An umbrella group of Jewish organizations in Greece has called on Bulgaria to acknowledge the deportation of thousands of Jews during World War II. The issue has sparked anger in a Bulgarian society riven by resentment.
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece has called on both Sofia and the United Nations to note Bulgaria's role in the deportation of 11,343 Jews during the war, including around 4,000 from northern Greece and over 7,000 from what is today the Republic of Macedonia.
While Bulgarian troops did play a role in deporting Jews from neighboring areas occupied during the war, the country did not send any of its own Jewish population of 50,000 to the Nazis, despite the face it had an authoritarian king of German origin and was allied with Germany from 1941.
Efforts by liberal politicians, church leaders and the Bulgarian public were effective in the end, and the country successfully resisted German calls to send Jews to concentration camps and almost certain death.
Jewish-Polish-German author Arno Lustiger wrote about the subject in his book on the steps taken to save the Jews from Nazi gas chambers called Rettungswiderstand.
"Most Bulgarian Jews survived World War II and the anti-Semitic extermination policy, but not due to the Bulgarian government or the head of state, who showed no scruples when it came to handing over Jews to the Germans. In March 1943, thousands of Thracian and Macedonian Jews from the part of Greece occupied by the Bulgarians were deported to Treblinka and murdered," Lustiger wrote.
"The role Bulgarians played in these deportations woke the nation up to the possible fate of their own Jewish population. Without the widespread resistance of the church, politicians and sections of society, the Bulgarian Jews would have experienced the same thing as Jews in the occupied areas did. This forceful protest was based primarily on the traditionally close relationship that existed between Jews and Christians in Bulgaria."
Read more here:http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15707243,00.html