Draft resolution

Resolution 1096


Communist Terror
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History > Communist Terror > Bulgaria
  Persecutions of intellectuals

Bulgarian doctors and students of medicine - victims of the communist terror of 1944-1989

A glance back to an atrocious past with a vision of today and tomorrow
by Prof. Dr. Miroslav Popov, MD

A list of doctors and students of medicine persecuted by the communist regime (1944-1989) (doc file, 348 KB)
In Bulgarian

In Bulgarian

Bulgarian doctors and students of medicine - victims of the communist terror of 1944-1989

"Verba volant, scripta manent"

A large number of Bulgarian medical doctors and students of medicine were the victims of brutal repression in different spans of their lives under the totalitarian regime in Bulgaria.

The period 1944-1989 characterized by a change of values and systematic extermination of the Bulgarian intellectuals, resulted in the establishing of a consumer society, which is our ambiance nowadays. The years after September 9 1944 slowly, but irreversibly deleted the memory of the brutal period, which followed the Soviet invasion into Bulgaria. The medical professionals paid their blood toll to the Bolshevik dictatorship.

According to the official statistics approximately 3,400 physicians used to practice their profession in 1944. Most of them were graduates of the Sofia Faculty of Medicine, but also many of them had graduated in foreign countries, such as Germany, Austria, France, Russia and other countries. All of them, however, took the Hippocratic Oath and were members of the Bulgarian Medical Association (BMA) regardless of whether they were employed by the state and/or had a private practice.

In the period under consideration, 1944-1989, the number of graduates and students of medicine increased many times. The living and working conditions, however, changed substantially.

Until 1990 there was no open talk about the repressed individuals and the memory of them was gradually fading away. Those colleagues of ours deserved at least to be mentioned in remembrance, the memory of the dead to be paid respect to and those who had suffered to be appreciated. With this thought in mind, and with the support of the BMA - Sofia City Branch some colleagues conducted a research, which does not claim to be exhaustive, but it still gives an idea about how the medical professionals, too, were subjected to communist genocide. The authors and contributors believe that this list will be expanded and added to by the people, who will remember more victims.

As of the present time data has been gathered and documented about 618 medical doctors and students of medicine, who were subjected to repression at different times, to a different extent, in various ways, of varying duration; all these doctors and students are included on the detailed list by stating their surnames.

For different durations a total of 71 doctors and students of medicine were kept in prison, while a total of 86 people were held in concentration camps. However, one should not make a simple addition of these numbers because some people were kept both in prison and in concentration camps, although at different times, and were subjected to other types of repression as well. The method applied to the numbers in this case is the "Case Register" method.

We have data available about some over 45 people - medical doctors and students of medicine - who were murdered or went missing, while for others the reason of their death has not been established.

The death penalty of still other victims was replaced by "life imprisonment", however, they were kept under so severe conditions that due to inquisition and dungeon illnesses they lived a short life and were formally announced to "have died in prison" or camp, respectively, while the actual reason of their death was not openly announced. The death certificate of Dr. Radan Sarafov (See the enclosures), who was executed in 1969, does not even state a reason of death, which constitutes, to say the least, submission of incorrect data to the official statistics pool.

More than 300 students of medicine were expelled from the Faculty of Medicine.

Much larger is the number of doctors, who were fired and those, whose professional growth was inhibited, including their acquiring of academic ranks and degrees or their promotion to administrative positions. Their number is large, the repression over them, however, was less severe, hence not all of them have been included in the list.

A large number of the well-known and good specialists were either fired, or moved to work in other settlements and health care centers.

Distinguished lecturers, such as full professors, associate professors, assistant professors and others were declared "enemies to the people", and afterwards various types of repression in administrative and professional aspect were implemented.

Soon after September 9, 1944 in a quite expedient manner each Faculty had a "Fatherland Committee" established with it; those Committees, which followed the Communist Party orders, stated the names of lecturers that had to be fired, and also in what way, that is, they used to propose the different forms and extent of political repression. The BMA, which was established back in 1901, was chaired in 1944 by Dr. Ivan Kojchev, who was also repressed, and was persistently making attempts to mitigate the political qualifying expressions used in the repression proposals; nevertheless, the report by St. Cholakov, the then-Minister of Public Education, titled Regarding Punishment of Sofia University Lecturers Pursuant to the Regulation-Law on Purge (November 18, 1944) stated the names of 42 lecturers 14 of whom (that is one third) were from the Faculty of Medicine! Some of them were fired outright, and some were even made defendents in the so-called "people's court", like Prof. Al. Stanishev and others.

