Larry and Rosa Anzhel -- Married twice in a lifetime

After Larry Anzhel's father died in 1932, the family moved from Yambol to the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. There Larry met Rosa Varsano. In 1939 he asked her "do you want to be my commrade?" Thus began a lifelong relationship. Shortly thereafter Larry and Rosa were sent to Vratsa for forced labor. It was during their internment that they were married.
Together they lived through a changing Bulgaria, witnessing the end of the war, the Communist regime, and the Fall of the Soviet Union. Having gone through so much together, they decided for their 60th anniversary to get married again!

Study Guides

HISTORY OF BULGARIA

Until 1878, Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Empire. Through its long history, the Empire controlled Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Egypt, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, as well as parts of Arabia and large amounts of the North African coast. Find a brief summary of Ottoman history here, or explore this site from the University of Michigan's Turkish Studies Department for more information.

JEWISH LIFE IN BULGARIA

Larry and Rosa live in Sofia. There have been Jewish communities in Sofia since Roman times, augmented over the centuries by Jews from Hungary, Bavaria, Spain, Germany, Russia, Romania, and Galicia. Find here a history of Jewish life in Sofia, or read this account from the Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture.

WWII

Bulgaria was part of the Axis Alliance during the Second World War, during which time it occupied areas of Greek Thrace, Macedonia, and Serbia. Learn more about Bulgaria's involvement in the war here. This page contains a summary of the Axis Alliance powers, detailing their participation in the war and overviews of their surrenders.

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