📣📣Starting today, young people with a passion for literature, cinema, and history can unleash their imagination and participate in the competition “Whoever Saves One Human Life Saves the Entire Universe.” The Center for Jewish-Bulgarian Cooperation ALEF is launching another edition of its long-standing initiative. In times when wars are raging in many parts of the world and human life is increasingly devalued, the organizers believe that through this competition, they will instill values such as humanism, compassion, and empathy in the younger generation.

📜To participate in the competition, young authors must transport themselves back in time to the Holocaust and create a literary or video narrative focusing on the Jewish population in Bulgaria 80 years ago. They should describe the anxious events leading up to the deportation of Jews to Nazi death camps, as well as the resistance and assistance of honorable Bulgarians, which led to the unprecedented act of their rescue. Using the tools of literature or cinematic techniques through a video narrative shot with a phone or amateur camera, students must depict the troubling times of the Second World War and the bravery of these Bulgarian saviors. Stories based on historical specifics will be given preference. The jury will highly value the investigative spirit of the authors in terms of finding eyewitnesses or their descendants and the creative reimagining of their memories.

📽️For video narratives, it is recommended to include elements such as individual memories, interviews on the topic, documenting personal stories, video narratives of places where dramatic events during the Holocaust occurred, flash mobs, artistic reenactments, dramatic interpretations of stories related to the theme, and more.

👥The competition is supported by the Municipality of Burgas, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Palace of Children, the Embassy of Israel in Bulgaria, the Polish Institute in Sofia, the Embassies of Slovakia, Austria, Poland, and Germany, as well as numerous corporate and private donors and supporters. Media partners include the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) and bivol.bg.

Participation is open to students from Bulgaria, Europe, and Israel between the ages of 15 and 19. 🖋️Participants must submit an original literary narrative in their native language, written specifically for this competition, unpublished, and not entered in other competitions. Candidates who prepare a video narrative should submit it in Bulgarian or their native language, with English subtitles. Each participant may submit only one piece of work. The literary narratives should not exceed four computer pages in Times New Roman, 12-point font. Video narratives, recorded with a phone or amateur camera, should not exceed 5 minutes in length. Competition materials should be sent to the organizers’ email address: center.alef@gmail.com. Participants must provide their full name, a brief bio, complete mailing address, contact phone number, and email address.

The deadline for submitting works is February 1, 2024. 🏆The works will be judged by an international jury. The jury will nominate the 30 best participants from Bulgaria and abroad. The nominated participants will be announced on the organizers’ website, www.alef-bg.org, by April 1, 2024. All nominated participants will be invited, free of charge, to participate in the 3-day International Youth Literary Festival “Friendship – Meaning and Salvation” in Burgas, Bulgaria, in June 2024. Young creators will take part in creative writing workshops with prominent writers and historians, such as Georgi Bardarov, Maria Kasimova-Moase, Christopher Buxton, and others. The festival’s program will include film screenings dedicated to the Holocaust and the unique rescue of Bulgarian Jews, book presentations, exhibitions, literary readings, and more.

This year, the organizers have provided cash prizes and certificates for the best-performing authors. Participants from Bulgaria who rank first, second, and third will have the opportunity to receive year-round state scholarships. The awarded narratives will be published in 2024 in a standalone collection published by the ALEF Center, as well as on the website www.alef-bg.org. The results for the final ranking will be announced at an awards ceremony in Burgas in June 2024.

* The organizers reserve the right to make changes.

Translation: Simona Veleva