbian) over the navel, up to our throught. Meaning, we are better men then they are. Now when I go back to Bitola, I will tell people that we were also stepping the Eleshka river (In Serbian) over the navel, up to our throught. Meaning, we are better men then they are. And this is how we go through these villages, and we came to Kajmakcalan (mountain on the border between Macedonia and Greece). - Do you know the mountains? - Yes We came to Kajmakcalan from the Yugoslavian side of the border. And it was already daylight; we passed the river over the night. It was already day. For the first time, we are looking at the sun. And someone saw dogwood fruits on a tree. It was a dogwood tree. And it was fall; the leaves were fallen only the fruit was left on the tree. And when we saw it, our eyes opened wide. Because we were hungry, we haven’t eaten anything. At least we made some contribution. About the hunger. I was eating my soul alive at that time, because I was deputy commesar for food, and during that time, when I was reporting, I said that my squad, in a period of several months had eaten 17 kilos of paprika salt, because it was the cheapest and this is how we eat. When we would come to a wineyard, where there are grapes and a farmland, with potatos, we would dig out the potatos and leaving money on the farmyard. When the owner would come that he would see that we have payed. He would know that we are not theafs. These were sone childish actions, but it was like that. And when we saw the dogwood fruit, everyone had opened their eyes wide. We have attacked the tree, collected the dogwood fruit and we ate them. And when we saw the dogwood fruit, everyone had opened their eyes wide. We have attacked the tree, collected the dogwood fruit and we ate them. In an hour, we all got diarrhea. Diarrhea! One could see everyone from the squad, there in the bushes …and so on. And we came to the village Manastir. There was a Monestary there, and this is why the village was called Manastir. The Monestary was maintained by a Russian immigrant. When the Russian saw that we are partisans he got scared and he started to cook, like for some guests. We had a real feast. We were there for 3 days and we ate everything. The squad from Prilep, never made it. A report came that they were executed in the mountain Mukos. This was the first Prilep squad that was executed. And we musn’t wait. We gathered at the headquarters: “What do we do now?” “What?” There are no connections. It is a real nothingness, Mariovo it is. There is no food to start with. We are heading back, we said. From that place, we went straight to Novaci where there was a bridge. We needed to cross the Crna River, because it was big and one could not walk through it. We crossed the bridge. It was night. There was no one, no one saw us, but we met two Bulgarian soldgers. The squad commesar went to them. It was Josif Josifovski. He went to them and asked: “Did you saw some shumkari, near by?” “No we did not.” “Because we are looking for them, if you have seen them.” “No we didn’t see them.” “OK.” The reason was that if the Bulgarian says something, he would say that we were looking for shumkari. I don’t know what he said, but we passed by. We crossed the Crna River. We came to the Bitola part of the field and we devided into groups. There was no squad, there were groups. One group will go to one village, the other in different one and so on. The squad needed to go through the winter. When was this 1942 towards the 1943? That winter, correct? - Correct. - Untill when did you stay with the partisans? When was this 1942 towards the 1943? That winter, correct? - Correct. - Untill when did you stay with the partisans? I remained until 1943, by the very end. And this is how I spent that timeline. The squad had sepatared here. The groups left to their places, and there was no more a partisan squad. There is no… everything is illegal, everything is in scielence. hose were the villages around Bistrica, if you know where it is. Those were nice villages, good people, awaire, patriots, and we went through the winter months. In spring we gathered, the groups gathered. Because we went through a very big field. Me, for example, I was not only in one village. I went in the Aegean part of Macedonia. I have an uncle there in Golemo … Gorno Kleshtina, it is called Gorno Kleshtina. There is also Dolno Kleshtina. An Uncle, my father’s cousin. I have introduced myself to him; I am this and this, your nephew. “I have heard of you! Welcome. I know, I know about you.” We did not speak of it anymore. I was there for 2 weeks. Afterwards, there was a message to go back. Because the squad was there, the groups have gathered together and there was a shooting. They have attacked the railway station at Srpci village. The plan was to destroy the railway station, the train would stop, there is going to be damage made on the railway, and so on. And they were heading that way during the day. The train was arriving at 5 in the afternoon. The train came, but there were Bulgarian soldiers. When the Bulgarian soldiers came out of the train, the shooting started. They were shooting and ours were shooting. So the wish came thrue, the squad become a fighting squad. No one was killed, neither from ours, nor from the Bulgarians. The main happening was that everyone from the Bulgarian Police in Bitola was on their feet. They were looking for us with trucks, with cars, with I don’t know what. By the time they came, the squad retreated in the mountain and the task was finished. This squad has moved to the Aegean part of Macedonia, in my village. They were looking for me there. They got