REPORT ON ACTIVITY
When the Committee for Aid to Bulgarian Anti-Fascists was formed in January, 1948, the situation of our comrades of the Bulgarian Anarchist-Communist Federation has been growing steadily worse for more than a year. All activities had been outlawed, and since February, 1947, all communication with the outside world had been cut off. From the summer of 1947 onward, many comrades began to do what they could, as individuals, to help these comrades fighting to uphold our ideal and defending the freedom of a whole people against the most ruthless oppression ever known, the oppression of a totalitarian state. In November the need for help became more urgent. Comrades were reporting that they had reached Greece and were being interned in concentration camps there. News from Bulgaria indicated that more and more militants of the B.A.C.F. were being sent to concentration camps, with no hope of ever getting out, condemned to slow death by maltreatment and torture. Help had to be organized. The I.W.A. (International Workers Association) has always considered international solidarity one of its primary responsibilities, and it offered the solid moral guarantee of its past accomplishments. Too, as a labour organisation with sections in many countries, it was in a position to bring pressure on governments. The Sub-Secretariat of the I.W.A. in Western Europe had already asked some of us to try to obtain visas for comrades interned in the camps. And then the B.A.C.F. wrote from Bulgaria; “Soon many comrades will be obliged to cross the frontier. You must form a permanent committee to receive them.” Those of us who had independently put ourselves at the service of the B.A.C.F. met to form a committee, working under the instructions of the Bulgarian Federation, that would give all possible aid to anarchists within Bulgaria and to those who had to escape from the Stalinist terror. The members of the committee act as individuals and represent no particular organisations. But, as mentioned, the committee arranges its work according to the wishes of the B.A.C.F. and under the direction of the I.W.A.
The name of the committee indicates its character. Help is given only to anti-fascists, mostly to anarchists (since they are more numerous), but also to other anti-fascists who were active opponents of the fascist regime during the German occupation as well as of the Stalinist neo-fascism. Since it must intervene with governments and politicians to secure the release of prisoners, it is to the advantage of the committee to remain unaffiliated with any anarchist or political organisation and preserve its freedom of action; its only purpose . is to help persecuted comrades. The committee, set up in January, 1948, includes French, Spanish, Russian and Bulgarian comrades. The work is apportioned according to what each is in a position to do. Important decisions are made in committee meetings.
The activity of the committee has been along the following lines:
1. It has appealed for international solidarity on behalf of the Bulgarian comrades. Because of our comrades’ situation, the committee’s principal function is to transmit help. Its appeals to responsible organisations and, through the press, has received a warm reception; the Spanish, Swedish, Argentine and Italian movements, the S.I.A. (International Anti-Fascist Solidarity), and several anti-fascist relief committees (notably in America) have responded generously. Help is sent in a number of ways: money (the most practical and most reliable), clothing, medicine, food. This help is sent into Bulgaria for concentration camp prisoners and their families, and to prisoners in concentration camps of neighboring countries. Comrades interned for many months are suffering from under-nourishment and unhealthy conditions, and are in danger of tuberculosis - especially those deported to the “disciplinary camps” on the Greek islands. The need is enormous - not only for food, but for transportation to Western European countries. Large sums are required.
2. The committee has made representations to government authorities, and has tried to find lodging and jobs for new arrivals.
3. The committee has given all possible publicity to news received from Bulgaria. To acquaint the public with the meaning of our comrades’ struggle, it has published a French pamphlet, La Bulgarie, nouvelle Espagna, all proceeds from which go to the aid funds.
This is no more than a bare outline of our work.
Finally, we must mention the formation of similar committees in other countries in Sweden (Committee for Propaganda Against the Terrorist Governments in the Totalitarian States of the East), in Italy, and in Argentina (International Anarchist Solidarity). We are in contact with these committees in order to co-ordinate our efforts.
Ours is a work of revolutionary solidarity - all the more important because it is undertaken on behalf of those who are struggling against the most powerful tyranny in the world today, who have succeeded despite all in keeping their organisation alive, and who by their courage and their faith in our ideal of justice and liberty are now the sole hope of an oppressed people.