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Banknotes That Tell a Story


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bulgaria500leva1942.jpg

 

This is one of those notes that you collect that when you get into researching it, you find out that it tells a much bigger story than you would have ever imagined. Indeed, much of what is found on this note is tragic, historical, but in the end quite surprising. The front of the note has a portrait of Tsar Boris III of Bulgaria. Curiously during the early 1940's Bulgaria and Romania found themselves allied with Germany and Italy in their crusade to conquer Europe and enslave the populations of overrun countries. However, in both Bulgaria and Romania, the Germans found reluctant, and even downright defiant allies. Traditionally Bulgaria has always had much stronger alliances with Russia, in fact Russia contributed to Bulgarian independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1878. The brief interwar years betwixt the end of the First World War and the change of government in Russia changed all that. Bulgaria found itself isolated from it's traditional ally, Russia when the USSR was formed in 1922 and the new Soviet government initiated a campaign of social and political revolution in it's neighbouring or nearby countries. With the opening of WWII Bulgaria found herself somewhat ambiguously allied with Germany.

 

 

Indeed this alliance seems to have benefited only the German Reich, and Bulgaria more or less found itself as an unwilling partner in a campaign they really did not have the heart to be in at all. One area where Bulgaria stood it's ground was that despite entering the war against the USA and Great Britain symbolically, it refused to initiate a campaign against the USSR, because of strong pro-Russian sentiment against such a war. Tsar Boris III is believed to have also prohibited the extradition some 50.000 Bulgarians of Jewish descent. He is conjectured to have opined that they were Bulgarian first, and Jewish second, therefore they were protected as Bulgarian citizens and not subject to the whims of the German Reich.

 

Boris III died unexpectedly on 28 August 1943, only two and a half weeks after an incredibly stormy meeting with Adolf Hitler at Rastenberg in E. Prussia. It had long been suspected that his untimely demise had more to do with his falling out with Hitler than any health issue, but when his remains were autopsied in the 1990's it was determined that he, did in fact, die of a heart defect.

 

bulgaria500leva1942dtl.jpg

 

The vignette of a young woman on the reverse is my primary fascination with this note, she is determinately, a typical rural young lady, with her fascinating necklace of coins!. What I find most fascinating is that this young lady on this note is not some unknown feminine vignette just created out of nowhere, she is a real person by the name of Evdokia Kovacheva. She lived long after this note was created, and was still autographing the notes occasionally in the 1980's!

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