Forced labor battalion in Lakatnik, Bulgaria, Summer 1941
- Event Date
- Summer 1941
- US Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Salvator Haim
Jewish forced laborers as part of the Bulgarian Army, First (Jewish) Labor Battalion, 4th Construction Company carry heavy buckets and receive food rations in Lakatnik, near Gara Bov, 40km northeast of Sofia, Bulgaria. They wear standard labor soldier's uniforms and hats. The laborers eat in a mountainous region by a river. 01:00:41 VAR shots, tools (shovels and axes) are distributed and the men march off to work. 01:01:28 Two Bulgarian officers review drawings and survey the land. Laborers build in the mountains according to the plans. Barely-dressed men at work, digging and clearing area with wheelbarrows. 01:03:09 Bulgarian military leader blows whistle for a break; the laborers rest and smoke. Military leader barks orders. Pan, LS of Jewish laborers. 01:05:00 MS, bare-shirted men at work and breaking for a meal. 01:05:39 A horse-drawn carriage proceeds under a sign in Bulgarian for the First (Jewish) Labor Battalion, 4th Construction Company and across a bridge. Large group of workers unload lunch from the cart and eat. 01:06:07 The Jewish laborers bathe in the river and bask in the sun. 01:06:26 Other types of labor, including iron-workers and machinery, a woodshop, and chopping wood. 01:07:09 WS, laborers on mountainside in Bulgaria. The forced workers move large pieces of rock and operate a large drill. CUs of the engine used to detonate rock. 01:08:25 Side view of a man smoking a pipe and waving his cap. 01:08:35 Back at the camp, an acrobatic family performs for the laborers on Family Day, when visitors were allowed to the camp. The men applaud; some play musical instruments. A couple does a traditional dance.
Record last modified: 2018-08-08 16:29:05
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn1004838
Also in Licco Max Haim Collection
Licco Max Haim was an avid amateur filmmaker who shot many reels of film showing his family in Bulgaria before the war. This collection constitutes our only collection of amateur film showing Jewish life in Bulgaria, and one of very few collections that relate to Bulgaria at all. The footage shows Licco and friends pursuing various leisure activities, such as swimming, hiking, and mountain climbing, as well as a ceremony in which a priest blesses new military recruits in 1941. The collection also includes a unique ten minute sequence showing Bulgarian Jews in 1941 building a road as part of a forced labor battalion. While Bulgaria, an Axis partner to Germany, ultimately resisted Germany’s attempts to deport Bulgarian-born Jews (those in the newly conquered territories of Thrace and Macedonia were turned over to the Germans), they adopted many anti-Jewish laws and conscripted military-age Jewish men into forced labor battalions.
AGFA 8 1939. Title, "Herbst 1940." Title in Bulgarian (Cyrillic characters) with 4 August date, "By car near Simeonovo" (a village near Sofia in the Vitosha Mountains). Licco Max Haim drives a car up a steep incline. Title with 11 August date, "And in the defile of Iskar". Car along the road built by Licco and others in the labor camp. Title with 8-9 September date, "Mussala" (highest mountain peak in the Rila mountains) with Anny, Kete, Pual, Hans, (Licco). [COLOR] Pan of Rila mountain range with a waterfall. Two women at the falls. [B/W] Mountains. A group of five hike the mountain, it is snow-covered at top as they approach the chalet. They hike down Mussala mountain under power lines, and eventually through fields and forests. 01:09:58 Title with 22 September date, "The Chimneys" (rocks in the Vitosha mountains. Another group, including child, backpacks -- Anny, Fredy, Anny, Licco, Pepi with his friend's son. Licco with backpack at 01:10:43. Good CUs. One grimaces as she walks through a bush. 01:11:57 Two men climb up the mountain-side. Title with 29 September date, "Liulin Mountain" with Fredy, Anny, Hans, Kete, Paula, Licco, and Anny. A car in a grassy area where a group socializes in the nice weather. Rolling down a hill, juggling, playing on a see-saw. Filming a spinning see-saw. 01:16:12 [VS, slightly damaged]. LS, mountain. Two people hike. AGFA 8 1939 [8 distinguishes the film gauge of 8mm].
