Bulgaria's WWII rescue of Jews: the other side of the coin





SOFIA, Oct 06, 2012 (AFP) - Bulgaria, which has prided itself as being the only ally of Nazi Germany to save its 48,000 Jews from death camps, must now admit it allowed the killing of 11,000 Jews from territories under its control, researchers say.

“You are a hero rescuer but also a brutal murderer and a cool persecutor. You cannot say the one without saying the other too,” Michael Berenbaum, founder of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, told a conference Friday in Sofia aimed at shedding light on this sombre page of Bulgaria's history.

“Evil has no nationality. The elucidation of this subject will contribute to reconciliation in the Balkans,” Bulgarian political analyst Antony Todorov added.

Historians say 11,000 Jews from Bulgarian-administered territories in what are now modern Macedonia and Greece did end up in Nazi death camps.

But Bulgaria has used its reputation as an honourable exception and a Jewish saviour as the basis for building up ties with Israel, and both countries are preparing to mark next March the 70th anniversary of Sofia's refusal to send its Jews to be slaughtered by the Nazis.

“This subject has been strongly exploited for political ends,” Bulgarian historian Nikolay Poppetrov said....



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