Bitoush, Samuil and Victoria Behar in the pram

Bitoush, Samuil and Victoria Behar in the pram

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This is again me Bitoush Behar (on the left) together with my brother Samuil and my sister Viky in the pram. She is a year and a half. The photo was taken in the ‘Simeonovska’ Garden in Plovdiv. The back of the photo was designed as a postcard. There is no stamp of a photo shop. On the back of the photo there is an inscription that is very difficult to read in an unstable handwriting in pencil: ‘To my dear ….[illegible] we give the photo so that they could see L.’ It is highly probable that the inscription had been made by my mother Liza who was illiterate. The year was most probably 1939.

My brother Samuil Zhoudi Behar (1925 – 1974) was the oldest and most responsible of us all. We had always felt his presence as a support. That was especially true for my sister who was taken under his guardianship. He was happy to look after her and later when in 1942 he was dealing with some illegal activities he was taking her as a cover-up. He was very skilful, too, but not as mush as my father or me. And he was studious. And he had finished, like my sister and me, a Bulgarian school which was cheaper and which we could afford. After finishing the junior secondary school in 1938 he told my father: ‘Papa, I want to study.’ ‘Impossible, my boy, we don’t have money – there are six mouths to feed. You have to start work.’ And he started work at ‘Napreduk’ [Advancement] Printing House where my dad was working. He was a machine operator and a typesetter and so on. He had become a member of the Bulgarian Communist Party before 9th September 1944 [The day of the communist takeover in Bulgaria. In September 1944 the Soviet Union declared war on Bulgaria. On 9th September 1944 the Fatherland Front, a broad left-wing coalition, deposed the government.]. Because of his illegal activities he was sent to jail in 1942-1943. After 9th September he finished the Party School. Then he was a militiaman for some time and by decree he started studying at something like Rabfak [Workers’ Faculty] and he obtained a secondary education. For a certain period of time he worked as a secretary of the second region of the municipality council in Plovdiv. Much later he studied Chemistry at Plovdiv University. He studied there together with his daughter Lily. He graduated and became the director of the ‘Drouzhba’ glass works in Plovdiv.

He is married to Amada – a Jew, whom he met in the period of his illegal activities. They have two children – Lily and Zhoudi. Lily has a daughter Maria. Zhoudi is married to the Bulgarian Maria and has a son Samuil.

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Interviewee

Bitoush Behar