Other lecturers were initially "suspended" for a few semesters, and soon afterwards new orders for dismissal replaced the foregoing sanctions for them. In the huge scientific research titled "The Trial of Historians" (edited by Vera Moutafchieva, Sofia, 1995) the reader can find direct evidence (See the enclosures) of those criminal acts that laid the beginning of the "elimination", "rendering harmless" and so on, of a large portion of the Bulgarian intellectuals.

It is a disgrace that the above-mentioned book, which contains irrefutable evidence, did not gain the popularity it deserved among the citizens.

Massive "combing-outs" were conducted several times among the students of medicine, that is the future medical doctors - in 1945, 1947, 1949 (the infamous Order No. 71 of 1949 issued by the Rector of the Sofia University), 1950 (Order No. 27 dated August 18 and Order No. 1481 dated December 14, both of 1950), 1951 (Order No. 131 dated October 30 1951), 1956, and in other years as well. The lists containing dozens and hundreds of students' names were "promulgated" by placing them on the wooden fence or the buildings' walls in the Faculty of Medicine. Students looked up their names and found out that they had been "expelled" and did not have the right to continue their studies. This was a brutal, unlawful and inhumane violation of the universal human right to education! But who observed human rights at that time at all! For some students the abovedescribed "administrative procedure" was accompanied by their dismissal from youth organizations. Very few were the students left with that "brand" only and they were waiting in trepidation to see their names on "the wall of tears". The administrative sanction was motivated in most cases by the provisions of Articles 40 and 41 of the then-applicable Tertiary Education Act (TEA). Students were not handed over any order of expulsion, but their student record was simply withdrawn. It was only after 1990 that it became possible for a student to obtain an order for his/her expulsion from school. In "extra special" cases expulsions were effected for each student individually. The main registers of the Faculties did not always contain an entry about the particular reason - the political repression - for the withdrawal of the student's right to graduate from the university. For some students the register stated that the student had "quit", "discontinued studying", "not turned out for exams", while actually such students were convicted, or even in some cases put in prison (e.g. the student Ivajlo Nikolchev - see the enclosures), deprived of civil rights, sent to a camp, displaced, etc. Some of the expelled students were "reinstated" after going through a lot of ordeals at government and "party" local and central bodies. Others were permitted to "enroll in another Faculty", for example, from Sofia to enroll in Plovdiv, and vice versa (Georgiev and S. Petrov), or in another specialty (e.g. from human medicine into veterinary medicine or dentistry). Still others were allowed to sit again for university admission exams in order to be admitted as new students in a tertiary educational establishment. Students were expelled most often following reports to the authorities submitted by their co-students or by the "Sectoral Fatherland Branch". "Family background" was of crucial importance - a child of a kulak, royal officer, trader, or an enemy to the people was not allowed to graduate from a university. Even nowadays one can meet such people with broken fate, deprived of their identity, with unimplemented potential, who were not given the opportunity to continue their education at tertiary institutions.

Several anti-communist groups were found at the Faculty of Medicine. Their members were sentenced to a different number of years of imprisonment, or placed in camps. We have available names, documents and evidence of quite a large number of repressed medical doctors and students of medicine, who were victims of reports to the authorities, calumnies and plotting (See the enclosures: Pier Nikolov, Y. Georgiev, B. Karolev).

Our list includes also some disputed individuals. Due to either misbelieves, or a career drive, and under the pressure of severe torture and threats, psychological and physical exhaustion, they agreed to serve and submit reports to the Communist authorities and the totalitarian regime. Later on their own "comrades" victimized some of these individuals. One way or the other, they were subjected to repression, kept in camps or prison; that is why they have been mentioned in the list. We cannot be judges and determine who is guilty and of what; we are just stating facts, hence we have mentioned these people. The public, or the respective government or civil organizations, are to assess their actions and draw the relevant conclusions and characteristics. The team of authors expects to hear opinions and standpoints on the issues raised herein, and it also leaves the right to each of the authors to express his/her personal view (See the enclosures).

