Four names from Burgas are included in the list of unforgettable persons of salvation
Offspring of Jews, saved from the Holocaust 75 years ago, held an opening ceremony in Bourgas for a memorial of gratitude for their existence. The Memorial Plaque is dedicated to the brave and valiant Bulgarians from the seaside town, who in the bloody years of the Second World War opposed Hitler’s and state directives’s will for deportation and annihilation of the Bulgarian Jews.
The opening ceremony was in the late afternoon of April 11, 2018. The day is Yom HaShoah, which is celebrated by Jews around the world as the day of the Catastrophe of Holocaust. Only in Burgas and Sofia from all over Bulgaria yesterday that mourning day was marked. The event was honored by clergies, politicians, diplomats, public figures, citizens and young people from all over the country, who came to pay tribute and recognition to the rescuers of the Burgas Jews and to declare their will the most disgraceful act of the human mass destruction never to be repeated again.
The creation of the monument of gratefulness is initiated and by the means of Center for Jewish-Bulgarian Cooperation “Alef”. It coincided with several other events organized by the Center: the exhibition “Beyond Duty” of the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, which is in Burgas thanks to the Israeli Embassy; the premiere of the book “75 years – the unforgettable faces of the salvation”, by Shalom Publishing House of The Organization of Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom” and the closing ceremony for awarding the winners of the Fifth National Literary Student Contest “Who Savesone human live, Saves the Whole Universe.”
The memorial plaque of gratitude was placed in the very heart of Burgas, next to the Municipality.The words “TO REMEMBER the empathy and the courage of the public figures from Bourgas, who contributed gratelly to the rescue of their fellow citizens-Jews from the death camps 1941-1944” are written on it. Among the most prominent were the mayor of Bourgas in 1943 Dr. Dyanko Pravchev, the writer Petko Chorbadjiev / Rosen /, the industrialists Lyubomir Zurkov and Petar Velchev. Their names were resurrected from oblivion and written in the book “75 years – the unforgettable faces of salvation.” Alef’s chairman, Alberta Alkalay, said the names of the rescuers are countless and expressed her desire for the memorial to become the guardian of memory. “It is our duty to remember and not to forget those brave citizens of Burgas, wh choose life before death and made the Holocaust for the Burgas and Bulgarian Jews impossible. Our gratitude is alive and it will be passed through time” added Alkalay.
Official guests at the opening ceremony were His Eminence- the Metropolitan of Sliven- Yoanikii, Her Excellency Israeli Ambassador Irit Lillian, Dr. Maxim Benvensti – President of the “Cedaka” Foundation – ORGANISATION OF JEWS IN BULGARIA “Shalom”, representatives of regional organizations in Burgas, Shumen, Stara Zagora and Sliven – Tiko Varsano, Beta Haralanova, Krasimira Goteva and Julia Gavazova, The Mayor of Burgas Dimitar Nikolov,the Deputy Mayor Yordanka Ananieva,deputies Diana Yordanova and Nikolay Tishev, Sevdalina Turmanova – Deputy Regional Governor of Burgas, Elena Prihodko – First Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Bulgaria, The director of the Regional Directorate of Interior Affairs in Bourgas- Kaloyan Kaloyanov, Leora and Eliane Asa from USA and Israel, honorary consuls, municipal councilors, politicians and public figures.
“This feat is not ordinary. We are here to thank those who have sacrificed their peace from love to man. The Rescue of the Jews is a great act for the church and for Bulgaria, because it shows that love can triumph over destruction” said His Eminence Yoaniki.
“This plaque is a plaque of gratitude. I want to talk about those who have found the courage in the worst time for the world to protect the persecuted, the defenseless, those, who had no other support than the nobleness of the people” said Dr. Maxim Benvenisti.
“And then, and now, the Jews have benn one of the most hard-working and active citizens of Bourgas. Nearly 1000 are the saved Jews in Burgas. This plate expresses the gratitude of their heirs “, excitedly said the Mayor of Burgas- Dimitar Nikolov. He together with Dr. Maxim Benvenisti became the first winners of the newly created by Center “Alef” honor “keeper of the memory”. Dimitar Nikolov received the Honorary Sign from the president of Center Alef Alberta Alkalay, after they both had presented the memorial of gratitude.
Hundreds of citizens and students gathered in front of the newly discovered plate to bow their heads and in memory of the innocent 11 343 victims of the Holocaust from Aegean Thrace, Vardar Macedonia and Pirot and pay tribute to the rescuers of nearly 50,000 Bulgarian Jews. Despite the unusually chilly weather, the attendees filled the space around the memorial and laid many wreaths and flowers.
“The survivors of the Holocaust remain less, but its cruelty is remembered. But who will remember the saviors? There is little talk about them. And what did Bulgarian people for their fellow-citizens – Jews is a unique heroic act that must be known. This monument in the city center is intended for the future generations of Bulgaria to learn and remember the feat of their ancestors! ” summon her H.E.,the Ambassador of Israel to Bulgaria, Irit Lillian.