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National Assembly pays tribute to the victims of the Holocaust
March 10, 2010

The National Assembly observed a minute of silence in memory of the Holocaust victims on March 10, 2010 .

At the beginning of the plenary sitting, the Assembly Chair, Mrs.Tsetska Tsacheva, pointed out that on March 10th , the Day when the world commemorates the victims of the Holocaust and of crimes against humanity, all Bulgarians recall one of the brightest pages in the history of Bulgaria in the 20th century - the rescue of Jews, one of the strongest manifestation of the civil society in Bulgaria. “Representatives of all walks of life of the Bulgarian society, at the time, took part in the recue efforts, Tsacheva noted. Such a strong public reaction had not occurred anywhere in Europe, she added.

The Assembly President stressed that the decent politicians, intellectuals and representatives of the Orthodox Church, who had objected the deportation of Bulgarian Jews, had acted with courage and decisiveness, because they felt the support of the entire nation. This rescue is much more than a mere fact of history, it represents an undeniable treasure in the history of European civilization, a powerful example of the triumph of goodness, humanism, tolerance, and democracy, stressed Tsetska Tsacheva. In her words: “while we go back to these events, we need not forget that 11 343 Jews from the then newly acquired by Bulgaria territories, under factual German occupation, were not saved”.

Later on, the National Assembly Chair Tsetska Tsacheva, Deputy Chairs and Members of the Parliament joined the ceremony in remembrance of the 67th anniversary of the Bulgarian Jewry’s rescue and the 65th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust, in front of the Memorial site, located near the National Assembly and dedicated to this event.

In her speech, the Speaker of Parliament noted that Bulgaria was the only European country to have more Jews at the end of the war than at the beginning. Bulgarian Jews had not made the journey to the death camps. No one of the 50 thousand strong Jewish community in Bulgaria had perished, she stressed.

Tsetska Tsacheva recalled that last month, at the celebration of the 65th anniversary of the death camps Auschwitz and Birkenau’s liberation, on behalf of the National Assembly, she offered as a present to the camp’s Museum copies of 17 documents from the archives, related to the rescue of Bulgarian Jews. She quoted the words of the Museum’s director, Peter Tsivinski, that the rescue of Bulgarian Jews was like a light in the dark tunnel of the Second World War.

On this day, the Bulgarian Jews say their big "thank you" to the Bulgarian people, said Maxim Benvenisti, the chairman of the Jewish organization "Shalom" in Bulgaria. For us - Bulgarian Jews, the Savior was the Bulgarian people and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, he added.

The Chair of Parliament and deputies laid wreaths and flowers at the memorial site across the parliament. Among those attending the ceremony, in memory of the innocent Holocaust victims and organized by the Jewish community in Sofia, were diplomatic officials, students and citizens.
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