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National Assembly President Tsetska Tsacheva: The rescue of Bulgarian Jews is one of the civil society’s most striking manifestations in the 20th century in Bulgaria
January 26, 2010

The rescue of Bulgarian Jews is one of the most striking manifestations of the civil society in the 20th century in Bulgaria. These are words of National Assembly President Tsetska Tsatcheva’s introductory address to the participants in the special Seminar, held in Krakow on January 26, 2010 entitled: "To remember the past for a peaceful future: United Europe against Anti-semitism, Racism and Xenophobia".

The Speaker of Bulgaria’s parliament has been a guest speaker at the forum, organized by the European Friends of Israel to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the death camps Auschwitz and Birkenau. The topics discussed at the symposium were: “Memories about the Holocaust and the fight against anti-semitism”,"The world after the Holocaust” and “Tolerance and dialogue for a peaceful future”. This year the forum involved over 140 parliamentarians from the European and national parliaments of 30 countries in Europe and Israel.

According to the speaker of parliament, it is a matter of obligation and honor for every Bulgarian politician to speak about the unique event in Bulgarian history during the 20th century - that of saving the Jews of Bulgaria. Undeniable, unconditional, but not known enough, the historical truth is that during the tragic years of World War II, the Bulgarian people collectively and boldly disobeyed the Nazis’ orders "to dispose of Bulgarian Jews," said Tsetska Tsacheva. She stressed that in Bulgaria none of the more than 50 000 members Jewish community was killed.

In her speech Tsetska Tsacheva emphasized that the deportation of Jews had met the decisive and unequivocal opposition of the Bulgarian people from all venues of the Bulgarian society. Nowhere in Europe such a strong public reaction had occurred - from the upper to the low strata of society, she added.

The president reminded that the Bulgarian parliament had initiated a strong opposition against the deportation of the Jews, led by the Vice-President of the 25th National Assembly Dimiter Peshev, sending an objection letter to the Prime Minister at the time. It was signed by 43 members of the National Assembly. She noted the role of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in the face of Metropolitans Kiril and Stephen for saving Bulgarian Jews. “We need to constantly reiterate the fact that decent political men and clerics said "no" and acted boldly and decisively, because they felt the support of the entire nation”, said Tsetska Tsacheva. She cited a letter of 1940 to the National Assembly in which students from Plovdiv Teacher's Institute express their dissent with the inhuman nature of the Law on the Protection of the Nation by saying: "We resent the provisions of this law because they are contrary to the traditions bequeathed by our forefathers from the Revival for “freedom, truth and justice”.

The saving of Bulgarian Jews is much more than a historical chronicle, it is indisputably a valuable event in the history of European civilization, a powerful example of the triumph of goodness, humanism, tolerance, democracy and love, "said the Chair of the National Assembly. These values even today, decades after the horrors of the Holocaust, remain so fragile that they require exceptional and tireless efforts to be guarded, protected, preserved and reaffirmed, added Tsetska Tsacheva.

On January 27, 2010 the National Assembly Chair will attend the remembrance ceremony on the camp site of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Krakow, where she will offer as a gift to the museum "Auschwitz" copies of 17 documents related to the rescue of Bulgarian Jews.

Later that day Ms. Tsacheva will participate, in Paris, in a ceremony dedicated to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, organized and hosted by UNESCO ( at the premises of its headquarters) under the patronage of the presidents of France and Israel, Nicolas Sarkozy and Shimon Peres.

National Assembly President will also attend the presentation of the recently translated in French book of author Michael Bar-Zohar, titled"Beyond Hitler's grasp”.
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