President Stevo Pendarovski attended and spoke at the celebration of the 100th anniversary since the birth of national hero Chede Filipovski – Dame, held in the village of Nikiforovo.
During the ceremony, President Pendarovski laid flowers in front of the monument and memorial fountain dedicated to our national hero, also visiting the memorial house of Chede Filipovski – Dame. The President also attended a screening of the documentary “Chede, a national hero” and the opening of an exhibition “On Chede and Nikiforovo” featuring 100 works of art by Aco Filipovski.
Fellow citizens of Nikiforovo,
You already know that the name of this place means “victorious”. It is truly a rarity that the name of a village so genuinely expresses the moral values of its inhabitants and to be such a true reflection of its history. There is no place more symbolic than this one that gave so many freedom fighters. We are gathered here today, in the victorious Nikiforovo, to remind ourselves of the most famous and the greatest among them – our national hero Chede Filipovski – Dame.
Apart from the local museum, he has been dedicated many books and monographs. There is basically no important work dedicated to the National Antifascist Fight where his name is not included. All of this inspires us to ask ourselves the question how is it that this young man, who lived for only 21 years, became an inspiration to entire generations?
Through the testimonies on the short, but turbulent life of Chede Filipovski – Dame, the pages of the glorious national liberation and antifascist fight become wide open, because his name is the thread that unites the most important moments and figures of NLF.
Before the war, as part of the youth with progressive democratic ideas, Chede was against all attempts for assimilation and was advocating freedom and social justice.
In 1941, together with the ideologist and organizer of the NLF, Kuzman Josifovski – Pitu, Chede Filipovski participated in the preparations for an armed uprising here, in the Mavrovo area. In the following two years, as deputy – commander, he was included in two partisan battalions, in the Mavrovo – Gostivar and Mavrovo – Kichevo ones, leading the elite diversion group which caused considerable damage to the occupiers.
He was also present at the Headquarters of the National Liberation Fight in Lopushnik, with Mihajlo Apostolski, Strahil Gigov, Cvetko Uzunovski, Vlado Maleski, Vidoe Smilevski and many others.
In 1944, as deputy commander of the First Macedonian – Kosovan brigade, Chede Filipovski led his fellow fighters, with an arm in hand and a song, through some of the most dangerous moments of the February march. Military historians and strategists agree that the outcome of the February march influenced the further course of our fight. In the most critical moments, when many other armies would probably lay their weapons due to the cruel winter conditions and constant enemy attacks, it was Chede Filipovski who managed to raise morale and help his fellow fighters persist. When they found themselves surrounded, it was Chede who helped the brigade to push through the enemy lines by creating a brave diversion.
Not only did the first Macedonian-Kosovan brigade successfully finish the march, but it also played a vital role in the dispersion of the spring offensive of the fascist occupier. With this feat, the brigade helped in creating free territories and practically opened the way for convening ASNOM.
The name of Chede Filipovski is mentioned among those of the delegates of ASNOM and later AVNOJ, but very few know that he was not physically present in the Monastery of St. Prohor Pcinski, because he was actually fighting for the liberation of parts of Western Macedonia at the time – Debar, Ohrid, Struga, Kichevo and Tetovo. Immediately after the war, together with Aco Shopov, he presided the National Liberation Youth Association of Macedonia.
It will not be an overstatement to say that through the life of Chede Filipovski, we are able to reconstruct a great part of the NLF. We see him everywhere and no matter how hard we try, we never find him in the back rows, giving instructions from a safe distance. His fellow fighters testify that in every attack, he was among the first ones, and he was among the last ones to retreat. Always present in the most difficult of situations, he thus earned the trust of his fellow fighters who believed in him unconditionally.
It is not by accident that one of his friends and fellow fighters, Krste Crvenkovski, often wondered how this young man, with no military education, is able to assess the situation so strategically and never suffer a loss or fall into an ambush.
Aside from his skills, this is all a reminder of the integrity, honesty and humanity of Chede Filipovski. Those who praise him are not only Macedonians, but also Albanians, Turks, Vlachs, Serbs, Jews, practically all of his fellows, regardless of their ethnic affiliation.
To Chede Filipovski, the fight for freedom and justice went beyond the ethnic. Therefore, together with the Albanian Antifascist Tom Gjelaj – Shumski, Chede managed the Mavrovo – Gostivar battalion. On behalf of Macedonian partisans, Chede concluded an agreement with Mehmet Shehu for a joint liberation of Debar. Finally, this is all underlined with his marriage to a Jewish girl from Bitola, Jamila Kolomonos – Cveta.
Even our national poet Kocho Racin was astounded by Chede Filipovski, seeing in him a genuine Macedonian partisan and a patriot fighting for the realization of the Ilinden ideals.
Several decades ago, on an occasion similar to this one today, an author wrote an article dedicated to Chede Filipovski – Dame, entitled “A hero above all heroes”. The editors reacted and demanded that those strong words be watered down. Asked of his opinion on this title, Krste Crvenkovski said: “if there ever was a fellow fighter deserving the title “a hero above all heroes”, it will most certainly be Chede Filipovski – Dame”.
We must not forget NLF’s greatest, but to continuously be inspired by their fight and sacrifice for our freedom. By preserving their memory, we are reminded of the values necessary to build a free and just society. Freedom is acquired once, but it must be preserved and protected continuously.
Only in this way will we have the dignity to say that we are the true descendants of these heroes, and that their sacrifice was not in vain.
Glory be to our national hero Chede Filipovski – Dame!
Glory be to all fighters who fought for a free Macedonian state!