Center for Jewish-Bulgarian cooperation

Acad. Markov: Bulgaria saved her 48,000 Jews during the war and issued transit visas for another 15,000

After the statement of Maria Zaharova, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, that the Soviet Army saved the Bulgarian Jews, a long and turbulent discussion broke out. In the debate, quite rightly and fairly, those that were in cosent with the above thesis became a minority.An undeniable historical fact is that nearly 50,000 Bulgarian Jews were saved from the death camps with the benefits of broad social circles and their representatives – Dimitar Peshev, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Dimitar Peshev, the high clergy of our Orthodox Church, King Boris III himself and of thousands of Bulgarians. The allegation that the whole Bulgarian people saved their Jews is not exaggerated.And at a time when the Jews were persecuted, deported and killed not only in Nazi Germany but also in a number of European countries with the participation of the locals. A total of 6 million people.The fact is that Bulgaria is the only European country that saved her Jews. But alongside this, it is always reminded that about 11,000 from the Macedonian and Aegean Thrace, occupied by bulgarian soldiers, were deported to Treblinka.What is the historical truth and whether the Bulgarian contribution to the saving of 50,000 Jews within the country is diminished? On these questions “Epicenter” talks with the historian acad. Georgi Markov.
– Acad. Markov, the theme of the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews is again burning. The contribution of all Bulgarians to this is undisputed. Each time, however, the sad fate of the Jews from Macedonia and Aegean Thrace is also recalled. Could they also have been saved by the Bulgarian people and the Bulgarian state? – In short, it was not possible to show maximalism – anything or nothing. We are talking about Hitler, not Kaiser Wilhelm. All Jews could have go to Auschwitz. Neither King Boris III nor the other responsible factors in the Bulgarian state can be blamed. Such an accusation is malicious. It does not rest on a historical basis. There is an agreement from Wannsee, a suburb of Berlin, of January 20, 1942, on the final decision of the Jewish question in Europe. It lists the number of Jews by country. Against Bulgaria is written – 48 000. These are the Bulgarian subjects, these are the Bulgarian Jews.When we regained South Dobrudja, King Boris III gave the right to live there the entire population, those in the western suburbs, Vardar Macedonia and the Aegean, but without the Jews.This is in line with the decisions in Vannes. At that time Bulgaria was in the Tripartite Pact, and these Jews were in lands under Bulgarian rule. They are not occupied, as they continue to claim from Moscow and neighbors, including Skopje. There are no Bulgarian fascist occupiers out there. The Jews from Yugoslavia and from Greece, who were defeated by the Wehrmacht, are not Bulgarian Jews. – And are not Bulgarian subjects as well?
– Of course. There are cases when, even in Thessaloniki, Bulgarian Jews were captured. But when it is known that they are Bulgarian subjects, they are removed from the train compositions for the concentration camps. I understand some organizations who want to reduce the contribution of the Bulgarian people. I understand that. And there are such organizations in Bulgaria as well.I will also say something about academician Bogdan Filov, whom people vilify undeservedly. If he had not signed the protocol for the Tripartite Covenant, Bulgaria would have been occupied by the Wehrmacht, and no Bulgarian Jew would remain alive in order today to challenge the contribution of the Bulgarian people.
-Let’s do other historical parallels. For example, between the behavior of Bulgaria and Europe. Bulgaria is the only European country that has saved its Jews. How do we interpret this fact? What is the reason?
– Denmark can also be proud, as Danish Jews were transferred to Sweden by sea. And Denmark was an occupied country. Bulgaria was in the Tripartite Pact. In addition, Bogdan Filov’s government negotiated in Switzerland for transit visas for Jews fleeing from Western and Central Europe. 15 000 transit visas have been issued to Palestine.
And given that Palestine, which is under a British mandate, refused to accept them. The same is done by the US government. How many thousands of Jews were not accepted there and are returned to the ships ?!
– Even Albert Einstein had trouble obtaining an American visa.  – They’ve selected them. Einstein was eventually wanted, someone had to do the atomic bomb.
