1492OCT 17 192219231940 - 1944MARCH 1944
Heroes of September

Assassination of Communists by Bulgarian Secret Service from AMENDMENT TO THE LAW FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE STATE (1976)

Angel Wagenstein’s first Revolution, the September Uprising of 1923, was staged by an extremist faction within the Bulgarian Communist Party, in an attempt to overthrow the increasingly repressive monarchist government.  


In April 1925, a bomb planted by communists exploded in the roof of Sofia’s Sveta Nedelya Cathedral. Even though his father, a gentle and pragmatic supporter of the communists, had nothing to do with the bombing, Angel Wagenstein’s family was among those targeted in the wake of the event. The family fled to Paris, where they lived in abject poverty for four years.  


“The bomb unleashed a ferocious reaction. Martial law was declared and thousands of left-wing activists detained. Many detainees disappeared and there were rumors that some of them had been fed into the furnace of the Sofia police headquarters. The fate of others was all too clear: they were executed in public.”

Richard Crampton. A Concise History of Bulgaria 


“Societies are, by definition, divided. But if the divisions get out of hand—when there is blood, then you have  a break which is very, very difficult to repair. And this happened in Bulgaria in, in 1923, 1924, 1925.”

Maria Todorova


The September Rebellion has a kind of talismanic significance for Wagenstein, even today: it inspired his first produced script, SEPTEMVRITSII (HEROES OF SEPTEMBER, 1953); many years later he wrote a second film, AMENDMENT TO THE LAW FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE STATE (1976) a far darker and less idealistic portrayal of the revolutionary moment and its victims. 

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