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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776
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Bulgaria Commemorates 70 Years of Saving Its Jews

Unlike most other Nazi allies or Nazi -occupied countries, Bulgaria saved its entire Jewish population from deportation to concentration camps.
King Boris III (L), who refused to deport Bulgarian Jews, with a friend.

King Boris III (L), who refused to deport Bulgarian Jews, with a friend.
Photo Credit: Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team

The 70th anniversary of the rescue of Bulgaria’s Jews in WW II is being commemorated with a number of solemn ceremonies in Bulgarian capital Sofia Sunday, Sofia News Agency reports.

Unlike most other Nazi allies or Nazi-occupied countries (with the exception of Denmark and Finland), Bulgaria managed to save its entire Jewish population of 48,000 from deportation to concentration camps.

Bulgarian Minister of Justice Dimitar Peshev is credited with playing a major role in preventing the deportations, as well as Bulgarian Church officials and ordinary citizens.

The story of the Bulgarian Jews during World War II is been told in “Beyond Hitler’s Grasp: The Heroic Rescue of Bulgaria’s Jews” by Michael Bar-Zohar, an Israeli historian, politician and former Knesset member who was born in Bulgaria.

The organization of Jews in Bulgaria, Shalom, will unveil a memorial sign near the Bulgarian Parliament, after which a solemn ceremony will be held at the Sofia Synagogue.

The ceremony will be attended by official representatives of the Jewish community in Bulgaria, the state of Israel, and other foreign dignitaries.

On Sunday night, the mayors of Bulgarian towns which helped rescue Jews from the Nazis will be awarded the Shofar prize in a ceremony under the auspices of Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev.

The solemn events Sunday will also mourn the 11,343 Jews who were deported to the death camps from territories in Yugoslavia and Greece occupied by Bulgaria during WW II.

Yori Yanover

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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