Vassilev, Vantzeti Dimitrov
Vantzeti Vassilev’s problems with State Security began in the 1970s. Because of his "untrustworthy" origins, he was under control by the State Security. Due to this pressure, and unwilling to cooperate with the secret services, Vassilev left his job and started to work as a swineherd in his mother's village, Vranya Stena, in the Pernik district. He used this time to write the autobiographical novel Semenata na straha [The Seeds of Fear] based on personal experiences and stories he gathered from his father and other former prisoners. Out of fear of identifying those who had shared their experiences, he destroyed all relevant notes. In 1988, during a fair held at the Bulgarian-Serbian border, Vantzeti Vassilev escaped to Yugoslavia and from there to Italy. In Italy he worked as a gardener, translator for Russian evangelical immigrants. At the end of 1989, he emigrated to New York, where he worked as a night watchman, painter, construction worker, and truck and taxi driver.
Vassilev managed to escape with a copy of his manuscript. Another copy, left at home, was recovered in 2016, having been hidden in the ceiling of the old family barn. In New York, Vassilev became an author of memoir novels. There he finished Semenata na straha [The Seeds of Fear], a first-person account of the humiliation and oppression of a young scientist living under the totalitarian regime. The book was published in Sofia in 1991 with the financial support of Open Society Institute, and presented in New York.The second book by Vassilev, Vlakovete na Rim [Trains of Rome], was published in 2006. It was also translated into German (Die Züge von Rom) and presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2009. In 2010 the next book, Razkazi ot newyorkskata biblioteka [Stories from New York Library], was published. He has participated in international literary festivals in Swansea, Wales, and Binghamton, New York. In New York, Vassilev established contact with a number of Bulgarian immigrants, such as Hristo Yavashev-Christo and his wife Jean-Claude, for whom he wrote the book Da opakovash vyatara. Po stapkite na Christo I Jean-Claude [Packing the Wind. In the Steps of Christo and Jean-Claude] (2013).
- Radomir, Bulgaria
Author(s) of this page
- Kasabova, Anelia Dr.