SPAICH – a documentary about fighter pilot Dimitar Spisarevski

Adela Peeva: "Human history is the true document of time"

(Excerpt from an interview)


"Captain Spisarevski was an amazing person and what he did, in very unexpected ways, reflects on people's lives today. (On December 20, 1943 while defending Sofia from the bombings of the Allied Forces and seeing that he could bring down an American bomber, Spisarevski crashed into him with his plane and died -b.a.). I am still unable to discern the logic by which he seems to appear in all kinds of places throughout Bulgaria and with different people – with young patriots of the Bulgarian National Union, which is probably normal, but not so likely with a dental technician in Dobrich, who for seven years has been making a diorama from available materials depicting a moment of the pilot’s life; with a young man from Lom, currently an economic immigrant; with a sophisticated intellectual of Bulgarian origin in Canada, who was frantically fighting for his unblemished image in a forum where she defended him from an Englishman who called him a fascist, because he was fighting against the “good” Americans. This woman experienced the bombings of Sofia as a child and to this day has nightmares that she is being chased by a dreadful plane. She does not know whether it is a German or an American plane, but she feels scared. In her eyes, Spisarevski did something to protect her from these bombings.

At first glance, Spisarevski is not at all in the minds and hearts of people – you can ask a random person in the street and they will most probably have no idea who he was. When you press a button, however, or go slightly deeper below the surface, he seems to be everywhere. Yet each group makes its own interpretation of his heroism. At various times, Spisarevski was glorified and used in the official propaganda, then he was forgotten and discredited – in one word, he was a crucified man. But people definitely need him. Christ was also a necessity for people but He was crucified. There is a need today for such people and I became aware of this while I was making my film for Sofia’s mayor Ivan Ivanov. We definitely need positive role models – not insipid characters but real-life heroes whose truth might even taste a bit bitter to swallow. Spisarevski is interptered differently by different people – to some he symbolized the desire to live in an era when heroes still exist; to others he is the epitome of patriotism, which is now an outdated concept; he is also seen as a symbol of the desire for personal realization – people identify with him or want to emulate him. Moreover, he was a very charismatic person and a handsome lad very well liked by women. And he was undeniably a strong personality! "

/ Published: "24 Hours", Thursday, February 23, 2012, author: Zheni Milcheva /