Communist Yugoslavia was a major destination for tourists from Western Europe and the US.

Here is an extract from a film promotion of Macedonia by the Yugoslav National Tourism Office in 1975. With some very rare footage of Skopje and Ohrid.
Transferred from 16 mm film.

Converted from 16 mm film.

U bivšoj Jugoslaviji 1978 godine

Published in Balkans

Yugoslavia 1926

In the mid-1920s the prominent German photographer Kurt Hielscher was invited by the government in Belgrade to travel to Yugoslavia and create a book with images of the state, founded only a few years earlier. Kurt Hielscher had already published similar and very successful books about Italy, Spain and Germany, so he took up the invitation with enthusiasm.

In Belgrade he got an interpreter, letters of introduction to all local authorities and cars were at his disposal. Hielscher gratefully acknowledges all help in this endeavour.  He also thanks the Zeiss-Ikon and Agfa factories for their outstanding cameras, lenses and photo plates.

The journey - from the Alps to Novo Mesto towards Bulgaria - produced 1200 photographs, from which he chose 191. In Hielscher's words, those were the few "which would try to show the attractive, diverse character of the landscape, the architecture, and way of life of the Yugoslavs... I didn't want to create a collection of postcards".

The result is a stunning and often moving collection, published in a book in 1926 in Berlin by Ernst Wassmuth AG.

On Agfa Chromo Isorapid plates.

Published in Photo Gallery Balkans

Ilija Djadjev from the town of Gevgelija in the then Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is a geography teacher. However, his passion is music and he is one of the very few performers of the 'Hawaiian' guitar in this part of the world.

Ilija has had more than one thousand concerts, some of them in most unusual places. We see him here playing to a bee-keeper, as well as to soldiers at a remote post on Yugoslavia's border with Greece.

Ilija's dream is to visit Hawaii one day. Meanwhile, he enjoys playing by the Macedonian Lake of Doiran.

Rescued and converted from a 16 mm Orwo film

Published in YOUR STORY




Nikola Mihov was a prominent Bulgarian army commander at the turn of the XX century. A career officer who managed to stay clear of politics in the turbulent 1930s, he ran the country's Military Academy till 1941. In 1942 he became a defence minister in Bulgaria's Nazi-allied government. In the summer of 1943 General Mihov was appointed as one of the three regents to the boy King Simeon after the death of his father King Boris.

Just over a year later, after the Communist takeover of Bulgaria, Nikola Mihov's fate took a dramatic turn – he was arrested, taken to the Soviet Union for questioning, then returned, put on show trial in Sofia and executed together with 96 other statesmen and prominent Bulgarians. They were all shot and buried in a mass grave on 1-2 February 1945.

Lyudmila Doytchinova was Nikola Mihov's niece. She remembered vividly the day her uncle vanished.


Filmed in Sofia, 2008

Published in YOUR STORY

Yugoslavia on Kodachrome

A rare Kodachrome film for Pan Am Airways, 1964.

Yugoslavia was the only Communist-controlled country in today's Eastern Europe Pan Am flew to during the Cold War – showing how important the country was at that time.

A cultural icon of the XX Century, Pan American World Airways, or Pan Am, was the largest international air carrier in the US from 1927 until its collapse its 1991.

Pan-Am is remembered by many for its routes to divided Berlin - Tempelhof and Tegel.

Did you fly on Pan Am to Yugoslavia or West Berlin? Did you visit Yugoslavia's Adriatic coast, or perhaps Ohrid?

Share your memories.

Converted from 16 mm film.

All rights to use purchased.

This Kodachrome film is just a beautiful and non-political piece of history. More on the seemingly still open question whether Yugoslavia was a Communist society despite its relatively open borders, was it dogmatic...did it ever try do deal with events of the recent past, like Bleiburg or the fate of its ethnic Germans, Istria... is available on: 

Tito in Moscow 1972

Communist Nostalgia

Published in Balkans

Prespa Lake - an area of stunning nature and relentless politics.

After several campaigns of ethnic purges and other of the 20th Century's upheavals: the Balkan wars, the 1920s, the Greek Civil war of 1947-49, the Slav speakers – Bulgarians and Macedonians - largely disappeared from Northern Greece. Their houses are sill there in ghost villages, the stories of survivors in remote pockets still untold, their identity still intact. We spoke to some of them on camera.

Published in Balkans


74 years ago on 10-11 March 1943 Bulgaria's pro-Nazi government decided to defy Berlin and halt the deportation of Bulgaria's 50.000 Jews. This was mainly down to the actions of one man - Dimitar Peshev.

Just two years later he faced Communist justice and found himself on trial for his life. 

His niece Kaluda Kiradjieva remembered.

Published in Bulgaria

Prespa Lake - an area of stunning nature and human sadness.