According to the data gathered by us, as it has been stated above, the students of medicine in Sofia and Plovdiv, who were expelled, amounted to over 300. Out of them 121 did not graduate - which was unfair and was due to political reasons only. Such a cruel punishment changed the life path of a large number of young people. The fact that over 160 were reinstated in the next years is a proof that for many of them the "mistake" was corrected. However, the distress, insult and the stigma of an "expelled student" stayed with them for life. The professional success achieved by such people shows that they did have the capacity to study and graduate, and some of them - to obtain academic degrees as well (Shishkov, Kozarov, Moushmov, Nikiforov, etc.)

In the Faculty of Medicine the communist youth organizations created a network of informers, which brought about an atmosphere of uncertainty, mistrust, suspicion and fear of repression and psychological terror.

Professor Ivan Moskov had good reason when he affirmed and taught that "medicine is a science, art and profession".

The medical science was forced to modify itself in compliance with the Soviet model and to be completely subordinated to the interests of the totalitarian government.

In order to be published, almost all scientific papers had to start or finish with an eulogy of the communist party's leading role, its leaders, the pseudo-scientific statements of dialectic materialism, the teachings of Michourin and Lissenko, O. Lepeshinskaya, I. P. Pavlov, where the latter, alongside with certain achievements of his, was said to have made also statements that he had never actually formulated.

The tragedy of medical science did not end only with making it subordinated to the Soviet doctrine. Every attempt to show scientific progress beyond Soviet medicine was restricted to the extent of a full prohibition. The privileged communist activists did not possess and were not able to acquire the characteristics required for lecturers, organizing administrators and researchers.

In all academic units, such as sections, divisions, departments, faculties, institutes specialized structures were set up and they imposed strong censorship on scientific products. Not a single scientific paper, monograph, book, etc., was allowed to be published without the written approval by such structures stating "contains no state secret", and what is more, the respective authors were not able to travel abroad to take part in a congress or another scientific forum.

Scientific research plans were made in line with the command of the communist party and Soviet dogmas. Some disgraceful distortions occurred. For example, Prof. N. Shipkovenski was put under political pressure at two "sessions" organized specifically for this purpose. He was accused of insufficiently introducing Pavlov's teaching, the dialectic materialism, etc., and of carrying through ideas from "Western science". His monograph on the original "liberating psychotherapy" was published twice in German (once in Eastern Germany and once in Western Germany), in English and even in Japanese, but never was it published in Bulgarian - his mother tongue.

The world-famous Bulgarian psycho-neurologist and morphologist, director of the mental-psychiatric clinic at the Sofia Faculty of Medicine, Ass. Prof. Angel Penchev, had his academic title withdrawn immediately after September 9, 1944 and he was reduced in rank. It was only after the intervention of international organizations that he was allowed to go abroad, where he finished one complete part of the multi-volume German edition of "Handbuch fur Neurologie". His academic title was reinstated, but he was never able to come back to his motherland and his labors were over in South America.

Prof. Dr. Radoj Popivanov, who later on became even an Academician and Minister of Public Health, also had a "special session" organized against him by the totalitarian regime; at that session he was unjustly subdued to criticism over some major principles and his personal achievements in the field of medicine and general genetics. His predecessor, Prof. Metodi Popov was not spared such pseudo-scientific accusations, either.

The prominent Bulgarian scientists and lecturers Prof. K. Chilov, Prof. A. Klissourov and others had "lecture boycotts" set up against them, which have been quite well depicted by Dr. G. Ikonomov in the Letopissi newspaper, the purpose of boycotts being to remove the above professors from the education process.

While science and education in Bulgaria were gradually going down, the children of the communist leaders were, as a rule, sent to study at famous Western universities, acquired knowledge there, and at present they are among the "leadership cadre" who rule us and implement the reforms.

Economic repression is quite well illustrated in the examples below.

Until 1949 hundreds of private doctor's practices and dozens of private hospitals were operational, such as gynecology and obstetrics hospitals, mental health institutions, pediatry and otolaryngology hospitals, etc. These hospitals were nationalized, seized and plundered "with no right to compensation". Their previous owners were internally displaced and in many cases they became unemployed (examples: L. Roussev, B. Trichkov, N. Pashov, Popov, Mihaylov, A. Stamov, and others in Sofia; N. Hadzhigenchev, A. Aleksiev, R. Savov, H. Dichev and many others throughout Bulgaria). Private practice was strongly restricted and eventually discontinued.

