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Go Back   The Soviet Military Awards Page Forum > Soviet Awards Forums > Union Of Soviet Socialist Republics > Soviet Reference And Research Materials > Reference Books And Catalogues

Reference Books And Catalogues Materials published for reference of awards and uniforms or sales purposes.

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Old 06-15-2007, 01:32 PM   #1
d-riemer
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New Book on Bulgarian Badges

A fairly expensive reference book titled "Bulgarian Badges, Witnesses of History" has just been published in a small edition of 125 numbered copies. For more information please contact me.
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Old 06-17-2007, 07:18 PM   #2
Nota Bene
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Dear Dietrich,

Congratulations on finishing this monumental job! I believe this is a first for Bulgarian badges. Could you please post some pictures of the book, how many badges are described, price, etc.

Alexei
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Old 06-17-2007, 09:57 PM   #3
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Bulgarian Badges, Witnesses of History

Dear Alexei.
I appreciate your understanding of the effort required in publishing a book. I am now looking at all books with much greater respect. Just two persons, myself and the consultant/printer/publisher in Sofia, created this book. Computers make such small-scale publishing possible.
It was my intent to write a book that uses badges as source for information about events and attitudes in the Bulgarian past.
The book is distributed by the Bulgarian publisher. (I will send a link by email.) Here are some excerpts from his announcement:

Bulgarian Badges, Witnesses of History (Reference Book)
Author: Dietrich E. Riemer: a collector focused on Bulgarian communist awards.
Printed in May 2007, Sofia, Bulgaria
First, limited edition of 125 copies
Each copy is numbered, with handwritten personal message by the author!
+ Glossary of abbreviations with interpretation!
+ Separate pricelist with prices as of May, 2007 (to be updated annually)
Language: English
ISBN–10: 954-91123-4-9
Size: 160/220 mm, hardback, high-quality print!
Pages: 361
Price: 70.00 USD / 57.40 EUR

This book of excellent printing quality presents more than 1500 Bulgarian badges in detail and will bring joy to the readers who value in-depth information and full-color photos! Most badges are shown at actual size. Where a photo had to be reduced, the reduction ratio is listed. Interesting details of badges are explained with enlarged pictures, which is very helpful!

A lot of the badges included in the book have been published for the first time!

The book can be referred to as the first attempt to cover a field that is too broad to fully encompass. The main goal of the book is to satisfy the needs of the collectors and provide them with useful information about the Bulgarian decorations that are least explored: Bulgarian badges. In brief, the book can be referred to as a priceless reference tool for every collector (both advanced and beginner).

The author’s style is easy-to-follow and interesting-to-read: Bulgaria’s history and its decorations are presented in a story-like manner, with a lot of social aspects and facts of importance included.

Different spheres of awarding have been explored: art and culture, different ministries, the communist party, a whole variety of organizations, the Armed forces, MVR, Navy, Civil Defense as well as all the official and unofficial structures of the Bulgarian society.

The history of the awards themselves is presented too, their classes, emissions, rank and type of make. General historical background and rich fact material add to the merits of the book. At that point, it won’t be exaggerated to say that the author is the readers’ guide in time showing them the different stages of development both of the Bulgarian state and the Bulgarian badges, the witnesses of History. Follow him and you won’t get lost.
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Old 06-19-2007, 07:13 PM   #4
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Dear Dietrich,

Thanks! This looks like a dream come true for all Bulgarian collectors. I've ordered my copy yesterday. Can't wait to receive it! I am willing to bet that 125 copied would not last you a week :thumbsup

Alexei
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Old 07-01-2007, 11:51 PM   #5
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Dear Alexei,
a week has passed and the 125 copies have not sold yet. I will be very interested in your comments about the book once you receive it.

The book started as an attempt to convince anyone in my family to become interested in the subject of collecting Bulgarian badges. So, there is some introductory information in front of the book that is written for people who know nothing about medal collecting or about Bulgaria. But then the book grew into more advanced regions, trying to read from badges about history and social life of Bulgaria.

I had a friend in my early days who was a military attache of the GDR in Bulgaria, and I always felt kind of sorry for him. Now I realize how distorted my view was through the lens of the Cold War. The People's Republic Bulgaria with about 7 million people had an unbelievable complex social life when analyzed through their badges and decorations. However, it could be that the non-conventional approach I used to learn about a country shows more of the country's dreams and hopes than of its reality.
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Old 07-02-2007, 05:04 AM   #6
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Dietrich,

Feel free to post good scans of some of the illustrations from your book. Also it may be interesting if you provided a few excerpts...kind of teaser material for what we can expect.

Art
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Old 07-02-2007, 10:41 AM   #7
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Bulgarian Labor Service

Art,
my favorite subject in recent Bulgarian history is the Mandatory Labor Service. Here is an excerpt from the book on this subject:

