Mara Natseva Milanova-Anka

The partisan Mara Natseva was born in Kumanovo on September 28, 1920. In her native town, she worked as a textile worker. At the age of 16, she joined the LCYY and through them participated in the activities of the workers’ movement. At that time, 1936, the textile workers organized strikes to improve their working conditions, and it was Mara Natseva who organized the strike of the female workers in the textile industry “Shumenovikj” in Kumanovo. Even though her ardent commitment to justice resulted in her being fired, it only further strengthened her resolve to even more passionately get involved in the activities of the United Workers’ Syndicate and the LCYY. Afterwards, in 1939, she became a member of the LCY and moved to Nish, where she found a job in the textile industry again. In Nish, she got involved in the syndicate movement and in the work of the cultural and artistic society “Kosta Abrashevikj”. The following year, she was elected a member of the Local Committee and the District Committee of the LCY in Nish. While living in this city, on two occasions she was arrested because of her political involvement. The sources point out her ”brave conduct” in prison, on the account of which after being released from prison, she was elected secretary of the Local Committee of the LCY – Nish. Also, she was a Serbian delegate at the Fifth Country Conference in Zagreb. 

After she came back to her native town, Kumanovo in 1941, she was elected a member of the Regional Committee of the LCY for Macedonia. Since at the time she worked underground, she had to frequently change her name and place of living. In 1942, she was actively involved in Veles, whereto she came to carry out a revision of the party organization. In the summer of 1942, together with a comrade, she came to Skopje by bike, shunning train transportation. After she was arrested in Skopje, she was interned in the concentration camp “Sveti Nikole” near Asenovgrad in Bulgaria. Overall, she was involved in various precarious activities, such as organizing meetings with various party organizations and the leadership of the same, as well as organizing armed insurgence. Her partisan name was Anka, but she frequently changed it, which is why in one of the documents – her 1943 bill of indictment from the Military Court – she is referred to as Mara Kirova Andreeva, the wife of Kiro Andreev-Fetak – an active communist official in Kumanovsko. The same document states that “she demonstrated pronounced, for a woman’s nature, consistency in terms of her communist stance” – an interesting wording that reflects the perception of the women active in the revolutionary movement. While interned at this camp, she was elected a member of the Central Committee of the LCM. The documents offer evidence of numerous attempts by her fellow party members to set her free – which further bespeaks her importance in the movement. 

Finally, by the end of 1943, she was discharged from the camp, in which she spent one year and several months. At the time, she was still exercising an office at the League of Communists of Macedonia, continuing with her active involvement. She was elected a delegate at the ACNLY and the AANLM and after the liberation was very much active on the political scene in Yugoslavia by way of exercising various political offices. She was awarded the Order of the People’s Hero on November 29, 1953. There is not much information about her later political engagements in Yugoslavia, as well as about her political stances or her private life. Like many other women who survived the war, there is also no fictionalized biography of her life and work. Trying to obtain more information about her life, in a phone call with her, one journalist learned that she was not interested in talking about the events connected to the NLS and that for over 20 years, she had no contact with the fighters of the NLS. What is certain is that later on she moved to Belgrade, where she entered a marriage with Savo Drlyevikj, an army general and revolutionary, with whom they had no children. At the ripe old age of the eight decade of her life, she came back to Kumanovo. She died on July 1, 2013 – the last of the seven women from Macedonia who held the title the People’s Hero. Her resting place is in Kumanovo, which is why, as the place that marks the inclusion of women in the Revolution, we choose the monument “Macedonian Woman, Monument to the Revolution” at the square “Marshal Tito” in Kumanovo.

Macedonian Woman, Monument to the Revolution, square “Marshal Tito” Kumanovo. Source: –

Square “Marshal Tito”, Kumanovo

“The Monument to the Revolution - Macedonian Woman” is situated at the Square Marshal Tito in the center of Kumanovo, between the streets “Marshal Tito” and “Mosha Pijade”. A towering and impressive sculpture of a woman – author Kosta Angeli Radovani – symbolizes active resistance against the fascist occupation of Kumanovo, especially the involvement of women, one of the most outstanding being the People’s Hero Mara Natseva. It is located on a green surface in front of the People’s Institute – Center for Culture “Trajko Prokopiev”