Wagenstein, Angel Raymond

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WAGENSTEIN, ANGEL RAYMOND (1922– ), Bulgarian novelist and screenwriter. Born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria to a Jewish workers' family, Wagenstein was active in the partisan resistance movement in World War ii. Captured and tortured, he was sentenced to death and only saved by the rapid advance of the Red Army in August 1944.

After the war he studied cinema in Moscow and went on to write more than 50 screenplays for feature films, documentaries, and animated cartoons produced in Bulgaria, Germany, Russia, the Czech Republic, Greece, China, and Vietnam. Stars (Zvezdi), dealing with the fate of the Jews during the Holocaust, won a special prize at Cannes in 1959. As a novelist he wrote the prizewinning trilogy Petoknizie Isaakovo ("Isaac's Pentateuch") on Jewish life in the 20th century, Avram Karkacha, and Sbogom Shanhai ("Good-bye Shanghai"), which won the Jean Monet Prize in 2004.

Wagenstein was one of the 12 dissidents invited to the historic meeting with President Mitterand at the French Embassy in Sofia before the collapse of totalitarianism in Bulgaria. After the changes in 1989 he was elected as a deputy in the National Assembly, which produced the new democratic constitution of Bulgaria. He was named a chevalier in the French Order of Merit.

[Emil Kalo (2nd ed.)]