Demirev, Dimitar (1897-1923)

Yambol memorial

A short biography of Bulgarian anarchist communist Dimitar Demirev

Submitted by Battlescarred on January 31, 2024

"In the person of Dimitar Vassilev, the Bulgarian anarchist movement and the Bulgarian working class had one of their most devoted and worthy sons. His heroic death in Yambol, under the banner of the great anarchist communist ideals, raised an unmade monument to him in the hearts and souls of all those who today and tomorrow will walk the fiery path of the struggle for the liberation of humanity from all tyranny and oppression! " Angel Valchanov.

Dimitar Vasilev Demirev was born Haskovo, Bulgaria on January 30, 1897, into a poverty stricken craft workers’ family. Despite the grinding poverty he still managed to graduate from Haskovo High School.

During World War One, he fought on the White Sea Front. Wounded twice, he was awarded the Order of Bravery. With the ceasefire, he was demobilised and became a tobacco worker in Haskovo. Here he became friends with local anarchists Lozyu Apostolov, Lozyu Apostolov, Kalin Urumov and especially the charismatic Zheko Geginov. As a result, he adopted anarchist communist ideas, which he held to the end of his life. He undertook agitation in the tobacco warehouses, and contributed to the organisation of the first anarchist unionism among the tobacco workers. He was sacked because of this activity and went to Sofia to look for work.

There he got a job at the State Mechanical Workshop as a turner. There pay was extremely low and working conditions very poor. Later he worked as a taxi driver.

He carried on anarchist communist agitation in Sofia. His flat in the district of Dolni Lozenets became a centre for anarchists, and he established close relations with a host of famous anarchists like Georgi Sheitanov, Alexander Sapundjiev, Vasil Ikonomov, Georgi Zhechev, Mariola Sirakova, Pano Vasilev, and Zare Sekulichki

He was elected as a delegate of the Sofia Anarchist Organisation and attended the Fifth Congress of the Federation of Bulgarian Anarchist Communists (FAKB) at Yambol on January 7th, 1923.

The police arrested him at Svilengrad, southern Bulgaria. They arranged for him to be killed whilst escaping, but he did not fall for this ruse. However, after ten days, he did manage to escape and fled to Yambol where he found work in the tobacco warehouses.

The military prepared for a coup d’etat by confiscating weapons from civilians. At the rally organised by anarchists against this, at Yambol on March 26th, 1923, Vasilev spoke against the machinations of the militarists. Fired on by the army, he, together with Todor Durzev and other anarchists, repulsed the attacks on the anarchist club. Eventually, he, Durzev, and 24 other anarchists were captured. They were machine gunned to death in the barracks yard of the 4th Cavalry Regiment, without trial or sentence.

Nick Heath


Photo: Memorial to murdered anarchists of Yambol.