Sotir from Krapeshtina
In the autumn of 1946 he was in the Lerin prisons near to the river
Sekulova, which divides the town into two. In the yard of the courthouse
there are two old and low buildings. One of them is the old Lerin prison
and the stables of the horse unit of the Lerin police. At that time
the stable was being used as a prison. At that time the prosecutor and
the police had a lot of work, persecuting the fighters who fought in
the national liberation struggle. They arrested them, they beat them,
they tortured them, and they shot them at their own homes, in front
of those close to them, and they shoved them into the prisons, in the
camps. The old Lerin prison was very narrow. And it was not just the
stable but other buildings too were turned into prisons - Tole's tavern,
Mangov's tavern, the old tobacco storehouse called "Redzhijata", the
yard of the police station and others. But the prisoners had to spend
time in all of these prisons before they appeared in any court or were
One day, when the sun set, when the rays of the sun caressed the peaks
of Bigla mountain, the gendarmes set up a 17 year old boy and threw
him into our cell from the door. We greeted him as a friend. He had
a dark complexion and was a pleasant boy. He told us he had been a partisan
with DAG, that he went to work in a village and had been caught. He
spoke softly and even though he knew what he faced, he was calm and
did not show any anxiety.
In my mind I can still see the silhouette of young Sotir from the village
of Krapeshtina, which is on an eastern valley of Vich mountain, south
of the town Lerin, and about an hour and half from it.
One day the prison warden sent Sotir outside to throw out the garbage.
When he returned he said to me - "I decided to escape. To get over the
bridge and to climb up Kalugerica, but I did not manage it. I did not
think there was a chance I would succeed."
After a few days the court date was set. On that day his grandmother
came from his village. In front of the main gate of the barbed wire
enclosed yard he was making a bargain with his lawyer, how many lira
it would cost to defend Sotir. His grandmother looked at the courthouse
and heaved a sigh and said,
"Eh! Damn you! In Turkish times you devastated us and again we are
being devastated." Three or four days passed and Sotir was upright before
the military court. The procedure was short and Sotir was sentenced
That day, after dinner, we waited for him to return. At 9.30 the warden
opened the door and Sotir appeared together with a gendarme. He came
to get his things and to ask our forgiveness .
And before he left, he calmly said to us -
"Okay comrades, goodbye, we will not see each other again."
He took his things under his arm and we all said good-bye to him and
shook his hand.
The gendarme was furious and cursed him but he, with a calm demeanor
and holding his head high, walked with firm steps away from us. The
door closed. But he, Sotir, a Macedonian aged 17, stayed in our memories
more strongly than death. He left a strong example in the broad boulevard
of the struggle for a free, carefree and happy life.
 Asking forgiveness, ie before his
From: For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom
For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters