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VARNA: [Stalin, Warna, Odessos, Odessus PDF Print E-mail

Official seal of Varna ALTERNATE NAMES: VARNA and Варна [BULG], STALIN [1949-56], WARNA [GER], ODESSOS [GRK], ODESSUS. 43°13' N, 27°55' E, IN E BULGARIA, ON THE BLACK SEA. This seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and the third largest city in Bulgaria has about half a million inhabitants. Wikipedia [Sep 2014]

Bulgaria's largest port city on the Black Sea can be traced to Odessos, a sixth century BCE Greek colony controlled by Thracians. Persians and Romans. Eventually part of the Byzantine Empire. Varna was named by Slav tribes that founded the settlement in the 6thh century CE.  Ottoman Empore captured Varna in 1399 and ruled for almost 500 years. Shumen, Silistra, Ruschuk (Ruse), and Varna were the four Ottoman strongholds in NE modern Bulgaria. The first railroad opened in 1866 between Varna and Ruschuk bringing economic development and increased population. In 20th century, Varna was the third largest city of Bulgaria with more than 300,000 inhabitants and a thriving economy of international trade tourism at the Golden Sands. See photos and more history. [February 2009]

Jewish Varna dates from the beginning of the nineteenth century although other sources state the fifteenth century. The first Jews to settle as merchants and artisans and later included  handworkers, clerks, or exporters  The organized Sephardi community and small Ashkenazi community grew from 255 in the late 1870's to 719 in 1880, less than 1% of the total population of the city. During the 1885 war with Serbia, Varna Jewish community provided funds to equip the Bulgarian army and served in the Bulgarian army . Some women even served as nurses. Jewish population: 1888, about 760 Jews out of 25,000+., 1903: 1,308, 1910: 1,706 in 1910; 1913: 1,615  out of 37,417, 1926: 1,806 Jews, and 1934: 1,596 Jews (fourth largest Jewish community in Bulgaria.) On the eve of WWII, about 2,000 Jews lived in Varna including Jewish refuges from regions of Bulgaria as well as other countries. The Jewish community in Varna had two synagogues. The Sephardi synagogue established at the end of the nineteenth century had a room for morning and evening prayers during weekdays. Ashkenazi Jews had a smaller synagogue. The majority Sephardi community owned a community center with a large meeting hall and operated a chevrah kadishah, a cemetery and charity organizations. The 2000 Jewish population numbered about 250 people.

The Sephardi Synagogue in Varna | Jewish Architecture [Sep 2014]

Jewish Varna. [Sep 2013]

World War II. [Sep 2014]

Chabad. [Sep 2014]

Photos. [February 2010]

Photos [Sep 2014]


OLD CEMETERY:  Near the seashore, this cemetery functioned until 1935 when it was confiscated and a city garden planted in its stead. [February 2009]

NEW CEMETERY: Varna, 1, Andrei Saharov Str.: Opened in 1935, but known still as the "Old Cemetery" because after the closing of the first cemetery, the community erected a memorial wall engraved with the names of several hundred people buried the first cemetery. This wall exists today. See photo. In 1935, this new Jewish burial place opened as part of the municipal cemetery. Only one gravestone, dated 1878, remains from the first cemetery and is kept in the municipal museum. The Jewish section of the municipal Cemetery is 0.7 hectares with 342 graves and a pre-burial house. The marble and granite gravestones with Hebrew and Bulgarian inscriptions date from the 20th century. A fence with a gate that locks surrounds the site.  "Shalom"-Varna (the regional branch of The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria) cares for the cemetery. Overgrowth is a year-round problem but the site is occasionally cleared. The cemetery has never been vandalized. [February 2009] photos.

photos [Sep 2014]

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 September 2014 15:47
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