About the author

Vagelis Kolotsios is a designer and illustrator based in Athens, Greece. View more of his work online:

May 1936

By Vagelis Kolotsios

Project summary

This comic book is about the general strike that occurred in the city of Thessaloniki, Greece on 8 May 1936 and which led to the bloody events of May 9.
These events hold a special place in the history of bloody labour Mays. After their wages were cut in half, tobacco labourers became catalysts for working-class resistance in the 1930s. At the time, an important part of the proletariat worked in the tobacco industry and were already organized. In May 1914, tobacco workers had launched a campaign for better wages, which lasted for several days but was sabotaged and slurred by state authorities.
This comic book tells the personal story of a boy who works at a tobacco factory. Through his eyes we learn about the events that occurred in Thessaloniki on 9 May 1936. The boy recounts true events but is a fictional character. I based the character on a boy who is depicted in a famous photograph of these events in which a mother is crying above the dead body of her son, Tasos Tousis.

Further reading

“Socialists Workers’ Federation”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialist_Workers%27_Federation

“The bloody May of 1936 in Thessaloniki, Greece”: https://libcom.org/history/bloody-may-1936-thessaloniki-greece

Mazower, Mark. Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews 1430–1950. New York: HarperCollins, 2004.

Lane, A. Thomas, ed. Biographical Dictionary of European Labor Leaders. Vol. 1. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1995.

Ilicak, H. Şükrü. “Jewish socialism in ottoman Salonica.” Southeast European and Black Sea Studies 2, no. 3 (2002): 115–146.