What is it about

In Bulgaria, almost 40 years after the last repression of the Turkish minority at the end of the communist regime, there is no visual archive of their long repression.

Photographs documenting their renaming, displacement and expulsion are either scattered in private and public archives in Bulgaria, Turkey and around the world, or are missing.

This is a significant problem for researching, understanding and transmitting the memory of what happened.

The aim of this visual archive is to fill this huge gap by creating the first of its kind open digital visual archive – museum of assimilation, bringing together photographs documenting the repression of Bulgarian citizens of Turkish origin.

The archive will collect visual documents by Bulgarian photographers, incompletely known works by photographers from around the world, as well as the very valuable and hitherto incompletely known personal photographs taken on the spot by witnesses of the crimes. Special attention will be paid to photographs taken by the repressive organs – the militia and the State Security.

The digital archive will be constantly evolving and open to research, curatorial projects, public discussions, solo exhibitions and books.

Due to the wide dispersion of the Turkish and Bulgarian diaspora around the world, the digital archive can also play a very important role as a new common place of memory, catalysing dialogue, new research and perspectives.
Last but not least, it provides access to history and new historical sources for researchers, students and scholars in Bulgaria and around the world.


The digital archive focuses on the period of socialism (1945-1989), with a clear awareness that the processes of assimilation did not begin with the advent of communism, but accompanied the entire period after the founding of Bulgaria and were an important part of the nation-building. Perhaps the framework can be widened at a later stage. The limitations are imposed because the communist period has its own peculiarities, which can be found in the policy towards Bulgarian citizens of Turkish origin, and because there is a sufficient number of high-quality historical studies on this period, on which the present visual archive is based.

Our aim is to build on this existing knowledge by bringing together the photographic records of this period.

Conditions of use

The visual archive of assimulation is a non-commercial archive. please be aware of our special conditions of use:

  • no download
  • no further rights of use
  • no rights transfer to third parties
  • any use of the images is subject to notification to the Visual Archive of Assimilation


Overview over the years 1945 – 1989


Overview over all photographers


Overview over the years 1945 – 1989

Assimilation Archive