Eightieth Anniversary Of The Salvation Of The Jews In Bulgaria

Eightieth Anniversary Of The Salvation Of The Jews In Bulgaria

A Story by 1888pressrelease

(1888PressRelease) Jewish Paths, Traces, And Roots In Bulgaria, Memories Of The Jewish Past In Bulgaria.

A delegation of 20 people represented by various members of non-governmental social service organizations from Mexico and South Florida, embarked on a journey to Bulgaria from March 6 to 12. With the objective of participating in the National Celebration of the Eightieth Anniversary of the Salvation of the Jews of Bulgaria during the Second World War, and accompany Dr. Dan Tartakovski, one of its leaders, to the important event where the highest recognition of the Bulgarian country was awarded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to prominent promoters of peace, advocates for the promotion and protection of fundamental human rights, as well as the advancement of good relationships between Bulgaria and other countries.
As an integral component of this multi-generational group that convened to foster and enhance cross-border communications among nations and their Jewish constituents, several community leaders and philanthropists, faculty affiliates of the distinguished educational institution Olami ORT school from Mexico, prominent personalities, and acclaimed entrepreneurs, as well as media emissaries and representatives, were present. Additionally, two exceptional high school scholars, Adrian E. Sanchez from Don Soffer Aventura High School in Miami Dade County and Joshua Strauss from David Posnack Jewish School in Broward County, both residing in the state of Florida, served as distinguished ambassadors of the forthcoming generation of community leaders.
"This excursion holds significant importance in honoring the Bulgarian people and commemorating the 20 Righteous Among the Nations from Bulgaria, preserve the torch of passing on the historical legacy of this part of history while learning about the Bulgarian Jewish community across its various phases " stated Dr. Mario Sinay, guide and historian originally from Argentina, and resident of Israel since he was 15 years old. Dr. Sinay holds a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Latvia, an A.A. in Education, specializing in educational programs from the University of Liverpool, England and a Ph. Doctorate in Education, with specializations in the Pedagogy of the Shoah and Visual Pedagogy from the Atlantic International University in the United States.
On March 10th, a number of ceremonial events were held in Bulgaria’s capital city, Sofia, to commemorate the eightieth anniversary of the successful prevention of the deportation of the Bulgarian Jewish population to the extermination camps of the Holocaust.
In 1943, the plan to deport Bulgarian Jews was indefinitely postponed following significant pressure, exercised by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, ruling majority members, professional associations, leading intellectuals and ordinary people. Nevertheless,11,343 Jews from territories in northern Greece and the then-Yugoslavia that were under Bulgarian administration; were deported and sadly, the vast majority were murdered at Treblinka soon after arrival.
The 2023, the commemoration events included church services by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and a March of Tolerance, culminating in the Monument of Salvation.
At the memorial, both the prevention of the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews and the deportations from the “new lands” were commemorated.
During the wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial, Israeli ambassador Yoram Elron stated: “Eighty years ago, Bulgaria gave the world a remarkable lesson in humanity and compassion and wrote a glorious page in the history books. A page that describes the noble deeds of the brave Bulgarians, the Righteous of the Nations, ready to risk their lives to save their Jewish compatriots.”
The Bulgarians unequivocally showed that the dignity of human life is the highest value. Indeed, it is well known that tolerance and respect for different ethnicities and religions are among the greatest virtues of the people of Bulgaria,” Elron said.
“The rescue of the Bulgarian Jews creates a unique and special bond between the peoples of Bulgaria and Israel. The Bulgarian Jews, saved in the Second World War, immigrated to Israel after its founding and they themselves, as well as their children and grandchildren, form a living bridge between our two countries,” he said.
“We stand here today to pay tribute and respect on behalf of those who were saved, to their brave rescuers, while remembering the 11,343 victims from Aegean Thrace, Vardar Macedonia and the town of Pirot who perished in the Nazi death camps,” Elron said.
Sofia mayor, Yordanka Fandukova said that “80 years ago, the Bulgarians of the time had remained faithful to the values of humanity and had written “one of the most honorable chapters in our national history”.
