Meanwhile, in Salonica itself, a militant new organization was incubating: in November 1893 the ‘Bulgarian MacedoAdrianopolitan Revolutionary Committee’ was founded by a group of men reared on the ideas of Russian anarchism, and proclaimed open to any who wished to fight for liberation from the Turks and autonomy for Macedonia.
Sofia-based activists regarded it with suspicion and did not trust its commitment to Bulgarian interests.
Eventually the committee dropped any reference to Bulgaria from its name, and it became known simply as the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization [IMRO] with the slogan ‘Macedonia for the Macedonians’.
[Mark Mazower, Salonica City of Ghosts, page 264]
The centre of operations was Salonica’s Greek consulate whose elegant neo-classical building today houses the Museum of the Macedonian
Struggle. An energetic new consul, Lambros Koromilas, had been posted there to build up a network of activists and bands.
Patriotic activity was organized through ‘the Organization’, an underground movement led by a young army cadet called Athanasios Souliotis Nikolaides.
His agents collected information on enemies of the Greek cause, and carried out assassinations of leading members of the Bulgarian
community. They also engaged in more peaceful propaganda activities – Souliotis wrote a brochure entitled Prophecies of Alexander the Great which he circulated among the peasantry in a Slavic translation to persuade them that only the Greeks could liberate them from Turkish rule.
He also tried to persuade Greek shop-keepers in the city to alter their shop signs so that the Greek lettering was largest, placing Turkish and French in subsidiary positions. Greek was not usually set first, and Souliotis thought the change would impress ‘the Slavophones who came into the Macedonian capital from the villages’ and help’Hellenize’ the city.
[Mark Mazower, Salonica City of Ghosts, page 270]
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