Matilda Albuhaire -- A Sephardic Family Story

Centropa's first film produced by the award-winning Bulgarian Photographer's Association.
Here is a story that begins in Istanbul in the 1850s and ends in contemporary Sofia.
After the death of his wife, Matilda Albuhaire's grandfather traveled with his young son to the Black Sea port of Bourgas, where he opened a small shop in a town filled with Greeks, Turks, Jews, Muslims and Bulgarian Christians. Matilda became a teacher in the Bourgas and Sofia Jewish schools, and when war came, waited with the other Bulgarian Jews for their deportation "to Poland," not knowing what awaited them there.
But Bulgaria's Jews were not deported - the accompanying study guide provides articles and essays describing this remarkable incident.
After the war, most Bulgarian Jews emigrated to Israel; Matilda remained, and after the fall of Communism, once again became active in her Jewish community.

Study Guides


Matilda's story begins in Istanbul, where her grandfather lived in the late Ottoman Empire. Through its long history, the Empire had 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.


Matilda lived and worked 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. Learn more in this account from the Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture.

Matilda's mother was from Plovdiv, the second-largest city in Bulgaria. Read about the history of Plovdiv's Jewish community here.


Lesson plans for this film

5 results
For grades Documents

Bulgaria in the Holocaust


In studying rescue, the students learn about individual rescuers (mainly in Eastern Europe) and the challenges they faced. They also compare rescue on a national context, contrasting the Jewish experience...


Eine sefardische Familiengeschichte - Interaktives Filmskript


Matilda Albuhaire: Leitfragen zum Film


Matilda Albuhaire: Lesson plan for teachers of English as second language


Matilda Albuhaire: Discussion points for the film