AGFA 8 1939. Handwritten title "Winter 1940." Title over with the date 25 February 1940 over a still image of the group with their names. Two men tie skis to the roof of a car. CUs, of women as they walk on a city sidewalk to join the ski trip to the winter resort at Borovets. Good MS of the group skiing on the slopes. 01:03:46 Title with date 21 April 1940, "On the South Side of Black Peak" at Vitosha Mountain. Mountaineering and skiing. 01:07:25 Title with 21 April 1940 date, "Anny and Licco on the Wall", a skiing track on the south side of Black Peak. Zinka, Kiro, Anny, and Licco (the bald man) ski. 01:11:05 Title with 27 April 1940 date, "The Black Peak". The group (Anny, Mitsha, Kiro, Densho, Gosho, Djoni, and others) again skis around poles. A chalet, which still exists, on the peak. AGFA 8 1939 [8 distinguishes the film gauge of 8mm].
AGFA 8 1940. Handwritten title "Sommer 1940 GÖSEKEN" (the Turkish name for the town of Obzor situated in southeastern Bulgaria where the Balkan mountains meet the Black Sea). A still image of the group of friends with their names: Fredy, Anny, Loli, Paula, Anny, Licco, Kete, Hans, Peter. 01:00:14 Title with 23 August 1940 date, "Waterlilies - Kamshia" (river in northeastern Bulgaria). A bearded man is filmed from inside a boat as he rows down a river. They pass other boats with friends. Lily-pads. CU, one boat filled with friends called "Bapha". CUs of friends. 01:06:49 [COLOR] Title with 27/28 August dates, "On the Beach - Kamshia - Obzor". The group frolics on the beach and swims in the ocean. 01:12:23 Licco runs out of the waves. Eating grapes. [B/W] Ocean waves. The group at leisure, swimming and dancing. 01:15:51 [COLOR] Title with 29 August date, "In the Forest". The group of friends climb trees, hike, read and picnic outside near the beach on holiday. AGFA 8 1940 [8 distinguishes the film gauge of 8mm].
AGFA 8 1939. Title in Bulgarian with 1941 date, "Spring Snow on Maliovitsa" (a peak in the Rila mountains). A photo of the group of friends posing in ski clothing with names and the dates 22-25 March, Anny, Vasko, Shatsi, Licco, Ruska, Maria. Cross-country and downhill skiing on a mountain. Beautiful scenery. 01:11:20 Title with the group of named friends with the dates 5-7 April, Ruska, Vasko, Shatsi, and others. Additional skiing shots and mountain vistas, including the Rila monastery at 01:12:41. AGFA 8 1939 [8 distinguishes the film gauge of 8mm].
AGFA 8 1940. Handwritten title "Früjahr 1940". Title with 5 May date and names, "Panagiurishte" (a town in central Bulgaria). The friends - Paula, Hans, Kete, Anny, Fredy, Anny, and Licco, playfully goof-off, dance, and play games outside. 01:01:02 Licco with a girlfriend. CUs. 01:05:56 Title with 12 May date and names, "Petrohan" (a passage in the West Balkan mountains). The friends, Anny, Fredy, Kete, Hans, Zdravka, Paula, Anny, and Licco, play on a grassy hillside near their car. 01:09:41 Licco on top of the car, jumping. 01:10:00 Title with 9 June date and names, "On the Liulin Mountain" (near Sofia). At the beach, Paula, Hans, Kete, Loli, Licco, and Anny take turns exercising and dancing on a hill top. Car maneuvers on a dirt road. 01:16:41 Title with 17 June date, "Ribaritsa" (a village in northern Bulgaria) with Anny, Kete, Paula, Licco, and Hans. A man followed by the rest of the group wades across a stream during a hike. 01:18:06 Anny, Kete, and Paula. Licco at 01:20:49 in the water. Dressed in swimsuits, the friends play in fields. AGFA 8 1940 [8 distinguishes the film gauge of 8mm].
