Kamhi, Raphael M. (1870-1970), known under his nickname, the voivode Skender beg, represents an important personality in the Macedonian revolutionary movement in which he left traces with his active participation in the organization and in the fighting actions of Macedonian people, donator for opening schools and supplier of TMORO with weapons.
He was a well-known intellectual who assisted the orphanage of Bitola's parentless children. He was a Macedonian Jew from Bitola, and a well-known activist of VMRO, who took part in TMORO Foundation congress in 1896. R.Kamhi was a participant in Solun and in the ransom negotiation for the kidnapped Miss Stone, aa well as a participant in the Ilinden rebellion, engaged in building a secret weapon storehouse (together with Dame Gruev) in Bitola for the needs of VMRO (1894), and a person who was responsible for the finances of the organization. He was born in Bitola in a Jewish family and was educated in a Jewish school. CK of TMORO was situated in Solun in the house of Raphael Kamhi. In 1896 R.Kamhi took part in the first congress of TMORO in Solun as a special courier and connection between CK and the organization. He was discovered and prosecuted by the Turkish authorities and even imprisoned, but with the help of bribe he was liberated and able to move freely in Bitola, Resen, Kostur and other places. In the period of the
Ilinden rebellion he actively participated in the first lines. After the rebellion he went to Bulgaria, where he met important people such as: the prince Ferdinand whom he expressed his disappointment about Bulgarian interference in the Macedonian liberation. He participated at Rila's congress of VMRO (1905) where he opposed A.Protogerov and T.Aleksandrov points of view. During the Balkan wars and the First World War Kamhi was on the side of the people and the organization. Even in the period of Serbian occupation he was fighting for Macedonian liberation. Then the Second World started. The Bulgarian occupation came. In 1943 Kamhi was imprisoned, but thanks to Bulgaria he was liberated and he moved from Bitola to Sofia. In 1950 he went to Israel where he stayed till the end of his life in Tel Aviv. He died in 1970 at the age of 100. His memories regarding his rich revolutionary life and his companionship with Dame Gruev, Goce Delcev, Gorce Petrov and others,as well as his manuscripts were sent to INI Skopje. He found the motto "the liberty must be the act of the all conquered people" an important power that should inspire people to action. He wrote a book "Memories", source oral sayings and documents (published in Sofia in 2000). He was a confident friend of Delcev which fact can be supported by Goce's present in Bitola and his spending a night in his house (November 1901).
DISTINGUISHED PEOPLE FOR BITOLA
authors: Lence Andonovska, Naume Gorgievski, Blagoj Nikolov, Trajko Ognenovski, Gordana Pesevska, Aneta Stefanovska, Svetlana Taleska ; translation in english Vesna Milevska.
NIUL "St. Clement Ohridski": Municipality of Bitola