“Today we bow to their courage and bravery. Many of their names are not known, but they are alive in the hearts of the saved nearly 50 000 Bulgarian Jews (who were not deported). We should not forget those who were not saved �" 11,343 Jews from Aegean Thrace and Macedonia. We humbly bow our heads before their suffering and destruction,” Fandukova said.
In the morning, an exhibition related to the prevention of the deportations of the Bulgarian Jews was opened at the Cyril and Methodius National Library. Addressing the opening, President Roumen Radev said that the Bulgarians had not betrayed their tolerance and sympathy for those suffering.
Later, Radev took part in a procession, accompanied by Boris’s son Simeon Saxe-Coburg and members of the current caretaker government, to lay wreaths at memorials near St. Sofia church. These memorials are dedicated to Boris III, Tsaritsa Joanna, Bulgarian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Stefan, and Dimitar Peshev, who as deputy speaker of the 25th National Assembly played a key role in resistance to the plan to deport the Bulgarian Jews.
Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre, recognizes Stefan and Peshev as among Bulgaria’s 20 Righteous Among the Nations �" meaning, non-Jews who acted to help Jews during the Holocaust. Boris III is not recognized as Righteous Among the Nations.
As a pivotal component of this excursion, the delegation was cordially invited to an exclusive dinner engagement at the Pri Orlite Restaurant, with the Ambassador of Israel to Bulgaria, Mr. Yoram Elron. During this occasion, each member of the delegation was afforded the privilege of personally speaking with the esteemed Ambassador.
"Having the opportunity to speak, personally, with a government official representative and being able to cultivate relationships despite being on opposite sides of the world is an invaluable experience. I hope to leverage and efficiently convey the knowledge I have gained during trip to make a positive impact in the world. said Adrian E. Sanchez.
Similarly, the Bulgarian embassy in Mexico prearranged an informal meeting with His Majesty King Simeon II of Bulgaria, at his residence, to recognize and congratulate Dr. Tartakovsky and the delegates accompanying him, for the efforts in promoting closer ties between Mexico and Bulgaria. During the meeting, the group had the opportunity to get to know His Majesty King Simeon II in a more intimate and individual way, where he spontaneously shared anecdotes from his personal life.
On the other hand, Bulgaria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Velislava Petrova bestowed the Golden Laurel Branch, the highest and most prestigious recognition of the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, upon esteemed community leader and philanthropist Dr. Dan Tartakovski. This distinction was conferred in acknowledgement of Dr. Tartakovski’s continuous philanthropic efforts, unwavering support for the Bulgarian community in Mexico, invaluable contributions towards the preservation and growth of Bulgarian culture, and his unwavering stand against anti-Semitism.
At the event, Velislava Petrova, Bulgaria's Deputy Foreign Minister, said:
“I am honored to welcome you all today to this special ceremony. The Golden Laurels is the highest distinction awarded by the Bulgarian Ministry as it is awarded to foreign citizens who have made a significant contribution to the development of bilateral relations with the foreign state, by promoting international cooperation.
It is my great pleasure to honor Mr. Tartakovski with the highest award from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for his continuous efforts in promoting the story of the historic rescue of Bulgarian Jews during World War II, as well as for his invaluable contributions to the bilateral relationship between Bulgaria and Mexico.
I would like to highlight the consistent and unwavering commitment demonstrated by Dr. Tartakovski in combating anti-Semitism, and underline that it aligns with the topmost priorities of Bulgarian political agenda for the year 2023.” Expressed the Deputy Foreign Minister.
The award ceremony took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was graced by the presence of distinguished personalities and representatives of the Bulgarian government, including the former President of Bulgaria, the Mexican Consul to Bulgaria Valentin Modev, the Israeli Ambassador to Bulgaria Yoram Elron, members of the Board from B’nai Brith International Gina Strauss and Uri Strauss, and representatives from various institutions from Mexico, the United States, and Israel. The occasion was also graced by the presence of Dr. Dan Tartakovski’s father, Mr. Yuri Tartakovski, family, friends, as well as a communication correspondent who covered the event for the Jewish newspaper.
