Sabetay Mayer

* 1922

  • ... and I said to myself: "God, I have to finish my higher education!" I spoke to Ivan Valov. "OK! But you have to do it up to February and then by the end of the year to take all exams... then you should go straight back to work!" I kept all the documents. The complete list of exams - 45 or 46 - I passed them only for a year. In spite of that I had very high marks. Anyway, to make it clear, these were not very hard exams as they are now.

  • I became member of the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1945. It was a special party enrollment... how they called it? Everyone willing to join was approved. It happened in the building of the Pleven Community Center, called "Saglasie". It was full and crowded. Everyone was enrolled in the Party. I was a member of the Youth organization before that. However, this was not the end of the story...

  • He had never greeted me with my personal name: "Hey, Jew!" Sometimes they made fun of me. Our religion does not allow us to eat pork. Very often when I was approaching my desk to take a seat I was finding a slice of bread spread with pork fat and a note next to it: "Eat it, Jew! This is pork fat." These are minor things. What is perhaps surprising is that I was kind of bullet-proofed for these things. I do not know how happened but they did not leave any impression on me.

  • I was preparing myself to leave for Plovdiv when in the park a solid man grabbed me and asked: "Are you the head of the finance... ?" - "It is me", I answered. "Come with me. The boss wants to see you!" - "I can not do it now, I have to travel to Plovdiv!" - "It is out of question. He wants to see you!". A huge "Volga" waited for us on "Aksakov" Str. I was sitting between two other men. I tried to explain them again that I had work to do... They drove me to the front portal of the Sofia Jail, got me in a cell and, boom, I got in!

  • "Come here! We will make a little game of you!" They led me to the inner yard. "Get your clothes off!" When I was entirely naked they began to roll me in the snow. I was fully covered with snow and looked like a snow-man. They made small holes for my eyes and my mouth to breath. "Ha-ha!" They laughed. However, they got bored and stopped that game. They made something good for me after that - they beat my guts out back down in the basement. They warmed me up, so to say. Otherwise I could have gotten very ill after being naked in the snow. There were no serious injuries and few days after that they let me go.

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    Sofia, 01.06.2011

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2011-06-01-beti-mayer-02.jpg (historic)
Sabetay Mayer
photo: witness' personal archive

Sabetay Mois Mayer was born in 1922 in Pleven, Bulgaria in the Jewish family of a mid-class store-keeper. He was the eldest from three sisters and one younger brother. He graduated from the Pleven classical school in 1938 when started as a junior accountant at a local textile fabric. At this age he made his first literary attempts. In 1940 he entered the Higher Medical School in Sofia but had to quit because of the Anti-Jew legislation at that time. He was also prevented to finish his financial education at the Faculty of Economy of the Sofia University. Between 1941 and 1944 he was forced to join the Jewish labour brigades (from April to October each year). His diary from this period is preserved. He worked on the construction of roads, bridges and other buildings in Macedonia, Ihtiman and Novi Iskar. In this period he was not politically engaged. After September 9, 1944, when with the advancement of the Soviet army communist came to power he worked for the Workers Youth Union (RMS) as an accountant. Soon after that was transfferred to work in Sofia. There he managed to finish his financial higher education in 1948 and continued his career as an accountant. In 1955-56 his wife became seriously ill and her recovery was possible only with the help of the Mayers younger brother who emigrated to Israel earlier in 1949. Medicine was sent with the assistance of the Israel embassy in Sofia. These contacts were closely survailed by the communist State Security and in 1961 Sabetay Mayer war arrested and sent to jail for his contacts with Israel. His convict was for spying and he remained under custody for five years until 1966. After being free he managed to continue his career as an accountant until 1982 when he retired.