information that I was in Golemo … Gorno Kleshtina. And they have spread the word, so I went there as fast as I can. And with the squd, we are again moving through the Aegean Macedonia. At that time, the Greek party has changed their attitude. It allowed actions to be taken, partisan actions on its territory. After we arrived, the whole squad “Dame Gruev” came. Now we had two squads. Also, the Lerin party organisations have formed a squad. Three squads. The Lerin squad wanted and has transferred under our command “Dame Gruev” squad. It was because we were more experienced. All three squads went though the Lerin villages. I found it interesting in the village Buf. I don’t know if you heard, but there was a word that it was in favour with the Bulgarians. When they heard that we are partisans, all villagers gathered. They were inviting us in their homes and took us as gests. I can not describe. The atmosphere was incredible. It was a real miracle. The previous informations were false. The people there were not in favour of the Bulgarians, but someone spread the word. So, my emotions were satisfied. We spent some time in the Aegean part, a month or two, all three squads. And finaly “Dame Gruev” decided to go back on its territory in the Ohrid – Struga region. This was because in that region there was a need for a bigger unit. They were from the Bitola squad, or from Ohrid Area? “Dame Gruev”? “Dame Gruev” was from Bitola – Prespa Region. They went there and we remained on this part, and this is how it continued. Now I would like to ask you your oppinion of the partisan movement. You have mentioned about some elements that you liked, but some things you did not like. Were there any actions that you didn’t like and this is how you remember them? There was some behaviour. I did some interventions, but it didn’t help. For instance, the Bulgarian police knew that there is a squad there that we are near. And it was following us. And not only that they were following us, they also infliltrated some men in the squad. Now, we have accepted them. They were from Bitola. And one day the commander and the one other partisan, needed to go in the city so they could do some business. A policeman came by and asked: “Give me your IDs”. They responded: “We do not have IDs, we are from Prilep and we are here for a visit”, and at the same time it was the religious holiday St. Bogorodica (St. Marry). He responds: “Ah so?”, when they have mentioned Prilep, he becomes suspitious. And he would have taken them to the police station immidietly. When they realized this, they argued and started running. He did not shoot. They came uphills. We were in the mountain and around the village, Lavci. Propably you have heard of it it was famous mountin village. There was a Bulgarian unit here in the village. Thus the villagers are on the partisan side. Propably you have heard of it it was famous mountin village. There was a Bulgarian unit here in the village. Thus the villagers are on the partisan side. And now, after this, we needed to change the camp where the squad was, because the Bulgarians, they already started a pursue in the mountain. And the pursue was there. We are in the woods, just above the village, near the village. But at the spot where I was laying in the mountain, just beside me there was a stream. A small river, more like a streem. To get to the point, the place is wet, muddy. And now, the policeman is approaching with his riffle. We were all there, the whole squad, 15 men. He needed to make only a jump over the stream, he would have seen us and there was going to be trouble. He did not jump, because he did not wanted to get durty. He went back. We were well and alive. He needed to make only a jump over the stream, he would have seen us and there was going to be trouble. He did not jump, because he did not wanted to get durty. He went back. We were well and alive. They have abonded the pursue. But, can you imagine, the army went all over the mountain for a pursuit. It was a huge power. Where did they found that power? But, there is was, against that power, a suaq with few men. And this is how I ended my partisan days, with a thought that our actions were not productive. I discussed this in the headquarters. And I have told them that things happen. Some interventions were made, but the argument was that we need to keep our living force. We can not fight the army, but we can wound the army and cause troubles. The conclusion was that the Bitola squad was up to their task. So you have abonded the partisan movement at that time, because of misunderstandings or the squad was disband? Now, this is a different story. A new squad was formed. In that region - Bistrica. The commander of the squad was Kole Kaninski. Kole was an authority. He was a son of the priest Kaninski. He graduated at Law Faculty in Belgrade and become a lawyer. And he was accepted in the party as a member of the Area Commettee. Than, a revision from the Central Commettee of Yugoslavia visited the Bitola organization. There were 8 people … members of the Area Commettee, among which was Kole Kaninski. On that particular meeting only 4 attended and 4 were absent. The meeting was attended by: Lazar Kolishevski and Cvetko Uzunovski. You know, Cvetko was from Prespa region and fighter from Spain civil war. On the meeting Agenda, there was the formation of the Bitola squad. No, it was 1941, before 11th of October events. It means sometimes in September. The meeting was. - Now you are speaking about events that happened before you joined the partisans? - That is correct. I would like to know more about you leaving the partisan movement in ’43, or you were