Gavriel, Liza and Viktoria Levi

These are my parents - Liza Levi, nee Burla and Gavriel Levi - with my sister Viktoria, who is now living in Israel. The picture was taken in our house in Sofia around 1940. My family is from Bulgaria. My father was born in Samokov in 1896 and my mother - in Dupnitsa in 1898. They were an ordinary family. During their whole life they worked hard. My father used to work as a conductor in the tram transport in Sofia and later he had many jobs as a laborer. He was quite a strange person. He wasn't very well-educated but he had traveled a lot. He had learnt French when he was a captive in France during World War I. He had participated in three wars - the Balkan War, the Inter-Allied War and World War I. In World War I he was taken prisoner. He was wounded quite seriously in the legs during the Balkan War and as a result of that he had difficulties walking. He spoke Greek as well as Turkish, Bulgarian and Spanish [Ladino]. He was a self-educated man. He wasn't much devoted to us. My mother was the mainstay of the family. We were six siblings. Nonetheless, my mother went to work; she was also the one to take care of our living, our education and our upbringing. Her life was very hard. It was especially difficult when I was sent to prison in Skopje during World War II. My brothers were in forced labor camps. My sister was the only one to stay at home, to work and provide a living for the family. My father had no job, neither did my mother, and my other brother was too young to help. They were in a very difficult situation until we returned after the war. When the war was over things gradually changed for the better. Nevertheless, in 1948 my whole family, except my sister Sofka and me, left for Israel. My brothers set up families there. They have children and grandchildren now. So the family grew, and the greater part of it lives in Israel.

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Leon Levi