Nikola Ionkov Vaptsarov

Vaptsarov, Nikola Ionkov


Born Jan. 10, 1910, in Bansko; died July 23, 1942, in Sofia. Bulgarian poet and revolutionary figure.

Vaptsarov was born into the family of a Macedonian revolutionary. He went to secondary school in Razlog (1820-26) and graduated from the Marine Technology School in Varna in 1932. Then, working as a fireman, he came to know the life of workers and their aspirations. In 1932 he joined the Bulgarian Communist Party. In 1936 he moved to Sofia, where he began to broaden his ties with the workers and the Communists. He became friends with the revolutionary writers G. Karaslavov, Kh. Radevskii, M. Isaev, and T. Pavlov; he also founded a circle of Macedonian poets and published his poetry in the progressive press. He carried out the assignment of the Bulgarian Communist Party to do propaganda work. After Hitler’s Germany attacked the USSR, Vaptsarov worked in the underground, organizing units that fought against the fascist regime, and wrote antifascist works. Because of these activities he was subjected to repressions. He was arrested on Mar. 4, 1942, tortured, and then executed at the command of the Bulgarian fascist monarchist authorities.

Vaptsarov continued the revolutionary traditions of the poetry of Kh. Botev and Kh. Smirnenskii, but he also introduced new themes and images into poetry (the verse collection The Motor’s Songs, 1940). Characteristic of his work is an angry rejection of the old world and a passionate affirmation of the socialist ideal. The lyrical hero of his verse is a worker and a Communist, an image which in Vaptsarov’s works is the complex one of a man at home, at work, and fighting for the revolution. Vaptsarov exposed the fascists’ use of terror, supported the idea of friendship with the USSR, and extolled the cause of the Spanish republicans. His poetry represents a new stage in the development of socialist realism in Bulgarian literature. In 1953, Vaptsarov was posthumously awarded the International Peace Prize.


Subrani suchineniia, 8th ed. Sofia, 1959.
Spomeni, pisma, dokumenti. Sofia, 1953.
In Russian translation:
Stikhotvoreniia. Introductory article by A Surkov. Moscow, 1959.


Kravtsov, N. I. “Nikola Vaptsarov.” In Ocherki istorii bolgarskoi literatury XIX-XX vv. Moscow, 1959.
Vaptsarova, B. Spomeni za Vaptsarov. Sofia, 1952.
Mutafchiev, R. Ezik i stil na Vaptsarovata poeziia, 2nd ed. Sofia, 1963.
Pondev, P. Nikola Vaptsarov. Sofia, 1965.
Bulgarskata kritika za Nikola Vaptsarov. Sofia, 1969.