The Center for the Study of Europe co-sponsored last week’s visit of Bulgaria’s president, Rosen Plevneliev, to Boston University. Plevneliev was on campus for the opening celebration of “The Power of Civil Society: the fate of Jews in Bulgaria during the Holocaust, 1940-1944,” at the Hillel House gallery. The exhibit He was introduced by Boston University president Robert Brown, Hillel’s Director Rabbi Joseph Polak, and the Honorary Consul General of Bulgaria Adam Portnoy. Over 200 people attended the opening celebration, which also featured a performance by Ludo Mlado, a Bulgarian Folk Dancing Troupe, and a reception.
The exhibit, which runs through October 15, demonstrates how the collective voice of the people of Bulgaria
prevented the deportation of its Jewish population. It depicts events that, due to social pressure at the time, have only recently surfaced. When Germany ordered Bulgaria to surrender its Jews, a great outcry emerged from the Bulgarian people, and the country ultimately refused Germany’s demands. Because of the Bulgarian people’s heroism, most of the country’s 50,000 Jews were spared death in Nazi concentration camps.