Sofia Honors First US Consular Rep in Bulgaria

Diplomacy | June 14, 2012, Thursday // 08:04|  views

Asen Kermekchiev, aka Ace Kermek, was appointed US Consular Agent in January, 1912. Photo by the US Embassy in Sofia

A commemorative plaque in honor of Assen Kermekchiev, a Bulgarian-American citizen and the first US consular representative in Bulgaria, will be unveiled in Sofia on Thursday.

US Ambassador James Warlick and the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria Valentin Georgiev will open the plaque at a ceremony, which will also mark the 100th anniversary of US-Bulgarian consular relations.

The unveiling ceremony will take place at 16.00 at the Crystal Garden in Sofia, near the corner of Shesti Septemvri and Aksakov streets.

Asen Kermekchiev, aka Ace Kermek, was a doctor, writer, and soldier.  He was appointed US Consular Agent in January, 1912. He founded the American Chamber of Commerce in Sofia.

In 1912, Kermekchiev was called into military service (in the First Balkan War) and took his consular seals with him to the front, where he was praised by US Consul John Kehl for protecting American lives and property in occupied territories.

On his return to Sofia, Kermekchiev resumed his work as a consular agent, doctor and writer; however, his views on WWI did not match the American policy of neutrality so he resigned at the end of 1914.

In 1923, Kermekchiev left for New York.  There, he became active with the Bulgarian community, serving as secretary for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.  He also wrote articles on Balkan politics for the New York Times and had a successful medical practice.

Eventually, Kermekchiev changed his name to Ace Kermek.  In 1928, Kermek naturalized as an American citizen, and in 1930 he married an American, Viola Foley.  He passed away in 1953.

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Tags: Valentin Georgiev, Chamber of Commerce, sofia, James Warlick, ambassador, Assen Kermekchiev, Bulgarian, American, Bulgaria, representative, consular, US


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