Titanic's Bulgarian Links

The Story of the Bulgarians on Titanic; how they emigrated and the Bulgarian emigration environment existent around the turn of the 19th Century




Bulgarian NewspaperA variety of Eastern European countries contributed to the large number of steerage class passengers onboard Titanic’s maiden voyage. One of these countries, Bulgaria, an impoverished nation newly reborn in the Balkan region, seems to have never had its victims’ stories told. For an assortment of reasons, the stories of these Bulgarian men have been, to some small extent, recounted and discussed, but only within the country’s confines; little documentation or information regarding these men has ever been seriously compiled or collected. This fact is unfortunate when we look at the small amount of available literature about these men, then take into consideration the fact that 8 percent of the steerage men were Bulgarians. In this paper I have attempted to tell the Bulgarian story of Titanic by starting well before April 14, 1912, in order to set the stage for the political environment that contributed to Bulgaria’s part in the emigration wave of the early part of the last century. Beginning with Bulgaria’s emancipation from the Turks in 1878, I move chronologically through the history of Bulgarian emigration around the turn of the 19th century, taking a look at central Bulgaria’s connections with the immigration “industry.” I specifically address the lives of ten of the Bulgarians aboard Titanic -- who they were, where they were from and the legacy that they left. I then turn to the remaining Bulgarians listed as having been aboard Titanic, providing any previously unavailable information I have been able to uncover. Lastly, in my research notes, I examine the reasons why the exact number and identification of the Bulgarians aboard Titanic has never been, and may never be, determined; it has been the topic of many an article and newspaper story in Bulgaria over the years. As in many countries throughout the world, stories abound in Bulgaria of individuals who died claiming to have been aboard Titanic. In Bulgaria, not simply due to the passage of time, but for a variety of fundamental reasons, these claims are difficult to either confirm or dismiss.

Brian J. P. Hartig


Special thanks are extended to the following persons for their helpful research and contributions to this paper: Roumen Voutev, Juliana Dzimbova, Totyu Totevski, and Maria Draganova.


Brian Hartig

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