In a message on January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom” spoke of remembrance of the suffering of Bulgarian Jews because of antisemitic legislation, and of the more than 11 000 Jews deported to their deaths from Bulgarian-administered territory.
The United Nations declared January 27 International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2005, commemorating more than six million Jews and millions of others with physical and mental disabilities, people of different sexual orientation, Roma and others, Shalom said.
The day is the anniversary of the liberation of the largest concentration camp, Auschwitz Birkenau.
“On this day we also remember the suffering of the Bulgarian Jews in the years of the Second World War, the humiliations and deprivations they suffered as a result of the adoption in 1940 of the infamous Defence of the Nation Act,” Shalom said in a Facebook post.
“We also remember those 11 300 Jews who were deported from the territories of Aegean Thrace, Vardar Macedonia and the city of Pirot, administered by the Kingdom of Bulgaria.”
The organisation quoted the words of Bulgaria’s then-president Georgi Purvanov, when he visited Israel in March 2008: “When we express justifiable pride at what we have done to save Jews, we do not forget that at the same time there was an antisemitic regime in Bulgaria and we do not shirk our responsibility for the fate of more than 11 000 Jews who were deported from Thrace and Macedonia to death camps”.
Today we remember and will not forget the greatest tragedy in human history, Shalom said.
The organisation’s message came against a background of it having publicly expressed deep concern at incidents of Holocaust distortion in Bulgaria, in which the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews from deportation to the death camps of the Holocaust is emphasised while failing to acknowledge the deportations from the new lands, and in which false claims are made giving credit to figures from Bulgaria’s pro-Nazi regime in the Second World War for the prevention of the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews.
On January 25, addressing a Holocaust remembrance ceremony at the East Park Synagogue in New York, UN chief António Guterres said that as there was a deeply worrying resurgence in antisemitic attacks around the world “solidarity in the face of hatred is needed today more than ever”.
He reflected upon the resurgence of neo-Nazis and white supremacists spreading venomous ideology and memes online that “poison young minds”, the UN News Service reported.
While the world is revolted by the horrific details of the Auschwitz death camps, Guterres maintained that everyone must look, learn and relearn the lessons of the Holocaust, so that it is never repeated.
He said that because prejudice and hatred thrive on insecurity, frustrated expectations, ignorance and resentment, leadership that fosters social cohesion and addresses the root causes of hatred, is needed at all levels.
(Photo: Members of Shalom’s Consistory join in the World Jewish Congress’s #WeRemember campaign)