Bitoush, Victoria and Samuil Behar

Bitoush, Victoria and Samuil Behar

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In the photo are: I, Bitoush Behar (on the right) with my siblings Viky and Samuil. On the back of the photo there is a stamp from January 1952. That should be the year in which the photo was taken. There is also a stamp of a photo shop – photo STAMENOV, Plovdiv. The photo was taken in a studio. My siblings and I love each other immensely. We have always been extremely united.

My sister Victoria Tadzher (1937) also finished the Bulgarian school and afterwards she studied at a vocational school of design. She is rather skilful, too – it obviously runs in the family. It seems to me she could have become an excellent designer. She is skilful but she doesn’t like this profession. She is capable of making a piece of clothing for you that would fit you perfectly. She worked as a designer but didn’t like it. She was a worker for some time and then she worked in the personnel department. She was head of a production shop for some time but now she has been a secretary of the Jewish organization ‘Shalom’ in Sofia for twenty years until she retired. Nowadays she is working as an organizer of club ‘Health’ where over fifty men and women practice some sport, celebrate their birthdays and make cultural programs. She is also working at the Day Rehabilitation Center of ‘Shalom’ Organization. We are extremely fond of each other. We talk on the phone every single day – I call from Plovdiv, she – from Sofia no matter that when we were children my brother had turned himself into her guardian. There is some gap between our interests because I am seven years older. When I started showing interest in girls, she was still keen on her toys. My brother had a big share in her bringing up. He replaced my father to a great extent because he died relatively early – when she was 22. She married in Sofia to the Jew Solomon Tadzher. She has a daughter – Ely and two grandchildren – Bozhidar and Monica

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