Mladen Ivanov

IVANOV, Mladen
As a youth in Sofia, Bulgaria, many of Mladen’s friends and neighbors were Jews. His girlfriend from age 13, Butcha, was Jewish as well.
In 1942, Bulgarian Jews were expelled to provincial towns along the Danube River. Mladen moved from his home in the city to the town of Pleven, to where Butcha had been expelled, helping her and other Jews in the area.

He brought them food from his father’s grocery store and assisted them in many ways. On one occasion, Mladen was walking down the street when the local police started criticizing a group of Jewish youth. He became so upset, he started hitting the officer.

Mladen paid a personal price for his deeds. In late 1943, he was caught giving false documents to two Jews who escaped from work camps. Mladen’s skull was cracked as a result of harsh beatings and he was put in jail until the end of the war.

Mladen and Butcha married shortly after the war. In 1948, the two planned to move to Israel, together with Jewish friends and Butcha’s relatives. While traveling to the boat to take them to Israel, someone mentioned that Mladen wasn’t Jewish, and the couple was forced to return back. Over the years, Mladen and Butcha would come to Israel to visit their family and friends. During these visits Mladen would work in various building jobs in order to make money to take back to Bulgaria.

In 1990, Mladen and Butcha settled in Israel. Their two children also live in Israel, as well as some of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Butcha passed away in the summer of 2005, and Mladen has had a very hard time since then.
Despite the hard loss, Mladen continues to smile. He hosts his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in his house every weekend, and treats them to one of his specialties – home made noodles.