Doctors of medicine became actually office workers. Their remuneration even in the state owned health care establishments ranked one of the lowest among the professions ranked in terms of salary. Ridiculously enough, medical doctors were included in one and the same trade union together with barbers, bath attendants and cleaners. Even nowadays, over 10 years after the "change" in economy, politics, science and so on was announced, the data about repression over medical doctors and other medical professionals is concealed. The victims of murders with and without conviction, investigation, preliminary investigations, victims of calumnies, imprisonment and camps, displacement and exclusions, bodily and mental torture, going missing, victims undergone property expropriation, the negative impact over whole families in the long run - all this must be summarized and stigmatized!

The medical profession is among the most human-oriented ones. Numerous suffering of whole families and clans underlie each and every broken personal fate.

The consequences from the psychological and economic harassment were transposed also over the victims' families. Thus the number of repressed becomes still larger.

The medical science and practice was rendered completely dependent on the Soviet model. An illustrative example is the case with Dr. Fr. Fratev presented in the enclosures. The education of a sufficient number of specialists still does not meet the international standards even nowadays.

Medicine, and psychiatry in particular, was abused, however this is a matter requiring a separate research. Such an aspect is presented in the book titled Dangerous Minds - Political Psychiatry in China Today and Its Origins in the Mao Era, Human Rights Watch (Geneva Initiative).

Murder is one of the most severe types of repression. A human life can be taken in various ways. Killing a person is a crime, but killing a medical doctor is a double crime because a doctor of medicine is a person, who has devoted his/her life and activities to human health and life.

After the democratic changes in November 1989 in Bulgaria capital punishment was repealed by law in line with the humanitarian strive for preventing forceful life termination even in the case of criminals.

During the communist terrorist regime capital punishment was widely applied mostly for political reasons. What is more, it was possible the political opponents to communism, as well as all open minded people, to be killed with no trial and conviction in the street or anywhere else in order to be eliminated.

The data in our research has been collected from different memoirs, historical and administrative publications and sources (See References), as well as from interviews with the victims' contemporaries and relatives. Most of those, who were murdered, were "exterminated" by being abducted unaware from their homes, work or elsewhere without any explanation and with no observance of any fundamental human rights.

Dr. Boukov was taken from a family dinner by an armed civilian for "a brief check" at the militia station. Together with other co-citizens he was dumped in the shaft at Sveta Anna mines in Pernik, where he was killed.

Several dozens of citizens in Doupnitsa among whom there were two physicians, Dr. N. Trajchev and a colleague of his, were taken on October 3, 1944 to an unknown place and were killed without trial. Dr. Trajchev's torchlight was hung on his lapel to serve as a target pointer in the latenight execution. His son was expelled from University, and later on reinstated, but his daughter was expelled with no right to finish her tertiary education in philology.

Prof. Dr. Alexander Stanishev, a world-renowned surgeon, was executed on the night of February 1st, 1945 by the so-called "people's court" together with dozens of MPs, regents, ministers and others. Prof. Stanishev had been made to certify the death of each of those killed before him until finally he got a bullet, too. What a professional and civic courage he must have had to live through all that in the last minutes of his life! After 1990 most of those killed in that trial were exculpated, however, such a "gesture" cannot give them their lives back.

Dr. Ilia Velkov from Vidin was beaten to death with a spade, his eyes taken out, his ears cut off, and eventually he was cut to pieces with an ax.

Dr. Nikola Hadzhigenchev was murdered on September 26, 1944 without any trial; a trial on him was held in a hearing several months after his death so as to pass a sentence for him as an excuse for his illegal murder. His clinic was nationalized. His son was a student of medicine, who was expelled from school, but he managed to leave the country.

Drastically outlined is the unambiguous trend of genocide of the whole families of people, who were murdered or subjected to repression of any kind: one of Prof. Stanishev's sons was expelled as a student of medicine and all his life he worked as a turner, while his other son managed to escape from Bulgaria, graduated from medical school and spent his whole life in Germany.

A similar genocide model was applied to other professions, too, such as journalists, public activists, and others (Badev, Krapchev, Yotsov, etc.): Boyko, the son of the distinguished, and murdered, journalist Yordan Badev, underwent investigation and imprisonment, and he was never allowed to graduate from medical school.

The three gifted studens, the Moushmov brothers, were expelled, and later reinstated. The Vladkov brother and sister as well.

Dr. Dimitar Georgiev was convicted to 15 years' imprisonment and murdered in the Iskar gorge.

The student Nikola M. Nikolov was convicted by a court martial in 1949, and executed in 1952. At least four students were executed.

Dr. Tomov was executed in the Lom prison together with St. Shabanov.