After several campaigns of ethnic purges: the aftermath of the Balkan wars, the 1920s, the Greek Civil war of 1947-49 the Slav speakers - Bulgarians and Macedonians - largely disappeared from Northern Greece. Their houses are sill there in ghost villages, the stories of survivors in remote pockets still untold.

The last wave of refugees from the area came in 1947-49. About 30.000 children in territories controlled by the Communist guerrillas in the north were forcibly removed across the Eastern Block. Others were sent to foster homes in the US, all victims of one the first conflicts of the Cold War. The return of Slav-speaking refugees to Greece has been extremely slow and painful, the return of confiscated property virtually non-existent.

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© Velislav Radev

Published in Photo Gallery Balkans


9th October 1934. A Bulgarian citizen assassinates King Alexander I of Yugoslavia in Marseille, one of the earliest terrorist attacks in France of the 20th Century. Аlso killed was one of Europe's most distinguished politicians, the French Foreign Minister and ex Prime Minister, Louis Barthou. The assassin, Vlado Chernozemski, was himself killed straight afterwards.

Chernozemski was a conspirator who saw himself as a Macedonian revolutionary. He was born Velichko Kerin in 1897 in the village of Kamenitsa in south western Bulgaria, and joined the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization IMRO in 1922.

In 1928 Chernozemski was sentenced to death for murder, but was granted amnesty in 1932. He was responsible for the murder of yet another Macedonian activist on the order of IMROs leader Ivan Mihailov.

Chernozemski was said to have planned to enter the League of Nations in Geneva and blow himself up as a sign of protest against the League's  failure to act over the situation in Vardar-Macedonia (then part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia).

Until May 1934 the IMRO had de facto control of Bulgaria's south western part, raised "taxes" and acted as a state within a state, with the unofficial support of the political and military establishment in Sofia. The IMRO also established close links with Mussolini's Italy and with the Croatian Ustasha (Ustaše) fascist movement, sharing what they saw as a common enemy in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

During the 1920s and 1930s numerous assassinations were carried out by IMRO across Europe and in Yugoslavia. Often the logistics were organised by Croat supporters who were more worldly and experienced in travelling through Europe than IMRO's agents. Croats usually provided forged passports, escort and shelter, like they did in Marseille in October 1934. The assassination in Marseille is still not included in the school curriculum in Bulgaria.

King Alexander was buried in the Memorial Church of St. George in the Oplenac Royal Mausoleum, near the town of Topola. This newsreel shows King Alexander's widow, the Queen consort Maria of Yugoslavia (the daughter of Queen Marie of Romania) and Alexander's 11-year son Peter, later King Peter II Karadjordjevic.

Also seen here is Hitler's deputy Hermann Goering in conversation with Marshal Pétain, then France's Minister of War. In the next shot is Prince Kiril of Bulgaria. King Boris III, who had shown King Alexander around his royal palaces in Bulgaria only a few days earlier, (28-30 September) expressed condolences, but sent to the funeral his younger brother.

9 октомври 1934, пристанището на Марсилия, Франция. Български гражданин, Владо Черноземски, застрелва крал Александър І на Югославия. Убит е и един от най-почитаните европейски политици, външният министър на Франция и бивш министър председател Луи Барту, далеч от балканската политика и аспирации. Атентаторът е убит незабавно.

Владо Черноземски ("Шофьора") е конспиратор, който се възприема като борец в полза на българска кауза в Македония. Роден Величко Димитров Керин на 19 октомври 1897 в село Каменица, сега част от Велинград. През 1922 той се влючва във Вътрешната македонска революционна организация ВМРО.

През 1928 година Черноземски е осъден на смърт за убийството през 1924 на народния представител и левичарски македонски активист Димо Хаджидимов, но през 1932 година е пуснат на свобода при амнистия. Владо Черноземски е отговорен и за убийството през 1930 в София на македонския деец Наум Томалевски по нареждане на водача на ВМРО Ванче Михайлов.

Черноземски говори за желанието си да влезе в сградата на Обществото на народите в Женева и се самовзриви. С този си акт той иска да обърне внимание към бездействието на организацията-предшественик на ООН по повод на обстановката във Вардарска Македония (тогава част от Кралство Югославия).

През 20-те и 30-те години на ХХ век, освен в България, ВМРО провежда многобройни атентати в Западна Европа и особено в Югославия. Най-често подготовката се поема от хърватски активисти. Те обикновено осигуряват фалшиви паспорти, ескорт и подслон, както преди конспирацията от 9 октомври 1934 на кея в Марсилия.

В България атентатът в Марсилия все още не се изучава в училище.

Published in Bulgaria


Germany opens with Nazi pomp a trade show in Sofia. Bulgaria's Prime Minister Prof. Bogdan Filov attending.

Германия открива в нацистки стил в София свое Индустриално изложение в присъствието на министър председателя проф. Богдан Филов, 1942.

Published in Bulgaria