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The 80th anniversary of the rescue of Bulgarian Jews during the Second World War was celebrated in the European Parliament

10 March 2023 News

On March 8 of this year in the European Parliament, a conference was held on the 80th anniversary of the memorable events related to the rescue of Bulgarian Jews from the Nazi death camps during the Second World War. MEPs Dr. Andrey Kovachev and Prof. Alexander Yordanov organized the event with the support of their colleagues. Among the speakers at the conference were the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Bulgaria to the EU, Ambassador Rumen Alexandrov, and the leader of the EPP group in the EP, Mr. Manfred Weber, the ambassador of the State of Israel to the EU, H.E. Haim Regev, Mr. Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the Transatlantic Institute at the American Jewish Committee. The special guest of the event was Prof. Dr. Michel Bar-Zohar. The President of the European Parliament Ms. Roberta Metsola sent a written greeting saying that by saving 50,000 Bulgarian Jews during World War II, Bulgaria has shown how one should not remain silent in the face of evil. For his part, Manfred Weber noted that when Jews from all over Europe were being sent to concentration camps, the Bulgarian people dared to stand up to their own government to save their neighbors and friends.

In his speech, Ambassador Rumen Alexandrov assessed the salvation of the Bulgarian Jews as an act of courage and tolerance amid the horror of the Second World War. "Bulgarian Jews have always been an integral part of Bulgarian society. Their salvation is a valuable lesson about the exceptional role of civil society and support for freedom, democracy, the rule of law and human rights," said the Bulgarian Permanent Representative to the EU. This is a strong positive example even today in the fight against anti-Semitism and discrimination, he added.

"Leaving Bulgaria, all the Jews traveling on the train that was taking us to the Promised Land got off at the border with Yugoslavia and sang the song "Mila Rodino", which later became the national anthem. My parents were crying, I asked them, why are you crying, they answered me because we are leaving Bulgaria, it is our Fatherland, it treated us well". Prof. Michael Bar-Zohar, author of the book " Beyond Hitler`s grasp", which describes the events of the spring and summer of 1943, which led to the rescue of all Bulgarian Jews, addressed the audience with these emotional words. Bulgaria's contribution to this work was highlighted in the speech of Israel's ambassador to the EU, Haim Regev, and the director of the Transatlantic Institute at the American Jewish Committee.

The event was attended by members of the European Parliament, representatives of Jewish organizations in Belgium, diplomats, His Royal Highness Boris, Prince of Tarnovo, citizens, students from Skopje and Bitola, Republic of North Macedonia.

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