Under the flags of freedom: The Goryans. "For them life was a struggle under the flags of freedom, death a worthy victory!"
Unter der Flagge der Freiheit: die Gorjanen. "Für sie war das Leben ein Kampf unter der Flagge der Freiheit, der Tod ein würdiger Sieg!"
Original title: Под знамето на свободата: горяните

Language: Bulgarian, English, German (trilingual)
Category: Socialist period in Bulgaria; Cold War


   The Goryani movement was an active guerrilla resistance against the Bulgarian communist regime. It began immediately after the Ninth of September coup d'état in 1944 which opened the way to communist rule in Bulgaria, reached its peak between 1947 and 1954, subsided by the late 1950s and ended by the early 1960s. The movement covered the entire country, including urban areas and is known to have been the first organised anti-Soviet armed resistance in Southeast Europe as well as the longest lasting.

   The members of the movement were dubbed Goryani ("ones of the forest"), most likely not by themselves but pejoratively by the authorities or by street wits. Extremely scant official acknowledgements of the movement termed its members saboteurs and invariably stressed that they had been sent across the border by "imperialist centres". Though helped to a significant extent by emigre Bulgarians and by foreign powers, the Goryani movement was mostly indigenous and spontaneous.

   At first the Goryani were poorly armed and merely hid from the authorities or agitated against them in fear of arrest. By 1947 they had banded into armed chetas (military detachments) in highland and mountain areas. At that time the overall number of armed Goryani was estimated at 2000 in 28 chetas, with another 8000 illicit helpers supplying them with food, shelter, arms and intelligence. By the early 1950s the secret police had identified some 160 chetas of which 52 were supplied from abroad or comprised hostile emigres who had infiltrated across borders. The movement was strongest in Southern Bulgaria, particularly in the Sliven Region which is the subject of the present book.

   By the early 1950s the Goryani had a propaganda radio station (Radio Goryanin) which broadcast into Bulgaria from Greece. In mid-1951 the radio broadcast an appeal for an insurgent army to form in the Sliven area, where the movement was at its strongest. Some 13000 police and troops invaded the mountains near Sliven. The largest cheta, led by Georgi Stoyanov-Tarpana, was encircled by 6000 troops. It fought them on 1 and 2 June, managing to break the encirclement and rescue their wounded. Few fell prisoner to the authorities. Some 40 Goryani were killed, but the cheta commander fled along with his men. Stoyanov was captured by the secret police in late 1951 and was later tried and executed. The following year his cheta continued resisting the authorities and capturing villages...


Table of contents

Предговор / Vorwort / Preface

Глава 1. В търсене на определение за свободата
Kapitel 1. Auf der Suche nach einer Definition der Freiheit
Chaper 1. Searching for a definition of freedom

Глава 2. Горянството — първото антикомунистическо движение в Европа
Kapitel 2. Dir Gorjanenbewegung — die erste antikommunistische Bewegung in Europa
Chaper 2. The Goryani: Europe's first anti-communist movement

Глава 3. Сливенските горяни и въстанието от 1951 г.
Kapitel 3. Die Gorjanen von Sliven und der Aufstand von 1951
Chaper 3. The Sliven Goryani and the 1951 uprising

Глава 4. Лагерите и затворите на Държавна сигурност
Kapitel 4. Die Lager und die Gefängnisse der Stasi
Chaper 4. The camps and prisons of the State Security

Глава 5. Непримиримите — съпротивата срещу комунизма в България
Kapitel 5. Die Unversöhnlichen — Widerstand gegen den Kommunismus in Bulgarien
Chaper 5. The intransigent ones: Anti-communist resistance in Bulgaria

Равносметка / Bilanz / The ultimate outcome

Използвани източници / Quellenangabe / Bibliography


Publisher Regional Historical Museum - Sliven
Language Bulgarian
Pages 454
Illustrations b/w figures
Binding hardback
ISBN 978-619-7486-06-3
Creation date 2021
Size 16 х 24 cm

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