Alexander I of Yugoslavia
Alexander I of Yugoslavia (1934)
Naum Tomalevski (1930)
Dimo Hadzhidimov (1924)
Vlado Chernozemski (Bulgarian: Владо Черноземски) (19
October 1897 – 9 October 1934), born Velichko Dimitrov Kerin
(Bulgarian: Величко Димитров Керин), was a
Bulgarian revolutionary. Also known as "Vlado the Chauffeur",
Chernozemski is considered a hero in Bulgaria today, and in his
time, in Croatian circles and in the Macedonian Bulgarian diaspora.
His contribution to the independence of Macedonia has also won him a
similar status in some ethnic Macedonian circles today.
Chernozemski began his revolutionary activities in 1922, when he
Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization
Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO). Soon
after, he became an assassin for the IMRO. He killed two notable
Bulgarian politicians, communist Dimo Hadzhidimov, and IMRO member
Naum Tomalevski. Both times he was sentenced to death, but he escaped
from his first imprisonment and was released from the second. After
his release in 1932, he became an instructor for the Ustaše. He
trained a group of three
Ustaše to assassinate Alexander of
Yugoslavia, but eventually killed Alexander himself on 9 October 1934
in Marseille. He was then beaten by French police and spectators, and
died the same day. French Foreign Minister
Louis Barthou was also
killed by a stray bullet fired by French police during the scuffle
following the attack.
2 Revolutionary activity
2.2 Assassin of the IMRO
2.3 Killing of King Alexander
5 External links
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Velichko Dimitrov Kerin was born in the village of Kamenitsa, now part
of the town Velingrad. His father, Dimitar Kerin, and his mother,
Risa Baltadzieva, were both local peasants. He received primary
education in his native village. His mother died when he was 14 years
old and the young man was caused to help his father feed the family
with his younger brother and two sisters. Chernozemski joined the
military in Plovdiv. During World War I, he served in the engineer
troops. After the war he worked as a driver and watchmaker. As a
youngster, he was prone to drinking alcohol, but later he reformed and
became a vegetarian. He married in 1919. In 1923, his daughter Latinka
was born. In 1925, he divorced and remarried. He lived in
1932 into a deep illegality. According to a conspiracy theory promoted
by himself, he was born in a village called Patrick near Štip,
that was burned down by the Serbs during the second Balkan war, and
was never restored. His mother and father were therefore living in
Bulgaria as refugees. He used different alias names and pseudonyms
as Vlado Georgiev Chernozemski, Peter Kelemen, Vlado the Chauffeur,
Rudolph Suk, Vladimir Dimitrov Vladimirov etc. Even his second
wife did not know neither his real name, nor anything about his
past. There are no records of him in Bulgaria beyond 1932, but he
was re-identified in 1934, after his death in France.
A legend describing Chernozemski as Vlado the Driver (Bulgarian:
Владо Шофьора) appeared in Macedonia, since he worked for
a company in
Dupnitsa as a driver for a short time. In the early
1920s, he moved to Bansko, when the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary
Organization (IMRO) was founded by Todor Alexandrov. Chernozemski
joined the IMRO in 1922 in the unit
Voivode Ivan Barlyo. From 1923 to
1924, he was a member of Trayan Lakavishki's cheta. Chernozemski also
entered the region of
Vardar Macedonia with IMRO bands and
participated in more than 15 skirmishes with Yugoslav police. He
soon became one of the best marksmen in the organization, known
for his courage, sangfroid and discipline.
Assassin of the IMRO
Voivode Trajan Lakashki c. 1920; second from the left is Vlado
Ivan Mihailov became the new leader of the IMRO. In this
period the organization took actions against the former left-wing
activists, assassinating several of them. Mihailov assigned
Chernozemski to assassinate MP Dimo Hadzhidimov, a member of the
Communist Party of Bulgaria and former IMRO member. Chernozemski was
arrested and sentenced to death by hanging for Hadzhidimov's
assassination, but his execution was never carried out. In 1925,
Chernozemski escaped from a police escort.