there only in the movement? I was political commissioner of a unit, the first unit, while Vasko Karangelevski was a commander of that unit in squad “Goce Delcev”. A commander of the squad was Kole Kaninski. And as I told you, on the meeting of the Area Committee he was criticized. The Area Committee is criticizing, because of Kole and other members, because they did not accept the decision for formation of the Bitola partisan squad. - In 1941, correct? because they did not accept the decision for formation of the Bitola partisan squad. - In 1941, correct? Yes, since then and earlier. And now, he as a commander is leading the squad. I was there a commissioner, as I mentioned before. At that time, Talevski Blagoja, came to the squad. He was a secretary of the Area Commeetee of the Communist Party. And he wanted to form an Area Commettee of the League of the Communist Youth of Yugoslavia, since the Bitola organization was totally died out. And: “Who should I take, who should I take?”, and he wrote down my name. And I started to shiver: “I am not going. Here is just fine for me”, and so on. - He waned to take you underground? But in the end, I tought that I do not need to make any fuss, it would not make any sence. If the party gave an order, I was not going to make any obstructions. I am referring now for the squad. The squad that was under command of Kole, become famous because it went through the Aegean part of Macedonia, and disarmed many squads, in many villages in Kostur region become famous because it went through the Aegean part of Macedonia, and disarmed many squads, in many villages in Kostur region and finally withdraw on the territory of Bitola. Also, it was given an order to go again on Kajmakcalan together with the partisans from Tikvesh area and to form a brigade. The squad went there and was welcomed. It becomes part of the first Tikvesh brigade. Afterwards it received tasks. It was fulfilling tasks. And at one point again…it… went apart, I mean physically from the brigade. And this is not, how is it called, legal. It was still part of the brigade. The information about the capitulation of Italy came in the villages around Bistrica. And the squad has made a decision to take the guns, which were left by the Italians. In that part, Prespa region, in the villages, there were units of the Italian Army setteled on few points, up on the crest over Baba mountain, was the border with the Bulgaria and Italy. The Italians were holding the area with tents, it was their centry. And when the Italians capitulated, the Germans have decided to take away the guns from the Italians. Also our people wanted to have the same guns, and there was a war. The German Unit came with trucks to take away the weapons. A serious fight began, with shootings from both sides. Two of our men have been killed. Two of their men were also killed, but they took the weapons and left. Our people left without the weapons. So the squad went back. - You have mentioned that you had some misunderstandings about the way the squad was moving and acting. Did you have some consequences for that or not consequences? No, not at all, because I was asking the questions as fundamental: “Is it OK to act like this and that?” The tacticts. Afterwards I got a satisfaction with the case in Bitola, when the party organization was punished by the Central Commettee by changing the whole structure of the Area Commettee consisted of Kole Kalinski and Liljana Celovska and also some others and it was then when a word spread that the Bitola organization was not functioning well. I did not agree wit that since I put a lot of efforts in that organization. But the thing was that disscussions were not possible. If one criticized a party organ or something else, it is not allowed. And this was taken as a critique. They started to, how you call it, putting me aside, but nothing happen. They did not take big measures. I was not punished. - Where were you at the moment of liberation, for ’44 I am asking, the liberation of Macedonia? Eh, in ‘44 I was in Pelister. I was all alone. I did not have either a unit, and I was not with the squad. Why? Becacause I had a fight with Ivan. I said: “I will go. I will not sit here anymore.” I experienced, how do you medically say, I was afraid, pathologically I was scared. - In the city? - Yes. - All right. And who was Ivan? : Ivan was a partisan name of Blagoja Talevski. He was in charge; he was authority for the underground. And I was on Pelister, I went there and he wanted to calm me down so he did not let me go home: “Go outside, if you can not breathe in the city. Go to the countryside.” So I came in the village. I was in… over the village Rotino where I heard the news that the war was over. Ivan came from the city, and we took two horses. We went to the Veles’ village Vranovci. The village Vranovci in Veles, was a place where the Central Commettee of the party was situated. The main headquarter was there, and so on. This means it was like a metropolis. I think that the gazzete “Nova Makedonija” was printed there. Yes. And I heard about the liberation there. There was shouting, shooting, joy and so on. It was not only for the partizans, but also to the people. The people got tired from the war and we welcomed freedom. I would like to thank you for… Don’t’ thank me, I bodered you, because the way I was speaking, I felt it myself, it was boring. I was not able to speak. You saw it your self. I tries with some humor, for attention. How sucsesfull I was, I don’t know. You were excellent. OK, thank you.




Partizan unit Goce Delcev in 1942, Trajce Grujoski upper row 3rd from left

Trajče Grujoski in 1945