1943 rescue of Bulgarian Jews, deportations from ‘new lands’ commemorated in Sofia
At an annual ceremony in Sofia on March 10, tribute was paid to those who in 1943 rescued the Bulgarian Jews from deportation to Nazi death camps and to the memory of the 11 343 Jews from the “new lands” then under Bulgarian administration who were murdered in the Holocaust.
In that year, the leadership of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, some politicians such as Dimitar Peshev, intellectuals and members of civil society as well as ordinary Bulgarians successfully resisted the deal between Bulgaria’s pro-Nazi government and the Hitler regime to deport the Bulgarian Jews.
Speaking at the Monument of Gratitude in Sofia, Associate Professor Alexander Oscar, president of the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom”, said: “Today we pay tribute to the memory of those honorable Bulgarians, and there not a few of them, who found the strength to oppose an inhuman ideology and did not allow their brothers and sisters of Jewish organisation to be deported to the Nazi death camps”.
“Today, many people are outraged when we talk about the bad, ‘dark’, side of history. There is no way to appreciate the uniqueness of the act of salvation unless we also talk about the suffering that the Jews in Bulgaria underwent,” Dr Oscar said.
“Let us remember and never forget that each of us is responsible for the world we live in. Let us remember that, despite the circumstances, there is always a way to counteract injustice.”
The ceremony was attended by Israeli ambassador Yoram Elron, Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova, Ambassador Plamen Bonchev, head of the Bulgarian delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, Deputy Foreign Minister and national co-ordinator against antisemitism Georg Georgiev and Sofia deputy mayor Associate Professor Todor Chobanov.