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Sunny Beach Camp – Lovech

In August, 1959, after the Politburo of the Central Committee of the BCP approved the decision to establish the Belene camp on Persin island, another new camp was established in Lovech with the agreement of the senior communist leadership of the MoI – SSS. The labour camp near Lovech was to become infamous as the “Sunny Beach” camp (1959 – 1962). The name which referred to the Black Sea resort of Sunny Beach was used cynically by the communist authorities as a threat and warning to anyone who dared raise their heads against the regime.

In 1959, when the closure of Belene was being discussed, the then Minister of the Interior, General Georgi Tsankov, told the Politburo that 166 prisoners remained in the camp. The authorities classified them as “incorrigible recidivists” and that the MoI proposed they not be released from Belene but sent to a stone quarry near Lovech, where they would be “re-educated through heavy physical labour”. Although no written instruction was issued to establish the Lovech camp, the Politburo did not object to Minister Tsankov’s proposal.

The first group of remaining prisoners from Belene were transferred to Lovech at the beginning of September, 1959. They were housed in a few huts left over from the youth brigade which had built the Lovech – Troyan railway line. The camp was situated on the right hand side in the direction of Troyan at the site of the branch line to the village of Hlevene. The first director of the Lovech Labour Camp was Ivan Trichkov. He was formerly director of Belene camp and remained only temporarily in charge of Lovech. Slightly later, Petar Gogov, the deputy director of Belene, was appointed director.

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