Lovech Communist Death Camp (active 1959-1962)

For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.
The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

Founded near the town of Lovech as a ‘Labour Group-Lovech’, and one the cruelest of its kind, the camp has been active from 1959 to 1962. Around 1500 persons have passed through it as detainees, imprisoned for critiques to the communist regime. Camp has been mockingly called by the administration with the name of one of the most famous Bulgarian sea resorts: „Slanchev Briag [‘Sunny Beach’]“. Nothing has left now there except the stone quarry, where prisoners were laboured to death, some building remains, memorial plates, and a cross over the highest rock. Over the peaceful landscape with the river of Osam down the steep rocks, nothing speaks of the suffering of victims, beaten with wooden clubs, with their bodies thrown to the pigs. It stands on the rocks over the railway from the town of Lovech to Troyan, and utilized some of the facilities built there by the youth movement in the late 40’s who built the railway.

Camp has been closed following a secret session of the Bulgarian ‘Politburo’ (Communist Committee), who found the conditions there to be ‘inhuman’. Yet, then and after the fall of the regime in 1989, no legal responsibility has been born by anyone. All activities there have been managed by orally issued orders of the Deputy Minister of Interior at the time, Gen. Mircho Spasov, hence written records are hard to identify. What has survived, is the dwindling memory of the people who suffered, and lived through.

Photos have been taken during my short walk under the autumn sun. Nothing disturbed the silence there except the chilly autumn wind and the bells of a couple of goats grazing grass under the cross.