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Thcitchcik family photograph collection

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2004.381.1

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    The collection of 44 photographs documenting the experiences of the Thcitchcik family in Plovdiv, Bulgaria before, during, and immediately after World War II.
    inclusive:  1920-1946
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Emanuel Thcitchcik Zafrir
    Collection Creator
    Emanuel Zafrir
    Emanuel Thcitchcik (now Zafrir) was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, on April 19, 1934, to David and Gisela Schreiber Thcitchcik. David was born in Plovdiv on May 28, 1898, where his family had lived for generations. Gisela was born in Romania on April 5, 1905, and had emigrated to Bulgaria during World War I (1914-1918.) The couple married in January 1925. David owned a fruit and vegetable import store, Colonialiot. David’s younger brother, Yosef, assisted him with the store. Emanuel’s older brother, Yitzhak, was born on June 14, 1927. His father’s sister, Anna, was married to his mother’s brother, Siego, and the extended families lived near each other in three adjacent houses. The elders spoke Ladino and the younger generation preferred Bulgarian. The family was prosperous and observed Jewish holidays. David and Gisela were sympathetic to Zionism, but did not want to emigrate to Palestine. Emanuel spent the summers in the country with Gisela and Yitzhak, and David would join them on the weekends.

    In July 1940, the Bulgarian government established anti-Jewish restrictions that restricted Jews from certain occupations, from living in certain areas, or intermarrying. A close ally of Nazi Germany, Bulgaria joined in the Balkan campaign and occupied Greek and Yugoslav territory. They deported Jews from those areas to German concentration camps, but resisted German requests for Bulgarian Jews. On the night of March 10, 1943, Plovdiv's Jews were told to prepare for deportation. However, due to widespread opposition, the order was rescinded the following day. The synagogue was filled as the community came to offer prayers of thanksgiving. In May 1943, the government expelled Jews from the capital, Sofia, to the provinces and a young Jewish couple moved in with the family. Nazi Germany had attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941. Bulgaria had remained neutral but in late summer 1944, the Soviet Union declared war on Bulgaria. Plovdiv was bombed by the Soviet Army and the Tchitchik family built a bomb shelter underground. The Soviets took control of the city on September 9, 1944.

    In December 1944, David Ben Gurion, the Zionist leader, visited Bulgiaria and inspired a Zionist revival. Emanuel joined the Hechalutz Zionist youth movement and Yitzhak joined Hashomer Hatzair. Gisela and David joined the Zionist movement, but still did not want to leave Bulgaria. In 1947, Yitzhak was beaten by anti-Semites and his parents let him emigrate to Palestine in February 1948. Emanuel declared that he intended to leave for Palestine with or without his parent’s permission. His parents did not want to be separated from their children and, in February 1949, Emanuel and his parents emigrated to Israel.

    Physical Details

    1 folder
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged as a single series.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Plovdiv (Bulgaria)

    Administrative Notes

    The photographs were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Emanuel Zafrir.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 14:21:34
    This page:

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