Open lesson on tolerance held as Bulgaria commemorates 75th anniversary of rescue of Bulgarian Jews from Holocaust

An open lesson on tolerance was held in the Bulgarian town of Sliven, among a series of events being held in 2018 as part of commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews from deportation to the death camps of the Holocaust.

Teachers and pupils from high schools in Sliven took part in the lesson, which was preceded by participants paying their respects to the more than six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust, including the 11 343 Jews from territories in northern Greece and Yugoslavia, administered by Bulgaria at the time, who were deported to the Treblinka death camp.

Tribute also was paid to all those Jews who fought the Nazi regime and paid for this with their lives.

There was a showing of the film The Optimists, by Jacky Comforty, a documentary on how people in Bulgaria stood together to prevent the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews, and how the lessons learnt can be applied today.

In recognition of the role of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the people of Sliven in the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews from deportation, plaques were awarded to the Sliven Diocese and to Sliven Municipality. An honorary plaque also was given to the Sliven regional directorate of education for its contribution to the preservation of historical memory and for the example of ethnic tolerance being passed to the younger generation.

Numerous events are forthcoming in 2018 in commemoration of the prevention of the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews and the deportation of the 11 343 Jews from what were called at that period of the 1940s the “new lands” of Bulgaria.

These include a formal ceremony on March 9, with the participation of senior state leaders, at the monument in Sofia that expresses gratitude for the prevention of the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews.

A full account of the events in 1943 that saw the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews and the deportation of the Jews from the “new lands” is given in a book to be launched in Sofia later in March 2018, entitled “Bulgarian Jews: Living History”, published by the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom” in co-operation with Sofia Globe Media. The book, being published in English and later in 2018 in Bulgarian, encompasses the full story of Bulgarian Jews, from antiquity to the present day.

(Photo via the Facebook page of Shalom)



The Sofia Globe staff

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