Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

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CANCELLED: Bulgaria and the Jews during the Holocaust: Between Mythology and Reality
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Please join the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies and the Harriman Institute for a talk by Professor Rumyana Christidi, moderated by Rebecca Kobrin.

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 another 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 the 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, 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?

Dr. Rumyana Marinova-Christidi is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of History, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and Head of “Hebraistika” BA Program (Jewish Studies). Rumyana Christidi was born in Sofia in 1977. She received her Master degree in History and Archives from the Faculty of History, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and her PhD in Contemporary Bulgarian History from the same Faculty. Rumyana Christidi is holds an award by the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom” for her “exceptional contribution in the realization of interethnic and religious dialogue, the fight against manifestations of hate and xenophobia, and in strengthening relations between Bulgarians and Jews.” She is a member of the Bulgarian delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and a member of the European Association for Jewish Studies. She speaks Bulgarian, English and Greek and has working knowledge of Russian.