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Ivo Lola Ribar
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Revolt against the war: Ivo Lola Ribar and the meeting in Kumane in 1936.

On November 11, 1936, at the initiative of the youth, a rally against war was held in Kumane. At this gathering, attended by about a thousand citizens, mostly young people, twenty-year-old Ivo Lola Ribar spoke. Few places, not only in Vojvodina but also in the country, have such a rich revolutionary past as the Banat village of Kumane. In terms of development, strength, and massiveness of the workers' revolutionary movement, Kumane is classified - as chronicles record - among those exceptional places with a long revolutionary tradition. This well-known village was long imbued with ideas of freedom and socialism.

As early as the end of the previous century (1897), the Socialist Party organization organized a strike of agricultural workers in Kumane, and in 1898, it won four council seats in municipal administration.

On May 1, 1919, they founded a local organization of the SRP(k) with about 500 members, which held a large public meeting on January 14, 1920, and sent several delegates to the KPJ Congress in Vukovar, which elected Ljubomir Čolić from Kumane to the Control Commission.

In the fall of 1920, in the elections for the Constituent Assembly, they gave more than 80 percent of the votes to the Communist Party candidate. In the following years, the Young People's Education Association operated in the village, Kumane residents went for education in the USSR, a branch of the Agricultural Workers' Union operated, leading to the first arrests and strikes.

With the arrival of Tito as the Party leader, Kumane's communists were among the first on the new course. The Kumane Partisan Detachment was one of the first in Vojvodina and the country.

Here was born and from here started his revolutionary path the young Jovan Veselinov.

Preparing for the International Youth Congress for Peace, Against War and Fascism, SKOJ (Communist Youth League of Yugoslavia) developed a very lively activity in 1936. A youth rally was held at the Faculty of Law in Belgrade, attended by representatives of the Kumane youth. At the meeting, the Secretariat of the World Youth Congress was elected, including twenty-year-old Ivo Lola Ribar. He had joined SKOJ a year earlier, and by 1936, he was already a member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ). The Secretariat chose Lola as a delegate to the Congress, which was to be held from August 31 to September 1 in Geneva.

The Kumane youth brought proclamations and propaganda materials from the meeting, which they collectively read and distributed around the village.

The Student Association in Petrovgrad (today's Zrenjanin) announced on August 16, 1936, that they would hold a rally against war in the city. The police did not allow it. The Kumane youth took on the same task and accomplished it. Through the Administration of the Football Club "Yugoslavia," they requested permission from the district administration in Novi Bečej to hold a ceremony in the village on the occasion of Peace Day, November 11.

- The three of us - recalls Ivan Aćimac - Mića Trifunjagić, the barber, Panta Miškov, the worker, and I, I was a shoemaker, addressed the district administration several times until we got permission.

With the help of the party organization, the young people requested a lecturer from the Vojvodina Academic Table in Belgrade.

- We were informed from Belgrade that someone would definitely come. We expected Ratko Mitrović, a student, later a national hero, but he didn't come... And Aćimac continued.

On November 11, around 6 p.m., Lola arrived at the Kumane railway station.

- I was tasked with welcoming him - remembers Radivoj Trifunjagić. Although I didn't know him, it didn't take me long to decide and approach a young man in a gray coat. Lola, I said. Yes, he nodded. When we left the platform, Lola continued with my friend, and I followed them.

A thousand Kumane residents at the meeting

Before the start of the meeting, Lola stayed at the house of Mića Trifunjagić, inquiring about the preparations for the meeting, and then went to the village center with the young people who welcomed him there.

Today's hall of the Youth Center was packed, about 1,000 citizens, mostly young people, attended. Before the start of the meeting, the youth Mile Eremić unfurled a large banner with the inscription: "Long live the Soviet Union - we seek an alliance with the USSR;" after about ten days, he was arrested.

The walls of the hall were decorated with slogans: "Mothers, raise children in the spirit of peace," "Fascism brings death - democracy, peace," "Youth wants to solve its destiny on its own - youth wants peace," "Long live the People's Front of Freedom," "Help to Spanish Republican fighters."

There were police, gendarmes, a village clerk, an official from the district administration, all representatives of the authorities of that time.

The clerk approached Lola and asked for identification. Lola was calm and composed. The clerk had no objections, he only asked him about his father. When he said that his father was Ribar, the clerk apologized, and Lola stepped onto the platform greeted by enthusiastic applause.

He began his speech by stating the facts of the First World War, in which innocent people from all over the world were involved. He explained who needed that war, why it was fought, and then pointed out the new danger facing humanity from fascism. He mentioned the struggle of the Spanish people, the participation of international brigades in it, and the support of the youth of Yugoslavia. "Only by joining forces, with the support of the People's Front, can we resist the advancing fascism," Lola said, among other things. He especially emphasized the decisions of the World Youth Congress for Peace in Geneva, which he attended, emphasizing the need for youth engagement in the fight against fascism and providing assistance to the Spanish people.

The clerk interrupted Lola several times and warned him, standing beside him. When he interrupted him for the third time, Lola took back his identification and looked at it for a long time, presumably suspecting it was a forgery. Lola continued to speak, ignoring it. He smoked and blew smoke straight into the clerk's eyes. He finished his speech by stressing the need to establish diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.

- During the speech, which lasted about an hour and a half, it was as if we had forgotten everything around us - recalls Ivan Aćimac - the gendarmes who were there and squeezed to hear every word, the police, we clapped and cheered: "We seek diplomatic relations with the USSR," "Long live the People's Front," "Help to Spanish fighters," and others.

After the meeting, the posters and banners disappeared quickly from the walls so as not to fall into the hands of the police.

Lola went with his comrades to Mića Trifunjagić's house, where a party meeting was held that evening. At that time, Kumane was the seat of the Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia.

The next day, in the afternoon train, he returned to Belgrade.

 

A letter he wrote to his girlfriend Sloboda Trajković. She never got it - she was killed before he died.

Dear my one and only,

Writing this letter, I firmly hope - I'm an optimist, as always! - that it will never reach you but that we will see each other and always remain together. Because this letter is written for that purpose.

At this moment, as we embark on the final, decisive stage of the battle upon which, among other things, our personal future and happiness depend, - I want to tell you a few simple and straightforward things.

In my life, there are only two things: my duty to our sacred goal and my love for you, my dearest. Our happiness and the life we ​​wanted could not, like millions of others, be achieved in isolation, but only through our struggle and victory. And so these two things are essentially one within me.

Know, my dear, that you are the only one I have loved and still love. I have dreamed and still dream of our common happiness - the kind we wanted, a happiness worthy of free people. That is the only true happiness, the only one worth desiring.

If you receive this letter - if I do not live to see that great moment, do not grieve too much, my dearest! In the world where you will then live, you will find, always alive, the best part of me and all my love for you.

I am sure that your path will be right and as it should be. On it, on the path of life, you will find revenge and happiness.

I love you very, very much, my only one! And I hope you never receive this letter, but that together with you, I will welcome the great moment of victory. I want to make you as happy with my love as you deserve.

Always yours.

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