Nissim Kohen’s mother Sarina Kohen and sister Sofi Komfort

Nissim Kohen’s mother Sarina Kohen and sister Sofi Komfort

This is a photo of my mother Sarina Kohen (first from left) and my sister Sofi Komfort during the internment. It was taken in Dupnitsa in 1943.

My whole family - my parents, my sister and I, were interned to Dupnitsa. We had a manual sewing machine and my mother insisted to take it with us. My mother had made separate bags for everyone because we did not know what might happen - whether we would be together or not. Every family received an individual notice about the internment.

We travelled to Dupnitsa by train. A cordon of police, spread out up to the center of the town, met us at the station. My mother had a cousin there - Mati Shekerdjiiska. She lived in the center and had two rooms. Her family had four members. We stayed at her place from the first night. We were very thankful for her hospitality. There were limits imposed on our movement around the town and the places, where we could shop. There was a special Jewish bakery, which was the only place we were allowed to buy bread. Its bread was much worse than the one in the other places. Some people sympathized with us, others harassed us. There was a group of young men who chased us and beat us. I do not know if they were Branniks, they were more of vagabonds to me.

My sister Sofi is much younger than me. She was born in 1937. She was interned to Dupnitsa with us. She studied in the Jewish school which after 1945 became a Bulgarian one. She graduated the Pedagogical Institute and was a teacher in a primary school in Sofia. She was a respected teacher in chemistry and maths. In the 1990s she left for Israel but she came back. She lived on the upper floor of our block until she died. She married Rahamim Komfort, who was born in Dupnitsa. He was a machine mechanic. They have two children - Mihaela, who left for Israel and Nissim who lives in Sofia.

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