" 12.1. Mandatory Labor Service
Invented in Bulgaria

In 1920, Alexander Stamboliski takes an idea into reality: He drafts young people for constructive work in peace and not as destructive force in war and creates the first Labor Army in service of the country. The concept was not unanimously supported. But it affected the world and survived in Bulgaria in some form for 80 years.
The details of the Stamboliski Labor Service and its derivatives are complex and confusing but badges together with various sources of information allow to develop an outline of the organization.
The Bulgarian nation of 6 million had mobilized by draft in WWI an army of 900,000 soldiers. 100,000 were killed or missing in action, 150,000 had been wounded. In 1918, the defeated Bulgaria had nothing to show for the sacrifice. It even lost some of its land. The nation was angry and ready for a change.
Alexander Stamboliski (1879-1923), a Bulgarian politician with an agrarian background, had resisted the war before its beginning and had warned Tsar Ferdinand that he would lose his head if he took Bulgaria into the war. The regime considered Stamboliski’s warning treasonous and jailed him for life. When Bulgaria capitulated in 1918, Ferdinand did not lose his head but his position as head of Bulgaria, and he was forced to leave the country. Stamboliski was freed as hero and man of wisdom. As leader of the Agrarian Party, he advanced quickly to the position of Prime Minister in spite of tensions with the 24-year-old inexperienced Tsar Boris III, Ferdinand’s son, who now occupied his father’s position as head of state.
Alexander Stamboliski, the man who had opposed the war, had to sign the humiliating Peace Treaty of Neuilly on 27 November 1919. Its ARTICLE 65 states that “universal mandatory military service shall be abolished in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian Army shall in the future be constituted and recruited only by means of voluntary enlistment.” ARTICLE 66 limited the total number of military forces in the Bulgarian Army to 20,000 men, including officers and depot troops.
Stamboliski recognized that training young people physically and teaching them discipline required service in an army. He initiated a mandatory Army of Labor for the Common Good, to provide young people with orderliness and physical strength while improving the infrastructure of the country. This Labor Army was designed to promote the ideas of brotherhood and solidarity of social classes and produce materially useful and tangible results for the country. Men and women, single or married, were drafted to perform essential public works in the National Labor Service (“trudova povinnost”).
The Labor Service was divided in two parts. Young men, upon reaching age 18, were drafted into a one-time 8-month service, equivalent to the conscription for basic military training. The discipline of the drafted young “trudovaks”, their methods and their life style were that of military recruits. They were given gray uniforms and on their caps was the official badge with the words “Labor for Bulgaria”. They had their flags, their music, their songs and their bands. On entering the service, they took an oath to be faithful to Tsar and country and to perform all their assignments responsibly. They were organized in units under military-style command and given practical vocational training.
A second part of the Labor Service consisted of an annual 3-week call for all adult citizens (men until age 40, women until age 30) including those who had completed the 8-month service before. This was similar to an annual exercise for army reservists. As a rule, only the men were called, and they seldom served more than 10 days a year. Substantial tasks have been accomplished by the yearly labor service, even though the law was not applied evenly in all communities. But when the local officials were energetic and all the men had been required to do at least ten days of service annually, many local improvements were accomplished.
The Labor-Service program was weakened by a later provision that allowed the wealthy to purchase their release from the draft. Another negative influence came from the World War I Control Commission that opposed the military style of the program as an attempt to rearm in violation of the Treaty of Neuilly.
In spite of some weaknesses, the Labor Service remained a success. It is reported in the early 1930s, that streets had been widened, paved and straightened; hundreds of miles of local roads been constructed, bridges had been built, schools and reading rooms been erected, water been piped to villages, and in several districts even electric power plants had been built. Dikes have been erected along low-bank rivers. In a wide, low plain near Sofia, a winding river has been shortened and land been reclaimed. Trees had been planted on hundreds of acres by the annual temporary laborers. Helpful public health improvements had been introduced.
The 1930s statistics show that 45,000 young men were drafted each year into the 8-month Labor Service. Approximately three quarters of a million adults were subject to the annual 10-to-21-day call. To promote the idea of service even more widely, 800,000 school children were required by law to work a number of days each year for the common good.
It is important to remember that the mandatory Labor Service had been created as a substitute for the military draft. Therefore, when the military draft was reintroduced in the late 1930s under the clouds of the coming war, the Labor Service became a place for lesser Bulgarians who were considered to be not qualified for military service. Jewish men between 16 and 55 years of age were now drafted for 6 to 7 months a year into labor camps. The food was sufficient but bad. The command structure consisted mainly of retired officers and sergeants, some of them abusive, others supportive.
The Labor Service helped to protect Jews in Bulgaria from deportation and the Final Solution. But the mandatory Labor Service had now descended to become a second-class alternative for military service and was populated exclusively by minorities with limited rights. This development destroyed Stamboliski’s original goal to foster brotherhood and solidarity. After that, the Labor Service never completely recovered from this stigma.
When WWII ended, the military draft continued under the new regime almost without interruption, different from the conditions after WWI. Therefore, the Labor Service remained the nonmilitary draft alternative for youth not trusted with weapons. These were not Jews any longer but other minorities and youths tarnished by close association with the royal regime of the past. The new friend Soviet Union did not have a Labor Army but only penal labor camps, an association that further undermined the image of the Bulgarian Labor Service.
To upgrade its status, the Labor Service was reorganized and in the 1960s integrated into the Bulgarian Army as Construction Troops. This followed the example of the Soviet Union, which had Construction Troops as a branch in the Soviet Army. After that change, between 12,000 and 15,000 conscripts completed their draft obligations in the PRB Construction Troops. They still had no weapons but now wore military uniforms. These troops were controlled not by the Ministry of Defense but by the Ministry of Construction, Architecture and Public Services and received little or no military training. In the established tradition, these units typically drafted Turks, Gypsies and other ethnic minorities that were considered unsuitable for service in combat units because of language problems or perceived lack of political reliability (Turkey and Greece were members of NATO and therefore the enemy). "
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Old 07-02-2007, 11:37 AM   #8
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Conversion of German Panzerkampfabzeichen

Art,
here is a page from the book discussing the unusual solution for an award of the 1st Bulgarian Army at the end of WWII. They just used available German awards, their former ally, and machined them into new awards for their fight against the German troops. The picture on the badge applied because the Bulgarian army was equipped with German weapons.
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Old 07-03-2007, 06:04 PM   #9
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I am still anxiously awaiting my copy.

Alexei
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Old 07-03-2007, 06:45 PM   #10
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Dietrich,

Can this book be purchased from you directly? If you'd like, please give specifics such as price, shipping and handling..

I just answered my own question. Please see Dietrich's first post. Those interested please contact him directly.
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