The Fate of the Bulgarian Jews during the Second World War

Social Science Research Building, Tea Room, Room 201, 1126 E 59th St.

Lecture by Rumyana Christidi

It is a well-known fact that the Bulgarian Jews survived the Holocaust and none of them were deported to the Nazi death camps. On the other hand, the Jews from the so called “New Added” territories of the Kingdom - Macedonia and Thrace - were deprived of citizenship and deported to Treblinka where they all perished. What are the facts behind these stories and how historians interpret them? Salvation and deportation, mythology and reality? Where does the line lie, and what is national historiography choosing to hide, underline, point out, or pass over in silence? What made the salvation of 48,000 Jewish lives possible in a country allied to Germany and governed by a pro-Nazi government? And what made the German Ambassador to Sofia in 1943 exclaim: “Bulgarian society does not understand the real meaning of the Jewish question… an ordinary Bulgarian does not understand the meaning of the struggle against Judaism, even more, that the racial question from its nature is incomprehensible to him.” And why, after the war, did the majority of the Bulgarian Jewish community prefer to leave the country that saved their lives? These are some of the question that this talk will try to answer.

Rumyana Christidi is Associate Professor of History and Head of Jewish Studies at Sofia University.

Sponsored by the Joyce Z. and Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies, the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies, Slavic Languages and Literatures, the Department of History, and the Consulate General of the Republic of Bulgaria in Chicago.

Click here to register for the lecture on Zoom if you cannot make it in person.