To be a Refugee: Testimony of a Jewish Bulgarian Family, 1941–1948

In: Refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe in British Overseas Territories
Author: Rony Alfandary

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This article is the testimony of a Jewish family who fled Europe in 1944 and settled in the British Mandate of Palestine. The family fled Bulgaria in 1944, fearing that they were about to be arrested by the pro-Nazi Bulgarian authorities. The family’s fear was caused by the fact that Bulgarians suspected that they were assisting the Allied forces air raids and after the head of the family offered aid to fellow Jews on board eighty-four railway carriages that passed through the town of Lom in March 1943. That train carried Jews from Thrace on their way to their deaths in Auschwitz. The family, consisting of two adults and one 16-year-old boy, began their journey which ended safely with their arrival in Palestine. The family settled in the British Mandate of Palestine. The article will explore the last years of the family in Bulgaria, the decision involved in leaving suddenly, and the first years spent in the British Mandate of Palestine. The testimony is mainly based upon the memoir of Dr Leon Alfandary (1897–1981).