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AJC Chicago hosted an event "Light among Darkness" on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the salvation of the Bulgarian Jews

13 February 2023 News

On February 9, 2023, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Chicago, in partnership with the Consulate General of Bulgaria in Chicago, hosted an event entitled "Light among Darkness: The Rescue of Bulgarian Jews during the Holocaust." The program comprised an exhibition and a panel discussion with the Consul General of the Republic of Bulgaria in Chicago, Svetoslav Stankov, and Prof. Samuel Refetoff, MD, University of Chicago, who is a Bulgarian Jew and witness of the events. The insightful discussion highlighted Bulgaria's valiant efforts and success in saving its Jewish community during the World War II. Mr. Stankov pointed out to the representatives of the Jewish and Bulgarian communities in Chicago that the act of salvation is a lesson in humanity that should be honored, because it deeply connects the Bulgarian and Jewish people spiritually and historically, and sets an example for the rest of the world in the fight against anti-Semitism and extremism. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to shed light on this act of bravery and tolerance in the middle of the horrors of WWII which is a huge source of national pride for all Bulgarians, because not a single Bulgarian Jew was deported to the Nazi death camps or killed in Bulgaria because of his religion or ethnicity. The entire Jewish community of Bulgaria, numbering around 50 thousand people, survived WWII. Mr. Stankov also reminded that the Bulgarians remember with particular pain the tragic fate of the 11 343 Jews from parts of then Yugoslavia and parts of Northern Greece, who the Bulgarian authorities could not save, despite the attempts of various officials and ordinary citizens.

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