A photo from the third grade of the Jewish school in Dupnitsa

A photo from the third grade of the Jewish school in Dupnitsa

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This is a photo from the third grade of the Jewish school in Dupnitsa. It was taken in 1930. Unfortunately, I cannot be seen on the photo. Monsieur Revakh is in the middle, on his left is the teacher Vita. On the right is Adela, also a teacher. I was wearing a scouts uniform on this photo. I went to a scouts camp only once at the foot of the mountain. I do not remember how it was organized but I remember a story. During the night we were already sleeping and we heard the camp supervisors talking. They were talking loud so that we could hear them. 'Here they come with the red flags! Load the machine guns!' - as if communist partisans were coming. And they banged on metal cans as if they were shooting. That's why I always associate the scouts with something negative.

I studied four years in the Jewish school. We studied half a day. We studied everything in Bulgarian except our classes in Ivrit. I cannot say that we learned the language. We had a strict teacher in Ivrit - Monsieur Revakh. Monsieur Revakh made us stand in the corner of the room when we did not know our lesson. I remember that the teachers took us to the synagogue. We had a big gym and a stage in the school. That was the only school in town where there was a stage. We performed theater plays there. We placed chairs in the gym. Our parents came and we performed in front of them. I do not remember the names of the plays.

There were two Jewish organizations in Dupnitsa. One of them was the Zionist's one and the other was bigger and its name was 'Saznanie' [Conscience]. It was a cultural and educational organization with left ideas. It organized operettas and drama plays. The cultural life of Jews was rich. My father's sisters Kalina and Vita took part in the choral groups at 'Saznanie'. They also had a table for ping-pong for the young people. It was a very good organization. There was a fight for the leadership of the bank and the Jewish municipality between the Zionists and 'Saznanie'. People organized debates and made discussions. The organization had a community house and a big library. As far as I remember they did not have ideological discussions. I was a member of 'Saznanie'. We gathered there as youths and took books from the library. The Zionists appeared to be the richer Jews in town. 'Saznanie' was considered more of a left organization, that is, closer to the socialist ideas. That is why my father, who had left beliefs, was a sympathizer of 'Saznanie'.

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Interviewee

Aron Alkalai