Slow-motion swimming in pools in the Dianabad beach in Sofia (still exist today). High diving and playing in the pool. Man running laps around the pool. Woman with cap swims. 01:10:08 Title with 10 August date and names of friends, Anny, Licco, Hans, Kete, Telko, Rene. The group swims, dives, and plays with objects in the pool. One of the men attempts to balance on a large water wheel in the pool; sign in Bulgarian painted on a building in BG, "Middle depth pool ... for beginners." Diving. AGFA 8 [8 distinguishes the film gauge of 8mm].
Panoramic view of mountains and trees, possibly in the Rila mountain range. Two people, including Licco Max Haim, emerge from an earthen hut. Two men and a group of women climb a mountain then relax at the top. Backpacking and mountaineering. More CUs of Licco. Resting by a river. Mountainous scenery and more hiking. Brief shot of a car and residence.
Handwritten title "Hochwinter 1941". Title with 9 February date, named friends, and a figure on a ski slope, "The Black Peak". Group with Anny, Belka, Vania, Shatsi, Konovaliko, and others climbs up a slope. Mountain hostel on Black Peak. Snow-covered hills. Skiing. 01:06:53 Title with 16 February date, "On the Jumping Hill" (?), Shtainke and Licco. Snowy mountainous scenery. Licco and his friends ski, some in slow motion. 01:14:18 [COLOR] Skiing. CUs of the group of friends, including a young girl. 01:20:17 [B/W] More skiing. 01:23:28 Title with 8 March date and two names, "Istene Kal", Anny and Shatsi. Two of the friends roll around in the snow. Panoramic view of the mountains. Skiing.
AGFA 8 1941. [COLOR] The friends climb a snowy path with skis for an adventure. 01:00:30 Berta Haim (Licco's wife). Pan of mountain landscape. 01:03:01 [B/W] Skiing filmed in slow-motion. 01:03:45 Chalet Sherni Vrah in the Black Peak. 01:08:46 [COLOR] Three friends slowly walk with skis across the snow toward the camera. More skiing. 01:11:43 [B/W] Skiing in slow-motion. LS of skiers with plane overhead. The friends, including Berta, walk back up for another run.
[VQ: some damage at head] MCU, three women playfully tussling and snowball fighting. 00:00:10 The group of friends sign and dance arm-in-arm on a makeshift stage. Pan of people, including a man pointing out his striped pants, a forced laborer or soldier in uniform (possibly), and a couple with white flowers attached to lapel and adorned as a crown. The cameraman throws snow. 00:02:03 Skiing in the mountains. 00:05:52 Title with picture of skiiers and 5-8 January 1941 date, "Christmas 1941 Aleko" (Aleko is the name of a chalet in the Vitosha mountains near the Black Peak; Greek Orthodox Christmas fell on January 7). Skiing and posing on mountainside. 00:10:44 Good MS and CUs of the large group of skiers. 00:16:24 Title with 12 January date, "Radaher and others on the Wall" (Radaher is a family name; the Wall is a skiing resort near Aleko). The friends ski. 00:17:03 Title with 26 January date, "Sham-Koria" (a winter resort in the Rila mountains now called Borovets) with Eva, Lote, Napetov, and Anny. A boy and an older child walk with skis. More skiing. AGFA 8 1939 [8 distinguishes the film gauge of 8mm].
HAS of roads, housing, and mountaineers. Different views of the men climbing, full trees, a river and the environs. Quick view of filmmaker, Licco Max Haim at 01:09:45 - bald, with glasses, smoking a cigarette.
Religious procession through a town-square. Locals gather in front of a bank (with sign in Bulgarian) to watch. A military officer greets the line of armed Bulgarian soldier recruits. 01:11:10 Quick CU of priest. Bulgarian military soldiers with backpacks and weapons are blessed by a priest. 01:11:24 CU of priest reading. Locals observe the ceremony. A man leads others in song. Another view, LS, of the blessing. 01:12:24 A Bulgarian officer speaks to the recruits; a civilian dressed in a suit and glasses reads from a paper. CU, the new troops march away. 01:13:15 One by one, the soldiers kiss a Bible, then the flag, and salute. Locals (women and children) watch the presentation. A band plays and the men march. Bulgarians circle-dance, veteran. Drum corps. MS, the unit marches by; dirt pile in the street.