Samuel Levi in Sofia, date unknown
Still taken from JPEF interview with Samuel Levi
Samuel Levi was born in 1922 in Sofia, Bulgaria. His father was a grocer in their tight-knit community. Samuel was a student at the Komsomol (Communist Youth League) attending political and cultural classes in 1940, shortly before the Germans invaded Bulgaria.
Rejoining the Komsomol, Samuel was in a band of partisans called La Chevdad that roamed Bulgaria, near the border with Yugoslavia. The group stayed in the high mountains or forests, to avoid capture. Conditions were difficult for the Komsomol partisans, as Samuel remembers: "We were constantly starving. We had some corn flour and water and that's what we ate for an entire month. But we trained and we were on guard."
It was unusual for partisans to get a full night's rest, because of the constant dangers. The group would sleep out in the rain in the summer, but the partisans liked this, because for once they could speak to each other out loud and sing, the noise of their voices drowned out by the lightning and thunder.
Remembering a common partisan action, Samuel comments on the partisans' cunning, "We would take their (police) uniforms in order to confuse the enemy during an operation. We would descend into the villages and they would think that we were officers and we would act."
These partisan groups helped tremendously to prepare the groundwork for the Russians, who entered Bulgaria in 1944. Samuel recounts his feeling of impending death as a partisan: "For the one year and four months when I was a partisan, I never thought that I would remain alive. No partisan did. We knew that we could all die but die proud that we did something against the fascists." Samuel lives today in Israel with his wife and has a son, a daughter, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.