Leon Kalaora in a Jewish forced labor camp

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  • Photo taken in:
    Klisura village, Tran region
    Year when photo was taken:
    1942
    Country name at time of photo:
    Bulgaria, 1878-1944
    Country name today:
    Bulgaria
Here you can see me with workers from the forced labor camp in Klisura village. First from left to right is Moni Solomonov, who was from Varna. After 9th September 1944, the day of the communist takeover in Bulgaria, he went to live in Burgas. I am next to him. The third one is Leon Haravon. He was a very honest and emotional man. He was shot as a partisan during a fight. Next to him is my brother Izi [Izak]. The man but last on the photo was a very nice and kind man but I’ve forgotten his name. He and Leon Haravon were great friends. After the Law for the Protection of the Nation came into force in 1941, I was sent to a number of labor camps. I had to work first in the labor camps in the village of Beli Izvor, Ardino region in 1941, and in the village of Klisura, Tran region, in 1942. In my second labor camp in Klisura, Tran region, I personally kept in touch with the Serbian partisans who fought against the Germans. In the evenings one could often see the following scene in the camp: the silhouette of Leon Surojon playing the violin on a hill bathed in moonlight. His favorite piece, which also became my favorite later, was ‘Funny Story’ by Dvorzak. The commander of our labor group also sat among us and listened to him. During that time we had complete access to his tent. So, one day we stole his weapon without him finding out. Everyone in the camp worked very hard and the food was complete rubbish. I remember the hunger. We were hungry all the time. The food was always bean soup with hardly any beans in it. So, we, the prisoners, made jokes over our plates, calling, ‘Hey, show up!’ to the little bean at the bottom of our plates…It was very miserable.

Interview details

Interviewee: Leon Kalaora
Interviewer:
Patricia Nikolova
Month of interview:
September
Year of interview:
2004
Sofia, Bulgaria

KEY PERSON

Leon Kalaora
Year of birth:
1919
City of birth:
Varna
Country name at time of birth:
Bulgaria
Occupation
before WW II:
Manual laborer
after WW II:
Civil servant

Other Person

Leon Haravon
Decade of birth:
1910
City of birth:
Sofia
Country name at time of birth:
Bulgaria
Country of death:
Israel
Died:
after WW II
Occupation
before WW II:
Manual laborer
after WW II:
Civil servant

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