A lot of people were killed through torture during investigations (Dr. Genov, Dr. Mirovenski and others).

Especially dramatic and politically complicated was the case with physicians and students of medicine, who had Bulgarian self-awareness, but fell in the Tito communists' clutches. Most of them were murdered, with or without "conviction". Dr. Panayot Hitrov was murdered in 1945. Some victims' death sentences were replaced by life imprisonment. However, the conditions they were kept under in Idrizovo and other prisons were so severe that these victims fell seriously ill and their lives were shortened, so they died not through execution in fulfilment of a death sentence, but due to the torture and the severe dungeon conditions, where they served their sentences (Dr. St. Bozdov, Dr. G. Alexandrov, Dr. T. Gichev, Dr. B. Popgyorchev, B. Svetiev, Dr. K. Trenchev, Dr. A. Tatarchev and so on). G. Kostouranov, a student of medicine, one of the trialed "Stroumishka petorka" (the Five of Strouma), was subjected to cruel torture - his eyes were gouged, his arms cut off and he was killed on August 13, 1951. He was buried in a common grave with four more victims. The common grave was blasted soon afterwards.

A group of prisoners underwent inhuman cruel treatment on the New Years Eve of 1951. They were forced to enter the deep and freezing water of the Vardar River in order to pull out a tractor with their bare hands. All of them were hit by the cold and suffered varying degrees of freezing. The wellknown and respected by all Dr. Vassil Andonov Ivanov, the prisoners' spiritual support, gasping for a last breath managed to utter, "Bulgaria, do you see this?" It was only these martyrs' adamant willpower that was upholding them. The aforementioned and other cruelties have been described in K. Tsarnoushanov's book titled Macedonianism and Macedonia's Resistance Against It.

Similar torture through freezing was used also in the Danube water in winter (the case with the pontoon bridge near Belene). At least two other such cases of murder through freezing to death in two concentration camps are known. One of the victims was the student of medicine Ivan Antov Stefanov from Makresh village, who was sent to Belene camp. He was tied to a pole and splashed with water in the cold winter of 1962 until he froze to death.

Dr. Troufi A. Tenev was brutally tortured and murdered soon after September 9, 1944, and thrown into a well.

Dr. Filyov from Kazanlak town was in the Sliven prison; one night he was called out of his cell to certify the death and sign a false-data death certificate about the murder of the social-democratic leader Krastyo Pastouhov (the latter was actually strangled by an imprisoned criminal). Dr. Filyov was given "in-prison additional sanction": 10 days of solitary confinement. This case is described by Marko Ivanov in the book Bulgaria's Destructors and Defenders, page 277, as well as by another author in the Istina newspaper, No. 9, 2000.

Dr. Petko Momchilov, a pronounced educational and public activist in Yambol was convicted and executed in 1951 on the basis of false accusations of a catholic "conspiracy".

Dr. Petko Balkanski, doctor of medicine and doctor of law, a former MP, was convicted. He was offered to work as a prison physician while serving his sentence, but he refused such a "privilege" in a dignified manner, and was sent to work as an unqualified hand jointly with all other prisoners.

Dr. Luben Bourmov, a surgeon on the Bulgarian Red Cross paramedic train, was taken by a Soviet unit of the NKVD in Vienna and spent 7 years in Siberia camps. He was released after Stalin's death, and placed in Breznik with no permission to leave town.

Boris Dossev Karolev from Pleven, a student of medicine, was wounded near Byala Palanka on October 9, 1944 as a soldier in the first phase of the war against Germany; in his 4th - 5th year of studies he was expelled from school and placed in Belene camp for the period 1949 - 1951. He never got permission to finish his tertiary education and he worked as a doctor's assistant all his life. Documents evidencing his case were published in the Anti newspaper, No. 22 of 2001 (See the enclosures).

It is difficult to find in world history as wide a range of varied bodily and psychological inquisition methods and ways to cause death as those practiced in the communist "detention establishments". Similar torture was applied not only to doctors and students of medicine, but also to all victims who fell in the executors' clutches. S. Suss in the Politisch Missbraucht has described such acts committed by Stasi in the German Democratic Republic.

There are also cases where there is serious suspicion of forced death:
Dr. Dinyo Gochev, a pronounced agricultural party leader, underwent heavy beating at a camp, had a stroke and was quickly sent home to die there.

