(8 Jun) New Beginnings: From Behind the Iron Curtain to America Presentation (+GAL)

New Beginnings PresentationWe had the pleasure on 8 June 2022, nevertheless the rain and stormy weather, to meet in person in our home-base Hilton Sofia 12 Friends – members and guests at our 25th official meeting.

The meeting started with welcoming words by the President. Then a presentation followed about the Internal affairs – news, activities, and projects’ update (attached).

This day was very special because our dear Friend Mrs. Ani Hristova had a birthday and Hristina and all members congratulated her for the great occasion and gave her flowers. Ani is maybe our most active past President and member of the club who continuously contribute and support us in all the activities and initiatives we do. Thank you to Ani for all she is doing. It is highly appreciated.

Our President Elect Mr. Rumen Rusinov informed about his meeting with Dr. Sigrun Comati and informed about an event in September – exhibition in Rüsselsheim in Germany that we are all invited.

Afterwards, our special guest Mrs. Nina Duridanova, invited by Stamen, presented her story of her life, also depicted in the new book she has just published in Bulgarian and in English: New Beginnings: From Behind the Iron Curtain to America. Burning with desire to share the value of freedom, Antonina takes you from her plight in communist Bulgaria to the free shores of America. Following unfortunate events of life in a totalitarian regime in Bulgaria, Antonina bids goodbye to her homeland and flees to the Western world. She provides true experiences and observations of what life is in a communist society-her family’s lands and cattle being confiscated by the agricultural labor cooperatives; the censorship of the press and any literal, artistic, and scientific works from the West; religion being prohibited; and any deviation from the norm leading to detention in a labor camp. Her last crossing of the Bulgarian-Yugoslavian border almost costs Antonina her life and makes up her mind to never go back. She describes her life as an immigrant at the refugee camp in Traiskirchen, Austria, while waiting for an American visa.

Antonina is ecstatic when the plane cruises over the Statue of Liberty and lands in the most amazing city in the world-New York. She describes how she could taste, smell, feel, and touch freedom as she gets off the plane, ready to embark on new adventures. Antonina gets educated and becomes a good specialist in taxation, working for the United States Treasury Department. Ultimately, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, she is invited to go back to Bulgaria and fix a broken tax system as a representative of the United States government. Her work in the newly democratic society of Bulgaria paved the way for the country to become a member of NATO, escaping Soviet influence, and later being accepted in the family of the European Union.

Finally, Hristina thanked to our guests and club members for joining this evening and reminded them for the upcoming future meetings, on Wednesdays 18.45h in person in Hilton and online for those who cannot attend physically. 

After the official closing of the meeting, the fellowship continued in an informal way as usual.

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During the summer break informal meetings take place at Club of the Architects Restaurant every Wednesday at 19:00.

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