The Head of State said that the Bulgarians never lost their tolerance and empathy towards those who suffer

Having survived two national catastrophes, Bulgaria is doing everything possible to avoid being dragged into another war on the Old Continent. Despite Nazi Germany's pressure on Bulgarian institutions, our people rejected anti-Semitism and on their own, fragmented and persecuted, sought the path to dialogue, to the peaceful revision of the unjust Treaty of Neuilly sur Seine, President Rumen Radev said Friday at the opening of a documentary exhibition at the St St Cyril and Methodius National Library, dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the rescue of Bulgarian Jews. The exhibition presents documentary evidence of the life of the Jews in Bulgarian lands, including during the Second World War. 

Among the guests at the ceremony are caretaker Prime Minister Galab Donev, Vice President Iliana Iotova, caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Atanas Pekanov, caretaker Foreign Minister Nikolay Milkov, caretaker Culture Minister Nayden Todorov, caretaker Innovation and Growth Minister Alexander Pulev, caretaker Tourism Minister Ilin Dimitrov, caretaker Defence Minister Dimitar Stoyanov, former Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) Director General Kiril Valchev, Israeli Ambassador Yoram Elron, renowned Israeli historian and public figure Prof. Michael Bar-Zohar, public figures, clergymen and citizens.

"I am honored to open this exhibition in the presence of our Israeli friends and the esteemed, dear guest of honor Prof. Bar Zohar a public figure, historian, and loyal friend of Bulgaria. His remarkable book Beyond Hitler's Grasp reveals in a unique way to the world the events of the spring of 1943 that led to the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews," Radev said. "Prof. Bar Zohar also reveals the tolerance, friendly feelings and humanism of the Bulgarian people in one of the darkest periods in human history, when Europe was crushed by Hitler," the Head of State added.

In his words, "isolated and threatened by occupation, Bulgaria was forced to join the Tripartite Pact". "The loss of neutrality led to the adoption of anti-Jewish legislation, but this did not change the attitude of our people towards friends, neighbours, fellow Jews," Radev said. 

The Head of State said that the Bulgarians never lost their tolerance and empathy towards those who suffer.

"Bulgarian institutions continued to issue transit visas to the thousands of Jews fleeing occupied Europe. Our diplomats stress that the anti-Jewish legislation imposed from outside will be implemented in Bulgaria in such a way as to curb any attempt at violent anti-Semitism," the President said. 

"In days of ultimate hardship, the Bulgarian State and people passed a test of enormous historical value by not allowing a single Bulgarian Jew to perish in the death camps or be killed in Bulgaria," Radev said.

He added that the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews remains an example of the power of public and political energy for a just cause. 

"The lesson of the statesmanship of the 43 deputies of the ruling majority in the National Assembly, who signed the letter of Parliament Deputy Chair Dimitar Peshev, the worthy spiritual leaders of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, which at that time was part of the state, the active public position of a number of scientific and professional associations, the moral role of the intellectual elite who remained faithful to the traditions of their nation and state will remain in our history forever. We will not forget the contribution of Bulgarian Jews to the anti-fascist resistance," the Head of State emphasized. 

Rumen Radev added that 80 years after those events, the unprecedented act of saving Bulgarian Jews remains "our strong moral foundation in the fight against hatred, xenophobia and present-day manifestations of anti-Semitism."

Източник: BTA