Dr. Nikola Grozev, one of those who were almost all the time staying either in camps, or in prison - in Sofia, Rousse, Shoumen, Pirgovo, Parapounovo, Belene, and so on - was a direct witness of the severe bodily and mental consequences from torture, because, being a doctor, he gave hundreds of victims medical aid to the extent possible. He performed a successful appendectomy with a pocketknife in an acute case. The conditions and set of tools available did not allow for appropriate medical intervention. In his last speech Dr. Grozev described dozens of examples of heavy consequences from torture, where he was not in position to give health services and save the victims' lives.

The list of victims is not exhaustive and is an evidence of the meaningless cruelty of the raging representatives of the so-called "power of the people".

It will be interesting to know how the perpetrators and instigators of those terrorist acts view and assess their acts as of today.

Many doctors and students of medicine have found rescue from the communist terror by managing, often with a risk to their lives, to cross over the "iron curtain", which was placed around our country. They used to be called emigrants, fugitives, non-returnees, enemies to the people, traitors, spies, hostile forces and a lot more. Winning their bread in a hard and dismal way in a foreign country, living without any family, far from home, often having left behind their children and parents, those people took the risk to pursue winning their professional and civil position. In different countries Bulgarian emigrant groups were set up, who took the heavy task to regain their homeland's freedom and alleviate the situation for those who stayed there. Regretfully, no complete consensus was reached in such emigrant groups. Even abroad, they were split up on the basis of party affiliations, such as agrarian, monarchist, legion, democratic, social democratic and other views. This is one of the reasons why their activities did not achieve the desired result. However, the names of many Bulgarians became wellknown for their academic achievements abroad: Dr. G. Paprikov published a monograph reference book titled Works by Bulgarian Emigrants covering the period from 1944 until his death in 1986. This invaluable book has a high scientific and reference value because beside the titles of papers and the names of their authors it contains also brief summaries of the publications in all areas of science and political journalism.

Toncho Baboukov quite studiously managed and covered the publishing and public activities of the agrarian party supporters in France and Central Europe.

Living in emigration, Dr. Marin Cholakov, announced to be a man earnign his living abroad and a non-returnee clarified the borders and problems of communism psychopathology in articles and in a special issue of a Bulgarian newspaper published in Germany.

Dr. Lubomir Kanov is a Bulgarian psychiatrist, who gradated from a university first in Sofia, and later on in Canada; he lived through the abyss of the Bulgarian investigation, court and prison Bolshevik establishments; in his latest book Between Two Hemispheres he writes that in those establishments he met "monsters" and describes "the Stalinism disease" and "healing from it". Such a statement, namely that "communism is contagious" is given also by G. Tsekov, court pathologist. He also states that "certain things may sound funny nowadays, but they were not funny back then at all".

In their book The Outcasts in 2002 E. Statelova and V. Tankova made a detailed review and analysis of the scientific production, public political activities and the organizations of the Bulgarian emigrants.

This is an illustration that despite the difficulties faced by the emigrants, the Bulgarian medical doctors, being among the Bulgarian intellectuals, have not ceased their creative work both for the sake of their personal improvement and also for the sake of making the world aware of Bulgaria's issues under the communist terror.

The Soviet model of education had a disastrous effect on the education of the doctors-to-be. The horarium for medicine education in Bulgaria in the period under consideration, 1944 - 1989 and as of today does not meet the world standards. This is one of the major reasons why the Bulgarian Tertiary Medical Education diplomas in Bulgaria are not recognized abroad, but there is a requirement to the graduates to pass additional exams and attend additional classes. For example, for many years in Bulgaria the curriculum did not include subjects such as medical ethics, genetics, psychology, and in many other subjects (e.g. surgery, psychiatry, pediatry, etc.) the duration of studies was less than required. On the other hand, however, Bulgarian students had to pass exams in Dialectical and Historical Materialism, History of the Russian Communist Bolshevik Party, the Bulgarian Communist Party, and so on.

Out of all the 618 repressed, 34 have acquired academic ranks in Bulgaria or abroad at some point of their career. Some of them were subjected to repression when they had already become full professors and assistant professors, others acquired academic ranks about the end of their length of service after they had already undergone certain repression, e.g. being expelled. This is indicative of the high academic potential that the individuals in question possessed.