Dan Tartakovski, studied International Business Administration as well as Architecture, Art and Popular Culture in Mexico City, he also completed a one-year educational program at Harvard Law School. Additionally, Dan Tartakovski engaged in formal Bible studies for three consecutive years as he was interested in these subjects. He is a special International Ambassador for B'nai B'rith, where he has held various positions: President of the Human Rights Commission, Member of the Board of Governors of B'nai B'rith International, Special Adviser to the World President and Secretary General of the Branch Lodge Spinoza Cap. 1176 B'nai B'rith Mexico, Vice President Elect for District XXIII BBI North for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Furthermore, being a Member of the Delegation of B'nai B'rith International, Dan Tartakovski held an audience with the Pope Benedict XVI at Palazzo Cardinal Cesi, Via della Conciliazione. He attended the �' UN General Assembly in Geneva as Head of the BBI Delegation and attended the OAS General Assembly in Mexico as head of the BBI Delegation. Dr. Tartakovski has also served as Advisor and Vice President of the Mexico-Israel Chamber of Commerce. He volunteers with the Red Cross and was awarded the Red Cross of Honor and Perseverance. Dr. Tartakovski is a member and Founder of Yad Vashem Mexico and has participated nine times in LA MARCHA DE LA VIDA; together with Professor David Bankier and Dr. Mario Sinay, Dan Tartakovski advised Mr. Mario Kreutzberger in the documentary "Testigos del Silencio". As of 2006 and to date, he has managed to carry out in the Chamber of Deputies the Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.
In addition to the program's core curriculum, the organizers meticulously planned an array of activities to ensure that the group had a comprehensive understanding of the beautiful host country. Over the course of several consecutive days, the attendees were given the opportunity to explore Bulgaria in great depth. One such excursion included a visit to the Bachkovo Monastery, where the remains of Archbishops Kiril and Stephan are interred, visit the Museum of Archeology (The Menorah of the II Century), and learn about the fascinating historical context surrounding The Monument to Reunification, offering the group a chance to witness firsthand the ways in which Bulgaria has grown and changed over the years. Finally, the group visited the ORT public school, where despite only 25% of the attendees are Jewish, Hebrew language classes are imparted as well as Jewish and Bulgarian traditions and customs are taught equally to all students, demonstrating the importance of cultural awareness, and understanding.
“This experience has taught me to be a leader, not to be afraid to speak up and express myself. To understand that I can have a balanced life, inspire others, and thrive on my journey learning the lessons along the way by being tolerant and standing up for what is right and just." commented Joshua Strauss.
In the same way, the group had the opportunity to visit the Zion Synagogue, the Monument to Salvation and the community and visit adjacent cities and places with historical significance such as:
Samokov: The Synagogue, The Arie House, The Mosque.
Dupnitsa: The cemetery, The train station.
Kyustendil: The Jewish Cemetery, visit the Dimitar Peshev museum.
The Rila Monastery and the tomb of King Boris III.
Bulgaria is widely recognized as a magnificent country with a plethora of offerings for its visitors. From stunning mountain ranges to picturesque beaches, and rich historical significance, this small Balkan nation has it all. This being said, the delegation took advantage of the time in Plovdiv exploring the old town, Forum, 2nd Century Roman Stadium, and Roman Amphitheatre, followed by a delightful lunch at "Gorski Kot" restaurant. Later, in Rila we relished fresh mountain trout for lunch and also visited the Rila Monastery. They also had the pleasure of enjoying a Bulgarian Folklore Show dinner at Chevermeto Restaurant in Sofia, among other memorable experiences.
The concluding event on the itinerary was a visit to the Sofia Synagogue, which stands as the largest of its kind in southeastern Europe and is one of only two currently operating synagogues in Bulgaria (the other being in Plovdiv). Furthermore, it ranks as the third largest synagogue in Europe. The group was able to attend Friday night services and partake in the experience.
“The genesis of his journey dates back to five years ago, deeply moved by the account of the heroic rescue of the Bulgarian Jews during the Holocaust. I was prompted to establish contact with the Bulgarian Embassy and together organize an exhibition on the subject, which was showcased across several schools and community institutions. This experience evoked a deep sense of commitment within me to continue this unwavering crusade against anti-Semitism, while fervently advocating for human rights and social equality, with the firm intention of perpetuating these ideals and actions in future generations, who should carry the torch of these noble and altruistic causes.” mentioned Dr. Dan Tartakovski.

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Added on May 26, 2023
Last Updated on May 26, 2023
Tags: president, award, government, politics, holocaust, world war II, diplomacy, king, royalty, Jewish, students, faith, religion, jews, salvation, united nations, celebration, ceremony, rescue, Judaism