Editors-in-Chief and the printing house of the first Macedonian newsletter for women “Makedonka” – a body of the Anti-Fascist Front of Women (AFW)

Illegal partisan printing workshop “Gotse Delchev”, village Gorno Vranovtsi, Veles region. Source: mkd.mk

The newsletter “Makedonka” was a body of the Anti-Fascist Front of Women of Macedonia (AFWM) and was the first printed publication edited by women and dedicated to the problems of women in Macedonia during the Second World War and the post-war building of the country.

The editor-in-chief of the newsletter was the activist and politician Veselinka Malinska, and the remaining collaborators in the creation and editing of the first issues were women communists and participants in the National Liberation Struggle: Nada Bogdanova, Lenche Ivanova, and Nada Achkova, and the illustrator was Vasilie Popovikj-Tsitso.

The contents of the first issues of the newsletter “Makedonka” were strongly inspired and contextualized by the war and the participation of women in it as partisan fighters. Predominantly treated were the activities and the experiences of women partisans, as well as women who were indirectly involved in the resistance movement, in the back of the front; also, the newsletter featured articles dedicated to mothers who lost their children or family members in the war.

Front cover of the second issue of Makedonka. Source:
Младеновска, Ирена, Валентина Стаменковиќ и Мире Младеновски, Од домаќинка до државник. Родови перспективи во историјата (Скопје: АНИМ; ФорумЗФД, 2020), 7.

The newsletter served as an informative tool on the political events, gatherings, and manifestations on the territory of the whole Yugoslavia, but also as a motivator for women’s emancipation and involvement in various educational and practical courses. Many articles advocated ethnic unity among women of all ethnic backgrounds in Macedonia and showcased their collaboration.

The first issue was published in November 1944, and the newsletter was published under the name “Makedonka” until 1953, when it was renamed in “Enlightened Woman” (editor-in-chief: Lilyana Maneva). In 1990, the newsletter continued to be published under the name “Woman” (editor-in-chief: Tatyana Kopacheva); from 1997 to 2005, it was published under the name “Woman New” (editor-in-chief: Lilyana Diryan); and from 2005, for a short while, it was published under the name “Pretty”.

Today the archived copies of the newsletter “Makedonka” represent a genuine treasure, since they contain records of oral testimonies of women and their experiences that for the first time were tapped through the lens of gender and politics. The newsletter also featured many photographs and illustrations. The issues of “Makedonka” are archived today in the department for rare periodicals at the National Educational Library “St. Clement of Ohrid” Skopje and have not been digitalized so far, which makes them unavailable to the audience at large. As a matter of fact, one could say, they have become as good as forgotten, which, by the same token, pushes into oblivion the experiences of the women of the wartime and post-war generations, as well as the political profiling and canonizing of the women who participated in the building of the country.

By following the development and the changes this publication underwent, we can, in essence, track the changes in the discourse of the memories on the role of the woman in socialism, until the transition in the 90’s and the shift in the understanding of emancipation and new media forms catering to the women in Macedonia.

Illegal partisan printing workshop “Gotse Delchev”,
village Gorno Vranovtsi, Veles region. Source: https://m.makpress.mk/home/PostDetails?PostId=302848

Illegal partisan printing workshop “Gotse Delchev”, Village Gorno Vranovci, Veleshko

The building that housed the printing shop in the socialist Macedonia was turned into a memorial house featuring a small exhibition, however, today it is in a state of disrepair. The village is in the vicinity of the region Groot, in the eastern part of the territory of the Municipality Chashka, some 8 kilometers away from the community center Chashka, located in the middle of the basin of the river Babuna, not far away on its right side. The village is 21 kilometers away from Veles. In the village, there are several memorial houses: The Main Headquarters of the National Liberation Struggle (NLS), the Building of the Partisan Hospital, and the Building of the Presidium of the NLS, because of which in the past the village merited the title cultural heritage. To the village leads a dirt road some 3 kilometers long, which breaks away from the regional highway Veles-Izvor. It is accessible by off-road vehicles; by train Bitola-Skopje (station Chaska); or on foot from the village. It is not accessible for persons with a physical disability.