– Europe and the United States have sins to the fate of the Jews. Do you feel that Bulgaria’s contribution is deliberately devalued? – Definitely. Even the late president, Dr. Zhelyu Zhelev, in the early 1990s, when the Holocaust Museum in New York was opened, raised the issue of the rescued Bulgarian Jews. Because it turned out that Bulgaria is gone nowhere. There is a disregard for Bulgaria, as she has taken the wrong side. But why Bulgaria is on the side of the Tripartite Pact is a separate issue.There is affection for Bulgaria, including among our neighbors. In Skopje they made the film “Third Half” for the Bulgarian fascist occupiers. These are labels that have been sticking and sticking for decades. But look at Professor Alexander Tsankov, called “blood thirsdy” and so on. His nation’s national movement is connected with the Third Reich. But he is also one of the 43 deputies who sign up against the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews.That Dimitar Peshev is the Vice-Chairman of the National Assembly! Which other country does this?! Here are also the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, and the writers headed by Elin Pelin, and VMRO, the intelligentsia, the Communist Party – also.Even years ago there were Bulgarian Jews in Israel who contested the contribution of the King, Bishop Stefan and Kiril, Dimitar Peshev. They say the Bulgarian people have saved the Jews.Yes, but this Bulgarian nation is personified by certain people. This could not be done directly by the will of Tsar Boris III, who is not anti-Semite. Nor his father, King Ferdinand. Their bankers in Vienna are Jews.
I will give another example. Beckerle, the Plenipotentiary Minister of the Third Reich in Sofia, went to the Foreign Ministry, at that time he was renting in the building of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. He goes to Bogdan Filov, who is the chairman of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and meets Harry Levenson, a Jew and legal advisor. He asks: “What is this Jew here, with this diplomat.” And Bogdan Filov, with a lot of different epithets, says, “He is a good diplomat, he was the best in Moscow.” Imagine a Jew in the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry! What are you talking about?! And they even issue transit visas!Professor Joseph Fedenhecht taught in Sofia University. While the first thing going on in the European countries is to throw off university professors and forbid them to teach.  – Of the 6 million victims of the Holocaust, nearly 1.5 million were killed in Ukraine with the help of local authorities, and 250,000 Romanian Jews were deported to the death camps. These are just two facts from the genocide of the twentieth century. Why is Bulgaria an exception to this background? –        There is a report by Simeon Radev as Plenipotentiary minister from 1913-1915. There he says: “In Dobrudja, after the Jews, we are the most hated, the Bulgarians.” In Ukraine, the Ukrainians themselves participate in the events! The destruction there is cruel, and anti-Semitism is enormous. In Poland – too. Before the Warsaw Uprising of the Poles, there was another rebellion in Warsaw – the Jews of the Ghetto in 1943. You read also Shakespeare’s “Venetian Trader”. What to say about Spain, which expels the Jews and they flee to the Ottoman Empire. There is no anti-Semitism in the Bulgarian people! This is the key!
– Why Bulgaria has not been able to popularize the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews over the last 30 years since she is open to the world? – The problem is not just about this topic. Before 1989 there was censorship, but there was also a publishing house – Sofia Press. They have long sold it. Once it was published in English. I have participated as an author in a collection about Macedonia, which was published in four languages ​​at that time. Today it is not published in English. This is a huge flaw. The state does not allocate funds for national propaganda. Even Skopje issues in English! Is Macedonia richer than us?
We do not know how to make a national propaganda out there and people do not know us. Public opinion has to be broken, because there has long been accumulated anti-Bulgarian literature. Especially from neighbors and some World War II winners. Literature must be published, translated into English, documentary films made to break through foreign TV channels. The government must understand that national interests are not only defended by MEPs’ speeches in Brussels.  The interview was published on http://epicenter.bg by Tanya Djoeva

 

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