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Commenting article: World "Owes Bulgaria Much" for Rescue of Jews

The world should know what it owes to Bulgaria, the only nation that rose up against Hitler and rescued its Jews.

This opinion was voiced by Dr Michael Bar-Zohar, an Israeli historian, novelist and politician, who conferred with Sofia mayor Boyko Borisov as Bulgaria marked the Holocaust Remembrance Day and 66 years since the rescue of the country's Jews.

According to Michael Bar-Zohar the world knows little about the exploits of Bulgarian society and its role during World War II. He stressed that it was not only Tsar Boris III, but the whole Bulgarian nation that stood by the Jewish people in Bulgaria.

Born in Bulgaria, Bar-Zohar emmigrated to Israel in 1948. He has published several books, including a biography of David Ben-Gurion, several books about the Israeli security organizations, and an account of the rescue of Bulgarian Jews from the Nazis in World War II.

Even though Bulgaria was an ally of Nazi Germany in World War II, the 50,000 Bulgarian Jews were not deported to the Nazi death camps in 1943 thanks to mass civil protests, an active stance by 43 Bulgarian MPs, and Tsar Boris III's resistance to Hitler's demands for deportation.

The Holocaust Remembrance Day is traditionally honored by a number of events organized across the country.

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#1
George Zheliazkov - 11 Mar 2009 // 02:55:27

“The world should know what it owes to Bulgaria, the only nation that rose up against Hitler and rescued its Jews.”

Well, Michael Bar-Zohar’ Bulgaria did quite few good things throughout its history but I’ll tell you what, the “World” this days is a really twisted place and I’m having a hell of a time proving your point up there and over all in general defending the reputation and the good side of Bulgaria.

Long Live Bulgaria!

#2
Eric Halsey - 11 Mar 2009 // 02:55:42

I completely agree with the sentiment of this piece. As an American who has studied Bulgaria's role in the war I am consistently surprised by the lack of knowledge people have about Bulgaria's role as well as the startling lack of English language scholarship on the subject. Even within this article, it is noted that Bulgaria was an ally of Germany despite the fact that "ally" is likely too generous a word for the reluctant support Bulgaria granted Germany. I hope stories like this can raise awareness and interest in the important role Bulgaria played in the war.

Eric Halsey
The University of Mary Washington
Fredericksburg, Virginia

#3
NellieotAmerica - 11 Mar 2009 // 04:20:46

"Bulgaria was an ally of Germany despite the fact that "ally" is likely too generous a word for the reluctant support Bulgaria granted Germany."

I am Bulgarian and my relatives and friends wholeheartedly supported Germany. Let's put it this way - more Bulgarians supported Germany than they did the Red Army when it invaded Bulgaria. And the German troops were ever so much better behaved than the Russian ones, who looted and raped everything in sight.

As for the Bulgarian Jews - good job saving them. How long is Bulgaria going to keep patting itself on the back for this feat? It really embarrasses me when Bulgarians start praising and complimenting themselves. They should let others compliment them. Self-praise is called bragging and is considered in poor taste.

#4
CJB - 11 Mar 2009 // 15:09:48

"This opinion was voiced by Dr Michael Bar-Zohar, an Israeli historian, novelist and politician, who conferred with Sofia mayor Boyko Borissov as Bulgaria marked the Holocaust Remembrance Day and 66 years since the rescue of the country's Jews."

Note to Nellie: he's an ISRAELI. So this is a rare case where Bulgarians are not bragging and patting themselves on the back...

#5
Devil's Advocate - 11 Mar 2009 // 16:57:02

"The world should know what it owes to Bulgaria, the only nation that rose up against Hitler and rescued its Jews. "

What is misleading is the use of the word "only". Bulgaria was not the only nation that rose up to rescue their Jews- just look at what Denmark did...

#6
fishbrain - 11 Mar 2009 // 17:08:41

Technically speaking baba-Nellie is correct- he is Bulgarian origin who migrated to Israel. So technically speaking he is Bulgarian.

Then again CJB is correct, he is also Jewish so he is allowed to pat anyone on the back.

#7
CJB - 12 Mar 2009 // 02:57:33

This Dr Michael Bar-Zohar is quite a character. He left BG at the age of 10 after WW2, so I suppose he's more Israeli than Bulgarian these days. He is a member of the Knesset. Oh he wrote a book on the salvation of BG's Jews in 1998. Also quite a few books on the Israeli secret service (Mossad?). No doubt this is why he is friends with Bate Boyko: takes a spy to catch a spy as they say...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Bar-Zohar

#8
CJB - 12 Mar 2009 // 03:00:00

Sorry, he WAS a member of the Knesset.

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