Avram Merkado Natan as a mountain guide with a group in Pirin Mountain

Here I am (wearing glasses in the center) as a mountain guide with a group in Pirin Mountain in 1994. I don’t remembar the others of the group. I met both my wives in the mountains. I am a tourist and I still go to the mountain.

I came back [from Cuba] in April 1982 and started work in the Hydrotechnics and Melioration Institute. I headed a section for the design and assembly of installations for automation of the water distribution. The work was interesting and creative. My colleagues were nice people and we achieved some very good results - we produced a lot of inventions and patented some of them. I worked there until February 1990 when I retired. The director asked me to stay and work on a contract. I did not want that very much because my children wanted me to help them. So, worked six months more. Then democracy came and the institute no longer had money for salaries and fees. So, I quit. I founded a private company for the design of sites for purification of waste waters. My inventions are mainly in the area of water industry. But I was not much successful as an expert in hydrotechnics and melioration. I had two more inventions, but there was no market for them. I closed the company, the institute had also closed down and so had most of the institutes in the country. That was the end of my creative work. I am the author of nine inventions in water industry. I was offered to patent the last two. I tried to sell them to companies, but neither the state, nor the private ones were interested. I saw no point in paying taxes without putting them into practice and I decided not to patent them.

My children have degrees in machine engineering. My daughter worked in the Institute at the Plant for Metal Cutting Machines and my son became a technologist in the same plant. When the institute was closed down, my daughter Beka was left unemployed. My son was also laid off. He was offered to be a turner, and he accepted but he could not support his two children with that job and his wife was on a maternal leave. He quit the plant and worked in a private construction company, doing all kinds of work. In the end, he decided to emigrate with his family to Israel. His wife Mariela is a Bulgarian, an accountant. They moved in 1996. They have two children - a boy and a girl. Avram and Maria - pupils. My daughter Beka has a son Albert. She tried to find another job, for a while she worked in some shops. Then she enrolled in university again. She graduated psychology and worked for two years as a psychologist in the kindergarten of the Jewish organization 'Habat'. Now she is no longer working there. She is writing a dissertation in psychology at the Sofia University 'St. Kliment Ohridski' and she teaches classes there. Her husband is a Jew - Maxim Varonov. He is a programmer, a computer expert. Their son also has a degree in computer technology and already has a job.

I did not raise my children in the spirit of Jewish traditions because I did not have the time, especially after my wife died and I had to work, do the shopping, cook and look after them. And since one salary was not enough I started working on innovations. In the evenings when the children were asleep, I was writing and calculating in the kitchen. Then I started making inventions and I had no time educating them in that respect. The times were also different. We did not go to synagogues. Moreover, I am not a religious person. Even when I was a child and I was studying the Tannakh in the Jewish school, I was not interested in it. Now, we follow the traditions, not because we believe in them, but because they are traditions.

Photos from this interviewee