Vasilev, Delcho (1901-1981) aka Ignis Bohema, Ignis.

Delcho Vasilev

A short biography of noted Bulgarian literary figure and anarchist Delcho Vasilev.

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 21, 2024

Delcho Vasilev Demirev was born in Haskovo, Bulgaria on February 15th, 1901. He graduated with honours from the local State high school in 1920 and taught in the villages of Lenovo and Sarnitsa. His older brother Dimitar was one of the 32 anarchists murdered by the State authorities at Yambol in 1923. Delcho was one of those anarchists, along with Vasil Ikonomov and Georgi Sheitanov, ready to attack the Council of Ministers, in retaliation, but this was foiled by the military coup that year.

He subsequently edited the local papers Utrinna Postha (Morning Post) (1929-1931), Haskovski Glas (Haskovo Voice) (1934-1935), and Clas (Class) (1945) and was the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Narodni Borba (People's Struggle) newspaper (1944). He was a member of the Union of Provincial Writers. He founded the Club of Cultural Workers in Haskovo in 1946. He corresponded with many Bulgarian writers. He was a leading writer, poet, journalist literary and theatre critic. He self-published the anarchist newspaper Idei(bi-weekly, 1931-1932). He wrote poems, fiction, plays, literary-critical, philosophical, and socio-political works, was in contact with many writers and poets, and put together the literary collection Flame in 1946. During WW2 he was interned in the Zlatograd concentration camp.

After the coup by the Communists on September 9th, 1944, a renaissance of anarchism began in Bulgaria. In Haskovo, the orator and organiser of the tobacco workers Manol Vasev, and Delcho Vasilev organised the movement and arranged mass rallies. At night, in crowded cinemas and community halls, the crowd applauded the anarchist speakers wildly. A rally in the central square on June 10th, 1946, was particularly impressive, where Vasev and Vasilev, after fiery speeches, were lifted up by the crowd, who loudly sang revolutionary songs. The envious Communist leader, Dobri Terpeshev, congratulated the two speakers for their eloquence, and expressed regret that they were not members of the Communist Party.

However, the Communists, worried that the rank and file of their Party might go lock stock and barrel over to the FAKB (Bulgarian Anarchist Communist Federation) began to move against the anarchists. Vasev was arrested at the beginning of 1947, and interned in a concentration camp. A month later, it was Vasilev’s turn, accused of the ridiculous charge of plotting to kill the Yugoslav Communist leader Tito.

Delcho Vassilev was to spend the next 18 years in the Haskovo, Shumen and Sofia prisons, followed by the Kutian, Persin and Belene concentration camps.

After his liberation in 1963 , he wrote a biography of the celebrated anarchist Georgi Sheitanov, and a a monograph on Mikhail Bakunin.

In 1981, on his 80th birthday, Delcho organised a birthday celebration. However, only two members of the Haskovo State Archives were brave enough to turn up, as the other invitees considered it dangerous and politically unhealthy to attend the birthday celebrations of an unrepentant anarchist.

He died a month later, on March 10th, 1981 after a bout of flu.

Nick Heath