The case of Dr. Todor Gotsev, full professor in physiology, is wellknown. We witnessed the following happen: he was about to start one of his lectures when a student belonging to the group specialized in boycotts stood at the desk. The latter accused the professor of being the mouthpiece of idealistic and Western ideas, because the motto on the front page of the textbook written by the same professor stated the classic scientific phrase IGNORAMUS ET IGNORABIMUS (Latin: unknown and incognoscible, meaning that science is still facing certain unknown things). The above-mentioned student bluntly declared that unknown things could not possibly exist in materialism. The purpose was Prof. Gotsev to be dismissed. What an ignorance and insult to science!

Because of a scientific dispute on Lissenko's achievements Dr. Konstantinov was dismissed from his job, his doctor's rights were withdrawn and he was forced to start working as a laborer at Bakelitcoop (bakelite producing company), and at a Sanitation Company unit.

Dr. Petar H. Mitov from Gara Pirin, who was a member of Gerassim Todorov's informal mountaineer detachment, was sentenced to death by conviction No. 44 under General Case No. 500 of 1948. The trial covered 78 defendants from Gorna Dzhumaya town. Dr. Mitov's sentence was afterwards replaced by a life sentence.

Women-doctors and students of medicine were not spared, either: Dr. Stoyanka A. Angelova was convicted to 3 years' imprisonment under the Assenovgrad informal mountaineer detachment case regarding the National Christian Cross; Dr. Blaga Popova was convicted to placement in a camp; Dr. Zdravka Petrova Krachounova - to placement in a camp in Bosna village; etc. (See the enclosures). A large number of women-students of medicine were expelled from school (see the enclosed list).

The BMA as a professional association was also subdued to severe repression. Its chairman Dr. Ivan Koychev was arrested, investigated and dismissed as a chairman of the Association on September 28 1944 pursuant to Order No. 201 dated Dec. 8, 1944 issued by Anton Yugov, the then-Minister of the Interior. He was missing for several months and was afterwards found by his family at the Belene camp. The whole property of the BMA was expropriated and has not been given back by now. The BMA used to possess estates most of which were donated to it. According to the Statement of Findings of the Audit Council as of the time when the BMA's assets were officially handed over to the state, they amounted to over 42 million of Bulgarian Levs of that time.

In summary, various forms and extent of repression were imposed over the whole of the Bulgarian people during the 45 years of communist dictatorship, such as:

- bodily torture
- murder without conviction; execution under a sentence, preceded by torture
- severe torture resulting in acute bodily (and mental) problems, which cause distortions to the body, such as: cruel beating; cutting parts of the body - limbs, ears, nose, gouging of eyes; breaking vertebrae, bones and spinal cord resulting in permanent disability
- the aforelisted types of torture have caused medium and smaller physical injuries to certain individuals
- applying electric current to different parts of the body
- burning with incandescent blades, lighters, lit cigarettes and boiling water
- freezing until the person became an ice block, freezing of limbs in solitary confinement cells and rivers
- chemical and other impacts - poisons and chemicals in food and in breathing air, radiation (work in radioactive mines)
- murders announced as suicides, as attempted escape, accident, labor accident, going missing
- psychological attacks: threats, harassment, solitude, sleep deprivation, staged torture and execution of relatives
- various forms of sexual harassment
- socially oriented: displacement, dismissal, deprivation of the right to education, labor, and even to stay at a certain population center; difficulties caused in traveling abroad; delays in a person's acquiring qualification and professional realization, including acquiring an academic rank and promotion to a higher military rank; army service in labor corps; fabricated trials on the basis of calumnies and reports to the authorities resulting in imprisonment and even capital punishment; working under poor conditions
- economic: deprivation of property, such as homes, estates, clinics, doctor's practices, withdrawal of practice right, compulsory financing to the state through imposed "loans", robbery disguised as search, etc.
- compulsory "studying of marxism-leninism" was imposed on professors and students in all educational establishments in the country.

The Svoboda newspaper, No. 8 of September 17, 1944 published an announcement of an "important medical conference" scheduled for September 19, 1944 (i.e. as early as 10 days after the official political coup-d'etat).

The reader will easily see from the enclosures the actual reasons for producing quickly "new teaching cadre", i.e. "assigning" the academic ranks of full professor and associate professor to people with insufficient teaching, clinical and scientific research experience, but loyal to the communist party.

The enclosure contains also quite interesting data about how from a corporal somebody can outright become a commander, from retired major - outright a general (Kiril Stanchev, Kroum Lekarski, Stoyan Trendafilov and so on), that is, the system of fast, formal and unmerited advancement became the governing rule of communists and their collaborators.

