The Incredible Story of the Protection of the Bulgarian Jews-Mostly Truth!

The Incredible Story of the Protection of the Bulgarian Jews-Mostly Truth!

Summary of eRumor:

The eRumor says that all 50,000 Jews in Bulgaria, whose government sided with the Nazis during World War II, were saved from Nazi death camps.  It tells how it happened and also says that one of the most famous immigrants from Bulgaria to Israel was a young graduate of the Bulgarian Military Academy who in Israel changed his name to Moshe Dayan.

The Truth:

The story about the salvation of Bulgaria’s Jews is true but this particular version of the story has some factual problems.

The information about the famous Israeli military leader Moshe Dayan is not correct.  He was not from Bulgaria.  He was born on a kibbutz in Israel and his parents were immigrants from Ukraine.

Also, the book that is referenced in the story is titled Beyond Hitler’s grasp: The Heroic Rescue of Bulgaria’s Jews and was written by Michael Bar-Zohar (Not Michael Bar Oar).

According to Bar-Zohar, the Bulgarian government came along side of Hitler early in the war because King Boris III hoped it would help him reclaim the lost lands of Greece and Romania.  Hitler demanded that Bulgaria deport its Jews but a combination of forces in Bulgaria prevented that from happening and, according to Bar-Zohar, the Bulgarian Jews were the only Jewish population under the Nazis to actually increase during World War II.

The story of the saving of the Bulgarian Jews is not a new one but there has not been agreement of what the role of King Boris III was.  Government documents about the Jews were sealed after World War II by the Communist government.  But Bar-Zohar was able to search the now opened archives and to interview Bulgarian survivors.  He says that the King did play a role along with politician Dimiter Peshev and the Metropolitan Stefen of the Bulgarian Orthodox church.  Their efforts delayed action on deporting Jews from Bulgaria long enough until the war turned against the Nazis.

Last updated 5/26/07