In 1927, Chernozemski proposed to the IMRO Central Committee to enter
the main conference building of the
League of Nations
League of Nations in Paris and
detonate grenades attached to his person, in order to attract the
attention of the world and generate publicity over the question of the
Bulgarians in Macedonia, but his proposal was rejected. In 1929,
the leadership of the IMRO called on
Ante Pavelić and the
In 1930, Chernozemski, following an order by Mihailov, assassinated
another member of the IMRO, Naum Tomalevski, and his bodyguard.
Tomalevski had been a prominent member of the IMRO. For the second
time, Chernozemski was sentenced to death, but he was pardoned in
Killing of King Alexander
Newsreel showing the murder of King Alexander of Yugoslavia and French
Louis Barthou in Marseilles
Winnipeg Free Press
Winnipeg Free Press front page on 15 October 1934, mentioning
assassination of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia
After his release from the prison, Chernozemski disappeared. He moved
to Italy, where he became an instructor for the
Ustaše in a camp in
Borgotaro. He was then transferred to the
Ustaše camp in Janka
Nagykanizsa in Hungary. The main purpose of this camp was
planning for the assassination of King Alexander I. Chernozemski was
the instructor of the group of three Ustašas: Mijo Kralj, Zvonimir
Pospišil, and Milan Rajic, who were preparing to assassinate the
king. On September 29, the four terrorists arrived in Paris, and on
October 6 they split into two groups. Chernozemski and Kralj moved to
Marseilles, where the king should arrive on October 9, and Pospišil,
and Milan Rajic, moved to Versailles where they should commit a second
attack on case of failure of the first one. On 9 October 1934,
Chernozemski completed the task, because concluding that the other
members of the group were unprepared psychologically, and he decided
to carry out the assassination himself.
As King Alexander's motorcade drove at a few miles per hour down a
Marseilles street for an adoring crowd to view, Chernozemski was able
to emerge from the crowd, approach the king's car and leap onto its
running board while concealing his
Mauser C96 automatic pistol in a
bouquet of flowers and chanting "Vive le roi" ("long live the king").
He shot Alexander repeatedly, hitting him twice, once in the abdomen
and the other in the heart; King Alexander died within minutes. The
chauffeur—who tried to push Chernozemski off the car—and
Alexander's companion in the car, French Foreign Minister Louis
Barthou, were also shot. Chernozemski killed the chauffeur, apparently
unintentionally. A police officer fired at Chernozemski but missed and
fatally wounded Barthou. The chauffeur died almost immediately,
with his foot pressed on the brake of the car, providing the
opportunity for a photographer outside the car to photograph most of
the grisly affair. Barthou might have survived, but did not,
apparently because of inadequate medical attention.
After shooting a policeman who tried to seize him and inadvertently
killing two bystanders, Chernozemski then futilely attempted to flee
the scene but was struck by a slash from an escorting cavalryman's
sabre, stunning him. He then received a non-mortal bullet wound in the
head from a rogue police officer, and was savagely beaten by the
enraged crowd while the police stood back and watched. Chernozemski
was then brought in for interrogation. Since the assassin was in
critical condition, he was unable to say anything and succumbed to his
injuries later that evening, just 10 days before his 37th birthday.
The French police were unable to identify him; they could only
register his tattoo, a skull with crossbones and a sign reading
"V.M.R.O." (Bulgarian initials standing for Internal Macedonian
Revolutionary Organization). He was buried in an unmarked grave in the
Marseilles cemeteries with only two detectives and the gravediggers
present at the funeral. An Yugoslav journalist who saw the tattoo told
the press, it was the symbol of the IMRO. In the night of October 10,
the French police arrested in Paris the Ustaša terrorists Zvonimir
Pospišil and Milan Raijc. Five days later was arrested Mijo Kralj,
who admitted everything. As result an exhumation was organized and
fingerprints were sent from Paris to
Sofia and Belgrade. On October 17
it was officially announced from Bulgarian police that the killer was
For murdering King Alexander I, Chernozemski was posthumously declared
the most dangerous terrorist in Europe.
