Historical Anniversaries and Remembrance Days

May
2017
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  • National pilgrimage into Persin Island - Belene
    type: anniversary    location: Bulgaria (Belene)

    The Belene Concentration Camp was established on the 27th April, 1949. The Communist government took the decision to create a Labour Education Hostel (LEH) and the Ministry of the Interior was given the responsibility for establishing the camp on the Danube island Persin. The opponents of the communist dictatorship were forced to live in inhuman conditions – daily physical labour, intolerable demands and under constant armed guard. They were forced to live in bunkers and huts which they built themselves with whatever materials they could find. Hunger was the most terrible thing they were subject to. Tens of thousands of prisoners passed through the camps. After the collapse of the communist regime in Bulgaria, in 1989, Belene became a site for remembrance of the victims of the prison camps during the BCP government. On the 7th June, 1990, the first organised pilgrimage to the Second Site on Persin Island took place at the initiative of the Club of the Repressed. The pilgrimage turned into a rally. Thousands of people from all over the country took part, including many former prisoners and representatives of the political opposition. Every following year at the end of May an annual pilgrimage to the site of the former Second Camp is held.

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