Health care was completely subdued to mechanically transferring the so-called Soviet experience. Following the appeals for bringing health care services closer to the population, dozens of health care centers were set up in villages, which became depopulated due to the mass migration of the population into the cities and factories.

The access to objective information about the world's medical achievements was becoming more and more difficult. Castes and levels of better and privileged services and drug-supplies occurred, e.g. specialized hospitals and sanatoria, polyclinics, sports centers, rest-homes and others, which services only government and party activists and the so-called active fighters against fascism and capitalism. Sending individuals for treatment abroad had to be allowed by a specialized commission, which gave priority to the afore-mentioned special groups.

The topic under consideration is a part of the worldwide issue of the communist holocaust and requires complete access to a number of documents and documentary sources, including some of the so-called "classified archives fund".

The present text is the first attempt to reach the whole and objective truth and constitutes the first edition of a future enormous piece. Our successors' task will be to accomplish it.

Appreciation, esteem and respect to the repressed has to be shown by erecting a MEMORIAL dedicated to their sufferings and their effort to live dignified human life (See the enclosure relating to the Resolution of the Academic Council of the Sofia Medical University).

The medical profession is one of the most human. Enormous suffering underlies every individual's, family's and clan's broken fate.

We are not after revenge or punishment. We are trying to find and prove only truths, which are concealed, which we lived through and which unjustly changed the life-path of a large number of people related to the medical profession.

The future generations must know the whole objective truth about the repression against medicine and the medical workers in terms of politics, economy, social life, science, education, and human-ethical aspect.

We are not the judges, however. Only history, the real and objective history is entitled to define what processes have taken place in society and what their consequences are.

We have used data published in approximately 50 official compilations, monographs, memoirs and other publications alongside with over 100 publicistic articles and reminiscences (especially those of Svetozar Darvarov and others) in newspapers and magazines and multi-profile editions, such as the Demokratsia daily, the Pro&Anti, the Prelom, the Svoboden Narod, the Edin Zavet, the Borba, the Tribuna Medica, The Balgarski Lekar, Chronicles of the BMA and others, which are referred to at the appropriate places in the text and in the list of references. Personal interviews were conducted, and many letters were sent and documents were submitted by repressed people and their relatives. There was a wide response from the public to papers, materials and scientific reports, which were made public by TV and radio programs, at scientific forums, such as the scientific conference in Borovets (June 7-9 2002); Thematic Conference of the Sofia Psychiatric Society on October 25, 2001; Conference held in Veliko Tarnovo in September 2002 and others attended by members of the research team.

Every member of the research team is entitled to a personal opinion and view on certain aspects of the issue. The final text of this publication was prepared by (in alphabetical order of surnames): Tsv. Gaydarov, D. Kozarov, K. Milenkov, N. Predov and M. Roussev.

The assistance rendered by the Bulgarian Medical Association - Regional College Sofia is most sincerely acknowledged - without their help this publication would not have been possible.

The following were also involved in the data gathering: Prof. Dr. G. Markov and Mr. Z. Furnadzhiev, Mr. P. Ogoyski, Prof. Dr. M. Ognyanov, Dr. Y. Douchevska, Prof. Dr. P. Pomakov, Dr. M. Madzharov and many others whose contribution is specially acknowledged.

Particular appreciation is expressed for the help of Prof. Vl. Ovcharov, Rector of the Medical University; Prof. N. Tsankov, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine; Prof. O. Hinkov, procurator of Alexandrovska Hospital, and others.

The team of authors apologizes about certain blanks and data unprecision in the text. The data gathering is still under way. All additions and further clarifications that anybody may wish to make can be sent to the following address:

108. Evlogi Georgiev blvd., 5th floor, 1505 Sofia
Telephone: (++359 2) 944 6341, (++359 2) 946 3263

Bulgarian doctors and students of medicine - victims of the communist terror of 1944-1989, Sofia 2003, Edited by Prof.Dr. Kiril Milenkov, MD; Authors: Prof.Dr. Kiril Milenkov MD, Dr. Nikolay Predov, Dr. Tsvetan Gaydarov, Prof. Dr. Dimitar Kozarov MD, Dr. Metodi Madzharov, Dr. Milko Roussev; Involved in the data collection were: Prof. Dr. George Markov MD, Mr. Zachary Fournadzhiev, Mr. Petko Ogoyski, Prof. Dr. Mikhail Ognyanov MD, Dr. Yonka Douchevska, Prof. Dr. Petar Pomakov and many others whose collaboration is acknowledged with thanks.

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