Matilda Albuhaire at a Hebrew teachers' course

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This photo was taken at the central Jewish elementary school in Sofia, where Hotel Rila is currently located. The school was later demolished in order to build the Balkantourist complex. It was in this school that we studied. Everybody present here is from different towns. Only three of us were from Sofia - Emko Margolis, Izhak Perez and Emanuel Soreh, a girl from Assenovgrad, one from Stara Zagora and Rashka Assa, who was also from Bourgas like myself. Like me, she was a student at the high school and later on she worked as a teacher in Yambol. Perez became a great artist, he changed his name in America. Emanuel Margolis and I were friends and he wrote letters to me throughout the war. We kept on writing to each other after the war, too, when he emigrated to Israel. Emanuel studied law at first, and later he started studying medicine. He couldn't finish it, as he left Bulgaria for Israel. He was in Cyprus, from where they were shipped with the illegal aliyah to Israel. He finished his medical studies there. He is still in Israel and is now very ill. When I finished the teachers' course after high school in 1936/37, I spent two years in Sofia, and I had a hard time there because I had a throat infection. Then, between 1938 and 1943, I was employed as a teacher in Bourgas - actually it was until 1941, but on record it says until 1943, because the time I was unemployed was recognized as working experience. I was a Hebrew teacher at the Jewish elementary school and I was paid by the Jewish community. The children loved me very much. I loved them, too, because I was very young, 21 years old. We celebrated all the holidays. We had a very intensive Jewish life before the war. During the war the Jewish school was closed in 1941. For some time we were sent to an old school which was later transformed into gendarme's barracks.

Photo details

Interviewee

Matilda Albuhaire