Vasil Levski (real name - Vasil Ivanov Kunchev), ( 1837- 1873 ) is a Bulgarian revolutionary and national hero. He fought for the freedom of the Bulgarian people under Ottoman yoke.
After spending some years as a cleric, in 1862 he went to Serbia in order to join the First Bulgarian Legion. There he became familiar with the ideas of Georgi Sava Rakovski for establishing small revolutionary squadrons (cheti) which would enter the Bulgarian territories and raise the population to revolt.
It is said that during the fight with the Turk in Belgrade Vasil was called Levski ( in Bulgarian meaning “leonine”) for his bravery. Other popular theory suggests that Vasil took his nickname during military trainings in Belgrad.
However, with the Bulgarian Legion dismissed and the death of Rakovski, Vasil Levski went to Constantinople in late 1868. From there on he traveled across the Bulgarian territories, organising Revolutionary Comitees in every big city and village. Soon, in 1871, the Internal Revolutionary organisation became the most reliable and massive revolutionary organisation in the Bulgarian lands.
However, in 1872 Dimitar Obshti, a partipiciant in the organisation, made a robbery of the Turkish post in order to finance the IRO. The robbers were poor conspirators and the Ottomans began an investigation. Dimitar Obshti was caught later that year.
Dimitar Obshti was convinced that he should draw political attention to the process, making a scandal through Europe and making people aware of the Bulgarian cause. Thus, he reported Vasil Levski as a leader of the organisation and some of his fellows.
On 27 December 1872 Vasil Levski is caught by the Ottoman police forces near Lovech. He was transported to Veliko Tarnovo in order to be identified and later brought to a comission in Sofia. During the appr. 220 km travel from Veliko Tarnovo to Sofia Levski was guarded only by 20 policemen. He hoped in vain that he would be rescued by his fellow revolutionaries.
In Sofia Levski was put on a trial. He constructed his idea regarding the Ottoman Reform Edict of 1856 applying the idea of freedom and reform in a peaceful way and distanced himself from Dimitar Obshti.
On 14 January 1873 the comission took the final decision - 60 people were sentenced to inprisonment and exile and two were sentenced to death - Vasil Levski and Dimitar Obshti. A week later the sentence was confirmed.
On 18 February 1873 Vasil Levski was hanged by the neck.
Levski was reported to be in presence of mind and vivid. His last words were: " In my youth I was hierodeacon Ignatius and I left the service realizing that I was called to execute other, more urgent, more sublime and more sacred service to my enslaved fatherland which…hopefully". Here he shed a tear…
The most famous phrase of vasil Levski is "If I win, all of the people would win, if I lose, I would lose only myself."
"If I win, I win for a whole nation, if I lose, I lose only myself"
Vasil Levski (Bulgarian: Васил Левски, originally spelled Василъ Лѣвскій), born Vasil Ivanov Kunchev was a Bulgarian revolutionary and a national hero of Bulgaria. Dubbed the Apostle of Freedom, Levski ideologised and strategised a revolutionary movement to liberate Bulgaria from Ottoman rule. Founding the Internal Revolutionary Organisation, Levski sought to foment a nationwide uprising through a network of secret regional committees. Born in the Sub-Balkan town of Karlovo to middle class parents, Levski became an Orthodox monk in the Sopot monastery under the religious name Ignatius and was promoted in 1859 to hierodeacon, which later inspired one of Levski’s informal nicknames, The Deacon (Another was Jingibi (The Uncatchable or The Devil Himself). Later he emigrated to join the two Bulgarian Legions in Serbia and other Bulgarian revolutionary groups. Abroad, he acquired the nickname Levski, “Leonine”. The capture and full confession of Dimitar Obshti revealed Levski’s leading role and he was arrested on 27 December 1872. Initially taken to Tarnovo for interrogation, Levski was sent to Sofia on 4 January. There, he was taken to trial. While he acknowledged his identity, he did not reveal his accomplices or details related to his organisation, taking full blame. Ottoman authorities sentenced Levski to death by hanging.