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BELGRAD, March 9 (RIA Novosti) – Bulgaria has expressed regret for the first time that it failed to prevent deportation of more than 11,000 Jews to Nazi Germany from regions under Bulgarian control during the Second World War.
The Bulgarian Parliament unanimously adopted on Friday a declaration related to the 70th anniversary of the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews and in tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.
“An objective evaluation of the historic events today could not ignore the fact of the 11, 343 Jews deported from North Greece and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which were at that time under German jurisdiction [although administered by Bulgarian authorities,” the declaration said.
The Jews from Greek Thrace and Macedonia, who did not have Bulgarian citizenship, were sent to Nazi concentration camps in Poland. Only a few of them survived.
“We denounce this criminal act, undertaken by the Hitler’s command and express our regrets for the fact that the local Bulgarian administration had not been in a position to stop this act,” the document said.
At the same time, the Bulgarian parliament praised Bulgarian citizens, church and political leaders whose efforts saved the lives of more than 48,000 Jews – Bulgarian citizens by forcing the then head of the State, Tsar Boris III, to refuse their deportation in 1943.
While the Holocaust claimed the lives of six million Jews living across Europe, Bulgaria was the only Nazi ally that was able to save nearly all of its Jewish citizens from death in concentration camps.
“We regard the salvation of Bulgarian Jews in 1943 as a remarkable event demonstrating the humanism and tolerance of the Bulgarian people and their will for justice,” the declaration said.
“The Bulgarian society, and the young generation in particular, have the right to be proud with the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews. The message this act contains towards the contemporary society is for tolerance, goodwill and humanism between people from different ethnic groups, religion or culture backgrounds,” the document concluded.
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