Oral History

Norbert J. Yasharoff describes the change in living conditions for Jews in Bulgaria

Anti-Jewish measures took effect in Bulgaria after the beginning of World War II. In March 1941, Bulgaria joined the Axis alliance and German troops passed through Sofia. In May 1943, Norbert and his family were expelled to Plevin in northern Bulgaria, where they stayed with relatives. After the advance of the Soviet army in 1944, Norbert and his family returned to Sofia.


Jews had to dispose of property. They were allowed for the time being to keep, uh, uh, an apartment or some, some other dwelling for their own use, but even that became, became, uh, questionable by, the...by the autumn of 1941 when a new regulation was published that Jews were not allowed to live in the general areas of the capital but had to live either in or very close to the Jewish quarter of Youch Bunar. Now, we ended up by October in the house sharing, uh, the apartment of relatives, uh, in a place very near to the Jewish quarter, but not inside of it. But prior to that we had to undergo another dislocation. In our own house, which was a three-story building--uh, we occupied the, uh, the, the second floor, which was, uh, uh, the best designed and we had lived in it for many, many years. But, uh, as I said, with the Jews being easy prey for anything, a, a Bulgarian lawyer married to a German woman, uh, had cast his eye on our apartment, and he wanted it. Through his contacts with, uh, the fascist, uh, authorities, uh, we were given the order to vacate it in less than a week. We moved downstairs in, into the apartment that was used before as an, as an office. And what stands out in my mind is that they--the Bulgarian lawyer and his German wife moved in--they conducted a sort of cleansing, religious ceremony, uh, with, uh, uh, with holy water and everything, but expressly done in order to cleanse the Jewish spirit out of the apartment.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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