At a ceremony on October 28, a bas-relief honouring Dimitar Peshev, who played a key role 76 years ago in the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews from the death camps of the Holocaust, was unveiled at the Palace of Justice in Bulgaria’s city of Plovdiv.
Peshev was a judge at the Plovdiv District Court before moving to Sofia to become Minister of Justice and later Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.
In that latter role, he was instrumental in a letter in 1943, signed by 42 MPs, to pro-Nazi Prime Minister Bogdan Filov, opposing plans to deport Bulgarian Jews to be murdered in the Holocaust.
“The idea of creating a bas-relief was originated by judges and employees of the Plovdiv District Court in connection with the 140th anniversary of the establishment of the court,” said Antonia Rogleva, chairman of the Plovdiv District Court.
The bas-relief of Dimitar Peshev was approved and funded by the Plovdiv regional organisation of the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom”.
Among those attending the unveiling was Kichka Pesheva, a niece of Dimitar Peshev.
Maxim Benvenisti, head of Shalom’s Tzedaka charitable foundation and a member of the Shalom national executive, and Shalom Plovdiv president Svetozar Kalev, spoke of Peshev and said that there would be a place in Plovdiv to honour the memory of Peshev.
Kalev also presented Atanas Karadechev, who created the bas-relief, and who earlier created the Monument of Gratitude in Plovdiv for the prevention of the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews.
Also attending the event were the head of the regional directorate of the Interior Ministry, Yordan Rogachev, Plovdiv District Prosecutor Roumen Popov, and the President of the Plovdiv District Court, Ivan Kalibatsev.
In Israel, Peshev is honoured as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, an honour conferred on non-Jews who actively opposed the Holocaust.