A coalition of nearly 50 faith-based and human rights organizations and professionals, through the informal International Religious Freedom Roundtable, wrote to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, Kiril Petkov urging him to be the first Bulgarian Prime Minister to acknowledge and apologize for the deportation of Macedonian Jews during WWII.
Click HERE to read the letter.
This Friday, March 11, 2022, will mark the 79th anniversary of the tragic deportation of 98% of the Macedonian Jewish population by the pro-Nazi government and armed forces of the then-Kingdom of Bulgaria. To date, no Bulgarian government since 1943 has apologized for the then Kingdom of Bulgaria’s role in this deportation.
“Bulgaria has denied the existence of this deportation from even happening, which is extremely insensitive to the Macedonian Jewish community. Bulgaria should face the facts, once and for all, of what happened during their occupation of Macedonia, granted to them by Nazi Germany,” said UMD President Meto Koloski. “Recognition of past atrocities is essential for human progress and the Macedonian Jewish community deserves this long overdue apology.”
In 1941, the Kingdom of Bulgaria entered into an agreement with Nazi Germany by which Nazi Germany allowed Bulgaria to occupy geographic Macedonia and Thrace and to exploit their natural resources.
In an open letter, published by the European Jewish Congress, to Petkov’s predecessor in December 2020, the Macedonian Jewish community stated:
The current government in the Republic of Bulgaria has a moral obligation to admit the guilt of its predecessor and take responsibility, following the example of many European countries that were on the wrong side during World War II, for the atrocities committed by their predecessors, the pro-Nazi government, against the Jewish population in the occupied territories during World War II.
The Republic of Bulgaria, by repealing the verdicts in 1996 adopted by the People’s Court in 1945 and by removing any reference to the perpetrators of crimes of World War II, is deliberately whitewashing its dark history, and thus distorting the truth about the Holocaust committed by their predecessors against the Jewish population in the occupied territories. This is in complete contradiction with the IHRA definition of Holocaust denial and distortion.
UMD has been a longtime participant of the IRF Roundtable and thanks all the signatories for their support of this letter.