Bulgaria marks Holocaust Remembrance day on March 10. The ceremony will be attended by Parliament speaker Tsetska Tsacheva and other MPs who will gather before the memorial by the National Assembly, commemorating the 68th anniversary of the rescue of Bulgarian Jews.
The Council of Minister had declared March 10, by dint of a resolution on February 13 2003, as Holocaust Remembrance Day and the "Day of the Salvation of the Bulgarian Jews and of the Victims of the Holocaust and of the Crimes against Humanity".
The event is initiated by the Bulgarian Jewish Association Shalom, and the Sofia Regional Jewish Organisation, the private television channel bTV reported.
The solemn ceremony will be opened by Maxim Benvenisti, president of Shalom, in the presence of schoolchildren from the 134th secondary school Dimcho Debelyanov.
The anniversary will be commemorated also by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in the presence of Israeli ambassador to Bulgaria, Noah Gal Gendler, as well as representatives of religious organisations and NGOs.
During World War Two, Bulgaria, an ally of Germany, successfully managed to save the Jewish population in Greater Bulgaria from deportation and death, although Jews in other areas under Bulgarian jurisdiction, Macedonia and Thrace, were sent to their deaths.
Bulgaria also adopted various discriminatory laws against Jews at the behest of Berlin. Anti-Semitic laws modelled on the Nuremberg laws were approved by MPs in Sofia, and in December 1940, Bulgaria's National Assembly adopted the Defence of the Nation Act.
Bulgaria's Jews were saved from deportation and death when the then-deputy speaker of Parliament, Dimitar Peshev, and Bulgarian Orthodox Church leaders Sofia Metropolitan Stefan and Plovdiv Metropolitan Kiril, stood up in 1943 against intentions to send Bulgarian Jews to concentration camps.
The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church sent an official letter to Boris, to the National Assembly, and to the Cabinet demanding that there be no deportations. It is widely accepted that in the process, Bulgaria saved about 50 000 Jews from deportation.
At the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel to the Holocaust, 14 Bulgarians are listed as Righteous Among the Nations, including the then-deputy speaker of Parliament, Dimitar Peshev, and Bulgarian Orthodox Church leaders Sofia Metropolitan Stefan and Plovdiv Metropolitan Kiril, who were prominent in the campaign against the deportations.