Heroic Katerina Arnautova

Heroic Katerina Arnautova

Heroic and Self-sacrificing Katerina Arnautova

By Dusan Sinadinoski

“I’m too old to think of such foolish things as love, but when Macedonia is free, perhaps I may settle down and marry; for the present I have no thought on that subject”, reported the Seracuse Herald on Sunday Morning of January 3, 1904 as Katerina Arnautova saying to the special London Chronicle’s special war correspondant from Macedonia. Katerina Arnautova was a 26 year old Macedonian freedom fighter (komitka) who has joined the Macedonian Revolutionary Movement and was a fighter during the Krusevo Uprising of 1903.

She was described as beeing of “middle hight, well set up and strong looking. She was photographed in a full Macedonian military uniform of the time wearing a black fur hat, a gray tunic of a military cut and metal buttons. Aleather belt, gray trousers, and and legglugs of dull, violet collored wool.” According to the Business Woman’s Magazine, a Colorado Federation of Women’s Clubs, published in February of 1905, the brave Katerina was a young Macedonian woman soldier “shouldering arms against the Turks” with a “sympathetic expressions”. In the scrimishes against the Turks, Katerina has killed five Turks herself but didn’t know the exact number of Turkish soldiers she in battles. She herself was also wounded once. She has lost one of her own brothers and another had to flee Macedonia to Asia Minor.

Katerina was not to be outdone by her male soldier counterparts. She kept up with the men on the long and difficult marches and refused to be helped. “On the contrary”, she had said, “being lighter I can always walk up or run as fast as they can, or even faster”. But she had confessed that the “men had always treated her with great respect and kindness, wishing always to clean her rifle, leggings and sandals.” Indeed, Katerina shows that the Macedonian men can be both gentlemen and soldiers at the same time. Katerina sacrificed her youth for a free Macedonia. She did it with a sense of pride and honor. A woman soldier who was a forerunner and a true Macedonian hero.

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