Squat loos are nothing specific to Bulgaria, Turkey or northern Greece. These can be found all over Russia and are the standard in Japan. Strictly speaking, squat toilets dot the cityscapes anywhere east of Vienna, but because of the current Bulgarian establishment's censorship of the work of a Czech artist in Brussels they have become associated primarily with Bulgaria. But there is one major difference between David Cerny's depiction of Bulgaria in his Entropa installation in Brussels and the real thing a Vagabond reader noted, a pile of turd and a puddle of piss would have made it more true to life.
Here is how Dame Rebecca West saw the Balkan squat loos, or "lavatories of the Turkish kind," just before the Second World War.
"The dark hole in the floor, and something hieratic in the proportions of the place made it seem as if dung, having been expelled by man, had set itself up as a new and hostile and magically powerful element that could cover the whole earth with dark ooze and sticky humidity... I felt as if the place were soiling me with filth which I would never be able to wash off because it was stronger in its essence than mere mild soap and water."
70 years ago, on 10 March 1943, Bulgaria's pro-Nazi government decided to defy Berlin and halt the deportation of Bulgaria's 50.000 Jews. This was down to the actions of one man - Dimitar Peshev. Just two years later he faced Communist justice and found himself on trial for his life. His niece Kaluda Kiradjieva remembers