Ustaše uniform in 1934.
Memorial stone of Chernozemski in Kamenitsa, Bulgaria.
The central street in Kamenitsa - „Владо
Automatic pistol used by Chernozemski to assassinate Alexander of
Chernozemski's tattoo, depicting the abbreviature of the IMRO in
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vlado Chernozemski.
Istoricheski pregled, Books 1-6, Bŭlgarsko istorichesko druzhestvo,
Institut za istoria (Bŭlgarska akademia na naukite), 1987, str. 49.
Велинград - online, публикувано на 12
октомври 2010 г. В памет на Владо
Атентатът в Марсилия, Владо
Черноземски. Живот,отдаден на
Македония, Митре Стаменов, (Издание на
ВМРО-СМД, София, 1993)
Request of the Yugoslav government under article 11, paragraph 2, of
the Covenant: Communication from the Hungarian government, Hungary -
Yugoslavia, League of Nations, Tibor Eckhardt, Publisher League of
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Stefan Troebst,"Historical Politics and Historical “Masterpieces”
in Macedonia before and after 1991 Archived 2004-01-10 at the Wayback
Machine.", New Balkan Politics, Issue 6, 2003: "... the
suicide-assassin from VMRO, Vlado Cernozemski, who, on orders from
Mihajlov and his ethno-national VMRO, which was defined as Bulgarian,
killed the Yugoslav king Alexander I Karadzordzevic and the French
Minister of Foreign Affairs Louis Bareau in
Marseilles in 1934."
The national question in Yugoslavia: origins, history, politics,
Cornell Paperbacks: Slavic studies, history, political science, Ivo
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1987, p. 224.
Balkan Firebrand - The Autobiography of a Rebel Soldier and Statesman,
Todorov Kosta, READ BOOKS, 2007, ISBN 1-4067-5375-0, p. 267.
Violette Nozière: a story of murder in 1930s Paris, Author Sarah C.
Maza, Publisher University of California Press, 2011,
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Shadows on the Mountain: The Allies, the Resistance, and the Rivalries
That Doomed WWII Yugoslavia, Marcia Kurapovna, John Wiley and Sons,
2009, ISBN 0-470-08456-1, p. 157.
Yugoslavia's ethnic nightmare: the inside story of Europe's unfolding
ordeal, Jasminka Udovički, James Ridgeway, Lawrence Hill Books, 1995,
ISBN 1-55652-215-0, p. 34.
Contested Ethnic Identity: The Case of Macedonian Immigrants in
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Kostov, Publisher Peter Lang, 2010 , SBN 3034301960, p.139.
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^ Izvestia na Natsionalnia istoricheski muzeĭ, Tomove 16–19,
Natsionalen istoricheski muzeĭ, Izdatelstvo Nauka i izkustvo, 2006,
^ Crown of Thorns: The Reign of King Boris III of Bulgaria, 1918-1943,
Stephane Groueff, Rowman & Littlefield, 1998,
ISBN 1568331142, p. 224.
^ Утрински весник, 02.03.2007, Виктор
Цветаноски, Черноземски го уби кралот,
но и многу Македонци.
^ Виолета Ачкоска и Никола Жежов,
"Предавствата и атентатите во
македонската историја". Издателство
Макавеј, Скопје, 2003, стр. 221.
^ Весник Глобус, 16.10.2012, Коj не го
затвора досието на Владо Чернозамски?
^ de Launay, Jacques (1974). Les grandes controverses de l'histoire
contemporaine 1914-1945. Edito-Service Histoire Secrete de Notre
Temps. p. 568.
Иван Габеров, Нейко Ненчев, Съвременна
българска енциклопедия, том 1,
Издателство Елпис, 1993, p. 516.
