“Untold Stories: How Bulgarian Jews Survived the Holocaust” (In observance of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, 27 January) - DPI/NGO briefing
For the past several years, DPI/NGO Relations has observed the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust by examining the untold stories of countless brave men and women who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. This week’s briefing focused on the little-known role of the Bulgarian people in saving Bulgarian Jews during this tragic time in our history.
As an ally of Germany during World War II, Bulgaria faced intense pressure to follow Nazi dictates, including those which called for the deportation of Bulgarian Jews to death camps in Poland. When it became evident that plans were being drawn up to comply with these demands, fierce opposition erupted from Bulgarian church leaders, ordinary citizens, and public figures, most notably, Dimitar Peshev, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament. In the face of overwhelming pressure, the Bulgarian government rescinded the deportation order and ultimately not a single Bulgarian Jew was sent to the Nazi death camps.
The survival of the entire Bulgarian Jewish population of almost 50,000 in a country which was an ally of Germany during this time was a unique phenomenon. It was, however, consistent with Bulgaria’s long history of co-existence with the Jews who for centuries had been an integral part of their society.
This briefing took a look at the series of events which led to the cancellation of the deportation order of Bulgarian Jews. It also looked at the heroic individuals, who in the face of extreme danger, took actions which enabled the entire Jewish community in Bulgaria to survive the Holocaust intact.
Director of the movie: Jacky Comforty
Film site: www.theoptimists.com
View the trailer of the movie
- VIDEO ON-DEMAND