Page 160 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
government institutions, since a number of refugees had already dealt with their pressing needs
for housing and occupation on their own, with private or municipal assistance.
Municipal (local) policies for accommodating refugees
The most important aspect to be emphasized with regard to local policies for including
refugees in urban space is that in Haskovo and Svilengrad there did not exist at the time
ethnically
delineated neighbourhoods
– i.e. there weren’t any already established practices for separating
and – in this way – accommodating foreign masses. In the above-signposted context, the
municipal councils and the newly-established subdivisions to them in partnership with municipal
commissions could not develop their own policies with respect to the refugee masses who settled
on their territories. In Haskovo and Svilengrad, for example, immediately after World War I and
until the mid-1930s, the Municipal council included certain refugee families in the programmes
for poor, homeless or inadequately housed, or in the educational programmes for poor kids, etc.
To be reported to the municipal council that there have been filed applications for
poverty listings, each considered separately, namely on behalf of Mitro Nedyalkov – refugee
from the village of [Enivoren] (Western Thrace), Rasuda Milusheva from Chadrili village
(Western Thrace), Smaraidi Nedyalkova, refugee, and Andona Kostadinova Gacheva from
the town of Svilengrad
(Transcript N3 from Svilengrad Municipal council meeting, dated
16.01.1929; RSA-Haskovo, 53К, op. 1, a. e. 24).
There are a number of cases in which the local authorities made regulation compromises
for certain individuals or families only because they were refugees or were involved in assisting
refugees – such as remission of fines, postponement of due building demolition, etc.
[…] on the same street is the house of Zhelezko Ilchev in which a refugee resides who, I
do not believe, can find other housing. Zhelezko Ilchev has another house and we do not have
to concern ourselves with him; we, however, need to think about that man
(From a statement
of municipal councilor Vl. Damenov on the occasion of decision to demolish risk buildings –
meeting of the Municipal council in Haskovo, 12.09.1922, RSA-Haskovo, 12К, оp. 1, а.е. 90)
.
In view of the above, there is little evidence of special policies on behalf of local authorities
with regard to refugee flows.What we have here are incidental measures taken in certain situations
as they presented themselves.
After the setting up of the Main Directorate for Refugee Accommodation, the municipal
councils were required to define plots for yard allocation for the refugees, plots which were to be
within residential limits but also in close proximity to arable land. The effects from the execution of
this policy can be observed today in the urban planning of towns with compact masses of settled
refugees, among which is Haskovo (as well as Harmanli, Yambol, and even Plovdiv and Sofia).