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Георги Марков и колектив, Алманах на
българските национални движения след
1878 г. Академично издателство "Марин
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обектива на полиция, дипломация,
разузнаване и преса. Университетско
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^ According to birth certificate No 74 of 1897, issued by the
Kamenitsa municipality Velichko Dimitrov Kerin was born in the village
of Kamenitsa on October 19, 1897. He was baptized on October 26, 1897
in the church in the village of Kamenitsa and it is recorded in the
church registry under No. 77 of 1897. His godfather was Trendafil
Zltanov. His father Dimitar Velichkov Kerin was born in the village of
Kamenitsa in 1873. His mother Risa Hristoskova Baltadzhieva is from
the same village, born in 1875, died on 30 March 1931. For more
information see: Митре Стаменов, Атентатът в
Марсилия, Владо Черноземски. Живот,
отдаден на Македония, (Издание на
ВМРО-СМД, София, 1993), стр. 41; Билярски
Цочо, Владо Черноземски и атентатът в
Марсилия 1934 г., Сведения на Дирекция на
полицията, Отдел политическа полиция
за връзките на ВМРО с усташите и
изпращането на Вл. Черноземски при д-р
Анте Павелич. в-к "Труд”, 28 юни 1990 г., бр.
126., достъпно онлайн на "Сите българи
заедно"; The document is kept in Bulgarian Central State
Archive, file 370 K, inventory 6, archive unit 411, sheets 16-36.
Copy. Machine typing.
^ Петър Япов, Из дневниците на
митрополит Андрей Велички.
Марсилският атентат - 1934 г.
Изток-Запад, 2002, ISBN 954411081X, p. 23.
^ Istoricheski pregled, tom 43, broeve 1–6, Bŭlgarsko istorichesko
druzhestvo, Institut za istoriia (Bŭlgarska akademiia na naukite)
^ Гаджев, Ив., Иван Михайлов: отвъд
издателство "Св. Климент Охридски", 2007,
^ Christowe Stoyan (1935). Heroes and Assassins (in English), p. 219.
^ Крум Благов, Петдесетте най-големи
атентата в българската история:
Класация на най-важните заговори,
покушения, саботажи и отвличания до
2000-та година, Репортер, 2000, стр . 154-155.
^ Георги Георгиев Марков, Камбаните
бият сами: Насилие и политика в
България 1919-1947, "Св. Георги
Победоносец", 1994, стр. 108.
^ Боян Драганов, Зад завесата на
големите скандали, Ахат, 2008,
ISBN 9549664015, стр.160.
^ a b c Билярски, Цочо (2006). Иван Михайлов
в обектива на полиция, дипломация,
разузнаване и преса (in Bulgarian).
Издателство Св. Климент Охридски.
p. 198. ISBN 978-954-9384-07-9.
^ Марков, Георги (1994). Камбаните бият
сами: Насилие и политика в България
1919-1947 (in Bulgarian). Георги Победоносец.
^ Rothschild, Joseph (1959). The Communist Party of Bulgaria; Origins
and Development, 1883-1936. Columbia University Press.
^ Michael Newton, Famous Assassinations in World History: An
Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, 2014, ISBN 1610692861, p. 10.
^ Гаджев, Иван (2003). История на
българската емиграция в Северна
Америка: поглед отвърте (in Bulgarian). Илия
Т. Гаджев. p. 259.
^ България 20-ти век (in Bulgarian). Илия Т.
Гаджев. 2000. p. 1127.
Documentary film The Assassination of the Yugoslavian king Alexander
in 1934 on YouTube
The King is Dead, Long Live the Balkans! Watching the Marseilles
Murders by Keith Brown - The Watson Institute for International
^ Following the
Liberation of Bulgaria
Liberation of Bulgaria in the Russo-Turkish War of
1877-78, Bulgaria re-established self-rule. Subject to the Congress of
Berlin in 1878, Bulgaria was denied outright independence but achieved
suzerain status as the Principality of Bulgaria, a vassal of the
Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria achieved full independence in 1908 before
becoming a kingdom.