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German captives prefer to live in Bulgaria

Date: 16.12.2005

It may sound strange, but in the 15th and 17th century, when Bulgaria was under the Ottoman yoke, thousands of foreigners preferred to live here rather than in their native countries. Austia was the then main enemy of the Ottoman Empire. Thousands of soldiers were captured during these wars.
In the middle of the 17th century on his way to Istanbul the Austrian ambassador stopped over in the village of Popovitza, Plovdiv region. He decided to buy a loaf of bread and in broken Bulgarian asked for it a local baker. The villager smiled and answered him in fluent German. It turned out that he was a baker from Freiberg, who was captured by the Turks. The ambassador offered the baker to take him back to Germany. The villager refused: I'm married to a Bulgarian woman and I have three children. I run a bakery of my own and the one in Freiberg is owned by my brother." The ambassador asked him if there are other Germans and the captive answered him that some 10 to 12 of his fellow-countrymen live in each of the big villages and hardly any of them would like to return to their motherland because they all had families, jobs and all they needed to live normally, while at that time Germany was devastated by the Thirty Year's War and people there lived worse than the residents of the Ottoman Empire.

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