‘Together for Bulgaria. Together for Europe’ procession to be held in Sofia on March 10

Sofia municipality and the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom” are holding a procession entitled “Together for Bulgaria. Together for Europe” on March 10, the day commemorated as the 76th anniversary of the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews from being murdered in the Holocaust.

World Jewish Congress president Ronald S Lauder is coming to the Bulgarian capital city especially for the event, Shalom said.

“By participating with us, you will be part of a powerful call for understanding and unity in Bulgarian society, of rejecting and showing no tolerance for the language of hatred conquering our society, and for the rejection of the re-emergence of antisemitism, and for the fight against xenophobia and all forms of racism,” the organisation said.

The procession is to start at 11am at St Sofia church, at the place where in the year 311 CE, the Edict of Toleration was issued by Roman caesar Galerius, officially declaring an end to the persecution of Christians.

The route continues to the monument to the Unknown Soldier, for a tribute to those thousands of Bulgarians who died for the freedom of Bulgaria, and then across the road to the headquarters of the Holy Synod, the governing body of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, in honour of the church leadership who at the time of the Second World War opposed the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews to the Nazi death camps of the Second World War.

In front of Parliament, the procession will honour MPs of the National Assembly of the time, and in particular the then Deputy Speaker, Dimitar Peshev, who stood up against the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews.

The process is to culminate at the Monument of Gratitude for the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews, nearby the Parliament building, with the laying of floral tributes.

“By joining us, we will all together declare that we want to live in a peaceful and prosperous country, without racial, ethnic or religious conflict, and we want our children to remember the lessons of history and to not again allow misanthropic ideologies to take hold of society, so that their children can live in a ‘pure and holy republic,” the message said.

The “pure and holy republic” is a reference to the ideals of Vassil Levski, the hero of Bulgaria’s struggle for freedom from Ottoman rule, who spoke of a vision of a country where all would be equal, irrespective of ethnic and religious differences.

The March 10 annual commemorations, which also will include a ceremony at Sofia Central Synagogue, mark not only the anniversary of the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews, but also the deportation of 11 343 Jews from the “new lands” in neighbouring territories that were under the administration of Bulgaria, which in 1941 had joined Hitler’s Axis. With the exception of a handful of those deported, the more than 11 000 Jewish men, women and children were murdered within days of their arrival at the Nazi Treblinka death camp.



The Sofia Globe staff

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