VARNA, major seaport on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria; ancient Odessus; called Stalin 1949–1956). During the 1880s there were 300 Jews in Varna. The organization of the community was made possible by the Tedeschi brothers. In 1919 there were 1,500 Jews; in 1938, 2,000; and in 1943, 1,254. Besides the Sephardi community, there was also a small Ashkenazi community. The Alliance Israélite Universelle opened an elementary school for boys and girls in the town in 1880 and two vocational centers, one for boys in 1885 and one for girls in 1898. A newspaper in Ladino, Il Judio, which had at first been published in Constantinople, was published in Varna from 1922 to 1927 under the editorship of David Elnecavé. In 2004 there were 217 Jews in Varna, affiliated with the local branch of the nationwide Shalom organization.
S. Mézan, Les Juifs espagnols en Bulgarie, 1 (1925), passim; M.D. Gaon, Ha-Ittonut be-Ladino (1965), passim.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.